What Is Collagen?
Your body makes its own collagen, which is kind of like a protein “glue” that holds your tissues and joints together.
Nearly all of the collagen in your body consists of types I, II, and III.
Here’s what each type of Collagen does:
Type 1: This Collagen is located mainly in your bones, skin, ligaments, Tendon, teeth, and extracellular matrix (the space between your cells)
Type II: This type of Collagen is located in your joint cartilage (like your knees, hips, shoulder) and your eyes
Type III: This type of collagen is in your muscle, blood vessels, and also in your skin
When your body makes plenty of collagen, you look and feel young and strong. Your skin is smooth and joints are healthy, you are able to walk and run pain-free, you will also notice that your fingernails are strong, and your hair full and abundant.
Unfortunately, if you’re older than 21, you’re already starting to become collagen-deficient—and this deficiency is aging you fast.
Do You Need Extra Collagen?
Unfortunately as you get older, your body makes less and less collagen. In fact, after the age of 21, you lose one percent of your collagen each year. Over time, this lack of collagen replacement leads to wear and tear on your body and often shows up as signs of aging.
Some Signs that you are collagen deficient:
- Aching joints
- Increased Cellulite appearance
- Weak, easy-to-break nails
- Thinning hair
If you fail to reverse this loss, before you know it, you’ll see these signs appear in your life.
Luckily, there’s a simple solution: Give your body the collagen it needs by supplementing your diet with it every single day. This is not difficult.
How to Increase your collagen levels
If you want to increase your collagen levels, it is fairly easy. Here is what I recommend and I follow:
Drink bone broth. Bone broth contains large amounts of gelatin, which is cooked collagen — so every time you drink a bowl of bone broth, you’re giving your body the building blocks of collagen. Also, gelatin heals and soothes your intestines, lowering inflammation and helping you lose weight. I personally drink bone broth every morning. It tastes good and is easy to make.
Another benefit, bone broth is incredibly filling — and it’s low in calories and almost carbohydrate-free. By drinking it every morning it will keep you full and decrease your appetite during the day. This will help you lose weight. In fact, I will often sip on it all day long and it stops my cravings for food during the day.
The benefits of collagen and gelatin
Research has shown that supplementing your diet with collagen, or the gelatin found in bone broth has remarkable benefits.
Some of the findings:
In two double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, researchers found that eight weeks of collagen peptide supplementation led to a 12% increase in skin moisture, a 9% increase in collagen density, and a 31.2% reduction in collagen fragmentation compared to a placebo.
Researchers conducted two experiments to see if gelatin affected hair. The researchers reported, “The most dramatic effect of supplementing the normal diet with 14 grams of gelatin daily was an increase in hair diameter averaging 9.3% in the first study and 11.3% in the second study. Approximately 70% percent of the subjects in both studies showed increases in hair diameter ranging from 5% to 45%.”
In a later study, women who took collagen peptides for 4 weeks showed a 12% increase in nail growth and a 42% decrease in nail breakage and damage. Additionally, 80% of the study participants also reported an improvement in the appearance of their nails.
How to boost your body’s own collagen production
In addition to drinking bone broth, you can provide your body additional nutrients that support your own collagen production.
Below are the most powerful natural collagen boosters:
Vitamin C: This vitamin combines with two amino acids to form procollagen (the Mother to collagen). Vitamin C is so important in collagen production the collagen production line actually shuts down without it. Have you ever heard people of British origin being referred to as limeys? The reason that expression exists is that british sailors in the old days would eat limes to prevent a terrible disease called scurvy? Scurvy is actually a severe collagen deficiency caused by not enough vitamin C being present.
Green Vegetables: Spinach and kale are full of antioxidants that protect you against collagen-damaging free radicals.
Red Colored Vegetables: Beets, tomatoes, and red peppers contain high amounts of lycopene, which boosts collagen and protects your skin from UV light damage from the sun.
Orange colored Vegetables: Carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins are full of vitamin A, which restores collagen that’s been damaged.
Sulfur containing vegetables: Sulfur is an important player in collagen production. Eggs, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, onions, shallots, leeks, and cabbage all are rich in sulfur.
Copper: This mineral plays an important role in collagen production. It’s also an antioxidant that helps protect our collagen when it forms. Some foods to add to your diet that contain large amounts of copper are: nuts, shellfish, and grass-fed red meat.
Most Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries contain large amounts of antioxidants that fight free radicals and boost your collagen level.
Garlic: This powerful superfood contains taurine and lipoic acid, which rebuilds collagen — and Garlic also has high amounts of sulfur. I find the best way to use Garlic is by supplementation with gel caps.