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Top Foods with Collagen for Health

What holds complex organisms together? One of the main answers is the rough, fibrous material known as collagen. Collagen consists of polypeptide protein chains (glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine) folded into a triple helix conformation.

It makes up 30% of the protein in the body and up to 70% of the protein in the skin. Collagen guarantees the cohesion, elasticity, and regeneration of all our connective tissue. It acts like the “glue” that holds us together.

Let’s explore the main foods rich in collagen that we have available and how to incorporate them into our diet.

What is Collagen For?

what is collagen for

Incorporating foods rich in collagen can make us incredibly strong. Type I collagen (a type found in the human body) is stronger, gram for gram, than steel. It is critical for healthy cell reproduction, joints, connective tissue, and more.

Amino acids, particularly those found in collagen and gelatin, are especially beneficial for:

  • Supporting hair, skin, and nails
  • Joint health
  • Promoting skin elasticity and reducing the signs of aging
  • Improving digestion
  • Serving as a source of protein

It’s important to know that these amino acids come from bones and cartilage (usually from cows) and are not present in muscle meats.

Benefits of Collagen

Healthy Digestion and Gut Health

Other proteins can sometimes be difficult to digest, but foods rich in collagen can help improve digestion and overall gut health. Since our digestive tracts are made up of the same amino acids that are abundant in collagen, adding collagen to the diet can support digestive health.

Joint and Bone Health

Researchers have found that consuming collagen-rich foods can promote healthy cartilage, tendons, and ligaments, resulting in increased mobility. Protecting and enhancing bone and joint health is a key benefit of collagen.

Improved Sleep

Sleep is just as important to our bodies as the food we eat. A good night’s sleep helps us manage stress, control appetite, and feel more rested and energized for the next day. Collagen has been shown to help improve sleep quality, ensuring a restful night’s sleep.

What is Hydrolyzed Collagen?

what is hydrolyzed collagen

What is Hydrolyzed Collagen? Hydrolyzed collagen is a form of collagen known by various names, including collagen peptides, gelatin (cooked collagen), and collagen hydrolysate. The process begins with collecting collagen from the bones and skin of animals.

Through a process called hydrolysis, the collagen is broken down into smaller fragments. The body absorbs these fragments and uses them to increase energy and support tissue repair.

Unlike regular collagen, hydrolyzed collagen powder is more bioavailable. Increased bioavailability means greater natural absorption into the bloodstream. Regular collagen peptides, due to their long form, cannot offer the same health benefits.

The smaller fragments in hydrolyzed collagen supplements are easier to digest and are quickly broken down into molecules that enter the bloodstream. The hydrolyzed form has an absorption rate of 90%, compared to just 27% when acquired through food. When buying supplements, be sure to choose hydrolyzed collagen protein powder for optimal benefits.

Collagen for the Skin

When it comes to the best collagen for the skin, it can be hard to know where to start. Collagen plays a crucial role in maintaining young and elastic skin, but it also benefits other parts of the body, such as cartilage tissues. So, which type of collagen is best for the skin, and what should you look for in a collagen product?

Keeping collagen levels high is a great way to promote beautiful skin as you age. While there are more than 28 types of collagen, the body primarily uses three main types in large quantities:

  • Type I: This type of collagen makes up the majority of hair, skin, and nails.
  • Type II: This type is primarily associated with cartilage.
  • Type III: This type occurs in the bone marrow and reticular tissues and often appears alongside Type I.

For the most widespread skin benefits, a supplement that contains Type I collagen is the way to go.

As we age, the body’s collagen production decreases, making it difficult to replenish our supply through diet alone. For this reason, collagen supplements are essential for maintaining a youthful appearance and supporting skin health. When choosing a collagen supplement, look for one that prominently features Type I collagen.

Top Foods with Collagen

top foods with collagen

Kiwis

Kiwis are exceptionally high in vitamin C, a nutrient essential for the pre-collagen production phase. Vitamin C coordinates with the amino acids glycine and proline to produce hydroxyproline, an amino acid that ensures the triple helical structure of collagen.

Berries

Vitamin C is crucial for the production of pre-collagen and serves as a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants protect against the breakdown of collagen cells caused by free radicals (toxins) present in our air, food, and water supply.

Almonds

Almonds contain a healthy dose of vitamin E, the most abundant antioxidant in our skin. Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals that damage collagen cells and works in conjunction with vitamin C to stimulate collagen formation.

Avocados

Avocados may not be as rich in vitamin E as almonds, but they contain an adequate amount of antioxidants and natural fatty acids. These nutrients make avocados one of the top foods with collagen-boosting properties that you should include in your diet.

Safety Considerations: Who Should Be Cautious with Collagen?

While collagen-rich foods can be beneficial for many, some individuals should exercise caution. Those with allergies to common collagen sources (like fish or eggs), kidney stones, hypercalcemia, or certain autoimmune disorders should consult a healthcare professional before increasing collagen intake. Pregnant or breastfeeding women may want to limit consumption due to limited research. Always check with your doctor, especially if you’re on medication, to ensure collagen-rich foods are safe for your individual health needs.

How to Take Collagen

how to take collagen

In addition to incorporating collagen-rich foods into your diet, there are various convenient forms of collagen supplements available to boost your intake:

Collagen Powder

One of the most popular forms of collagen is collagen powder. It’s a loose, white powder that dissolves easily in liquids. Simply add it to smoothies, drinks, or foods for an easy boost of collagen.

Collagen Capsules

For those who prefer a straightforward method, collagen is also available in capsule form. These capsules eliminate the need to mix into drinks or recipes, offering a convenient way to get your collagen intake.

Liquid Collagen

Liquid collagen is another option, available in pre-dosed bottles that are ready to drink. Some are small, akin to collagen shots, while others are larger, resembling collagen-infused waters.

Collagen Injections

Injectable collagen fillers are available for those specifically looking to enhance the tone and appearance of their skin, including reducing scars. These are categorized as dermal fillers and are typically administered by medical professionals.

Choosing the right form of collagen supplementation depends on your preference and specific health goals. Whether you opt for powder, capsules, liquid, or injections, incorporating collagen into your routine can support skin health, joint function, and overall vitality. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

About Andrew Parkinson

Andrew Parkinson is a highly accomplished pharmacist with a passion for improving healthcare. With a wealth of experience in both community and clinical pharmacy settings, he's known for his dedication to patient well-being. Mr. Parkinson actively engages in medication management, offering personalized solutions and promoting better health outcomes. He has also played a pivotal role in educating patients on proper medication usage and potential interactions. Andrew's commitment to advancing the field of pharmacy and ensuring safe and effective drug therapies has garnered him recognition as a trusted and invaluable healthcare professional, making a positive impact on countless lives.

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