You can’t see collagen, but it’s the glue that holds us together – like the framework of a house. Collagen is a protein. In fact, it's the most abundant protein in the body. It’s in your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, blood vessels, skin, intestinal lining and other connective tissues. While you can’t measure your collagen level, you can tell when it’s falling.
As we age, our body loses its ability to produce collagen, contributing to common signs of aging skin, less flexible tendons and ligaments, weakening muscles and joint pain.
Why Is Collagen Beneficial?
- Supports skin elasticity and joint and bone health
- Builds and maintains a healthy gut barrier and supports good digestion.
- Supports skin health and growth of hair and nails
- Supports a healthy, strong immune system
Aside from water, collagen is the most plentiful substance in our bodies and a building block for skin, tendons and bones. All great stuff!
When Is It Ideal To Take Collagen?
When we’re young, our bodies produce enough collagen to keep our joints, bones and skin healthy and youthful. But between the ages of 25 and 30, collagen production begins to decline at a rate of about 1.5% each year. The good news is, simple lifestyle changes can naturally stimulate your body’s renewal of collagen.
What’s Your Collagen Type?
There are at least 16 different types of collagen, but 80 to 90 percent of them belong to types 1, 2, and 3. These different types have different structures and functions.
Collagen Types 1 & 3
75% of the skin is made of types 1 & 3 collagen! It's essential to support skin, tendons, ligaments, bone health, and hair and nail growth and maintenance.
- Helps maintain overall skin health and normal moisture content of skin.
- Improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Thickens fine hair and adds body.
- Supports factors necessary for bone development.
Collagen Type 2
Type 2 collagen is a major component of joint cartilage and is needed to maintain and rebuild cartilage tissue.
- Supports joint mobility and function.
- Provides factors for building connective tissue.
- Provides building blocks for synovial fluid, cartilage and connective tissues for joint cushioning.
If you take Collagen Types 1 & 3 and Collagen Type 2, take them at least one hour apart. For example, take collagen Types 1 & 3 in the morning and collagen Type 2 in the evening on an empty stomach.
How To Consume Collagen
Collagen proteins are easy to add to your daily routine. It’s flavorless, dissolves quickly, and will not gelatinize – perfect for stirring or blending into your warm or cold beverage of choice (ie: smoothie, water, coffee, broth). The process of making collagen requires vitamin C, so combine your collagen with vitamin-C containing food, such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and greens. I usually mix my collagen powder with a teaspoon of camu camu powder or baobab powder since they're both naturally high in vitamin C. This is my favorite collagen powder, which is type 1 and 3 collagen.
Here are three recipes to include collagen at every meal!
Collagen at Breakfast
Collagen at Lunch
A good-for-your-skin tasty green smoothie.
Collagen at Dinner
Easy, delicious and packed with loads of exotic flavor and vitality-boosting collagen.
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods