What's the Deal with Collagen??

If you’ve been seeing collagen pop up everywhere, you’re not imagining things.  Using collagen powder has become a recent trend and I’m here to explain why and if it’s worth the hype.

First, what is it?  Collagen is found in connective tissue, bones, skin, nails, and hair in our bodies, and in all animals as well.  As we age, production of collagen slows down, which is partially to blame for things like sagging skin, the loss of that youthful glow, and achy joints.  It is protein rich and made up of amino acids (as is all protein). So, collagen powder is actually just made by grinding up things like connective tissue or hide from cows or scales from fish.

Why would someone eat that?  Well, the argument is that eating (or drinking) collagen powder will help restore that youthful glow, reduce wrinkles, help keep joints lubricated and strong, reduce inflammation, promote gut health, improve hair, skin, and nails, and so much more from the inside out.

Is it the real deal?  Scientifically, yes.  The research is actually very promising for supplementing with a good quality collagen powder.  Unless you’re vegan (since collagen is an animal product) or have a condition where you need to be mindful of your protein intake, collagen could be a good addition to your diet. 

Collagen can help improve hair, strengthen nails, and reduce wrinkles in the skin. 

Since collagen is a huge component in our bones and joints, it can help improve joint pain, lubricate joints, and reduce inflammation as well.

The amino acids (the building blocks that make up protein) in collagen powder, specifically the amino acid glycine, help improve digestion and promote gut health.

It is a great source of protein without all the additives of many protein powders.  It is pretty flavorless, so add it to your smoothie for a boost of protein, mix it in with your coffee if you struggle to get enough protein in the morning.  Or, add it to your water to replenish after a workout.    

Another way to get collagen without using the powder is in the form of bone broth.  Bone Broth was all the rage a few years ago, and collagen was the reason why.  When you boil down all of those bones, the collagen is released into the broth, and you end up drinking collagen-rich broth.  So, make a big pot of soup with lots of added veggies and some bone broth, and you’ll be filling up on collagen! 

You might see it called collagen peptides.  That means that it has been broken down into those amino acids, making it easier for your body to absorb and making it dissolve in both cold and hot liquids.

One of the brands that I like is called Vital Proteins.  It is organic and, since the FDA does not regulate supplements, Vital Proteins has been checked by a third party, quality control group called NSF to check for contaminants of any kind.  They have collagen powders in all different forms, flavors, and applications.  From coffee creamers to individual packs to add to your water and just plain old collagen peptide powder, they have it all.    

Give it a try, and let me know what you think!