My Morning Ritual with Collagen
One of my morning “rituals” includes drinking one cup of hot, French-Pressed, locally roasted organic coffee blended with two heaping spoonfuls of collagen powder supplement. I drink my coffee black, so it’s just coffee and collagen – without sweetener and dairy. I have my first dose of collagen when I wake up and will often have another couple tablespoons later in the day (or evening) mixed into a smoothie or tea.
As I creep closer to 40, I have noticed that the effects of aging are becoming more pronounced – from looser skin, wrinkles, to achey joints, I’ve noticed it all. A lot of this degeneration is caused by the decline of collagen – a normal effect of aging. To balance out this collagen loss, I supplement with collagen powder. This article explores collagen, its many benefits and my experience with it.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, especially type 1 collagen. It’s found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. It’s what helps give our skin strength and elasticity. Collagen also aids in replacing dead skin cells. When it comes to our joints and tendons, in simplest terms, collagen is the “glue” that helps hold the body together.
Collagen and aging
Our body’s collagen production naturally begins to slow down as we age. Typical symptoms of aging, such as wrinkles, sagging, loose skin and joint pains are due to weaker and decreased levels of collagen. Outside of the normal aging process, lifestyle factors – such as eating a high-sugar diet, smoking and high amounts of sun exposure also deplete collagen levels.
Why supplement with collagen?
I supplement with collagen because it benefits my body in many ways. Here are six benefits of collagen supplementation.
1. Enhances hair, skin, teeth, gums and nails. Increasing collagen levels can help your skin look firmer, retain moisture, increase smoothness, reduce dimpling caused by cellulite and help your skin and hair cells renew and repair normally.
2. Improves your digestive health. Collagen’s naturally occurring amino acids help to form connective tissue, thus healing damaged cell walls and soothing the protective lining of your gastrointestinal tract. This provides your gut with a strong line of defense, aids in digestion and heals disorders and GI symptoms such as leaky gut syndrome, acid reflux, colitis and Chrohn’s Disease.
3. Strengthens joint health and reduces joint degeneration. With its smooth, gel-like structure that covers and keeps our bones together, collagen allows joints to glide and move with less pain. Consuming more collagen helps your joints move more easily, reduces pain often associated with aging and reduces your risk of joint deterioration.
4. Improves liver health. The high glycine content in collagen helps minimize damage your liver experiences when it absorbs toxins and alcohol.
5. Protects cardiovascular function. The amino acid proline found in collagen helps your artery walls release fat buildup in the bloodstream, shrinking the fat in the arteries. Minimizing fat accumulation maintains a healthy blood pressure and prevents arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Arginine in collagen helps with nitric oxide production, which allows for better vasodilation, allowing for better circulation.
6. Helps build and repair lean muscle tissue. Increased collagen consumption may lead to increased lean muscle mass. Collagen’s glycine helps to form muscle tissue by converting glucose into energy that feeds muscle cells. Arginine found in collagen boosts the body’s ability to make protein from other amino acids, which is important for repairing muscle tissue, healing wounds, decreasing tissue degeneration, boosting metabolism, and aiding in proper growth and development.
How collagen has helped me
It can be difficult to pinpoint beneficial effects of a supplement. However, I can say that my hair and nails have definitely grown faster since supplementing with collagen daily for a few months. When I first started taking it I noticed that my hair changed texture and became thicker, which was weird because I naturally have thick hair. As for my skin, I think it feels tighter, especially on my face.
It is possible that the collagen has helped my joints feel less achey. When I stopped taking it for a couple weeks, I felt more stiffness and soreness. I do not know if this was related to the lack of collagen, increased stress, or particular workouts I did during those weeks.
Another observation I made is that when I first starting taking the collagen, my sleep improved, but again, I am unsure if the improvement was because of the supplement or because I had also started using the Bulletproof Sleep Induction Mat around the same time.
I haven’t noticed any negative side effects from taking collagen and plan on sticking with it to see if I notice any benefits in the future.
Brands of collagen I like
As to what brands of collagen I use – I rotate between the following brands because they are flavorless and mix well with coffee and smoothies:
- Do you supplement with collagen? If yes, why do you take collagen and have you noticed any improvement in your health?
- If you consume collagen, which brand do you use? Why?
When she is not helping others to slay fat, build muscle, and live amazing lives, Jennifer can be found exploring the outdoors with her dogs, cooking, traveling and playing/coaching lacrosse. She also enjoys reading and writing about food culture, history and the science of human movement.