When you think of “collagen,” the first place your mind goes is probably a Kardashian. Or maybe a Real Housewife.
But collagen is more than just a lip or fine line filler injectable. Collagen is actually one of the most abundant proteins in your body. It provides structure to your skin, connective tissue, teeth, muscles, organs, and joints, among other things. This translates to firmer, healthy-looking skin, as well as fuller lips and luscious hair.
You may be wondering why you’d need to supplement collagen if your body has so much of it.
As we age, our body produces lower quality collagen, and less of it. This manifests as less supple, less firm skin, and weaker cartilage in joints. Certain lifestyle choices, like smoking, excessive sun exposure, or eating too much sugar, can damage the collagen that your body does produce.
There are many natural food sources of collagen, including bone broth and pork skin. But it’s unclear whether simply consuming collagen-rich foods increases the levels of collagen in your body, since it’s broken down into amino acids during digestion.
If you think your body could use the boost of collagen, hydrolyzed collagen (sometimes called peptide collagen, and sold as powder or pills) or gelatin is the way to go. It has already been broken down into smaller peptides, making it easier for your body to absorb. Studies show that this collagen is promising help for building muscle mass, slowing arthritis, and improving skin elasticity.
How do you work this powder into your diet? It’s great in smoothies, soups, or baked goods (just substitute some of the flour in the recipe for collagen powder). You can also use gelatin to make homemade gummies.
If you’re looking for a simple beauty (and health!) solution that you can do at home, pain-free, collagen may be a good bet for you. As with any supplement, always check with your doctor or nutritionist to make sure it’s a good fit for you.
Nutrients that increase and support your body’s collagen production:
Ways to work collagen peptide powder into your daily routine:
Blend into your smoothie
Mix into soups or bone broth
Add to scrambled eggs
Replace flour in a recipe for baked goods
Add to lattes or hot chocolate
Stir into oatmeal or yogurt