Odds are if you’ve researched how to support hair, skin, and nail growth, you’ve come across collagen, arguably the most vital protein source. In this article we are going to chat about why collagen protein is so crucial for your body, how to naturally boost this vital protein, and if supplementing is right for you!
What is collagen and why is it so important?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body and is found in our bones, muscles, tendons, skin, nails, blood vessels, and in our digestive tract. This vital protein is hard, insoluble, fibrous, and can be described as the "glue" in our body that holds everything together.
The Role & Benefits Of Collagen In Our Body
- provides strength to our skin and repairs and replaces skin cells
- supports metabolism and regulates blood sugar (thanks to glycine - the key amino acid found in collagen
- maintains the health of joints, bones, ligaments, tendons, hair, skin, and nails.
- supports joint pain in pregnancy and postpartum
- *and the one we are all waiting for* yes, it is proven to strengthen hair and nails, improve skin elasticity, improve the appearance of wrinkles, and helps oxidative stress that occurs with aging
Different Types of Collagen
There are more than 20 different types of collagen that are found in the body. For the purpose of this article, let's chat about the first three types.
- 90% of our body is made up of type 1 collagen
- Promotes hair, skin, nails, bone, and blood vessel health
- Top sources for type 1 collagen: fish, bones of cows, pigs, chicken
- the best type of collagen for joint health
- top sources for type 2 collagen: cartilidge, specifically poultry
- most commonly found in the muscles (may aid in exercise performance)
- top sources for type 3 collagen: egg whites, cows, pigs, chicken, fish
How can I naturally obtain collagen?
You can naturally increase the amount of collagen in your body through 2 approaches:
Consume whole food sources of collagen protein that are found in animal products - preferably grass fed
(Plant-based friendly) Increases consumption of the nutrients our body needs to create its own collagen
Collagen, and the nutrients that support it are abundant in many of the foods that we eat daily. For those of you looking for a whole foods approach to optimal nutrition, here are some of my favorite nutrients that offer collagen support:
What about supplementing with collagen?
I'll say what I often tell me clients about supplements - are they needed to reach your wellness goals? Not necessarily... however I do believe they can offer great support and speed up the process to healing when under that advisement of a medical professional!
I encourage my clients to get as many nutrients from whole food sources as possible, and then utilize supplements if they feel they need a little extra support as they heal and nurture their body.
If you do choose to supplement collagen, is it even effective (aka the golden question: Will it actually make my hair grow)?!
Nutrition is VERY individualized. Your body will most likely use a collagen supplement to first nourish your bones, joints, and skin (the parts of our body that are crucial for survival). If you have enough collagen to support these parts of your body, then the remaining collagen will then be utilized in the hair and nails (body parts that are not necessary for survival)!
If you are interested in supplementing, I've loved this collagen protein for years and many of my clients have been happy with it as well! After being vegan for 2 years and developing health issues, my doctor recommended I begin incorporating animal protein into my diet again. I started out by adding this collagen powder into my morning smoothie and within a month, a few of my symptoms (specifically light headedness and dizziness) went away!
Whether you consume collagen naturally through a whole food source or choose to supplement, you are sure to reap many benefits this crucial protein has to offer!
How do you eat your collagen? Do you supplement or do you prefer whole foods?
- All information provided in this article is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended as a prescription or as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting any supplementation.
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