Why Is Collagen So Important? Learn Best Ways to Get In Your Diet
Written by Dr. Josh Axe
No matter your age or current condition, collagen protein —including the types made by the body naturally, and collagen peptides taken in supplement form— is something that benefits just about everyone. I like to describe collagen as the “glue” that holds the body, as it’s the most abundant protein in the human body, forming up to 70 percent of skin, hair, nails as well as a high percentage of many other types of connective tissues.
While it’s been known for decades how important collagen is for supporting overall functioning and health, only recently has the wellness market witnessed the growth of new collagen supplements. Although it’s possible to get collagen from food sources such as real bone broth, many are looking for a more convenient way to up their collagen intake. Searching for better physical performance or the appearance of their skin (or both!), collagen protein powders and related supplements suddenly have a big audience. Let’s look at the many reasons why we all need collagen and how we can go about getting it.
Importance of Collagen
Did you know that nearly one-third of all the protein in the human body is collagen protein? It’s found everywhere,serving a multitude of purposes such as aiding in joint comfort and mobility, forming the lining of the gastrointestinal tract/gut, and helping skin to heal and repair.
How can you benefit from getting more collagen into your diet? Benefits of collagen can include:
- Supporting healthy joint function, comfort and mobility (it also offers support for healthy ligaments and tendons, too)
- Promoting healthy hair and nail growth
- Supporting skin hydration and elasticity
- Supporting a healthy gut and gut lining integrity
It’s a fact that adults typically start producing less collagen once they reach their 30s or 40s. Collagen can break down at an accelerated rate due to certain dietary and lifestyle factors, sometime referred to as “collagen diminishers.”
In order to protect the collagen that your body is already making, and to benefit most from the collagen supplements you may be taking, you’ll want to avoid these habits:
- Diet low in antioxidants
- Sitting all day and lack of activity
- Poor gut health
- Nutrient shortfalls of vitamin C and zinc, which can help support collagen production
- Getting poor sleep
- Consuming too much processed foods and sugar
- Worsening injuries and joint issues (such as from overuse)
- High cortisol levels from stress
- Too much sun overexposure
How to Get Collagen Into Your Diet
As mentioned above, collagen gives you support for your skin, nails, hair, joints and gut. As a result, adding more to your diet and routine can pay off in terms of improving how you feel, move and look.
Here are some options for increasing your collagen intake, both from food sources and supplements:
1. Supplement With Multi Collagen Protein
Ancient Nutrition offers the clinically studied Multi Collagen Protein (MCP) powder. Multi Collagen Protein is consistently the #1 product sold on AN’s store, and for good reason.
- MCP is made from 4 real food sources (beef, chicken, fish and eggshell membrane) and features collagen types I, II, III, V and X.
- Sourced from non-GMO, pasture-raised, cage free and cruelty free sources.
- Contains no fillers, weird chemicals or artificial ingredients, sweeteners or flavors.
- Provides hydrolyzed collagen peptides to support absorption.
- Choose from a variety of different formulas and flavors tailored towards improving joint health, skin, sleep, gut function and more.
Something important to look for when shopping for collagen supplements is the type of peptides/protein found in the product. In order to help your body absorb and use collagen in supplement form, it’s best to use a hydrolyzed collagen peptide protein powder. This form of collagen is thought to be easier for the body to absorb since the amino acids and nutrients available in collagen have undergone a process called hydrolysis which breaks them down into shorter chains of bioavailable proteins. These nutrients can then make their way into your bloodstream more readily, helping you to experience the best overall results.
How can you use MCP powder? It’s as simple as adding a scoop to water, coffee, a smoothie or another beverage, or even using some in recipes such as oatmeal, pancakes, healthy muffins, etc. One scoop provide you with about 10 grams of collagen.
2. Take Multi Collagen Protein Capsules
Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein Capsules are another convenient way to benefit from collagen. These tasteless, odorless capsules can be taken any time of day, including when you’re busy and on-the-go. Like the MCP powder, the capsules are sourced from non-GMO, pasture-raised, cage-free and cruelty-free sources.
3. Consume Bone Broth and/or Bone Broth Protein Powder
Bone broth is a type of stock that our ancestors frequently made using almost every part of an animal. To make bone broth, bones and marrow, skin and feet, tendons and ligaments are boiled and then simmered over a period of days in order to release valuable nutrients including collagen, proline, glycine, glutamine and trace minerals. Drinking bone broth daily, therefore, is a great way to increase collagen intake.
If making homemade bone broth isn’t a realistic option for you, Bone Broth Protein powder or Bone Broth Collagen powder are two highly convenient alternatives. The main difference between Multi Collagen Protein and Bone Broth Collagen is the number and type of collagen sources. The collagen in Bone Broth Collagen is from bone broth alone, while Multi Collagen Protein has collagen from bone broth AND hydrolyzed sources. Bone Broth Protein powder is a great source of protein, collagen types I and II, and compounds including hyaluronic acid, glucosamine and chondroitin which support overall health of joints and other connective tissues.
4. Utilize Keto Collagen
If you’re on a low-carb, high-fat diet ketogenic diet and looking for a collagen supplement created specifically for your macronutrient needs, then Keto Collagen fits the bill. The powerful combination of beef collagen combined with MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) provides the body with healthy fats and protein to support joint and gut health, and healthy weight loss and appetite control, too.
+These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food and nutrition. He operates leading natural health website DrAxe.com and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health supplement company. He’s also author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, Keto Diet and Collagen Diet.