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What Collagen Can and Can't Do For You

Browses Instagram. Sees a blogger stirring collagen into their morning latte. Sound familiar?

It seems as though collagen has earned the coveted spot as a must-have for those seeking the fountain of youth; even being endorsed from the likes of Kourtney Kardashian who recently introduced collagen as the first product in her new lifestyle line, Poosh. 

But what is collagen, anyways? And, what’s its superhero power? Let’s break down what it can and can’t do for you.

 

Your body naturally produces collagen.

It’s true! Collagen is a protein – one of the most abundant proteins naturally produced by your body. It’s found in your skin, muscles, bones and cartilage. Your body makes its own collagen with the help of the right fuel – a healthy diet full of animal-based proteins, fruits, veggies and more. It has a big job to do! But, if our bodies produce collagen, why do we feel the need to buy collagen by the case full? 

As we age, collagen production naturally decreases and our bodies have a harder time absorbing nutrients as we did in our youth. Some studies suggest that taking collagen may support the bodies natural decline and promote collagen formation, but the jury is still out.  Ultimately, it is difficult to assess whether consuming this protein in supplement form boosts anti-aging properties, or if it is due to a healthy lifestyle, adequate hydration and plenty of nutrient-rich foods. 

In addition, and most importantly, like all proteins, collagen is broken down into individual amino acids once we digest and metabolize it, and therefore, is not absorbed as the whole protein. This means the large collagen protein is not reaching skin or hair in its full, intact form.

 

But, will this beauty powder will keep me lookin’ young?

Looking young is a combination of a lot of things! But, some studies have shown collagen may improve elasticity, firmness and moisture in the skin while also improving hair and nail health. 

 

Aside from how I look, can collagen help how I feel?

Wrinkles and dullness aren’t the only perk of aging. What about those aches and pains? With collagen playing a major role in your connective tissue – it’s working for you inside and out. Because it is a protein, collagen supplements may also help with joint and muscle health, meaning it could be a good addition for the active individual.  

 

Collagen is exploding on the market. 

You’ll likely see more and more collagen-based products hit the shelves. Some of the best ways to up your intake: powders, bone broths and creamers, including our top pick — Collagen Peptides from Vital Proteins. Just remember, there’s still more research to be done on this new and emerging topic. 

Beyond collagen, our tips for looking and feeling your best? A healthy, balanced diet filled with plenty of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean proteins, paired with an active lifestyle. We know, we’re predictable. 

 

Stay young, friends! 

Cover photo by: Sydney Mastrandrea

By Amanda Baker Lemein and Julie Pappas

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