Collagen's health benefits are many

By Brittany Buchanan
Nov. 14, 2017 at 3:42 p.m.

Brittany Buchanan

Brittany Buchanan   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

When you think of collagen, you may think of the cartilage of your ear, the protein that is in connective tissue, the tendons on chicken tenders or even as an ingredient in face creams that help firm the skin. As health and nutrition continue to advance, many new recommendations are being made, including taking collagen orally.

Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the human body. In fact, it contains 18 amino-acids, including eight out of the eight essential amino-acids our body needs. It can be found in our muscles and bones, our skin, the heart, kidneys, digestive system and our tendons - just to name a few. However, as we age, our production of collagen begins to decrease.

Why are people jumping on the collagen band wagon? What are the benefits of collagen?

• Strengthens and improves the health of hair, nail and teeth

• Helps heal leaky gut

• Reduces joint pain and degeneration

• Protects cardiovascular health

• Improves liver health

• Boosts metabolism, muscle mass and energy output

As we age, we might start to notice that our skin is becoming looser because of less elasticity, or we get wrinkles or creases in areas that were once smooth. The reason for this is because collagen is essential to having healthy hair, skin and nails. Our collagen production decreases with age, and increasing oral collagen can help renew and repair these cells.

Collagen can not only improve skin health, but when absorbed in the GI tract and after being digested, it is circulated throughout the blood and can accumulate in the skin. With the ever increasing number of digestive health issues, leaky gut syndrome has become extremely common; however, collagen can help rebuild the collagen that is lacking in the intestinal walls.

Collagen allows our joints, tendons and ligaments to move easily without much friction. As our collagen begins to decrease, our joints can become more stiff and painful. Collagen contains amino acids glycine and proline; these amino acids can help reduce joint pain and tenderness.

Our heart's valves are also made up of collagen tissue. Proline, one of the amino acids in collagen, can help breakdown fat deposits in these arteries and valves and repair the tissue.

The liver has a huge job in the human body - it detoxifies all the toxins that we get exposed to. The amino acid glycine can help with the detoxification process and reduce the damage done to the liver from these toxins.

Collagen helps form muscle and having more lean muscle mass and tissues gives your metabolism a boost because you burn more calories with the more muscle you have.

What can you do to get more collagen in your diet? There are many collagen-rich foods such as spinach, kale, fish, chicken, beef and many others.

What is most popular right now is adding powdered collagen to your coffee in the morning, afternoon smoothies or to hot tea at night. You can also add it baked dishes like muffins, pancakes, breads or anything else you put powder into.

Brittany Buchanan has received her Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Texas Tech University, just completed her dietetic internship, and will sit for her registered dietitian exam in December.


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