If you haven’t heard yet, collagen is an anti-ageing diamond that helps improve your skin, joints, gut, flexibility, sleep and recovery. So, what it is? Collagen’s the most abundant protein in your body, and you can think of it as the glue that holds you together – it’s in your muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons.
In fact, it makes up 75% of your body’s skin tissue. But as we age, the amount we produce depletes, and by the time we reach age 40, we’ve lost a third of our collagen. Hello wrinkles *sad face*.
Getting more of it in our diets – whether from food or supplements – is a beautiful thing. It’s the secret behind the power of bone broth, and it’s loaded with antioxidant-rich, gut-health-promoting, metabolism-boosting amino acids. Here, Laura Fullerton, founder of Fitty London, reveals why it’s so great…
Smoother, firmer skin
You’ll find collagen listed as a key ingredient in many beauty creams and products, but ingesting it is a far more effective way to reap its benefits. Studies show that between 2.5-5g a day can dramatically improve skin elasticity and moisture, and reduce skin cracking and wrinkles.
Whether you’re a runner, heavy lifter or something else entirely, sport can be pretty tough on your joints, and extra collagen may save you an injury or two. That’s because collagen allows us to glide and move without pain. Consuming more of it can strengthen joints and reduce the risk of deterioration, increase the density of cartilage to make joints more flexible, and is proven to be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis and arthritis.
Collagen is the protein your body uses to heal everything from acne to a torn tendon. Collagen forms a flexible matrix covering damaged tissue while still allowing it to move (a bit like a scaffold that holds everything together so other cells can rebuild), and it fights off bacteria, which helps to keep wounds sterile.
Poor gut health is now known to be the root cause of many illnesses. When toxins and harmful bacteria leak through the intestinal walls into the blood stream (aptly named leaky gut syndrome), they can kick off an inflammatory cascade. Luckily collagen contains the amino acids proline and glycine, which are essential building blocks to seal and heal the damaged intestinal lining.
So, how do we get more of it in our diet?
You’ll find collagen naturally in:
- Bone broth (you might also hear ‘gelatin’ used a lot – that’s because when the collagen in animal bones cooks, it breaks down into gelatin, and you’ll get the health benefits from both forms).
- Non-steak cuts of meat (tendon, neck, oxtail, knuckle…)
- Pork skin, salmon skin, and chicken skin
- Egg whites
Supplements are great too.
Powder form is brilliant as it’s heat stable and almost flavourless, so you can mix it into all kinds of hot and cold drinks, soups and more. I mix it into my morning Bulletproof coffee and turmeric lattes which adds a lovely velvety texture. Equally pills are a great option and super convenient.
Marine collagen is said to be the most bioavailable form of collagen (rather than beef/bovine), so opt for this.
Take collagen with vitamin C to heighten its bioavailability (often supplements come with vitamin C in already.
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