There are a lot of buzzwords parlayed about in the health industry, each apparent miracle cure or superfood a new salve for what ails you. In the world of bright labels, targeted Facebook ads and celebrity endorsements, it’s not always easy to discern which of these buzzwords have more than just clever marketing behind their claims.
One such buzzword, ‘collagen,’ is available in every form, from face cream to coffee creamer, supplements and more. Endorsed by celebrities such as our favourite friend, Jennifer Aniston as well as Kim Kardashian, and touted as anti-ageing, gut healing, bone-strengthening – does collagen supplementation actually live up to the hype? Could Rachel be right?
What is collagen?
The word collagen comes from the Greek word Kolla which literally translates to ‘glue’, and that’s exactly what it is. Collagen is essentially the glue that holds our bodies together. It’s our body’s most abundant protein and is found in our muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, digestive systems and more. It’s the protein that gives our skin elasticity and strength.
Why is collagen important?
A growing number of scientific studies show that collagen supplements may help improve gut health, reduce joint pain and increase bone strength. A happy side effect of collagen supplementation is skin and beauty health.
We now know that many health issues stem from poor gut health and an unhealthy gut biome.
Poor gut health, and health conditions like Leaky Gut, creates gut permeability which allows toxins to leak through your digestive tract to your bloodstream and cause inflammatory responses and cell damage.
Gut permeability can also prevent vitamins and minerals in food from being absorbed properly and lead to nutrient deficiencies.
Collagen helps to heal damaged gut lining, working as a ‘glue’ to form connective tissue and heal the gastrointestinal tract. In this way, collagen heals the gut, increases digestion and nutrient absorption and helps to treat gut diseases and symptoms such as IBS, Crohns, ulcerative colitis and acid reflux.
The effect on our skin and hair is often said to be the number one effect of collagen, despite the wonders it does for our gut health.
As we age, our collagen production declines. In fact, it’s happening as you read! More wrinkles are forming, your skin is becoming looser and losing its elasticity.
Increased collagen levels will help keep your skin firm by helping your cells to repair and renew naturally. Studies have also shown that collagen helps hair follicle renewal, which aids hair growth and could help with hair loss.
Where do we get collagen from?
Collagen is predominately found in high protein foods like beef, chicken, seafood and eggshell membranes. There are several types of collagen which are comprised of particular amino acids and each help specific health issues.
Collagen may be a buzzword now, but our ancestors naturally incorporated a lot of collagen into their diets. Former traditional diets involved eating the whole of an animal – skin, tendons, ligaments, organs, which are now commonly discarded. These discards are collagen goldmines.
It’s easy to incorporate more collagen into your diet. Try bone broth and collagen supplements. Not all collagen supplements are created equal, so you’ll want to go for hydrolysed collagen peptides.
Hydrolysed collagen has all the nutrients and amino acids of collagen but has gone through hydrolysis which breaks down the collagen into shorter chains. Basically, this means that it is more readily absorbed into your bloodstream and has higher bioavailability.
You also want to make sure that you get your collagen from healthy, organic grass and pasture-fed animals. Make sure you read labels carefully to find a quality product.
It turns out that Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Aniston are quite right that collagen is an important building block of our body and is essential to our gut, bone, joint and overall health.
We have a range of collagen supplements at our Amcal Pharmacy, Kenmore. Come on down for a chat with a member of our friendly team.
Katie Robertson is a writer, editor, and avid health researcher, paving her own way to wellness. Katie has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing.
When she’s not working, Katie lives in the world of fiction and you can often find her hiding in her herb garden with a good book.