From endless youth to pain-free joints, the claims about collagen are widespread and varied. Like most people amidst the hype, you probably have questions about this protein, its uses and effectiveness. In this blog post, our Whole Health experts get into it, discussing the real health benefits of collagen and the best ways to get more of it.

Our Whole Health experts discuss the benefits of collagen supplements.

What is collagen?

Simply put, collagen is a protein our bodies make naturally within the cells of connective tissues. Like glue, collagen holds together various systems such as tendons, ligaments, cornea, cartilage, bones, blood vessels and intervertebral discs.

Why is collagen important?

Not only is Collagen responsible for holding systems together, but also in facilitating the integration of individual systems with others, allowing the whole body to work together. Much like the framework for a building, collagen provides structural support and protection from injury. As we age, our ability to produce collagen slows down, leading to typical signs of aging such as wrinkled skin, joint pain and weakened muscles. Ouch.

Fortunately, numerous studies have shown significant improvement in these systems with the help of collagen-rich foods and supplements.

If aging gracefully is important to you, check out our previous post, Forty is the New Thirty: 5 Tips for Staying Healthy at Any Age.

What are the health benefits of collagen?

From joint health to skin elasticity and hydration, there are many science-backed benefits of collagen.

The results of this 2009 scientific study showed that collagen supplements eased pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints for people with moderate to severe osteoarthritis.

The anti-inflammatory effects of gelatin tannate seem to be working wonders for the digestive system, too. Studies have shown that it prevents the breakdown of the intestinal lining and may be beneficial in healing gut permeability.

Additional studies have shown that consuming just 10 grams of freshwater marine collagen powder per day improved skin elasticity and increased hydration, reducing signs of aging.

A 2021 study showed improved muscle strength, decreased body fat and a faster metabolism in men who were taking collagen peptides along with resistance training.

What are the best ways to supplement with collagen?

Consuming foods like bone broth, gelatin, meat and seafood is the most natural way to get more collagen in your diet. Other high protein foods like eggs are a good source of amino acids which help your body produce more collagen on its own.

Bone broth

Bone broth is made by slow-simmering the bones of beef, poultry or fish to extract the collagen. Bone broth is delicious on its own or when used as a flavor-rich ingredient in recipes. What’s more, the high water content in bone broth helps you stay hydrated.

Looking for ways to cook with bone broth? Try our recipe for Beef Bone Broth Ramen with Ribeye and Mushrooms.

Gelatin

If you’ve ever made a gelatin salad for a barbecue, you know how accessible this ingredient is. It’s also the most basic form of collagen, so it’s easy on the stomach. Find refrigerated gelatin in ready-to-eat containers or in powder form in the aisles of your local Market.

Meat products

Meat, seafood and eggs are all sources of amino acids that help our bodies produce healthy collagen. The cuts of meat that contain higher amounts of connective tissue, such as brisket, pot roast and offal, are more collagen-dense. To avoid contamination, it’s best to shop for sustainable, grass-fed, pasture-raised or free-range animal products. That’s just one reason we’re committed to providing high-quality, sustainably sourced meat and seafood.

What about collagen supplements?

There are many great and accessible collagen supplements on the market, most of which are found in powder, liquid or capsule form. Hydrolyzed collagen is the most broken-down form of this protein and may be the easiest for the body to process.

Our experts recommend boosting your collagen intake with these high-quality choices from your local Market of Choice Whole Health department:

The Bottom Line

Collagen is a necessary protein for skin, joint, bone and gut health, among other systems in the body. A diet that includes an appropriate amount of collagen can support a healthy lifestyle, strong body and youthful appearance. Whether you choose to get more collagen through foods or supplements, you’ll find the choices you love at Market of Choice.

Published On: April 3rd, 2024

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