We know collagen is important. Made up of primarily four amino acids (glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine), collagen gives structure to our hair, skin, nails, bones, ligaments, and gut lining, which all helps our muscles grow, our bodies stay flexible, and our hair shine.
As one of the most abundant proteins found in the body, collagen is essential for looking young with its ability to reduce wrinkles and tighten the skin, leading to some calling it the “Fountain of Youth.” However, as we get older, our bodies lose more collagen than it produces, creating a need for collagen supplements.
There are three effective ways to increase your body’s collagen, but it’s important to understand the differences between each one as they each provide other benefits than collagen production.
Extracted from bovine hides (cow skin), collagen peptides (also known as hydrolyzed collagen) is the purest form of collagen. The popular supplement is offered in the forms of tablets, capsules, and powders and is the best option for more targeted results of collagen including reducing wrinkles, strengthening the hair, and healing the body faster.
One of the biggest reasons people choose collagen peptides over other options is because it includes the most important types of collagen. There are about 28 types of collagen that each offer a different function for the body, but the main ones to know are types I, II, and III as they account for 80-90% of all collagen in the body. Types I and III are associated with the “beauty from within” benefits, while Type II supports joint health.
Finally, another benefit of collagen peptides is that it stimulates the body’s production of hyaluronic acid, which is used to hydrate the skin and lubricate joints.
As the name implies, bone broth is made from animal bones. Bone broth contains multiple nutrients (chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, and nearly 20 forms of amino acids) and minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus), creating a more all-inclusive health profile to boost your immune system and promote gut health. Other benefits of bone broth include improving digestive issues and providing anti-inflammatory effects to prevent diseases and other health issues.
The biggest problem with bone broth is that you cannot receive the three main types of collagen from one source of bone. Types I and III are received from beef-based bone broth and Type II can be found in chicken-based bone broth. A simple solution is to receive your broth from multiple sources.
The process of making bone broth includes long periods boiling the bones (about 18-48 hours of slow simmering), so an easier form of the supplement is offered in powders. But, before purchasing, make sure the powder contains the three main types of collagen.
You probably have been consuming collagen through gelatin without even realizing it. Gelatin is produced through boiling cartilage, skin, and bones from animals and used as a thickener for fruit gelatin and puddings, cakes, yogurts, marshmallows, and soups. It is even used for vitamins as a coating for capsules.
When cooking meat, you’re beginning the process of converting collagen to gelatin. Starting with the long, slow heating, the collagen proteins gradually unwind and begin to change shape in a process called denaturing. This irreversible process creates liquid gelatin. When it has cooled down, the gelatin becomes the jiggly substance we recognize.
Using any of these methods will increase your body’s collagen immensely; however, you should also be aware of actions that can break down your collagen faster.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
Our skin needs just as much rest as our minds do. When our bodies are overly fatigued, the immune system is negatively affected, which slows down collagen production. So, save the next episode for tomorrow and go to bed.
Sugar and Alcohol
The harder your kidneys and liver work to detox the body; the less collagen is produced. Inflammatory foods, such as sugar and alcohol, are major culprits to making these organs work, which invites free radical formation and the breakdown of collagen.
Not Using SPF
It’s no secret that the sun can be harmful for the skin when exposed for too long. The skin absorbs both UVA and UVB lights. UVB rays give you sunburns, while UVA rays cut deeper into the dermis of the skin and break down the body’s collagen supply. Next time you’re at the beach, you may not want to skip out on the SPF.
Learn more about the benefits of collagen here.