Collagen is getting a lot of attention lately. It seems to be popping up everywhere and with good reason. You’ll see it in powders, coffees, teas, juices, and protein bars. But what is it exactly, and do you need to be taking it?
Collagen is a protein that is present in the skin, bones, muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue. We often hear how it can benefit us on the outside – our hair, skin, nails – but the benefits go well beyond that. It can actually help to heal the gut, lower inflammation, balance hormones, and so much more. Here are a few of the reasons I recommend adding collagen into an already nutrient-dense diet.
Collagen is a great source of amino acids like arginine, glutamine, glycine, and proline. These are essential for producing healthy levels of hormones. Collagen can also support healthy thyroid function and reduce the metabolic stress of increased cortisol.
The amino acids in collagen provide unique soothing and restorative properties for the digestive tract. The high concentration of the amino acid glycine stimulates stomach acid production, which improves digestion and nutrient absorption. And, since the gut is where the majority of the immune system is located and responsible for the production of serotonin, it can also help with fighting illness, autoimmune conditions, and mood disorders.
Chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on your body. Any good nutrition plan or diet should consider lowering inflammation as a top priority. Inflammation causes your body to hold onto fat, makes you feel tired all the time, and can lead to chronic diseases and autoimmune conditions. Since most inflammation stems from the gut, it is collagen’s ability to help restore balance to our digestive tract that makes it effective in fighting inflammation.
The amino acids in collagen, gylcine and proline, repair tissue, lessen inflammation, and provide relief from joint pain. Several studies also show that supplementing with collagen builds bone density. Collagen peptides stimulate osteoblasts, which are the cells responsible for bone formation.
The best way to get collagen is through food sources, but there are now good, quality collagen powders that make incorporating collagen into your routine even easier. Here are a few easy ways to add it in.
Make sure to allow enough time for its effects to show up. It may take eight weeks before you notice a reduction in inflammation, visible changes in skin texture, and improvement in joint health. For recommendations on my favorite collagen powder supplements, you can check out my resources page here.
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