What is it and why is it important?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, accounting for 25-35% of the body’s protein mass, and it is responsible for our connective tissues. It is incredibly strong yet also very flexible, and this provides essential support to our skin, muscles, bones, joints, fingernails and hair. It’s also found in our eyes, our intestines and in organs. It is vital to overall health, and proper integrity and function in all our body tissues and organs.
Some signs of weak connective tissue and decreased collagen synthesis are;
- Decreased skin elasticity, wrinkles, sagging and easy bruising
- Bone problems such as osteopenia and osteoporosis
- Joint issues such as stiffness, pain and arthritis
- Frequent sports injuries
- Collagen production generally declines with age from around mid-20s
Supporting collagen production
We need to support the body’s ability to produce collagen. There are several steps in collagen synthesis, and vitamin C is absolutely key to aid these processes. Without adequate vitamin C we can end up with sub-optimal collagen supply, which can lead to weak connective tissues and problems with our joints, skin, bones and so on.
The best food sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower) and white potatoes. You can also supplement with vitamin C, such as Lamberts 1000mg time release tablets or Viridian Extra C 950mg capsules.
Collagen can be obtained from our diet in the form of meat and fish that contains skin, bones and connective tissues, and bone broth. We can also eat foods that contain the amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) that make up collagen; glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. These include fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, legumes (beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils), and soy.
Ideally, you’d get all the amino acids you need to replenish your collagen levels from your diet. But many diets, particularly vegan, can make this difficult to achieve. That is where collagen supplements can come in handy.
There are different types of collagen with type 1 forming the vast majority of body collagen. Marine collagen shows high resemblance to human collagen and is therefore easily absorbed in the gut and delivered to the target tissues. Made from fish skin, scales and sometimes bones, marine-sourced type I collagen is widely considered to be superior when it comes to skin health. It’s also suitable for those who don’t eat meat. Bare Biology Skinful Pure Marine Collagen Powder provides 5,000mg (5g) of Type I marine collagen peptides in a superfine unflavoured powder which dissolves immediately for a smooth drink (perfect for adding to your morning coffee). Many people see impressive results in their skin and hair. Bare Biology Marine Collagen Plus Vitamin C Strawberry Flavour has the added benefits of wholefood vitamin C from acerola cherries and makes a tasty drink stirred in to water or smoothies.
Check out this delicious collagen and blueberry smoothie recipe from Bare Biology https://www.barebiology.com/blogs/news/collagen-smoothie-recipe-with-berries
Biocare Collagen Complex are capsules that provides marine collagen, as well as other nutrients supporting connective tissue health such as antioxidants rutin and rosehips, and hyaluronic acid.
Fushi Vegan Collagen Builder provides the amino acids for collagen found in vegan sources, alongside vitamin E as a natural antioxidant to fight free radicals, green tea extract which provides antioxidant support whilst being rich in riboflavin to support skin elasticity and tightening, and gotu kola which contains a compound researched for its ability to keep skin tighter and firmer whilst supporting blood circulation to the skin.
We have 2 exciting new products from certified B Corp and all-round brilliant brand Ancient and Brave; Coffee and Collagen, and Cacao and Collagen.
The Coffee and Collagen contains organic Brazilian Santos coffee with collagen peptides, organic adaptogenic ashwagandha to help build stress resilience, vitamin C rich baobab, raw cacao and roasted chicory root.
The Cacao and Collagen is a delicious smooth chocolate blend of luxury Peruvian raw cacao combined with collagen peptides, organic ashwagandha, baobab, sweet earthy beetroot plus carob and cinnamon for a hint of natural sweetness.
Both Ancient and Brave products provide grass-fed bovine collagen, which contains type I and type 3 collagen, both of which are abundant in the human body in hair, skin, nails, bones, joints and the gut.
So, collagen isn’t just for smooth, elastic skin (although it IS great for that). Collagen can also be helpful for joint pain, as well as bone and gut health. Ensure you choose high quality products from ethical, sustainable sources.
Sarah Martin Nutrition – Registered Nutritional Therapist