Is it just me or did collagen explode last fall? Like every time I scrolled through Instagram I saw multiple people mixing collagen into their coffee or into baked goods or oatmeal. I swear, I was seeing it everywhere.
It took me forever to finally research what the heck collagen actually is and what it could do for me. I saw people sharing all these stories of how their hair became healthier from taking collagen and their skin was becoming smoother than ever. So I started thinking, there has got to be something behind this.
But first, what is collagen?
Collagen is a fibrous protein that is sourced from grass-fed cows, chickens, fish, and certain plant sources. Collagen is a major structural component of the human body – found in our bones, skin, and muscles that gives us out body strength. We usually get collagen in our diet through animal sources, but as we age our body’s collagen production naturally begins to slow. We see this in the forms of wrinkles and joint pains. Other factors in our lifestyle – like high amounts of sun exposure – can quicken the decrease of collagen in our body.
Collagen powder provides our body the fight back against the decrease of collagen production in our body. Collagen provides amino acids that are needed to help build new collagen and can stimulate certain cells to build new collagen.
In short, collagen powders provide a defense to our body’s natural collagen production decreasing. And collagen is vital for our bodies.
What can collagen do for me?
Taking a collagen supplement can help your body in more than just one way:
Collagen supplements can restore your body’s natural hair and skin production, meaning collagen can reverse signs of aging, such as fine lines and deep wrinkles. Collagen can enhance your skin, hair, and nails naturally. I have heard people share that their hair and nails are growing stronger and healthier than ever from taking collagen.
Joint & bone benefits
Collagen is great for your overall joint and bone health. As we age, our bones can begin to thin, so taking collagen can help combat that occurrence and strengthen our bones. Studies show that taking 10g of collagen peptides daily for 4-24 weeks may increase bone mass density (source).
Collagen supplements supply amino acids that are necessary to build new collagen in our bodies. Supplementing our bodies with collagen can protect the degradation of the connecting tissues in those with active lifestyles. Those living active lifestyles are also in need of additional protein in their diet, which is also supplemented through collagen supplements.
Collagen also improves digestion by helping to repair the sensitive lining and infrastructure of the stomach and supporting hydrochloric acid production in our stomach to help ease digestion.
Why I started using collagen
As I researched collagen and the health benefits of taking it, one thing that stuck out to me was the athletic benefits of taking collagen. I workout 5 days a week and between running and strength training I often wake up with pain in my joints. Not injury related, just from using my joints A LOT, especially for long distance running. I thought that by taking a collagen supplement, I could help reduce joint pains and in the process help stimulate the production of more collagen in my body that will reduce the risk of joint deterioration.
I also thought that I would take collagen supplements to improve my hair, nails, and skin, as well as for the digestive benefits. My hair and nails already grow like crazy so I was not after collagen for the benefits of faster growing hair and nails, but HEALTHIER hair and nails. After dealing with acne for years and years, I also wanted to take something that would improve my skin’s elasticity and start combating the signs of aging (ahem, wrinkles). I know I am only in my early 20s, but I figure it is never too early to start thinking about how to avoid wrinkles and other visible signs of aging.
So I started taking collagen a few weeks ago. I was nervous to start taking it because even though everyone told me you cannot taste it at all, I was convinced there had to be a taste to it and I did not want to force myself to drink something I did not enjoy. I finally bought a collagen powder to put into my drinks and started taking it. Well, everyone was right, you cannot taste collagen at all! I stir it into my drinks and it dissolves naturally.
I have not noticed any huge benefits from it yet, but it is still early. I will say though, I started training for an upcoming half marathon at the same time as I started taking the collagen supplement. While I still have days that my legs feel heavy as I run, I do not feel sore the morning after a run (long or short). My joints are feeling better, even as I am adding more mileage every week.
How I use collagen
During the week, I usually mix a tablespoon of collagen powder into my coffee in the morning. I take my coffee in my healthy human tumbler to drink while at my internship, so I just mix in a tablespoon as I head out the door. It dissolves as I stir and I do not taste it at all as I sip my coffee.
On the weekends, I either still mix it in my coffee, but if I am going out for coffee, I mix it into my post-run drink, which is a hydration mix with water. Again, I do not taste the collagen at all. I use one tablespoon of collagen, shake it up, and drink.
Honestly, it has been so easy to supplement my body with collagen. Just mix it into whatever I am drinking and bam – I am getting all the benefits of collagen in my body.
I have seen people use collagen in a variety of ways: mixed in coffee and smoothies, in energy bars and balls, in oatmeal, even in dressings and cookies. I have not gotten super adventurous in my collagen supplementing yet, but I have to say… I am intrigued now that I have officially jumped on the collagen bandwagon.
- Do you supplement with collagen?
- How do you add collagen into your diet? Coffee, smoothies, baked goods??