When you hear the word “collagen,” beauty treatments or services might come to mind. The protein has long been associated with glowing skin, beautiful hair, and healthy nails. But collagen is so much more, and it could be your missing link to feeling better.
But first, what is collagen?
Collagen is a protein in your body. It’s actually the single-most abundant protein in your body, and there are several types of it at work in your system. Collagen is naturally produced in our bodies and it is a building block of our skin, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, blood, and bones.
While our bodies produce much of our collagen on their own, that production process will slow down with age. When this happens, many adults turn to supplements or other ways of increasing their collagen levels.
How can collagen help you?
- Joint healthYour joints are supported by cartilage, and collagen is a crucial component for building and sustaining cartilage. Increasing collagen in your body can help prevent pain or stiffness in your joints, as well as joint injuries or degenerative joint disorders.
- Improved skinCollagen supports your skin’s health by promoting its elasticity and hydration. Increased collagen can result in your skin feeling and looking more moisturized, reduced wrinkles, and smoother texture.
- Stronger bonesCollagen is the primary ingredient in your bones, so increased collagen levels can go a long way towards improving bone density and preventing bone loss.
- More muscle massIn aging patients, collagen has been seen to improve muscle mass among those also exercising regularly.
- Heart and gut health supportBecause our blood and arteries are partially made of collagen, collagen production can strengthen your heart arteries. Research shows that it might support gut health for similar reasons.
Where can you get collagen?
- Bone broth
- Gelatin-rich foods, like broths, stews, and jams
- Collagen supplements* (look for collagen that is hydrolyzed, which means your body can break it down more easily)
*Before committing to collagen supplements, confirm with your doctor or medical professional that these supplements won’t negatively affect you based on existing health conditions