A few months ago, I started feeling a strong pull toward incorporating a collagen supplement into my diet. Now, let me remind you that I’ve been a vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian for the better part of 25 years and most collagen supplements are derived from cows, so this wasn’t an easy decision. However, I knew that if my body was asking for it, I better listen. If you’re at all immersed in the world of nutrition, then you may have heard about collagen supplements. If not, then settle in to find out more.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is one of the most prominent proteins in the body and is primarily found in muscles, tendons, bones, skin, nails and hair. In total it comprises about 30 percent of the human body. Fundamentally, collagen is a chain of amino acids, specifically a long-chain amino acid, that hold the body together and give it structure.
Why is Collagen Important?
While collagen is found naturally in the body, aging, environmental factors like sunlight and lifestyle and diet such as stress, sugar consumption and gut health imbalance depletes the body of its natural collagen stores. Lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, brittle nails, thinning hair, dry skin, receding gums and weak joints are the telltale signs of collagen loss. Replacing lost collagen isn’t only important to keep your skin, hair and nails healthy, it also keeps bones strong and relieves joint pain. Collagen also improves hormone balance and promotes healthy digestion.
How to Choose Collagen Supplements
Foods like fatty fish, grass-fed meat and bone broth naturally contain collagen, but using a collagen supplement in addition to eating collagen-rich foods can counteract the body’s natural collagen loss by assisting with collagen production. After age 40, a woman’s collagen production dramatically declines. Choose a collagen supplement sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals.
Also, consider how you intend to use the collagen supplement. Many people prefer to blend it into a smoothie or stir it into coffee. Collagen hydrolosate has no taste and easily dissolves in hot or cold liquid. I use this brand.