What Is Collagen Protein?
Collagen is the most plentiful protein found in the body and works as the building block of your bones, skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. The word collagen comes from the Greek word kolla, which translates to glue. Quite fitting, actually, because it’s literally the glue that holds your body together.
Collagen protein makes up about one-third of your body’s overall protein makeup and there are four main types that your body needs on a daily basis.
Your body naturally makes collagen, but its production begins to slow down when you’re in your twenties. It is, however, available in many foods. For instance, you can find it naturally in chicken skin or bone broth. It’s also the only ingredient in gelatin powder, which is the main ingredient in everyone’s favorite jiggly dessert. But if you want to really reap the benefits of it, adding a supplement of collagen protein powder to your life could be just the game-changer your body is looking for.
Collagen Protein Benefits
Collagen is not a complete protein because it is missing the essential amino acid tryptophan. This isn’t typically an issue as most people consume sufficient levels of tryptophan in their normal diet. But the amino acids that collagen do have can truly help your body when it comes to having healthy skin, hair, nails and strong bones.
Youthful Skin Begins With Collagen
Collagen makes up the majority of the dermis, which is the second layer of your skin. As you age and your skin begins to lose its elasticity and start to sag, it’s quite possible that taking a collagen supplement could help slow the signs of aging and even prevent wrinkles. When taken regularly, studies have proven that collagen increases elasticity levels and helps keeps skin moisturized. Collagen has been used for centuries to help improve skin texture, and many cultures have referred to it as the fountain of youth.
Collagen Protein Helps Hair and Nails
Because collagen provides support to every part of our body, many people use it to help strengthen their nails and keep them from becoming brittle. Collagen has arginine, an amino acid that specifically helps with nail growth. In terms of your hair, proline, another of the amino acids found in collagen, is what the protein Keratin (what your hair is made of) needs in order to build hair. Without enough proline, Keratin can’t stimulate hair growth. Collagen also helps provide nutrients to your hair follicles, which could help hair grow stronger and even help prevent greys — another reason it’s been considered the fountain of youth.
Stronger Bones and Joints
Collagen protein powder may help prevent muscle soreness when you consume it regularly, which is a huge help for those of us that work out regularly. Collagen also helps to repair cartilage tissue, which can increase joint flexibility and mobility and decrease overall joint pain. It makes sense to take collagen peptides if you live an active lifestyle because you don’t just want to build muscle, you also want to have a strong support system in your bones and joints. Collagen protein can also decrease your chances of getting osteoporosis because it helps to keep your bones flexible.
Why You Need Collagen Protein Powder
So, if your body is already making collagen on its own, why do you need more? Besides the natural decrease in collagen production that comes with aging, there are also things you may do in your daily life that damage collagen production, like eating too much sugar or refined carbohydrates. You also may have a collagen deficiency if you smoke or are exposed to too much sunshine. Taking collagen supplements is one way to help your body if its collagen production is not high enough.
Adding collagen to your nutrition regimen is easy. Collagen peptides are odorless, flavorless dietary supplements that mix easily with virtually everything. Most people add collagen powder to their morning cup of coffee as an easy way to strengthen their nails and skin. You can also add it to protein shakes or smoothies, mix it into soup or even just stir it into a glass of water.