There’s been A LOT of talk about collagen in recent years, with new collagen-containing products popping up left and right. So you may be wondering: what is collagen and are the health benefits worth all the hype? (Spoiler: yes!)
You may have noticed that collagen products are just about everywhere these days.
And its collagen content is one of the biggest reasons why bone broth has become so popular in recent years.
So what’s the deal? Is collagen just the sexy new superfood du jour or is it worth the hype!?
Let’s get to the bottom of it! Let’s take a closer look at…
- What is collagen?
- The difference between collagen and gelatin (and why you can’t talk collagen without talking gelatin)
- The health and skincare/ beauty benefits of collagen
- My favorite source of collagen (since – spoiler! – it’s something I choose to add to my diet daily)
- How to add collagen to your diet
So what is collagen exactly?
Collagen is a protein: the most abundant protein in our bodies.
Collagen makes up the majority of the of connective tissue in the body, and about a quarter of our body mass is thanks to collagen!
It’s found in our skin, muscles, bones, and tendons. And so it’s no wonder why a lack of collagen can cause problems from skin wrinkles to osteoporosis.
And what’s the difference between collagen and gelatin?
Cooking collagen transforms it into gelatin.
So most of the “collagen” found naturally in our diets is actually gelatin since… well, most of us aren’t eating raw animal skin or tendons for dinner.
But what about supplemental collagen? What exactly is that?
Collagen peptides a.k.a. collagen hydrolysate a.k.a. “hydrolyzed collagen” is the powdered, supplemental collagen you’ll find sold at health food stores.
Collagen hydrolysate has been heated to higher temperatures than gelatin and then treated with enzymes.
This process breaks the bonds between the amino acids, making it easier to digest and allowing it to dissolve in both hot and cold liquids (unlike gelatin). Since it also has little taste, it’s a really versatile ingredient.
Now what about these supposed health benefits of collagen?
Collagen hydrolysate is essentially a single-ingredient source of supplemental protein
OK this one may not seem as exciting but it needs to be highlighted.
Remember: protein and healthy fats keep you full and satiated, and are key for blood sugar regulation! They’re also key for tissue repair and growth, which is no wonder why…
Collagen helps build muscle mass
Not only is collagen is a major component of muscle tissue, but it also contains a concentrated amount of glycine, the amino acid involved in the synthesis of creatine. This provides muscles with the energy needed to power through workouts.
Collagen may help reduce joint pain
One 2008 study from Penn State found that athletes who supplemented with hydrolyzed collagen for 6 months experienced less joint pain during activity and at rest.
Similar studies have linked collagen supplements to lower rates of back pain or reduced knee pain among people with osteoarthritis.
Collagen may help improve gut health
There’s some evidence that the amino acids in collagen peptides may reduce GI inflammation, aid digestion, and help heal the gut lining (i.e. benefit those with “leaky gut”).
Collagen keeps skin firm, youthful-looking, and hydrated
Collagen peptides are considered a “nutricosmetic” ingredient – yep, where nutrition meets cosmetic! A number of preclinical studies have found that supplementing with collagen peptides improves skin barrier function, increases collagen and hyaluronic acid production, and promote fibroblast growth. This means smoother, firmer skin from the inside out.
Other studies have found that supplementing with collagen peptides increased the skin’s hydration. Hydrated skin appears smoother and more youthful.
So how can you start adding collagen to your diet?
First of all, there are A LOT of different collagen and collagen-products out there… and most are pretty expensive!
I’ve tried a bunch of different brands and the absolute best when it comes to quality and price is Perfect Supplement’s grass-fed collagen peptides. Hands down.
Plus, Perfect Supplements is a small (but growing!) family business run by just the sweetest people ever, which is a very happy added bonus! I don’t know about you, but I like knowing that my hard-earned money is supporting good companies and good people.
If you also use collagen daily – or think you may want to start! – I suggest stocking up and buying 3 tubs of collagen peptides and/or the single-serve packets for on-the-go(or buying any 3 Perfect Supplements products together in your oder) since doing so saves you an additional 25% off. And then you can use my code BODYUNBURDENED10 at checkout to save an additional 10% off on top of that!
So you can get over 60 oz (180 servings) of collagen peptides for $70 – compared to $129 for 60 oz for another popular collagen brand.
Yep, it’s pretty awesome!
The best thing about collagen (well, besides all the great health benefits!): it’s virtually tasteless.
The possibilities are endless! But I most often…
- Mix them into my morning matcha latte (you could add them to your coffee)
- Use them as a single-ingredient protein powder in my smoothies
Is collagen a part of your health routine? Have you noticed any of the health benefits?
Please share with us in the comments below!