WHAT IS COLLAGEN?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. It is a basically a raw collection of amino acids that is found in our skin, bones, muscles, digestive system and blood vessels. Collagen is well known for replacing dead skin cells and for the elasticity and strength of our skin.
BENEFITS OF COLLAGEN
There are many benefits to taking collagen. The first and foremost is that it is great at healing the digestive tract. The amino acids in collagen are good at building the tissue that lines the colon and digestive tract. This helps in healing leaky gut and can be a tremendous help for anyone with IBS, colitis, or post parasite infections. It can also help promote healthy stomach acid production which will in turn help us absorb our food better. Healthy bowel movements are also an appreciated benefit .
Collagen is great for promoting bone health. When we lose collagen, our tendons and ligaments have difficulty moving smoothly so you may feel stiff and have swollen joints. Collagen acts as a lubricant that covers and holds the bones together. Research shows improvements in osteo arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and any joint pain conditions when taking collagen.
While collagen is beneficial to the entire body, it is most noticeably beneficial to the skin. As we age collagen production declines. Our skin therefore becomes thinner and looser, and cellulite is more apparent. Collagen consumption can increase skin elasticity and moisture and help the body ’s own production process improve. Hair loss tends to be reduced and an increase in the strength of our nails is also noticed .
Collagen can also help with sleep because it is rich in an amino acid called glycine . Glycine has a calming effect. Having some collagen (3 grams of glycine) perhaps in a gummy form before bed can set the tone for a better sleep .
If you are a vegetarian, you can get marine collagen, but you will not get the same benefits as you would from animal collagen.
WAYS TO TAKE COLLAGEN
There are several good sources of high-quality hydrolyzed collagen powders. They dissolve easily in cold drinks and hot drinks. I like to add a non flavor one to my smoothies. My favorite source of collagen, however, is homemade bone broth especially during the cold winter months.
Broths are trending, which is great, because they are simple to make and a source of bio-available nutrients in an easy-to-digest form. Bone broths are typically simmered for a long period of time (often in excess of 24 hours). This long cooking time helps to remove as many minerals as possible from the bones.
Here is my recipe for chicken bone broth (based on 2 chickens). If you are using raw bones, it improves flavor to roast them in the oven first. Place them in a roasting pan for 30 minutes at 350 degress. After this, put the bones in a large pot, pour water and 2 TBL of apple cider vinegar over the bones. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. The acid helps make the nutrients in the bones more available. Add chopped garlic, onions, carrots, celery, and herbs of your choice. The quantities can vary depending on your taste. Bring this to a boil and let it simmer for 24 hours. I like to throw in some parsley the last hour.