It seems as if everyone is talking about the benefits of collagen protein: glowing skin, flexible joints and strong bones. Yes, please! But if you’re still wondering what the heck collagen is, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to get the lowdown on this hardworking protein, all the ways that it benefits your body and how to get more collagen protein in your life. Your body will thank you.
What is collagen protein?
Collagen is a structural protein that acts as a building block for your bones, teeth, muscles, skin, joints and connective tissues. Think of it as the glue that holds your body together. The most abundant protein in the body, collagen makes up more than one-third of your total protein. It’s rich in glycine, proline and hydroxyproline — the amino acids that help your body make new collagen.
What about collagen peptides?
You’ve probably encountered the terms “collagen peptides,” “hydrolyzed collagen,” and “collagen powder.” These terms are simply different names for the same thing: hydrolyzed collagen protein powder. Specifically, the term “collagen peptides” refers to collagen that has undergone a process called hydrolysis. This process breaks down the amino acids in collagen into smaller molecules, making it easier for your body to absorb.
Benefits of collagen
Supports youthful skin
Collagen makes up the bulk of your skin, but your body makes less collagen as you get older — starting in your 20s. The result? Sagging skin and fine lines. Studies show that taking collagen supplements can support plump skin and may reduce wrinkles.
Strengthens bones and joints
Collagen peptides strengthen your joints, making them more resilient. Research shows that taking hydrolyzed collagen (aka collagen protein powder) reduces joint pain after exercise and boosts the density of your cartilage, making joints more flexible. A 2008 study found that athletes who took hydrolyzed collagen for six months saw an improvement in joint pain after exercise. Other studies have shown that collagen helps comfort sore back and knees. New evidence suggests that collagen even supports strong bones.
How to get more collagen in your diet
Eat more collagen-rich foods
Good dietary sources of collagen include:
- Bone broth (get the recipe for homemade collagen bone broth)
- Pork, salmon and chicken skins
- Non-muscle meats like tendon, tripe, oxtail and knuckle
- Egg yolk and eggshell membranes
Take a collagen peptide supplement
Collagen protein powder (aka collagen peptides) makes it easy to get more collagen in your diet. Just mix one or two scoops of collagen powder into your smoothie, Bulletproof Coffee, soup or water. Choose a powder that comes from pasture-raised, hormone-free cows.