The Science and Health Benefits of Collagen
In our first article, What is Collagen, we learned…wait for it…what collagen is! Sure, we went over the basics in that article, but I can tell you want more than just the basics. You want to learn the real science behind collagen and how it functions in our body. Which conveniently enough is exactly what this article is all about.
Behold The Many Roles of Collagen In The Body
The best way to understand how collagen helps our body is to explain how well our body functions when we have plenty of collagen. Let’s start with the skin…
Skin – Collagen gives your skin strength and elasticity. 70% of the protein in your skin is collagen. In addition, you know that cellulite we all hate? Well cellulite becomes a problem when fibers in the skin break down and the cellulite is pushed up to skin level. Collagen can repair those skin fibers and in effect push cellulite down and stop it from showing on your skin. Beautiful skin from the inside out.
Hair – Did you ever wonder how your hair got nutrients? Probably not, but I am going to tell you anyway. Each bulb of hair on your head is surrounded by a sheath of collagen with tiny micro vessels that deliver nutrients. Having plenty of collagen is the key to keeping your hair nutrient rich and therefore thick, shiny and healthy.
Muscles – Collagen is made up of amino acids and these amino acids are the building blocks of muscles and pretty much every other part of our body. In the first article we explained that collagen contains the amino acid Proline. Proline plays a key role in the repair and production of muscles.
When our body is rich in collagen (a protein) it has the resources it needs to build, repair and retain muscles. Don’t forget, the heart is a muscle as well!
Bones – 90% of the organic material in our bones is collagen. Simply put, if we want to have healthy bones, we need to have ample collagen.
Joints – What is the key to healthy joints? Healthy cartilage. I bet you can never guess what is in cartilage? That’s right – collagen. If you want to avoid painful knee, wrist, elbow and hip joints, we need to have plenty of collagen in the body and joints.
Digestive System – Glycine, an amino acid found in collagen plays an important role in our digestive health. Glycine helps with the production of bile in the gallbladder and balances your acid-base ratio in your digestive track.
Brain, Heart and Central Nervous System – Once again, it is the amino acids that make up collagen that play such an important role. Proline is necessary for healthy heart arterial function, healthy blood pressure and wound healing.
Glycine is responsible for building healthy DNA and RNA strands, so that effects just about everything in your body. Research also shows that Glycine can help you sleep longer and in a more restful state.
I think you are starting to see why Collagen is considered the glue that holds us all together. When we have plenty of collagen , our body functions better at every level and we tend to feel fantastic!
Collagen Can Help –
- Improve Skin Health
- Promote Younger, Firmer Skin
- Support Joint Health
- Improve Gut Function and Digestion
- Keep Excess Inflammation in Check
- Build and Restore Muscle
- Support a Healthy Metabolism
- Keep Appetite In Check
- Promote Healthy Brain Function
- Promote Deeper Sleep
When Collagen Levels Drop, Things Do Not Go Well
Think of your body like a car. Feed it the right fuel and it can do amazing things and go faster than you ever imagined. Collagen is like Super Duper Pure Premium Totally Awesome Fuel for your body… or SDPPTAF for short. Hmm, might need something a little more catchy…
In any case, when your body runs low on collagen (levels start to decline at age 20), things tend to not go so well. As collagen plays a role in basically all of our major bodily functions, a shortage of collagen can have a negative effect on your overall health.
Don’t We Get Enough Collagen In Our Diet?
Probably not. We have moved away from a diet rich in bone broths and animal tendons. Even if you do consume more than your fair share of bone broth, the way the bones are processed and the food that the animal ate all play a role in determining how much collagen actually makes it into your diet.
Certain diets such as the Paleo Diet and the Weston A Price Diet definitely put a much higher emphasis on bone broths and getting ample collagen in your diet.
Can Including More Collagen In Our Diet Really Better Our Health?
That is a great question. While it is clear from the science that the collagen in our body plays a key role in our health, does the collagen we ingest from our diet really get absorbed and make an impact on our health?
Yes! First, if you are into reading scientific studies, here is some reading that will keep you busy for the next 7 years or so…
PubMed Studies on Collagen (over 178,000 results!)
PubMed Studies on Gelatin (over 23,000 results)
PudMed Studies on Hydrolyzed Collagen (over 350 results)
There is obviously very strong scientific research on how including collagen in your diet can have positive health benefits.
The only catch – not all collagen is created equal. Some collagen is processed in such a way that the amino acids are destroyed. Some collagen comes from cows that have been fed an unhealthy diet. Other collagen powders and supplements have a very high molecular weight and are not easily absorbed into the body.
The good news is, there are ways to supplement with high quality and easily absorbed collagen and gelatin, thus ensuring you are getting enough collagen in your diet and obtaining the health benefits of collagen.
This is the subject of our next article, How to Supplement With Collagen & Gelatin…