Collagen 101: Why The Buzzy Supplement Is Worth The Hype
Got stomach issues? Try collagen. Hair won't grow? Load up on collagen. Period issues? You guessed it. Collagen. Apartment is a mess? Rub some collagen on it.
Okay, so maybe it won't magically clean your apartment, but collagen seems to be the answer to everything these days like Windex is to My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But, does it actually deserve the hype? Where does one even start?
It's a confusing collagen-filled world, so let's begin.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and can be found in bones, muscles, skin, and tendons, so basically most parts of your body need it to function.
Collagen is strong, in some cases stronger than steel, and gives various parts of the body strength and support as well as elasticity and flexibility. Essentially, it has the exact qualities one looks for in a leader. #GOALS
As we age, eat not great food for our bodies, tan, and other lifestyle factors, our collagen is depleted, leading to a myriad of unpleasant symptoms like joint pain and digestive issues. So, providing your body with collagen each day can better these symptoms and also adds additional benefits.
Collagen is made up of amino acids that are essential to help the body function properly, including: Glycine (builds healthy DNA), Creatine (energy production), Proline (supports digestive health), and Hydroxyproline (repairs tendons and muscles).
So, you definitely want to try collagen. But, which kind is best?
THE TYPES & THEIR BENEFITS
Bovine collagen is derived from cow and is best for respiratory issues, muscle recovery, and promoting better sleep. It's also good for hair and nail growth (which all collagen is good for).
It is the kind of collagen I take every day as I rarely eat red meat so I'm deficient in a lot of the nutrients eating this kind of diet provides.
The marine collagen I use is made from red snapper and is the most easily absorbed into the body of all collagen types.
It helps to stabilize blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and heal wounds. It is also the most bioavailable form of collagen.
When people rave about bone broth, they're often referring to the gut healing benefits of this collagen form. A good bone broth will form a gel when put in the fridge and that demonstrates that the collagen has been extracted from the bones to provide maximum benefits.
Chicken collagen can help seal a leaky gut and assist with digestive issues, boost the immune system, and significantly reduce joint pain.
HOW TO USE
Collagen is great for you but it often takes a bit of time to build up to the right dose. Many say it's tasteless, and I certainly don't think that's the case but the taste is fairly easy to get used to. I'd recommend trying it in tea or coffee first. Make sure you have hot water and plenty of flavor and then try 1/3 a scoop. Over two weeks, slowly build up to one full scoop. I do two scoops during my period but one scoop is plenty for most people.
As you get more used to the taste, you can ease off adding in other flavors. Many people i know drink it straight with hot water and that is a great way to do it but honestly? You can use collagen in so many different ways that as long as you've found a way that works for you to put it in your daily routine, don't worry about having it in its' purest form.
THE BENEFITS I'VE NOTICED
I started using collagen because I thought it would be beneficial for my gut. While I haven't noticed much improvement there, I have had quite a few benefits from drinking hot water with a capful of bovine collagen in the morning:
- Lighter Periods: My periods are usually extremely heavy. If I double up on my collagen intake throughout my period, I experience a significantly lighter cycle which helps me immensely with the typical symptoms I get around heavy bleeding.
- Hair and Nail Growth: My hair and nails grow like crazy with my normal intake of collagen. My nails and hair are both stronger and I don't have to fear getting too much cut off when I get my hair cut because I know it will grow back quickly.
- Energy: Collagen powder gives me a buzz similar to coffee but without the crash. It makes my face tingle, my body hum, and provides a nice energy boost in the morning.
- Better Sleep: If I am diligent about taking my collagen every day, I actually have better sleep and wake up feeling more alert.
MY FAVORITE WAYS TO USE IT
There are so many ways to use collagen! Have it in your coffee. Put it in a pasta sauce. Try it in a baked good. It is extremely versatile and doesn't have too much of a taste (at least the bovine one) which means you can get your collagen fix in pretty much anything. I recommend checking out the Vital Proteins blog for some great collagen recipes. Here are my favorite ways to use it:
- Collagen Tea: Each morning, I have hot water with a scoop of collage, a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar, and MCT oil. It's a great way to wake up my digestive system, get a good dose of protein, and cleanse my digestive track prior to eating.
- Collagen Carrot Cake Bars: Shameless plug, you can find the recipe here!
- Smoothies: Pair your usual protein powder with a scoop of collagen and mix it with your favorite smoothie recipe. Mine is almond butter, almond milk, banana, arugula, ginger, and chocolate chips :-)
Convinced yet? If you want to step into collagen slowly, try Vital Protein's new sampler pack where you can try different types of collagen before committing. Feel free to DM me or comment below with any questions!