*Everything in this article is from my personal research and experience with collagen.*
I’m sure you’re familiar with collagen, not only is it becoming a new, trendy supplement to take, but it is also the most abundant structural protein in our connective tissues. Collagen is a long-chain amino acid that makes our skin look soft & firm, keeps our joints well-oiled, and helps our bones and muscles stay strong and healthy. This protein can start to slow down its production when we’re around 25 but, there are a lot of factors that can contribute to how fast the aging process can be. I am all about aging gracefully so, I think it’s important to keep our bodies running at their optimal level in a natural way, and taking a collagen supplement could help with this.
Warning, this is kind of a long post…
What I’ve learned about collagen: A lot.
The first thing I learned were the benefits, which you can find in the majority of articles talking about collagen. Although I am often told how young I look I figured it would probably be a good time to start taking collagen since I am turning 25 this year and I found my new favorite brand Vital Proteins.
Well, I started adding collagen powder to my coffee, tea or smoothie almost daily. Completely unaware that there can be too much of a good thing with this supplement. I started going more in depth with my research on collagen when I was impressed with the strength and health of my typically weak and frail nails. It has been about 3 months now, and this week I noticed how fatigued I was feeling. How hard it was to wake up and how I was sleeping more than usual. I also felt uneasy after my morning bulletproof coffee which is out of the norm for me. So, as usual, I texted my mom and she sent me over a few articles on how taking collagen can cause your calcium levels to rise which could possibly lead to hypercalcemia*. Well, this was all new news to me! Who knew you could take too much collagen? Not this girl.
I am not saying “don’t take collagen.” Honestly, you should probably start taking collagen if you’re around 25 years old to support the collagen production in your body. You’ll start to notice the signs of collagen loss in the body closer to the age of 30 such as changes to your skin and creaky joints. Just be mindful in how much you are taking and listen to your body. I thought my fatigue was just my normal level of being tired all the time until Saturday morning when I slept in till almost 9 am which is not normal for me. So, as with anything, be mindful with this supplement.
Other fun facts: There are around 16 different types of collagen proteins in our body and they make up 25-35% of the body’s protein and 70% of the skin’s proteins. There are multiple ways to take collagen and you can find them in different animals – cows, chickens, eggs, and fish. Also, it’s good to know that foods high in antioxidants encourage the production of collagen in the body – take your vitamin C and eat those berries!
Benefits of Collagen
*Friendly reminder, this is from personal website research and experience. I would love any feedback in the comments*
1. Improves the Health and Strength of Our Skin, Hair, Nails, and Teeth.
This was honestly the first thing that caught my interests. Taking collagen can help your skin look firmer, smoother, and it will help your skin cells continue to renew and repair themselves normally. When our body begins to slow down the production of collagen the skin begins to lose its elasticity, which means our cellulite is more visible. Collagen can help the cells build back some of the elasticity of the skin which can in turn help minimize the appearance of wrinkles and cellulite. I know I have cellulite, but it doesn’t bother me right now. What was bothering me was that I didn’t feel like my skin was as soft as it used to be. After my first month of taking Vital Proteins Marine Collagen I noticed the dry patch on my bicep was no longer there and overall noticed that my skin was indeed softer.
Another issue I’ve always dealt with is having very weak nails. My nails would split or break as soon as a little white began to show and since I started taking collagen I have been able to grow my nails longer without feeling worried that they would split because of how strong they felt. I learned that “collagen protein is the building block of your fingernails, hair, and teeth”, and although I haven’t noticed too much of a difference in my teeth or hair yet, my nails are visibly stronger and skin is softer.
2. Reduces Joint Pain & Degeneration
Collagen has been shown to help ease joint pain, stiffness, and swollen joints by basically oiling them up. For me, this was important because I tend to have pain in my wrists that go into my fingers, and occasionally my ankles. I am a very “poppy” and “creaky” person when it comes to my joints – my Thai massage teacher told me I was “airy” or in Ayurvedic terms, I am very Vata. There is also a history of arthritis in my family, so I would love to find anything that could help ease any joint pain that may occur.
3. Can Help Heal the Gut
In case you don’t know, your gut is your second brain. So, it’s really important that it stays healthy and is able to digest what you are eating. From my experience earlier this year, when the gut is not able to process what is going on, and it is overly sensitive to everything you are eating, you will not be able to process anything easily either and you will also be overly sensitive about everything. Aka you’re emotions will be crazy and if you’re anything like me, you will cry a lot.
When I was going through these challenging times with my digestive system I started drinking half a mason jar of Epic Bone Broth every day. At this time I was unaware that bone broth had collagen in it – once again, it was overwhelming time and difficult to process anything – all I knew was that bone broth is really great at healing your stomach. I later learned that it was the collagen in the broth that was sealing and healing my gastrointestinal tract by forming new connective tissue.
3. Boosts Your Metabolism
I go through periods where I can eat everything in sight, and I’m used to that, but this past week was a whole new level of wanting to eat everything in sight when I got hungry. So, I definitely noticed the increase in my metabolism and probably should have been working out more to keep up with how much I was wanting to eat. Collagen has been shown to boost your muscle mass as well, so it is good to take after you have worked out. I wasn’t working out as often as I usually do these past two weeks so I haven’t actually noticed a difference in my muscle mass, just my appetite since my metabolism was burning up everything I was eating.
I plan on continuing to take collagen supplements, I am just going to space out how often I take this beneficial protein. My nails are stronger than ever, my skin is back to being as soft as it was when I was in high school, and it helped heal my gut which has been temperamental since January. As I have said before, be mindful of how your body reacts to the supplements you take. Some people might be able to take collagen every day and have no negative side effects, I am not that person hahaha.
*Hypercalcemia is when calcium levels in your body are higher than normal. Symptoms can vary but some examples would be nausea, constipation, weakened bones or bone pain, muscle weakness, lethargy, and fatigue.
Want some recipes that you can use with your collagen supplements? Click Here
I know there are a lot of benefits from taking a collagen supplement, but I chose to only share the benefits that I have noticed in my own body. I have learned that collagen can help with: cardiovascular health, detoxing the liver, building muscle mass, and boosting your energy output, but these are not effects that I can personally say I have noticed. So I am sharing what I have experienced with you and would love for you to share your knowledge with me below! Do you have an article you think I should read? Have you noticed one of the benefits listed above? What is your favorite way to incorporate collagen into your lifestyle?
Disclosure: Vital Proteins partnered with me to try and to review the products from my experience. All thoughts and experiences are my own.