With so many different types of health supplements available today, it can be confusing trying to decide which supplements will truly have the greatest impact on your health.
One perfect example of a supplement whose popularity continues to increase dramatically each year and gain even more attention is collagen.
Collagen is our body’s primary protein. It is comprised of amino acids and makes up approximately 70-95% of all the cartilage in our joints. Collagen is the major component of our skin, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and primarily works to strengthen our bones and give structure to our skin.
Since collagen is a protein found mostly within bones, ligaments, hair, skin, and nails, sources of collagen are almost always animal-derived (although vegan alternatives do now exist).
For this reason, many consumers look for high quality collagen supplements sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine, as a way to ensure that they are getting the best possible source of collagen.
The main difference between eating foods with collagen (such as chicken skin, bone broth, fish and beef) and taking collagen supplements is that there is currently very little evidence that foods containing collagen actually increase collagen levels in the body.
On the other hand, supplements containing collagen have already been hydrolyzed (broken down), allowing for far more efficient absorption than in the case of collagen-rich foods.
Our body begins to lose its ability to create and repair collagen as we age, specifically in our 30’s. As this begins to happen, we may notice signs of visible skin aging, as well as decreased ability to move around and exercise comfortably. As collagen levels lower with age, risk of degenerative joint disorders such as osteoporosis inevitably increase.
A high quality collagen supplement is a wonderful option for slowing collagen loss as we age. When collagen is introduced into the system, the body breaks it down into amino acids and then intelligently distributes it wherever it is most needed, whether that be your skin, joints, tendons, ligaments, etc.
Collagen supplements work by reintroducing some of the collagen building blocks back into our bodies, allowing for joint support, lessened joint pain, and improved skin elasticity. Collagen supplements may also promote increased production of other proteins essential for skin elasticity, such as elastin and fibrillin.
For example, one study found a significant decrease in joint pain in a group of 73 athletes taking 10 grams of collagen each day for 24 weeks when compared to the group not taking collagen.
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