Collagen is dubbed as the “fountain of youth”. With its proven benefits for the skin, hair and nails, it’s indeed a well-deserved title! Collagen also provides many health benefits that are especially vital for midlife women.
As we age, we lose collagen naturally, but other factors can also decrease collagen levels in our body. Luckily, we can increase collagen through diet and supplementation!
Collagen is our body’s most abundant protein that supports the structure of our body parts. Yup, that’s one of the most underappreciated functions of collagen and it’s time to discover what more it can offer!
In this article, we will discuss the different types of collagen and the best sources to go for. We will also tackle more health benefits from collagen, including weight loss and improving the health of our bones, muscles, heart and gut!
Read on and discover why so many women should take advantage of collagen to stay youthful! ?
What Makes Collagen Important for Women Over 40?
Let’s put it this way… Collagen is the “glue” that holds our entire body together. That fact makes collagen super vital for our body! ?
In particular, collagen is mainly responsible for the elasticity of our skin and hair. It contributes to our skin’s structure and stability and keeps the skin surface firm and smooth. Collagen also increases the moisture balance of our skin! In a nutshell, taking collagen means we have better resistance to the environmental factors that cause wrinkles and lines!
Moreover, collagen provides increased mobility, improved joint function and helps in the formation of cartilage tissue. That means, collagen also prevents symptoms of osteoarthritis and other bone-related conditions! Adding collagen to your daily diet stimulates the body’s own collagen formation, keeping the joints healthier and more supple!
Collagen is such a “midlife best friend”, right? Well, learn more about the health benefits you can get from different types of collagen! ?
Getting to Know the Different Types of Collagen
About one-third of all the protein present in our body consists of collagen. You might be wondering, does our body make collagen on its own? ?
YUP, thanks to amino acids! Amino acids (often called the “building blocks” of our body) are acquired from foods containing protein. They are chained together to form collagen fibers with the help of other nutrients like vitamin C, zinc, copper, carbohydrates and more!
There are several types of collagen and they all have specific functions in our body:
Collagen Type 1: This is by far the most abundant collagen in the body! Type 1 collagen is almost considered the most vital type of collagen. It is mainly found in our skin, nails, hair, skeleton, joints, ligaments, teeth, interstitial fluid and organs. Type 1 collagen is vital for wound healing as it gives the skin its stretchy and elastic quality. It also holds our tissues together so they don’t easily tear!
Collagen Type 2: Type 2 collagen primarily helps build cartilage found in our connective tissues! The health of our joints hugely relies on cartilage made up of type 2 collagen. This makes type 2 collagen beneficial in preventing age-associated joint pain and arthritis symptoms!
Collagen Type 3: Type 3 collagen is usually found with type 1 collagen. This type of collagen mainly occurs in the skin, muscles, liver and blood vessels. It optimizes our skin’s elasticity and firmness. It also forms blood vessels and tissues within the heart! Deficiency in type 3 collagen has been associated with a higher risk of ruptured blood vessels.
Collagen Type 4: Type 4 collagen has the important job of forming basal lamina. Basal lamina is needed for our nerve and blood vessel functions. It also surrounds the majority of our digestive organs and respiratory surfaces!
Collagen Type 5: This type of collagen is beneficial for pregnant women! Type 5 collagen is needed to make the surface of cells as well as the hair strands and tissues found in the placenta.
Collagen Type 10: Type 10 collagen is known for new bone formation and forming articular cartilage! Studies found that type 10 collagen helps with bone fracture healing and repairing of synovial.
Listen to this video from Naomi Whittel, a leading female innovator in the natural products industry. Naomi has been an avid fan of collagen, so hear her out as she tells her experiences with collagen! She will also share where she gets collagen and how she uses it! ?
7 Positive Effects of Adding Collagen into Your Diet
As mentioned above, our body naturally decreases collagen production as we age (at an accelerated rate after 40s). Moreover, other “collagen diminishers” can influence the decline in collagen levels, including poor diet, smoking, excessive sun exposure (UV rays) and chronic stress! If you haven’t noticed yet, collagen brings health benefits both inside and out of our body! So, adding it to our daily routine isn’t even a matter of “go or no-go?” anymore — we certainly need it! ?
To sum things up, increasing your intake of collagen will bear the following benefits:
- Firmer and Healthier Skin
- Stronger Nails, Hair and Teeth
- Detox for a Healthier Liver
- Improved Bone Mineral Density
- Reduced Pain and Stiffness in Joints
- Helps Heal Damaged Intestines and Stomach
- Improves Metabolism and Muscle Growth
Here’s a little surprise for you: Collagen is also found to help with weight loss! How? By suppressing appetite and promoting fullness! Little did we know that collagen is one of the most satiating proteins out there… And appetite suppression is vital to make anyone’s weight loss journey way easier! ?
How can collagen help me with weight management?
Collagen has been shown to help retain muscle mass which is very important in weight loss and weight management. Why? When you lose weight, you are more likely to maintain that weight loss longer. After all, that’s the goal of weight loss, right?
How can I use collagen for weight loss?
You can easily slip collagen into your diet by consuming collagen-boosting foods or products. There are plenty of options out there, and that’s what we’re going to talk about next! ?
Where Can I Get Collagen?
1. Bone Broth
Bone broth is typically made by simmering bones, tendons, ligaments and skin (from chicken or beef) for a few days. Bone broth is an excellent source of collagen and amino acids! It is also available in various forms such as protein powder, bar or capsule! Check out this homemade collagen bone broth recipe from “Bulletproof”!
Spirulina is a type of algae and makes a great plant-based source of amino acids! Glycine, for one, is an essential component of collagen! Spirulina can be found mostly in dried form at health food stores. It also makes a great addition to green smoothies or juices and healthy desserts!
