7 Wonders of Collagen
What is collagen and why is it so popular?
Collagen is the main component of our connective tissue and the most abundant of all proteins in our body. Collagen makes up close to 80% of our skin and bones. It keeps our joints flexible and helps to connect our muscles to the bones. It supports a healthy gut by sealing the protective lining and not allowing bacteria and pathogens to pass into the bloodstream. To understand how important it is, imagine that collagen is the glue that holds your cells together – take the collagen molecules out, and the body is going to fall apart!
Unfortunately, collagen production naturally decreases with age usually starting as early as the mid to high 20s. We lose even more collagen when the skin is continuously exposed to the sun, with an unhealthy diet or under stress. Symptoms may include wrinkles, loose skin, dry hair, weak nails, and uncomfortable joints.
It’s probably because people tend to prioritize their visual appearances, collagen has become increasingly popular for its anti-aging properties – it supports skin elasticity (ever heard of cellulite?) and helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, it promotes healthy nails and thicker hair.
However, most people don’t realize that collagen offers powerful multilevel benefits that go far beyond the way we look, crucially impacting the way we feel!
One of our liver’s most significant tasks is to process toxins before they flushed out of your body. Collagen contains Glycine – an amino acid that can help with detoxification at the same time reducing the damage that your liver occurs from toxins.
Many heart problems start with build-ups of different substances such as fat and cholesterol inside blood artery walls. Clogged arteries obstruct the blood flow which may cause many dangerous conditions – atherosclerosis, heart attack, and even stroke. Collagen contains Proline – another amino acid that may help to prevent or destroy the build-ups (lower cholesterol levels) and repair artery tissue.
There are a couple of ways collagen may help you manage your weight more effectively. As you probably know, we lose muscle mass as we age and it often gets replaced with fat. Collagen is what forms muscle tissue and merely speaking, more lean muscle mass means less fat because it boosts your metabolism and helps your body burn the calories faster. Also, collagen promotes fullness and can help reduce appetite, keeping your body satisfied longer after a meal – another great benefit that supports healthy weight management.
Collagen could help you repair Leaky Gut - a syndrome with many unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, gas, cramps, pains, and food sensitivities and that could also be a cause of thyroid dysfunction and autoimmune disease. This condition occurs when the intestinal protective lining develops holes and even cracks that allow bacteria, pathogens, toxins, and partially digested food particles to penetrate the tissue beneath and get into the bloodstream. Taking collagen may repair a leaky gut by literally sealing the holes and cracks in the intestinal lining because the intestinal lining itself is made up of collagen.
From the moment we are born, our joints assume an enormous amount of stress due to repeated everyday movements. As we age, our joints increasingly wear off. Our tendons and ligaments stretch, cartilage around the bones becomes thinner. As a result, the joints may become stiff, inflamed and painful, causing a great deal of discomfort. Similar symptoms are familiar to those to enjoy high-intensity sports activities and repetitive exercise. Collagen helps repair connective tissue around the joints. The amino acids in collagen have anti-inflammatory properties that help repair joint pain and improve the flexibility, basically prolonging the life of your joints.
Glycine, the amino acid brought up earlier in this article, plays an essential role in cognitive performance. It’s known as a great sleep aid, it supports better, deeper and more restful sleep and we all know that our brain functions better this way. There was even a study where 38 schizophrenic patients were treated with glycine and showed improvements in their cognitive psychiatric symptoms. Other studies suggest that collagen is capable of protecting the brain from amyloid-beta proteins which many scientists believe cause Alzheimer’s disease. And even though these specific studies are not 100% finalized yet, it’s evident that collagen benefits our cognitive function very much.
With all these benefits, it’s hard to ignore the critical role collagen plays in our overall well-being and therefore should be considered when making your daily diet choices. Natural sources of collagen include bone broth, meat (especially organ meats), fish, eggs, citrus fruits, berries, and some vegetables. Consuming collagen from natural sources is always the best, but not necessarily convenient and cost-effective. For this reason, many people have been using collagen supplementation which comes especially handy for ketogenic and LCHF diet followers, when getting X amount of collagen could mean consuming larger than allowed amounts of food that in turn could also contain potentially undesirable nutrients.
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