About five years ago, before I lost a significant amount of weight (over 85 lbs), I started having mobility issues. Now maybe if I was 85 I would have just chalked this up to an age thing but at 40? Ummm no, not so much. You see when I was much younger, I had injured my ankle (the same one) twice very badly. It healed – but not perfectly, and I had restrictions on how much walking I could do because I carried a significant amount of weight. I share this because if you have struggled with being overweight as I did, it then you know that those extra pounds put a lot of wear & tear on our bodies.
So, fast forward to two years ago and I was a lot lighter and leaner due to my weight loss and healthy lifestyle. I was able to get around SO much better however I still suffered with ankle and knee issues. Especially after kickboxing – my new passion. I went looking for ways that I could help alleviate these issues and found collagen.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body and is a major component of connective tissue like tendons, ligaments, skin and muscles. Collagen provides our skin with necessary structure and its necessary to strengthen our bones. As we age, the levels of collagen in our bodies naturally decrease leading to normal aging issues like joint pain & inflammation, skin dryness & wrinkles and a decrease in bone mass. This was important for me because not only had I put a ton of pressure on my joints/ankles/knees over the years but as I was in my early 40’s my levels of collagen had dropped significantly.
So I decided to add a collagen supplement to my regime. Within two weeks I started noticing things like my knees weren’t creaking when I walked down the stairs and I wasn’t hurting as much either during my workouts or after them. My body started feeling … well, younger. It was pretty impressive.
There are a TON of health benefits to taking a collagen supplement. From some pretty awesome anti-aging benefits (hello softer/firmer skin, shiny/thick hair) but collagen literally helps your body heal and reverse the aging process from the inside out. When clients ask me about the benefits of taking a collagen supplement, I absolutely recommend they consider one for a number health reasons.
Improves Skin & Gut Health
As collagen is a major component of your skin it makes sense that adding a collagen supplement will help not only strengthen your skin but improve it’s elasticity and overall hydration (1). Think of a baby’s cheeks and how plump and moist they are – babies have a ton of collagen in their bodies and it shows in that gorgeous skin, hair and nails. As we age, we lose that collagen which results in dryer skin and the formation of wrinkles. Studies show that collegen peptides or supplements help slow the aging of your skin by improving its elasticity, hydration and overall appearance.
In fact, collagen supplements have been shown to:
- Remarkably reduce deep lines & wrinkles from the inside out (forget expensive injections or cosmetic surgery)
- Improve the skin’s microcirculation, hydration, skin tone, firmness & elasticity
- Lift sagging skin without surgery (yup you heard that right)
- Reduce the enzyme that makes your skin age ((Hyalurondase)
Beyond improving your skin, collagen is key to balancing your gut health. Why is this important? Well, a healthy gut means that your body functions optimally, so that you feel great everyday. If your gut health is poor then this can have serious health repercussions that can manifest throughout our bodies. Beyond that, collagen helps keep inflammation under control in your body which can help alleviate potential heart disease, protect against cancer and other life threatening diseases.
Relieves Joint Pain & Improves Mobility
Collagen helps strengthen your connective tissue like cartilage which is the tissue which protects the joints in your body, As we age, these collagen levels drop considerably and this puts us at risk for developing degenerative joint disorders like osteoarthritis and other similar issues. Studies have shown that taking collagen supplements can help improve joint inflammation, stiffness and lessen pain which in turn, improves your overall flexibility and mobility as you get older. (2)
It’s one thing talking about joint pain, inflammation and disorders – its a whole other thing to experience the difference collagen can make in improving your quality of life. When you live with chronic pain – like my father does with arthritis in his feet – being able to alleviate that chronic pain and give him back his mobility is priceless.
Prevents the Loss of Bone Mass
As collagen in our bodies deteriorates with age, bone mass does as well. This often leads to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone density and has been linked with a high risk of bone fractures. Studies have shown that taking collagen supplements may slow down that process or inhibit it altogether. Additionally, the same studies show that collagen has also been shown to increase bone mass over time. (3)
This is especially relevant for women as we tend to lose bone mass more quickly than men so taking steps to stop that loss, and increase it over time is incredibly important.
Boosts Muscle Mass to Boost your Workouts
As between 1 – 10% of muscle tissue is made up of collagen, this protein is essential to keeping muscles strong and functioning at an optimal level. Studies have shown that taking collagen daily help boost muscle mass and researchers have suggested that taking collagen may promote the synthesis of muscle proteins such as creatine, and help stimulate muscle growth post-workout. (4)
Professional athletes like Olympic gold medalist Jamie Anderson, use collagen supplements to improve their physical fitness condition, diminish joint pain between workouts and boost their performance. Top fitness trainers use and recommend collagen supplements everyday to help clients achieve those same results.
Improves the Condition of your Hair & Nails
Taking collagen daily has been shown to dramatically improve the appearance of your hair and nails. By boosting the protein levels in these two areas, both hair and nails seem to grow longer and hair is softer and more lustrous. (5)
So now that you know the benefits of taking a collagen supplement, how do you pick the right one for you? Well here are a few things to look for:
- That it’s bioavailable – this just means that its been made to be absorbed instantly by your body. You don’t want a collagen supplement that can take 3-4 months to begin being absorbed by your body!
- That its in a liquid form vs powder as liquids are absorbed much more quickly and don’t have to undergo the typical digestive steps required for tablets, capsules or powders. Additionally, taking it in a liquid form allows you to take a much more concentrated dose which improves its overall effectiveness than trying to take an equivalent – and daunting – amount of capsules or powder.
- That it includes Hyaluronic Acid which by itself has so many health benefits on its own but when combined with collagen, it helps create a truly unique and powerful supplement that has been nicknamed Liquid Gold!
As always, I recommend doing your research on the different collagen supplements out there so you can select the one which works best for you. Adding collagen to the supplements you take as part of a healthy and active lifestyle, can help you look & feel younger. If you are interested in more information about the collagen I take, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.