3. Cod Fish
Cod fish is super full of amino acids like glycine and proline. It’s also rich in essential nutrients, such as selenium, vitamin B6 and phosphorus! Go for Alaskan cod because Atlantic cod is typically overfished and considered less sustainable. ?
Eggs (particularly egg whites) are some of the top collagen foods! They contain amino acids that make up collagen like glycine and proline! Using the whole egg can also supply your body with healthy fats and high-quality protein!
Gelatin is typically called “cooked gelatin” because it is a type of protein derived from collagen! Gelatin is considered one of the top collagen-filled foods. It can be mixed into stews, soups or broths for a loaded nutritional value! You can also find gelatin supplements in sheet, granule or powder form!
6. Leafy Greens
Loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and arugula are some of the top foods that promote collagen production in the body! The vitamins found in these greens do not only act as antioxidants but are also required to produce type I collagen!
7. Pumpkin Seeds
These super seeds are incredibly nutrient-dense. Pumpkin seeds also contain essential minerals that are integral to our body’s natural collagen production!
Garlic is packed with collagen-boosting compounds. The sulfur content in garlic supports healthy collagen production in the body!
9. Fermented foods
Probiotic-rich fermented foods such as kefir, apple cider vinegar and sauerkraut support the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. These foods are also important for a healthier immune system and the maintenance of healthy cells and tissues throughout our body!
Watch this video about different ways you can add collagen to your healthy drinks such as lemon water, smoothie or coffee! ?
Hydrolyzed collagen powder is a type of collagen supplement that has been broken down into smaller individual collagen peptides (making it easier for the body to use and absorb). When collagen peptides are “fully hydrolyzed”, they will dissolve in any liquid temperature — hot or cold. And in case you’re wondering, hydrolyzed collagen powder doesn’t have an added taste or smell!
Partially hydrolyzed collagen is also known as “gelatin”. Gelatin tends to solidify in cold liquid and isn’t soluble compared to fully hydrolyzed collagen powder.
Hydrolyzed Collagen and Collagen Peptides
Hydrolyzed collagen is made by using several amino acids. According to Dr. Josh Axe, a Clinical Nutritionist, the hydrolyzation process breaks down the chains that bind amino acids and collagen together. This process is done with the help of enzymes that essentially support the “digestion” of collagen protein! Once smaller protein units are broken down to make them more absorbable, they are called “collagen peptides”.
What’s the Best Type of Collagen to Take?
Typically, most collagen supplements are derived from the bones, skin and connective tissues of animals. Among the healthiest animal-based collagen types are bovine collagen (from cows) and marine collagen (from fish).
In contrast, women on vegetarian or vegan diets can go for plant-based collagen. Collagen from plant-based proteins is mostly free of common allergens, such as dairy and gluten! One of the drawbacks of plant-based proteins is that they are not considered complete protein sources. Why? Because they lack essential amino acids compared to animal sources. While we can’t get collagen directly from plants, we can include protein-rich and collagen-boosting foods in our diet to optimize collagen levels!
So, which collagen type should I go for?
When it comes to protein, one is not necessarily “better” than the other. It would be best to look at the benefits and drawbacks of each and see which fits better in your diet! For vegans, focus on eating a variety of whole foods that provide you with plant-based protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This will support your body’s ability to make its own collagen! Remember, it is always better to eat foods that are rich in collagen instead of supplements. Furthermore, go for organic, non-GMO products!
I have seen noticeable improvements personally with my hair, nails and skin after adding collagen to my daily routine! I add it to my warm morning coffee and get an instant nutrient-boost without affecting the rich taste of my cup of Joe! I mostly take bovine (animals from the cattle group, which includes cows, buffalo and bison) collagen and switch it up with marine collagen from time to time! ?
Oh, speaking of bovine and marine collagen, here are the reasons why they have become my top picks!
Bovine Collagen: Bovine collagen is a naturally occurring protein found in the cartilage, bones and hides of cows. It is mainly rich in type 1 and type 3 collagen as well as amino acids! Studies have shown that bovine collagen can help with sleep problems, repair sun-damaged skin and increase the collagen level in aging skin. I fell in love with it when I saw the effects it brought to me! Bovine collagen has also been shown to be beneficial for joint health and preventions of joint diseases such as osteoarthritis!
Marine collagen: Marine collagen is most rich in type 1 and type 2 collagen, glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Studies show that the peptide molecules in marine collagen have a slightly smaller size than bovine, making them more easily digested. So, marine collagen favors those who have problems with digestion or women who want to take collagen to heal the intestines! Furthermore, marine collagen peptides can help absorb calcium and other minerals that are important for bone strength!
A few more tips to consider if you’re going for collagen supplements:
- Choose a collagen supplement with as few components as possible!
- Collagen powder should be pure collagen, collagen isolate, collagen hydrolysate or collagen peptides.
- Flavored supplements can be an excellent option to facilitate intake, but keep in mind that they often contain extra sugar and sweeteners.
- Collagen in powder form is almost always more affordable. But if you have a hard time with the taste, capsules can be a good alternative. The capsules are also easier to bring on the go!
- When going for a supplement, choose the right type of collagen that will meet your needs!
Collagen is an incredible nutrient that brings so many health benefits inside and outside the body. Many health enthusiasts know collagen for its role in supporting skin health and vitality. I hope, you now discovered that collagen also promotes other areas of health, such as bones, joints, muscles, heart and organ function!
Make it an addition to your daily diet, whether from natural collagen-boosting sources or supplements! Indeed, you won’t regret welcoming the “fountain of youth” into your health journey. ?
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