You all know my stance on supplements. I’m weary of most, but I do recognize that some are truly beneficial to our health and assist in reaching our goals. There is one supplement that I have seen buzzing around the health scene, and I was eager to learn more about it. Collagen.
I first started hearing about collagen about six months ago when I was looking for natural ways to improve my hair and joint health. I was (as always) unsure about the sourcing of many of the products, so I neglected to try it out. It wasn’t until I stumbled across Vital Proteins that I finally took the plunge and tried out the products.
Vital Protein sources its Collagen Peptides from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine and their Marine Collagen is sourced from wild-caught, non-GMO Red Snapper. Their products are also free of fillers, binders + artificial sweeteners. They’re dairy free, gluten free, paleo friendly and have no added sugars. All wins in my book, I was willing to give it a shot, and I’m so glad I did.
I tried out their Strawberry Lemon Collagen Beauty Water and their Mixed Berry Collagen Peptides. Their beauty water was AMAZING – I just mixed it into my water and sipped on it throughout the day at work. The taste was excellent and it mixed well, which I was surprised about, to be honest. 20g of collagen, no added sugars and super refreshing. Their collagen peptides were also tasty, though it took me a few attempts to get used to the flavor. My favorite way to enjoy it was blended as a slushy with some ice cubes, water and strawberries. I just discovered they also have a recipe for a Mixed Berry and Coconut Fruit Whip which I’m looking forward to trying when I get home today. They also offer a variety of other products that I will be ordering soon. Seriously, go check them out!
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It accounts for about 1/3 of the protein in our body, 70% of the protein in our skin and is composed of four individual amino acids, proline, glycine, arginine and hydroxyproline. It’s important to note that these amino acids are NOT found in muscle meats, and many of us do not consume enough of them with our everyday diets.
No matter which beauty product promises that it contains “skin benefitting collagen,” it won’t do much for you at all. This is because the molecules in it are too large to be absorbed through the surface of the skin, we must consume it for it to work from the inside out. Collagen is the hydrolyzed form of gelatin and is typically easier to digest and can mix into both hot and cold drinks. Gelatin, on the other hand, is a pure form of the amino acids and has the ability to coat the digestive tract. It gels up in recipes and can only be broken down in hot liquids.
What Are the Benefits of Collagen?
When taken regularly, it can help act as a natural skin care product. It helps form elastin which is responsible for skin’s tone, appearance and texture. It can contribute to reducing signs of aging, decrease inflammation and improve moisture. One study found that those who take a collagen supplement showed an improvement in skin elasticity, skin moisture and signs of aging.  Some even report that it can help reduce cellulite as it helps with the production of connective tissue.
Glycine, the most abundant amino acid in collagen, is an Immuno-nutrient that promotes a deep, restorative sleep as well as supports a healthy inflammation response in the body. It has been shown in both animal and human studies that by affecting the neurotransmitters in the brain, it helps improve the quality of sleep. 
Painful, stiff joints? Probably due to a loss of collagen. As it begins to break down, we are putting more stress on our tendons and ligaments and making it more difficult to move which leads to swollen joints and stiffness.
As we consume more collagen, it is like oiling a squeaky hinge. We are allowing our joints to glide more easily and can reduce the risk of joint deterioration. 
By helping soothe the stomach lining by breaking down proteins, it can assist in the repairing of damaged cell walls by plugging it in with healing amino acids. The formation of connective tissue also helps “seal and heal” the protective lining of the GI tract. We know that an unhealthy gut can contribute to a number of illnesses such as inflammation, poor mental health, type 2 diabetes, acid reflux, constipation and more. 
Protein can help keep you fuller, longer. This will cause you to eat less and be more aware as to what you are consuming. It also helps with liver detoxification which boosts fat burning within the body.
By helping fight free radicals, collagen can help with hair growth, texture and thickness. Restoring the hair shaft improves growth and increases the individual hair diameter.
Do you take any collagen supplements? What are your opinions and/or recipes?
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