collagen is said to be the “glue” that holds our bodies together. In our youth, our body produces all the collagen it needs, allowing for firm skin, supple joints, and strong bones. However, production levels start decreasing after you turn 30, gradually leading to physical signs like older-looking skin, thinner hair, brittle nails, stiff joints, and slower recovery from physical activity. In addition to the natural loss of collagen with age, other factors such as hormonal changes, use of drugs and alcohol, consumption of hydrogenated oils, sugars, and processed foods, exposure to chemicals and radiation, and stress can all contribute to the loss of collagen in our bodies. Therefore, supplementing with a high-quality collagen supplement is a steadfast way to get ahead of the most common signs of ageing.
In an ideal world, we would be getting doses of collagen from our diets. Collagen is abundantly found in animal connective tissue, skin, bones and cartilage (especially in bovine—cow collagen), however, very rarely do we consume adequate amounts of these sources.
Thankfully, there is a better, simpler solution that makes it even easier to get more collagen in your diet—by getting it in supplement form. Advantages of collagen supplementation include:
helps reduce signs of ageing
aids in skin repair and hydration, leading to more elasticity and fewer wrinkles or cellulite
supports hair and nail growth
promotes healthy and strong bones, teeth and joints
decreases musculoskeletal aches and pains
rich source of glycine which helps with detoxification
repairs fast-growing tissue like gut mucosa, skin, and gums
helps build muscle mass
easily mixes into a variety of foods and drinks (easily sneak it into your children’s meals!)
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Since it delivers a dense collagen punch to your cells, a bovine collagen supplement is one of the most beneficial and straightforward ways to up your collagen intake. So what exactly does that mean, what is bovine collagen and why should you make sure to add it to your health regimen? Let’s find out.
Bovine collagen comes primarily from cows; where bones and cattle byproducts are boiled in water to extract the collagen, which is then dried and powdered. While there are several types of collagen like mentioned earlier, the collagen from cows happens to be similar to the collagen we have in our own bodies—bovine collagen supplements typically contain Type I and Type III. So what is it about Types I and III that are so special? It’s all about the amino acids—while there are eighteen amino acids in bovine collagen, it’s the presence of three in particular that pack a punch—glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. These three amino acids are crucial building blocks which help maintain the health and structure of skin, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and organs. Both types are also abundant in our intestines and digestive tract, suggesting that they play an important role in gut health, and promote healthy immune responses.
In addition to the above, supplementing with bovine collagen can yield the following benefits:
1. Improve the quality of your sleep:
Trouble falling or staying asleep? A good night’s sleep is imperative to optimal health. As the most abundant amino acid in collagen, glycine helps you get a more restorative sleep. Previous human studies have shown that subjects who took collagen before sleeping experienced better sleep quality and a decrease in fatigue the following day. Glycine may also help manage core body temperature, which is associated with better sleep.
2. Support Good Gut Health:
A diet high in processed foods, high levels of stress, unidentified food sensitivities—all of these things can damage your intestinal lining and permeability, leading to a “leaky gut.” When you have a leaky gut, foreign particles like undigested food enter your bloodstream and wreak havoc on your body, encouraging inflammation and upping your risk for autoimmune diseases—as a result you might experience fatigue, brain fog, poor skin, and other undesired symptoms. Since collagen is a component of the gut’s connective tissue and lining, taking collagen may help manage a leaky gut. This may especially be beneficial with those with chronic or recurring symptoms of IBS and poor digestion (even children).
3. Naturally treat osteoarthritis:
Collagen, which can also be found in bones, joints and more particularly cartilage, may help reduce pain for people suffering from osteoarthritis. Supplementing with collagen can help people whose cartilage is breaking down and causing pain, without the need for medication.
4. Restore smooth, supple skin:
As it makes up 70% of our skin, it’s no surprise that supplementing with a good quality collagen powder can contribute to improving skin quality. Collagen helps in reducing wrinkles, smoothing out puffiness and age spots, and helping decreasing cellulite for softer, youthful skin. In addition, collagen can also positively impact hair and nail health as well.
5. Support muscle strength and recovery:
As protein is a crucial building block for our muscles, collagen is no exception. Research has shown that pairing a collagen supplement along with strength training has significantly impacted both fat loss and muscle growth. As we learned, collagen is also a good source of the amino acid glycine, which helps your body produce creatine. In turn, creatine has been shown to help with muscle strength and recovery in athletes. In addition, collagen is also easier to digest than other popular protein powders out there like whey, making it a smart addition to your pre- or post-workout routine that’s less likely to cause gastrointestinal issues.