Are you confused about collagen? Marine, bovine, flavoured or unflavoured… it seems there are so many to choose from. And what exactly are the proven benefits of them? With so much nutrition information out there it can feel overwhelming even for someone like me whose job it is to know all the things. Although let’s be honest, I definitely don’t know all the things, but I do try and gather as much information as possible so that I can inform and educate. Today’s post is all about collagen and I hope that this can inspire you to make a decision about whether or not you want to make collagen a part of your health journey.
What is Collagen?
What exactly is collagen? Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. It acts as a “glue” that holds us together and supports our tissues’ elastic quality—helping it withstand repetitive stretching and recovery.
Collagen makes up 30% of the body’s protein content and makes up 90% of the dry weight of the dermis (the “scaffolding” of the skin)! That’s why collagen decline is easily visualized in the skin, where fine lines and wrinkles appear through aging.
But its loss also affects the integrity of our bones, joints and muscles. This is where supplementing with high-quality, collagen can help.
- It provides a clean source of protein (1 scoop of has about 10g of protein). Although it contains protein, it is not a complete protein. This means, you shouldn’t be replacing protein powder with collagen.
- Digested and absorbed easily by the body.
- Can improve your hair, skin, nails and joints (it is important to note that this study refers to a collagen that also has hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and minerals as well)
- Can be used in hot or cold beverages, smoothies and baked goods like these birthday cake energy balls.
- Collagen is the building block of our bodies and our bodies cannot synthesize enough collagen on their own, nor do we tend to get enough in our diets.
- Helps to restore gut health and support digestion.
- Aids in muscle repair and may help with such inflammatory conditions like arthritis, early research is promising.
- Our bodies ability to produce collagen declines as we age.
How Collagen Declines Over Time:
Lifestyle factors can impact our collagen levels and below are some of the things that affect how we produce collagen.
- Things such as stress and/or trauma.
- Excessive sun exposure/UV damage.
- Exposure to toxins: alcohol, drugs, environmental toxins and radiation.
- Lack of adequate hydration.
Overall, a diet consisting of too much processed and ultra-processed foods, lacking in fibre, phytonutrients, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals all affect collagen decline.
Two Types of Collagen:
There are two main types of animal derived collagen, bovine and marine. Because of where collagen comes from, there is no vegan or vegetarian source for collagen. And due to the fact that collagen is sourced from animal products, it is very important to ensure you are getting it from a high quality source. This is why I love Genuine Health as they source their bovine collagen from grass-fed, pasture raised USDA cattle and their marine collagen is sustainably sourced, wild caught fish from the Northern Atlantic. There is no research showing one is better than the other, so the choice to consume either bovine or marine is up to you.
They have two options available with each, both flavoured or unflavoured. Personally I tend to use the unflavoured as I like to add mine to my morning matcha. Although, lately I have been adding the flavoured version to my water when I workout and I love the taste. They aren’t too sweet and they make drinking water a little more fun. Plus they absorb easily in plain water, so there are no clumps at all.
In November last year (2018), I was one of 14 super lucky individuals invited to Langdon Hall to experience Genuine Health’s launch of their clean collagen. To say I was excited about this opportunity is an understatement, I got to learn first hand from the experts at Genuine Health all about collagen. The whole experience made me feel so special and I talked about how excited I was to go to friends and family the weeks leading up to going. They had us stay at Langdon Hall for the day (and evening) and we were treated to learning so much about the new clean collagen line, a facial, an amazing dinner (seriously the chef there is RIDICULOUS) and a workout the next day. They truly went all out and made the whole experience magical.
If you live in the Toronto area, I definitely recommend checking out Langdon Hall for a quick getaway. The food, the spa and the atmosphere are all amazing and worth the drive.
How to Use Collagen:
You can use collagen in hot drinks (as I did for the recipe below), in a cold drink (such as water), in a smoothie or add it to one of your favourite recipes. Yup, you can bake or cook with it!
Check out my simple elixir recipe below to see how I add collagen to make it even better!
Both the he shou wu and reishi are adaptogens and are known for helping with relaxation, stress and provide skin loving benefits as well. I love the brand Sun Potion as they use potent high quality ingredients.