Collagen protein is a favorite power food of mine that I’ve used for years and consider one of my top beauty supplements that supports my health and appearance from the inside out!
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body that is composed of three amino acids: glycine, proline, and glutamine. It is naturally found in animals and humans as part of the protein matrix that makes up our skin, bones, muscles, and joints. You can think of it as giving structure to and “gluing” the body together.
Collagen production in the body declines as we age and becomes damaged by toxins, sugar, and smoking. Since we all get our fair share of toxin exposure daily just by existing in the year 2020, it’s safe to assume we could use a simple lifestyle tool to help us prevail over toxicity.
If that wasn’t enough, we are often deficient in collagen simply because our culture prefers eating muscle meats of animals instead of the whole animal, which includes the skin, bones, and tendons where collagen is abundant. This is called nose to tail eating and if you haven’t considered this prior to this article I definitely encourage you to rethink your animal protein game!
For these collagen benefits, collagen supplements have increased in popularity recently. You might be wondering what the difference is between collagen peptides and collagen protein? Let me clear up the confusion about collagen powder, collagen peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, and collagen protein. You’ll hear all of these words used, but they all mean the same thing: a powdered, supplemental protein that primarily contains collagen.
Collagen protein powder benefits are far-reaching. Here are some of the biggest benefits I’ve seen in the scientific research, from this community, and in my personal experience:
- Benefit #1: Skin. Collagen is so foundational to skin health. Collagen is part of your skin’s make-up and holds water – hydration being critical to healthy, youthful skin. When collagen in the skin is low, you might notice more wrinkles and less plumpness. Working hand-in-hand with elastin, collagen helps the skin to withstand stretching, making it a great supplement to preserve skin integrity especially during and after weight loss. Research shows that collagen supplementation has the potential to improve both the appearance and structure of skin (1).
Pro tip: Your body needs vitamin C to build and maintain collagen, so eating veggies like bell peppers or fruits like kiwi are valuable in your attempt to get more collagen into your body!
- Benefit #2: Hair and Nails. In the same way that collagen benefits skin, collagen helps provide the structure and framework for your hair and nails. And so, collagen supplementation is one way to increase this important protein in order to strengthen and maintain hair and nail health throughout life.
- Benefit #3: Bones and Joints. Collagen is essential for the health of the skeletal system. Remember that collagen works to withstand stretching so it is the most important protein for tendons and ligaments. Collagen shows promise as part of the treatment of both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis (2).
- Benefit #4: Gut Health. Collagen contains the amino acid glutamine, which is important to the health of the enterocytes, the cells that line the digestive system. Collagen protein can be a helpful supplement for healing the gut and restoring optimal digestive function.
- Benefit #5: Brain Health. The brain-boosting benefits of collagen powder are due to the amino acid glycine. Glycine is known as a calming amino acid, working to calm the nervous system. Other benefits to glycine include muscle growth, digestive support, and immune health.
I truly cannot tout this important protein enough and the powerful benefits it holds. Not only on the inside but outside too!