You might have heard that collagen is the secret to youth and beauty. And you’re right. But it is no secret, not anymore. Here, we’ll cover the benefits of collagen and what you can do to tap into those – because it’s not as straight-forward as you might think. Activating collagen in your body is a bit tricky. We’ll cover that for you, too, because once you learn the benefits, you’re going to want to get in on this…
Benefits of Collagen
Collagen is the protein that makes up our skin, bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, blood vessels, digestive system, you get the idea. It is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It is essentially, “…the glue that holds the body together,” as New York dermatologist, Whitney Bowe, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin, put it.
Collagen works with elastin, another protein in our body which has the ability to snap back into place. Together these proteins are responsible for youthful, smooth and firm skin, etc. Among others, here is a list of benefits of collogen:
- Soft, smooth, and firm skin
- Joint health
- Increased muscle mass
- Prevent bone loss
- Heart health
- Other anti-aging benefits
The more collagen we have in the body, the better our body and skin can hold. We produce the protein naturally, however as we age, our body uses it faster than we can produce it. When this happens, we experience the signs of aging like sagging skin, wrinkles, stiff joints, dry skin, and others. Our skin loses its elasticity, or the ability to bounce back.
To tap into the benefits of collagen, we need to be to get more of it in our bodies. We need to get our bodies producing more collagen on its own.
But how do we do this? As I mentioned earlier, it’s not as straight-forward as simply consuming more collagen. Although, regularly drinking homemade bone broth does help. Our bodies don’t absorb the protein easily. It requires a few more activators….
The Problem with Consuming Collagen
Simply put, the collagen protein is too big for us to absorb through the skin, and even digest. It needs to be broken down into peptides so that we can actually use it.
You might be familiar with collagen supplements, protein powders or facial creams claiming collagen as their primary ingredient. And it might be true. However, unless it’s broken down so that you can absorb it – a process called hydrolyzation – you likely won’t benefit from the ingredient. So, let’s look at breaking it down…
How to Boost Collagen in Your Body Naturally
There are a number of ways to do this, and a number of things you can take, starting with:
- Collagen Peptides Protein Powders – when selecting a collagen protein powder, it’s important to get the one with peptides because this means it’s been broken up for you. You also want it from grass-fed bovine, which is beef. This one is, hands down, the best on the market and the only one I use personally.
- Hyaluronic Acid – speeds up recovery time and relieves painful joints. It is essential for collagen in the skin, and can speed up the production of collagen. It’s in many foods, and can also be found as a supplement.
- Aloe Vera – applied to the skin or taken orally. One study showed the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen almost doubled in the participants.
- Foods rich in Vitamin C – critical for the synthesis of hyaluronic acid. In other words, this is necessary to activate collagen production. You can find this in foods like strawberries, papaya, cilantro, broccoli, and many others. You can also get a vitamin C supplement.
- Ginseng – has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. And one study showed that ginseng increases the amount of collagen in the bloodstream. It’s been known to aid in diabetes. Research suggests it could even have the potential to stop skin cells from aging, among other benefits like aid in cognitive abilities. This one’s worth investing a little research into… It comes as a supplement, too.
- Foods rich in antioxidants – help to protect the body from free radicals (molecules that damage the body).
- Retinol – a type of antioxidant known to boost collagen in the skin. It also protect collagen and aids in a longer lifespan of the protein. An easy way to get this is through this product.
- Red light therapy – according to one study, it’s a quick and safe way to increase collagen in the skin.
These are to get you started. We’ll be back later to give you more comprehensive look at health, beauty, and anti-aging. Meantime, check out what sleep deprivation does to aging.