We’re excited to launch this new series on Impact Everyday, where we take a deep dive into trending nutrients and discuss their health benefits! First up on the docket? Collagen! By now, you’re probably relatively familiar with this protein–it’s been trending for a couple years now, and most health enthusiasts have collagen peptides stashed away in their cupboards. But if you’re new to the world of collagen, or maybe you’re taking it because someone recommended it (but you’re not entirely sure what it does), this post is for you!
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, making up a third of the protein. It’s what makes up our skin, bones, teeth, muscles and ligaments. It’s what makes skin elastic (and keeps wrinkles from forming). It’s what holds us together. While there’s many different forms of collagen, up to 90% of the collagen in the human body is Type 1, which is why most supplement forms of collagen are also Type 1.
As we age, we produce less collagen, and we produce it at a lower quality. This is why we start to get wrinkles and lose elasticity in our skin, and thus increases our need to supplement or consume more collagen. Other lifestyle factors, like sun exposure, smoking and a diet high in sugar all affect collagen production in the body and can give us the physical appearance of aging.If you’re wondering whether supplementation actually does anything, the research is new, but promising.
A few studies (here and here) have shown that supplementation with collagen peptides does actually improve skin elasticity and improve skin hydration!
It seems that collagen is also helpful in reducing joint pain and potentially preventing osteoarthritis.
A study done on elderly men found that supplementing with collagen for 12-weeks while participating in resistance training had more muscle mass, were leaner and stronger than the men that only did resistance training. The great thing about collagen is it’s a clean protein source (with no fillers or added ingredients) making it a great addition in a pre-workout smoothie!
While we’re still waiting for more research on collagen and its health benefits in humans specifically, there has been research done on gelatin (the cooked form of collagen) on rats. This study found that gelatin was able to protect the mucosal lining of the gut and prevent damage to it, showing promise that it could do the same in people.
One of the easiest ways to get collagen is to consume collagen-rich foods. Bone broth, in particular, is a very high source of what is essentially the cooked form of collagen: gelatin. You can make your own bone broth by simmering chicken or beef bones in water and vegetables, or you can purchase already made bone broth.Impact Kitchen uniquely offers bone broth that has simmered for 24 hours in order to release collagen and minerals. You can either buy the jars from the retail section (in which case, I recommend freezing them into ice cube trays so they can easily be thrown into soups and sauces) or you can buy a hot sipping broth. This time of year, the sipping broth is magical, especially if you add on a flavour boost (my personal favourite being the Miso Ginger).
You can also try some of our other collagen-rich foods, including:
The Chicken Noodle Soup (made with bone broth)
Chocolate or Mango Collagen Pudding
If you’re looking to supplement–good idea, as the research on collagen seems to currently be focused on supplementation–be sure to choose a high-quality collagen peptide. Look for grass-fed beef collagen or wild-caught marine collagen. You can also bump up any of your smoothies at Impact Kitchen with a collagen boost: the added protein will keep you feeling fuller longer!How do you consume collagen? Have you noticed any benefits since you’ve started taking it? Let us know in the comments below! And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to the monthly newsletter so you don’t miss out on the latest Impact Nation Events or nutrition posts!What nutrient should we tackle next time?