How Important is Collagen?
If you’ve been in any healthy grocery store lately, you’ve seen it. It’s everywhere.
Collagen took off with a flash not long ago. And the result is a bunch of broths, soups, powders, gummies and 1,001 other things claiming to be healthy.
But why is collagen so important? And what can you expect if you start using it?
For starters, collagen is very supportive of the critical connective tissues in your body.
Think of the parts that hold your joints together (like ligaments and tendons). Adding collagen not only helps maintain the health and flexibility of your joints, but it’s terrific for joint repair, especially after an injury.
If you exercise or you’re working back from a sprain or other joint concern, collagen can help with recovery, and shorten the time it takes for you to bounce back strong.
Collagen can also keep your skin looking younger. All the problem areas prone to wrinkling and drooping (like your neck or underarms) can benefit from a boost of collagen. In short, it helps keep your skin elastic and “buoyant.”
This benefit extends to your hair and nails too. Not a bad “side effect” from something with so many other benefits.
Like helping your body maintain appropriate levels of glycine. Glycine is the primary amino acid in collagen, and we can only produce about 3 grams a day on our own. That’s not enough. Especially if you have joint concerns, which can disrupt your body’s ability to create glycine normally.
One other benefit folks don’t talk about enough is the way supplemental collagen balances out the other proteins you enjoy. That’s because when you eat a fair amount of meat, you get more of an amino acid called methionine than you may need. The glycine from collagen balances this out.
When people talk about the downsides of meat consumption, they assume you’re not getting enough glycine. But with collagen, you will be.
And it also reduces the amount of protein your body needs to use to maintain muscle strength. In a recent study, older men using collagen had a better response to strength training than those who didn’t use it. That’s likely because it used collagen for maintenance, and other dietary proteins for lean muscle mass.
Collagen has also been linked to better sleep, faster wound healing and even a way to beat back joint discomfort.
While collagen may seem trendy, it’s really an old idea coming back into favor. After all, our forefathers never let anything go to waste.
Steeping bones to make broth, creating gelatin, and using all parts of an animal made sense when the idea of throwing away anything was considered a sin.
So by adding collagen to your diet, you’re not only getting healthy in dozens of ways, you’re helping keep more of the “good stuff” from being tossed aside.
Not a bad combo.