Boost Your Body Image and Health With Collagen—Part 1
Tribe, sometimes I’ll look in the mirror and say (more like shout) “Where in hell did that line by my eye come from!” What seems like overnight, a new wrinkle has appeared—ugh! I really think midlife should be named midstrife!
Midstrife happens and it is not bias—male and female, our bodies and dietary needs change as we age, especially as we reach our 40s. That’s because aging is linked to a variety of changes, including nutrient deficiencies.
Fortunately, the signs of aging can be minimized by meeting your body’s needs through behaviors of a healthy lifestyle, such as eating nutrient-rich foods and taking the appropriate supplements that can help keep you healthy as you get older. That being said, collagen is buzzin’ in the health and wellness sphere, and rightly so with the research and studies that support its power to combat symptoms of unhealthy skin and hair, joint pain/instability, muscle weakness, and even digestive and immunity deficiencies. Even though our body naturally produces collagen, production declines starting in our mid to late twenties.
In my previous blog, Get The Scoop On Protein Supplements, I briefly introduce collagen protein and present it as a highly beneficial dietary supplement. I am a big fan of collagen and take it in some form daily, so I feel compelled to call attention to its many advantages and health benefits that set it apart from other protein supplements. It is my intent that this writing helps you gain insight on the crucial role collagen has on our health and our body image, especially as it pertains to aging.
This part gets a bit sciency so I’ll try to keep it brief, but I think it’s valuable to understand these fundamentals to help you determine how dietary collagen and/or supplementation is beneficial and can best work for you.
Collagen is the insoluble fibrous protein found throughout our body in the extracellular matrix of connective tissues such as cartilage, tendons bones, and ligaments and is the most abundant protein in the animal kingdom. Collagen fibrils are long rope-like structures that provide the strength, structure, and cushioning to our body (including skin), and also support digestive function and immunity and brain health.
The name collagen comes from the Greek word kolla (glue) and gennao (I produce), for being the main ingredient of glues formed from the boiling of animal skin, tendons, and ligaments dating back to as early as 6200 BC.
Collagen contains a whopping nineteen amino acids and has the highest concentration of the three amino acids (glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline) that boost joint and skin health, and promote healthy aging.
Collagen is classified by types according to the structure that they form in the body. While more than 16 types of collagen have been identified in the human body, types I, II, and III make up 80-90 percent of collagen in the body, and consequently dominate the supplementation sphere.
Type I collagen—is the most prevalent type of collagen in the body, and is the most highly recommended type for hair, skin and nails. Type I collagen is the major structural component of skin, tendons, bones and organs, and supports wound healing since it’s extra strong and capable of being stretched without tearing.
Type II collagen—is a bit more specialized. It is the main component of cartilage and the primary protein found in our connective tissues. It is also the best type for repairing and sealing the gut lining.
Type III collagen—is generally found in reticular fibers, such as in the bone marrow, blood vessels and tissue within the heart, and is usually found alongside Type I collagen in the body. It helps give skin elasticity and firmness.
Which Type Should I Take?
To my dismay, I have found discrepancies on whether collagen types really matter for supplementation purposes. According to Nick Bitz, MD, a licensed, board-certified naturopathic doctor and collagen expert says “You’ll see things like ‘Type I and III’ or ‘Type II’ on the label, but it’s honestly just a marketing ploy.” Dr. Bitz explains that while 28 different types of collagen do exist—differentiated by where in the body it’s sourced and its amino acid structure—they’re all still the same protein. “When you ingest collagen, you’re rebuilding all of your own collagen in the body, not just Type I or III, but every type,” he explains.
Conversely, health expert Josh Axe, DNM, CNS, DC, recommends choosing a collagen supplement that contains a variety of types (like his!). “It’s like taking a multivitamin,” he says. “It’s a good idea because most people have multiple deficiencies.”
The folks at Vital Proteins® state, “… all three types are beneficial for health. However, if you’re more focused on cartilage and joint health than other aspects of well-being (such as hair, skin and nails), you can opt for a Type II collagen product, such as Cartilage Collagen®. That being said, Collagen Peptides® and Marine Collagen®, as well as the entire range of Vital Proteins® products, will be great for hair, skin, nails, bones, joints, cartilage and ligaments.”
I want to leave you with this important thought—there’s no way to completely reverse the unwelcomed effects of midstrife, but we can significantly diminish them through implementing sustainable healthy behaviors! Boosting collagen has been proven to naturally improve not only our appearance, but the rest of our health. Some collagen supplements can have side effects—most common are calcium overproduction, allergic reactions, and joint pain. If you have allergic reactions to seafood or meat products, be very careful when taking any kind of collagen supplement, and always seek your doctor’s advice before making any changes to your health program. Also, my Reset-21 Program is a fun and inspiring way for you to implement those healthy behaviors that are crucial for long-term lifestyle change, so that “getting older” means “looking and feeling awesome!” You can check the program out here Reset-21.
Don’t miss Part 2 of Boost Your Body Image and Health With Collagen next Sunday! In it, I will cover collagen sources and the best sourcing, various ways to get collagen and promote collagen production, and how much collagen you should be getting.
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I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to respond to this blog with your comments, or contact me with questions or feedback. Until next Sunday, be well and live awesome!
All of the information in this writing is for educational and informational purposes only. We are passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle and aim to share that passion with you through coaching, blogs, readings, chats, social media, etc. Primary sources to ensure accurate and current content, including studies, scientific references, and statistics, are found below:
Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. New York: W. H. Freeman (2000) W. H. Freeman and Company, Section 22.3 Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix, Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition
Emily Laurence (Oct 24, 2017) Well+Good LLC, Everything You Need To Know About The Different Types of Collagen
Vital Proteins LLC, types of collagen (which collagen should I take?)
Kelsey Butler (Feb 28, 2018) The Vitamin Shoppe, What Type Of Collagen Supplement Is Right For You?, Whats Goo:d
Dr. Josh Axe (2016) Axe Wellness LLC, Bone Broth Breakthrough