Collagen: What it Is and Why You Should Be Using It
What would your body be like if your skin couldn’t stretch?
Weird question, I know, but seriously, think about how often your skin really stretches . . .
You bend your knee and the skin around your leg tightens. You smile, and the muscles in your face pull your skin upwards. Even exhaling stretches the skin over your stomach as air leaves your lungs.
Whether you notice it or not, your skin is always using its elasticity, which leads me to the question - what exactly gives your skin this elastic ability?
It’s called collagen - one of the many proteins found in your body, and it plays a huge role in your everyday health.
In this article, we'll discuss:
- What is Collagen?
- What Makes Collagen Different from Other proteins?
- 5 benefits of Collagen
- Where Can I Find Collagen?
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein that makes up one third of the total protein in your body.
Collagen is everywhere - your skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and hair all contain collagen. It’s the foundation for many aspects of your body.
When it comes to different types of collagen, there’s certainly no shortage of different variations. Research has identified roughly twenty-eight different types of collagen.
Each kind of collagen plays a unique role in your body, differing in how each’s molecules are assembled and where each is used in the body.
I won’t get into what every type does ( both your time and mine are too precious for that), but here’s a quick rundown of the five most important kinds of collagen and what you should know about them:
- Type I: This type makes up the majority of collagen in the body (90%), is tightly packed tissue, and provides support and structure to various parts of the body, such as skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
- Type II: This type is mainly found in elastic cartilage, supporting the strength and flexibility of your joints.
- Type III: This type is often found in organs, arteries, and muscles.
- Type IV: This type is located in the various layers of the skin, giving it its elastic capabilities.
- Type V: This type is found in the cornea of the eyes, some skin layers, hair, and placental tissue, giving support and structure to each.
What Does Collagen Do for the Body?
Because Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, it plays an important role in maintaining the structural cohesiveness throughout our body.
“Maintaining structural cohesiveness throughout your body . . . What is that supposed to mean?”
Let me explain . . .
Think about the outer layers of your body - the things that protect all the good stuff inside of you like your heart, lungs, brain, etc.
Things like your bones, skin, joints, nails, and hair all provide some sort of protection for all the valuable organs inside your body.
These parts of your body all work in unison with each other - Your bones hold up your body. Your joints give your bones range of motion. Your skin, hair, and nails cover your bones, joints, organs, etc. . . . (you get the picture)
Collagen comes into play by strengthening the connective tissue that holds all of these together - providing what you could call a “structural cohesiveness throughout the body.” (see what I did there)
So, if it weren’t for collagen, your body would have weak bones, weak cartilage in your joints, unhealthy skin, and many more issues.
Now that you know just how important the role collagen plays in your health, here are five of the many benefits that collagen has to offer:
5 Benefits of Collagen
Promotes Skin Health:
Collagen is an essential component of healthy skin, helping reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Studies have shown that taking collagen supplements can help improve skin hydration, elasticity, and texture.
Supports Joint Health:
Collagen is a vital component of cartilage, which is essential for cushioning joints and absorbing shock. Research found that taking collagen supplements can help reduce joint pain and stiffness in those with osteoarthritis.
Builds Muscle Mass:
Collagen contains high levels of glycine, which is a crucial factor for muscle growth and repair. Studies have also found that taking collagen supplements can help improve muscle mass and strength in older adults.
Collagen plays a significant role in bone tissue. Studies show that taking collagen supplements can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of bone fractures.
Boosts Gut Health:
Collagen has been shown to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can help reduce inflammation and improve digestion.
Where Can I Find Collagen?
And now for the million dollar question - If collagen is so important for your body, then where can you find it?
Below are a few different places you can find collagen:
- Bone broth: This is one of the best natural sources of collagen. The bones and connective tissue found in bone broth is loaded with collagen, making it one of the best natural sources of collagen.
- Meat: Collagen is found in the connective tissues of meat, such as beef, chicken, and pork.
- Fish: Fish is another great source of collagen. The skin and bones of fish contain a high amount of collagen.
- Eggs: Egg whites are a good source of glycine, which is one of the amino acids that make up collagen.
- Supplements: Collagen supplements are available in various forms, including pills, powders, and drinks (including our very own STRONG Coffee). These supplements are often made from animal sources, such as bovine or marine collagen.
If You Read Anything, Read This …
Collagen is responsible for many of the fundamental aspects of your body that often go unnoticed. The elasticity of your skin, the cartilage in your joints, even the quality of your hair and nails - these all heavily rely on collagen.
By supporting skin and bone health, building muscle mass, and even boosting your gut health, collagen has proved to provide benefits across many different areas in your body.
And the best part - it doesn’t take much to incorporate collagen into your diet. There are many foods that contain collagen in them.
Bone broth, meat, fish, eggs, and supplements all are great sources of collagen. Even our own STRONG Coffee contains 15 grams of grass-fed collagen protein in each serving (giving you yet another reason to drink our coffee )
So now that you know what collagen is and just how important it is, what are you waiting for? Your body will thank you later.