...I meant collagen, what were you thinking?!
Lately, the media has been filled with news and reviews of collagen supplements, collagen injections, collagen masks, and countless other collagen infused products. So what’s the word?
Well, let’s familiarize ourselves with what collagen actually is.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body-it actually makes up 75% of the dry weight of your skin! It aids in proper joint function, contributes to skin elasticity, and also contributes to the strength and structure of bone.
For centuries, it has been considered the “fountain of youth” in eastern culture, and as of late, has become a popular beauty and health supplement worldwide.
Berries are an example of a food that boosts your body's natural collagen production.
Collagen is naturally occurring in the body, but as we age, its synthesis slows. There are, however, ways to “spark” its generation and rake in the healing effects on joint health and skin aging (cue rake it up chorus). This can be by consuming foods rich in collagen, taking a collagen supplement, or by consuming vitamin C.
Collagen can only be consumed via proteinous sources such as oysters, eggs, and bone broth. Bone broth, when made with vegetables, can be a good source of magnesium, phosphate, and iron as well as collagen, however, there is conflicting research on the actual benefits to health that bone broth supposedly provides—but we can leave that discussion to another article. If you are interested in learning more about bone broth, you can read more here.
Vitamin C, in fact, acts as a co-factor in the synthesis of collagen. This means that by consuming adequate amounts of vitamin C each day, we continue to stimulate the production of collagen in the body. By consuming vitamin C in combination with dietary or supplemental collagen, we can improve the amount of collagen available for use in the body.
Sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, Kakadu plums, guava, sweet yellow peppers, broccoli, spinach, and so much more!
These beautiful fruits, like many other citrus fruits, also contain a plethora of antioxidants to protect from the oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the body and may even have anti-atherosclerotic (heart protecting) effects. Free radicals are unstable molecules that result from normal metabolic processes, however, these molecules can cause damage to the body at a cellular level. They basically make it harder for your body to function and contribute to the effects of aging.
Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C are also anti-inflammatory, cell-protecting, and DNA protective. Meaning, eating fruits and veggies, with or without a source of collagen, can have more anti-aging effects on your body than any cream or serum by Olay or Neutrogena.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C in the United States for females is 75 mg per day, while for the male population, the RDA rises to 90 mg per day. So no matter how you identify, fruit and veggie consumption is incredibly important!
If your diet is properly balanced with adequate protein and a variety of fruits and veggies then collagen supplementation is not necessary. There have been mixed study outcomes regarding the effectiveness of supplemental collagen on body improvements. It has been thought to aid in wrinkle repair, skin firmness and elasticity, and joint mobility
Most of the skepticism regarding collagen’s effectiveness arises from concerns of safety, the origin of the product, and the regulations surrounding its production. Since collagen is categorized as a supplement, not a food or a drug, there is NO strict regulation of this product. (So, it could be anything. Just saying.)
That being said, if you’re still looking to tap into the benefits of collagen, be sure to look for supplement companies sourcing from cage-free, free-range, and antibiotic-free sources. Also, checking the brand for an NSF or USP certification is advised. Lastly, stay away from fancy concoctions that add fiber, probiotics, and other “extras” into their mix – it could impact the effectiveness of the collagen itself.
Tip: Mixing your collagen supplement into a glass of orange juice
(because OJ is a great source of vitamin C), can boost the
bioavailability of the collagen!
Or simply add a cup of sliced fruits and veggies to your lunch— even a glass of orange juice to your brunch will do (enter waiter with mimosas).
Was this article helpful for you? Have you tried collagen? Share your story below or comment with any questions, comments, or concerns! Your feedback is welcomed!
Grosso, G., Galvano, F., Mistretta, A., Marventano, S., Nolfo, F., Calabrese, G., Buscemi, S., Drago, F., Veronesi, U., … Scuderi, A. (2013). Red orange: experimental models and epidemiological evidence of its benefits on human health. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2013, 157240.
Vitamin C. (2017, October 18). Retrieved November 13, 2018, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932
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