From grocery aisles to beauty counters, collagen seems to be popping up in everything you can imagine! Protein bars, bone broth, collagen powders, and beauty elixirs. What exactly is collagen, and why is it so important?
Collagen is the most important, and abundant structural protein in the human body. It ensures the health and vitality of our bones, hair, nails, skin, and our cardiovascular system ensuring proper atrial fibrillation. Luckily our bodies make their own collagen, however as we age, our bodies start producing less collagen due to chemical and environmental exposure to toxins. This steady loss of collagen usually begins in our mid to late twenties. Because collagen is so important, losing it impacts many aspects of our bodies.
Skin: The loss of collagen causes skin to lose its elasticity and increases the formation of wrinkles, sagging, and makes the skin more vulnerable to damage and injury.
Bones: As collagen levels and mineral content in our bones decrease, our bones get weaker. Gradually this causes them to become more fragile and increases the risk of fracture.
Muscles: Aging causes wear and tear on the cartilage in our joints, thus reducing their proper functioning. This can result in joint pain, and discomfort making it more difficult for us to stay active as we age.
Tendons and ligaments: With age, they get stiffer as collagen is lost and flexibility decreases as a result.
Cartilage: Osteoarthritis and joint pain are associated with worn-down cartilage from a decrease in collagen formation.
So how can we encourage our bodies to produce more collagen?
Eating a proper diet consisting of whole foods and quality sourced proteins is essential for producing collagen. What are some collagen-boosting nutrients? Several nutrients provide the building blocks and support the formation of new collagen in the body.
When it comes to making collagen, your body first uses proteins for its building blocks. Great examples of protein-rich foods are beef, chicken, fish, beans, and eggs. The process also requires vitamin C, zinc, and copper. You can get vitamin C by eating citrus fruits, red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, and greens. You can get the minerals by eating meats, shellfish, nuts, whole grains, and beans.
Bone broth is an excellent source of collagen. Bone broth extracts the collagen from the beef, chicken, or fish bones through a low, slow boiling process. If you make your own, try to buy
bones from organically raised animals.(see recipe for bone broth) If time is a factor, you can also purchase powdered bone broth that mixes well in boiling water.
Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies may no longer absorb nutrients as well or synthesize them as efficiently as they used to . Sometimes collagen supplementation becomes necessary. Collagen supplements are a great alternative and are extremely convenient. Powdered forms such as hydrolyzed collagen usually have no flavour, and dissolve easily into beverages, smoothies, soups , and sauces.
What about the collagen skin creams that promise to make our skin look more youthful?
Some skin creams claim to contain collagen peptides that will help revitalize your skin and restore its youthful glow. Although they may help protect your skin from environmental toxins and provide a moisture barrier, they do not improve the skin’s elasticity. Your skin is a true representation of what you put in your body. In a recent randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial, researchers were able to confirm that skin aging could be addressed using nutrients that are able to restore skin hydration, elasticity, and density. “Their objectives have proven that oral collagen peptides together with other dermonutrients significantly improve skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density after three months of intake”. (Bolke)
“Look for foods that create beauty from the inside out. Instead of coating yourself in chemical-laden beauty products, why not try to get healthy skin from the foods you eat”. David Wolfe
Bone Broth Recipe
Organic chicken backs (2 lbs), fresh or frozen
2 ribs of celery
1 whole onion (skin on)
4 cloves garlic (skin on)
1 inch knob ginger (unpeeled)
Handful of fresh herbs (whatever you’ve got…parsley, basil, cilantro, thyme) 12 whole black peppercorns
2 tsp salt & 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (I use Braggs)
Water (see directions for amount)
1 T olive oil
Here is the best part…..add all of the above ingredients into your crock pot & top with water to about ½ inch from the top. Turn on the crock pot to low for 24 hrs. No stirring or opening the lid is required.
After 24 hrs, cool slightly. Strain the bone broth and reserve the liquid only in glass containers. (see pic)
Adjust the salt (to taste)
Refrigerate once cooled.
Keeps for 1 week, refrigerated or may be frozen (not in glass). Gently reheat to enjoy. NUTRITIONIST’S TIP:
This is really a”set-it and forget-it” recipe. The difference between this and making chicken stock is in the amount of cooking time. Stock can be made in a few hours. The reason that you cook this so long is to extract all the nutrients out of the chicken bones which amps up the nutritional value. Collagen found in chicken back and bones is great for skin, teeth, joints, bones and nails. The addition of the apple cider vinegar ensures the nutrients leach out of the bones into the broth. This bone broth is oozing with umami. Great for your gut. Also, scientifically proven to help with colds. Honest.
For any questions or additional information about collagen and supplement recommendations, contact us at [email protected]
Bolke, L., Schlippe, G., Gerß, J., & Voss, W. (2019). A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. Nutrients, 11(10), 2494. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102494
León-López, A., Morales-Peñaloza, A., Martínez-Juárez, V. M., Vargas-Torres, A., Zeugolis, D. I., & Aguirre-Álvarez, G. (2019). Hydrolyzed Collagen-Sources and Applications. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(22), 4031. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24224031
https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-best-way-you-can-get-more-collagen/, The Best Way you can get more collagen. Meet the protein behind healthy skin and joints, May 15, 2018.
BLOG WRITTEN BY: KACIA MONGEAU