What it does for me, it can do for you.
By the end of this year, U.S. consumers are expected to spend 293 million on collagen products, according to Nutrition Business Journal. So, what, exactly is collagen and why are we going gaga over it?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body and provides structure to hair, ligaments, nails, joints, tendons — damn near everything. In short, collagen holds us together! So, yeah, it’s pretty crucial.
Some collagens even serve as protective coverings for delicate organs in the body, such as our kidneys.
Comprised of these amino acids: glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine, collagen production diminishes as we age. Post-menopausal women, especially, notice a dramatic decline with thinning hair, dry skin, brittle nails, creaky joints— all that fun stuff.
Many people confuse collagen powder, especially, with the whey protein that boosts their morning smoothies. But collagen’s amino acid content is much higher.
Like most of us, I want to stay as young as I can for as long as I can, so I’ve started supplementing with collagen in powder form because the benefits are too numerous to ignore. There are several good brands available and in a moment, I’ll tell you the one I use, but first, it should be noted that there are two forms of collagen. Bovine and marine or fish collagen.
Bovine collagen is a naturally occurring collagen found in the cartilage, bones and hides of cows. (Don’t worry, it’s tasteless.) So, if you’re vegetarian or vegan your best option is marine collagen. Here are the differences:
Bovine (beef) collagen is considered to be a type 1 and 3 collagen product. It is typically used to improve gut and joint health. Marine (fish) collagen is made from fish skin and scales and contains primarily type 1 collagen.
There is also type 2 collagen. Sounds confusing, but it really isn’t, so stick with me.
Collagens type 1 and 3 are especially beneficial for hair, skin, nails, and bones. Type 2 collagen supports joints and cartilage.
From Dr. Axe, here are five benefits of bovine collagen:
- Treats Osteoarthritis. Cartilage is made up of collagen, so it makes sense that supplementing with this building block could help treat this degenerative joint disease that causes cartilage to wear away.
- Improves gut health. Amino acids have been shown to be beneficial to the entire gastrointestinal system.
- Builds muscle and repairs tissue. Collagen types I and III specifically support the tendons and ligaments that you use every time you exercise.
- Promotes deeper sleep. Glycine, the most abundant amino acid in collagen is known as an immunonutrient that supports healthy inflammation response and also promotes deeper, more restorative sleep
- Improves skin quality. (Yeah, baby!) Bovine collagen helps form elastin and other compounds that serve to maintain skin’s youthful tone, texture, and appearance. It also helps reduce the visible signs of wrinkles, puffiness, and various other signs of aging.
Marine collagen has amazing benefits, as well. It is mostly comprised of type 1 collagen, the most abundant collagen in our bodies. Check out the following from furtherfood.com:
- Supports bone strength. Studies have shown that marine collagen peptides may help the absorption of calcium and other minerals that are essential for strong, healthy bones.
- Slows and may help reverse aging. As with bovine collagen, marine collagen promotes, glowing, wrinkle-free skin and a decrease in overall sagginess.
- May help lower cholesterol levels. Supplementing with marine collagen has been shown in clinical trials to lower LDL (the bad lipoprotein) and increase HDL (the good lipoprotein)7, which pulls cholesterol and triglycerides out of the blood and tissues to help prevent tissue damage caused by fats.
- Antibacterial effects. Collagencin, a peptide derived from marine collagen, has been found to inhibit the growth of infection and disease-causing bacteria such as Staphylococcus Locus, commonly known as a staph infection. It also partially inhibits the activity of other bacteria, including E. Coli.
- Superior protein source for weight management. No carbs. No sugar. No fat. As with bovine collagen, supplementing daily with marine collagen can help suppress appetite by keeping you feeling full, longer.
Are there supplements available that contain all three types? Absolutely. But let me tell you what works for me. I normally switch between bovine and marine collagen. This way, I reap all the benefits.
Virtually tasteless you can mix both types of collagen powder into a smoothie, yogurt, oatmeal…really, just about anything. I like to froth it into my morning coffee, as another benefit of collagen is that the high protein content keeps me sated for hours.
In fact, since I’ve been mixing collagen powder into my morning java, I find that I can go for hours without eating. You might say that collagen has made me an “inadvertent, intermittent faster!”
Flexible joints. Thicker hair. Glowing skin with less wrinkles. Yes, please. I’ll take collagen. And maybe you should too. Check it out and let me know what you think.
I hope you, too, will reap collagen’s many benefits. And, as always, thanks for reading.
© Sherry McGuinn, 2020. All Rights Reserved.
Sherry McGuinn is a slightly-twisted, longtime Chicago-area writer and award-winning screenwriter. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and numerous other publications. Sherry’s manager is currently pitching her newest screenplay, a drama with dark, comedic overtones and inspired by a true story.