Did you know that one-third of the protein in our body is collagen? It’s found in our bones, skin, muscles, and tendons. It’s the substance that holds our body together and provides structure and strength. Collagen molecules are tied together to form long fibres and make our bodies flexible. There are 16 types of collagens that have different functions and strengths, but scientists found out that the gram for gram collagen is even stronger than steel. As we age, our body produces less collagen, and our skin starts wrinkling. That’s why we take supplements to compensate.
How Is Collagen Powder Made?
Most high quality collagen powder options come from cowhides and their connective tissues. They contain the essential amino acids that most muscle meats don’t have. Producing collagen like this is a great way to maintain a sustainable farming process. The first phase of the process is to raise happy and healthy cows. It’s forbidden to inject cows with additional hormones or growth stimulants. They have to be grass-fed and freely roam the pastures. This way, you’ll get a highly nutritious collagen protein.
The hides go through a process called hydrolysation. In the beginning, they’re thoroughly cleaned, and the extra fat is removed with an alkaline solution. After that, they’re dipped in acidic water at 90 degrees Celsius to start the collagen release process. In the end, they go through evaporation and milling to give us the final product, powders, protein bars or capsules.
14g of collagen protein contains:
Calories – 50g;
Protein – 12g;
Sodium – 50mg;
Calcium – 29mg;
Potassium – 0.98mg.
Some powders may contain vitamin C, zinc or biotin. Because it’s flavourless on its own, manufacturers add flavours such as banana, citrus, mushroom, cinnamon, berries, coffee, curry, etc.
Collagen is not only useful but also necessary for staying healthy because it makes up so many important parts of our bodies. Collagen supplements, on the other hand, are still debatable. While there is evidence that they help keep skin hydrated and reduce osteoarthritis pain, we need more research to confirm that it decreases blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Healthy and Hydrated Skin
As we get older, our body produces less collagen; it usually lowers the production process in the late 20s. Because of this, the skin gets wrinkled and prone to damage. Many studies, experiments and research confirmed that collagen powder keeps the skin healthy and hydrated. The hydrolysing process that happens during production breaks down the collagen so it can easily absorb into our skin. This powder also boosts elasticity in the skin network and helps wound healing.
People with reduced bone mineral density (BMD) can benefit greatly from this supplement. Research on 100 women that took 5g of collagen for a year shows that their BMD increased in the femur and spine. Lowered BMD can also cause osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and osteopenia, so doctors recommend taking collagen protein to reduce this risk. One downside is that you can’t choose where the collagen will go once you digest it. For example, you may have BDM, but if the body recognises some collagen deficiency in the skin, the collagen will go there.
Thick Hair and Healthy Nails
Many men go bald, and women suffer from hair loss and thinning at some point in their lives. When taking collagen as a supplement, hair health and growth improves, and the scalp gets coverage. Also, if you have fragile nails that chip very often and don’t grow fast enough, you can add collagen to your diet, and you’ll see the difference in just four weeks.
Reduces Joint Pain
The cartilage, a rubbery material that protects our bones and muscles and helps them move smoothly, decreases as we get older. Collagen helps by stimulating cartilage production that eases joint pain and keeps us healthy and mobile.
Boosts Muscle Mass
Because collagen is an essential part of our muscles, it can help them grow and strengthen. If you combine it with exercises such as cardio, HIIT training and weight lifting, you’ll experience muscle growth fast.
May promote heart health by providing structure to the arteries;
Can treat intestinal permeability;
May improve mood and reduce anxiety;
Promotes weight loss;
What to Look For?
Not all collagen is created equal. Since collagen is an animal product, choosing collagen from a reputable source is essential. Look for collagen that comes from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals or wild-caught fish. The collagen should not have any additional fillers or additives. Overall, when choosing a collagen supplement, opt for a brand that is transparent about its manufacturing processes and sourcing. Also, look for collagens certified by a third party, meaning a quality-testing company that’s reliable and trustworthy.
Natural Collagen Sources
Food is always the safest way to create a healthy organism and boost our immune system. A lot of foods contain natural collagen that your body can use. On the top of the list is the bone broth. As the bone cooks down, all collagen gets extracted and pulled into the broth. It also contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and amino acids. Chicken is also a good natural source because of its many connective tissues. Shellfish and fish are also collagen-rich food because of their bones and skin. But the biggest amount of collagen is in the eyes, head and scales, the things we don’t consume as much.
Eating citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and grapefruits will boost our collagen production because of the vitamin C. Berries and tropical fruits rich in vitamin C, such as kiwi, mango, and guava, will also help. Beans and leafy greens are rich in antioxidants and copper, which boost collagen production. On the other hand, sugars and refined carbs will damage collagen and reduce its benefits.