We’ve covered Gelatin in another post, but what about Collagen? Well, this has some very interesting benefits you might just want to take advantage of.

First, what is collagen. According to Medical News Today “Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and is the substance that holds the whole body together. It is found in the bones, muscles, skin and tendons, where it forms a scaffold to provide strength and structure.

As we age, collagen starts to become depleted in our bodies resulting in joint pain, wrinkles, thinning hair, weak nails. But if we continue to ingest collagen from outside sources such as bone broth or collagen powder, you can help your body recover some of its youthful vitality. Not just any bone broth or collagen powder will do however, so it’s best you watch how you source your collagen.

OK, so what are the benefits of ingesting collagen? According to Dr. Josh Axe, the seven top benefits of collagen are:

1) Improves health of skin and hair – by supplementing with either collagen pills, collagen hydrolysate an/or organic bone broth, you can greatly improve the firmness of your skin making it one of the best natural skin care ingredients you could use. It also reduces cellulite and stretch marks. As skin loses its elasticity you will see more cellulite because your skin is now thinner making cellulite more visible. By ingesting collagen to improve elasticity, it will help reduce the dimpling of your skin.

2) Reduces joint pain and degeneration – when we lose collagen your joints, tendons, and ligaments don’t move quite the same way and may cause joint pain. Collagen is that substance between the joints that helps keep your bones together. Without it your bones would rub together causing all kinds of pain. It keeps the joints “greased” so they glide more easily, and helps to reduce deterioration of the joints. Even Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers have had success supplementing with type 2 collagen to get relief from inflammation and swelling of tender joints.

3) Help heal leaky gut (intestinal permeability) – this is a condition that bad for you toxins are able to pass through the intestinal wall to causing all kinds of damage to your body. Collagen can help to break down proteins and sooth the gut lining, healing damaged cell walls and providing healing amino acids helping seal and heal the gastrointestinal tract. Collagen helps those who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, acid reflux, leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. I’ve also noticed a huge difference in my digestion since ingesting collagen for the past few months.

4) Boosts metabolism, muscle mass and energy output; adding collagen may help increase your metabolism by adding lean muscle mass. While using collagen, make sure to take vitamin C to help convert the collagen into usable protein. Collagen contains the amino acids glycine, arginine, and glutamine. These nutrients help with digestive and central nervous systems, slow the effects of aging by improving the use of antioxidants, muscle repair, healing wounds, boosting metabolism, aides in the proper growth and development of muscle, and provides carbon and nitrogen to the bodies cells.

5) Strengthens nails, hair and teeth – a lack of collagen could be a contributing factor in splitting and peeling nails. It is the building block of your fingernails, hair and teeth. Adding collagen to your diet could help your nails, and possibly reverse signs of hair loss.

6) Improves liver health – collagen can improve blood flow, detox your body of harmful toxins, and keep your heart healthy. Glycine helps minimize damage to your liver by absorbing foreign toxins, or alcohol that shouldn’t be passing through it. A bone broth fast is an excellent way to cleanse the liver. It may help your body get rid of chemicals and cleanse the gut improving immune function. Glycine is used to help reduce alcohol induced liver damage and other liver issues.

7) Protects Cardiovascular Health – another amino acid – proline – helps artery walls release fat buildup in the bloodstream which shrinks the fat in the arteries minimizing fat buildup. Proline also helps control blood pressure, helps repair joint and artery tissue. Collagen is also helpful with the prevention of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by helping keep the arteries clear of plaque buildup.

There are 16 different types of collagen within the body, including types 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10, although types 1, 2, and 3 make up approximately 80-90 percent of the body’s supply. What are the benefits?

Type 1 – the most abundant and strongest type of collagen. This type of collagen forms tendons, ligaments, organs, and skin. It also helps form bones and can be found in the gastrointestinal tract. Very important for wound healing, gives skin its elasticity and holds tissue together so it doesn’t tear.

Type 2 – helps build cartilage found in connective tissue. As long as your body has lots of type 2 collagen, you will be less likely to have age-related joint pain or arthritis symptoms.

Type 3 – makes up a major part of our organs and skin. It also helps form blood vessels and tissue in the heart.

Type 4 – this type of collagen is found in endothelial cells that form tissue around organs, muscles, and fat, needed for nerve and blood vessel functions. They line the most of our digestive organs and respiratory surfaces providing a layer of gel-like fluid that provides cushion/padding for the tissues above it.

Type 5 – helps make the surface of cells, hair strands, and tissue in the placenta that is formed in the uterus during pregnancy, providing oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby and removes waste.

Type 10 – helps with new bone formation which is beneficial for bone fracture healing and repair of synovial joints.

Where does collagen come from?

Bovine (cow or beef) collagen comes from the skin, bone and muscles. Made of types 1 and 3 collagen, providing a good source of glycine and proline, useful for creatine production, building muscle and helping the body make its own collagen.

Chicken collagen is type 2 which is best for building cartilage, is beneficial for joint health providing chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate which have anti-aging benefits.

Fish collagen is type 1 containing glycine, proline and hyroxyproline amino acids. Consuming fish collagen is great for the joints, skin, vital organs, blood vessels, digestion and bones. Hydroxyproline is needed for collagen stability and requires vitamin C to assist in the addition of oxygen. If you are deficient in vitamin C you may also have an abnormal collagen level in your body.

Egg shell membrane collagen found in the shells and whites of eggs is mostly type 1, but also has type 3, 4 and 10, provides glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid and various amino acids which are beneficial for building connective tissue, wound healing, building muscle mass and reducing pain/stiffness.

Amino acids found in collagen and their benefits:

Proline – makes up about 15 percent of collagen, playing a major part in ensuring the body runs smoothly. It helps protect the integrity of blood vessels, improve joint health and has other cardiovascular benefits.

Glycine – makes up about 1/3 of the protein found in collagen. It is the smallest amino acid, but has big effects. Glycine helps build healthy DNA strands; one of 3 amino acids that forms creatine promoting healthy muscle growth and boosts energy during workouts.

Glutamine – one of the most important amino acids in the body, is in our muscles and can be obtained from food sources. Helps prevent anxiety, tension, sleep disorders/insomnia, lack of concentration, poor digestive health, a weakened immune system and low energy.

Arginine – (also known as L-arginine) breaks down into nitric oxide in the body and is important for arterial and heart health. It will help improve circulation, strengthen the immune system and has a positive influence on male libido.

How to use collagen?

I use collagen several times a day. Add a tablespoon to a glass of water and stir. It will look cloudy for a bit, but will then clear up completely looking like the water you poured into your glass. Use it in smoothies (add a tablespoon to your smoothie before blending), juice, milk, tea/coffee, in baking to add a protein boost to muffins, cakes, or whatever you are making (soups, stews, gravy, sauces). Collagen (unflavoured) has no taste, so you can add it to anything you like. We use collagen hydrolysate because it is easier to digest, has no taste, it doesn’t gel, and it’s just so easy to use. I actually buy mine at the bulk food store in Canada, but usually buy it on-line through (the one in the image at the head of this article) in the US.

Now that’s a LOT of information, but necessary to explain the benefits of this wonderful supplement. We have been using collagen for the past little while now and it has really helped with our sleep at night. My hubby says he hasn’t slept this well in a very long time, so I know it’s working for that very issue. Also, with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I believe it will ultimately help to relieve some of the pain and inflammation I experience regularly. I’ve also noticed a difference in my nails that have split and peeled ever since I don’t know when.

I hope this has helped provide you with some much needed information. Remember though that I provide this as information only, not as medical advice. It is up to you to work with your medical team to do the best for you and your health.

Have a wonderful day and week ahead.