Collagen: Structural“Glue”for the Body

Collagen comes from the Greek language and literally means “gum producing.”

Comprising a quarter of our body’s protein content, it is in nearly every tissue, and is essentially the glue that holds us together. It can be found in our connective tissues, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, skin, digestive tract, blood vessels, teeth and eyes.  It provides both structural integrity and is vital for bone, skin tissue and organ health.

Our busy modern lives can cause collagen to be drastically reduced in our bodies.  There are a few key culprits to blame for this. Often referred to as the 5 S’s, they include:

  • Sugar
  • Sleep (lack of)
  • Stress
  • Sun exposure
  • Smoking

It is essential to minimize these particular stressors for nearly every aspect of our health, but it is of particular importance when it comes to maintaining strong and abundant collagen in our bodies.

Can We Increase Collagen?

We can increase collagen in the body in a few key ways.  First, we can consume bone broth because it is made from collagen rich sources (discarded bones, skin, scales and tendons) and should therefore be rich in collagen itself.

The tricky part when consuming bone broth, as a primary source of collagen is the actual level of collagen can fluctuate from batch to batch and might nor have reliable concentrations of collagen.  There is less control over quality, process and quantity of collagen in bone broth production.

Second, we can consume nutrients that help the body build its own collagen.  This includes essential amino acids, Vitamin C, B6, copper and sulfur.   These nutrients are found in meat, fish, eggs and many fresh veggies.

Lastly, and probably the most reliable way to increase the collagen in your body, we can consume a quality collagen supplement or hydrolyzed collagen peptides. Collagen peptides have improved bioavailability and solubility compared to the whole protein, and are easier for the body to utilize.

Our favorite way to get collagen in my day is to add collagen peptides to my cup of joe in the morning!  It is tasteless and dissolves easily!

Supplementing with Collagen

The benefits of supplementing with collagen are extensive and include maintaining anti-inflammation and antioxidant properties, skin, nail, bone, joint and both metabolic and cardiac health. Daily collagen supplementation appears to help hydrate skin, increate elasticity, decrease wrinkles, reduce cellulite, strengthen hair and nails and be an key part of joint health. While there isn’t a clear understanding of how the supplementation works it appears to work in a three key ways.

First, it inhibits Metalloproteinase (MMP) activity, an enzyme that breaks down collagen.  Next, it activates key cells that produce collagen in our bodies. Lastly, it seems to stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid, which is a substance found in the body crucial for joint, eye and skin health.

Glowing healthy skin goes far beyond what we put on it. It needs nutrients to literally lay the foundation!  Strong bones and cushion joints are essential and can’t be achieved by great exercise habits alone.  They need nutrients to grow and thrive. Collagen is just one of the many elements our bodies need to be healthy, beautiful and strong.

Favorite Collagen Brands?

Sports Research & Vital Proteins are our picks!

About the Co-Author

Kellen Kurtz is a wife, mama, budding athlete, lover of good food & wine and a passionate seeker of health, wholeness and all the good things of life. Kellen works with everyday athletes, families, moms, women and life enthusiasts.

Her journey in nutrition was rocked when, at the age of 3, her son was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. Since then she has relentlessly searched for holistic solutions to help her son, and entire family, thrive through this life altering diagnosis.

Kellen is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Restorative Wellness Solutions Certified and the founder of Rise Nutrition & Wellness.