The entire scoop on Collagen
Collagen is a complex protein with 19 different amino acids (the others are proline, glycine, glutamine, and arginine). Your body needs amino acids to build muscle, skin, cartilage, hair, and skin for which collagen has the types of amino acids; that help skin repair, hair, nails, and new tissue formation – this also includes repairing ‘leaky gut’ syndrome as the intestinal lining is primarily just muscle and skin (type 1 collagen). Collagen is like the band-aid for a leaky gut, I use it for my 'leaky gut' clients but also for my arthritis clients; as it helps alleviate joint pain symptoms, also boosts energy, and helps build muscle mass, therefore reducing fat/cellulite and cleanses the liver (a lot of people go on bone broth fasts – recipe below). While most are using it for their skin, hair, and nails; if their digestive system is compromised, it will help in sealing the gut as well (glycine) reduces GI (gastrointestinal) inflammation, and aid digestion.
Aging naturally causes collagen to decline, as does a diet high in sugar and the wrong fats.
Does adding it to the diet help? Sure it will, but if you are doing the required amounts of protein in your diet you may not need it.
Tips to Choose Collagen
1. Choose one that is a pure collagen protein powder hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides. Hydrolyzed collagen is supposed to have an absorption rate of 90% compared to 20% or so from foods.
2. Don’t use one with added flavourings.
3. Check for the 'credibility' of the brand, see product reviews before buying.
4. There are types of collagen to choose from
5. Type I: Important to heal wounds, and tissue repair.
6. Type II: Builds cartilage.
7. Type III: Gives skin elasticity.
8. Type IV: Important for tissues that surround organs (with muscle and fat.
9. Type V: Makes up a woman's placenta (tissue/hair).
10. Type X: New bone formation.
How to get collagen via food
- Cooked via a bone broth (which also has gelatin; also repairs the GI tract, helping with food sensitivities and allergies) or via supplements (not vegetarian).
- Protein-rich foods like meats, chicken, fish, and beef.
- Vitamin C from citrus fruits, red/green peppers, broccoli, and leafy greens (coriander).
- Zinc & Copper from seaweed. Nuts, whole grains & legumes.
Is there such a thing as vegetarian collagen?
I get asked this question every time I wrote about collagen. You must first understand the science behind collagen.
Collagen is the most available form of protein in our bodies. It provides our connective tissues, joints, tendons, muscles, skin, and digestive tract with stability and some structure. It's like the glue that holds everything together. Our body's cells produce collagen, mainly in our tissues. However, aging is a process that depletes collagen. This is why one starts getting joint pains, and bone pain, and the skin starts getting wrinkles.
Many in India are following a vegetarian approach and if you are one of them looking for a plant-based collagen supplement there are none. Collagen in itself when made in supplement form comes from bovine (cows) or marine (fish) forms of collagen. Most collagen is naturally found in bones and connective tissue of animal foods. So the big question is what do vegetarians do?
1. Eat a balanced diet with the required protein, essential to break down the protein to amino acids to create collagen.
2. Eating foods that will boost collagen production, as mentioned above.
Vegetarian or plant-based collagen is just a name that is being used for supplements that include collagen-boosting foods. Very often yeasts, bacteria, Vitamin C, pearl powder, Sea buckthorn, and Vitamin E are being used to make vegan collagen supplements. Our bodies also need hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants and a rich array of amino acids to make collagen. Some supplements called collagen peptides (basically shorter chains of amino acids) stimulate the bodies collage.
Do these vegetarian collagen supplements work?
The critical question with consuming anything external is how strong is your gut. This means if you have poor digestion you will not absorb a supplement well in any case, then it's better to first start strengthening your gut. Your body will not assimilate the collagen supplement well, vegetarian or otherwise. Is plant-based collagen effective? Since I use it every once n a while, I would say yes.
Recipe – Bone broth
- Beef bones with marrow or mutton bones or chicken.
- Water to cover bones.
- 2 Bay Leaves.
- Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper.
- Vegetables of choice (I use 3 carrots, 2 onions, 1 celery stalk and 1 garlic head).
- Place all ingredients in the crockpot.
- Add in water until bones are covered.
- Turn the setting to high, after