Collagen, as a complex protein, contains EIGHTEEN out of the twenty existing amino acids found in our bodies. And these eighteen amino acids, when ingested, support all of the different various functions of our body in different ways: our skin, hair, brain, bones, teeth, nails, heart, digestion, muscles, weight, mood, virility and even sleep.
Brain Health and Functions: Anxiety and Sleep
Bones and teeth
Muscle tissues, ligaments, tendons
Metabolism and weight loss
Detoxing & Improving Liver Health
Mood & Anxiety
- Essentially, what collagen is doing for the skin is restoring what it needs most of at its cellular level to rebuild the eroding dermal matrix of your skin: AKA, rebuilding the cells’ “walls.” As we age, these walls become weaker-- caused by many things, but our declining supply of collagen being a huge component of it. By ingesting collagen, our cells are able to build stronger walls, and with stronger walls, our cells are able to keep the moisture in better. So ultimately, with more collagen, your skin will be able to keep its moisture levels high-- which will then in effect keep your skin hydrated and taut.
- Ultimately, these will lead to positive benefits on the skin such as :
- Diminished under eye bags and dark circles
- Diminished size of pores
- Diminished look of wrinkles
- Diminished look of cellulite
- Diminished look of scars
- More Brightened Skin
- More hydrated skin
- If you’re wondering how we could quantify these impacts-- some of the most interesting studies I’ve seen include using machines to measure the length of the shadows forecast by wrinkles pre-study and post-study, in addition to pinching the skin and seeing how much your skin can be pulled on day one versus day thirty.
- Additional ingestion of the amino acids arginine, glutamine and methionine in collagen is clinically proven to strengthen the hair structure and nails, in addition to preventing hair loss (See Appendix).
- Brain Health and Functions: Mood, Anxiety and Sleep
- The glycine in collagen acts as neurotransmitter with properties relax the body, leading to decrease in stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia.
- “As part of collagen found within joints, it buffers our bodies from the effects of vibration or shock and helps us hold on to valuable cartilage as we get older. (12) It’s also linked with the prevention of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) since it helps our arteries stay clear of dangerous plaque buildup.”
- Bones and teeth
- Heart Health
- “The amino acid proline helps your artery walls release fat buildup in the bloodstream, shrinking the fat in the arteries and minimizing fat accumulation. Proline is needed for tissue repair within the joints and arteries, plus it helps control blood pressure. In addition, arginine helps with nitric oxide production, which allows for better vasodilation — meaning the widening of arteries and relaxation of muscle cells and blood vessels that allows for better circulation.
- The protein smooths the gut similarly to how it smooths the skin, which can improve digestion.
- If you suffer from leaky gut syndrome, a condition where bad-for-you toxins are able to pass through your digestive tract, collagen can be super-helpful. It helps break down proteins and soothes your gut’s lining, healing damaged cell walls and infusing it with healing amino acids.
- The biggest digestive benefit of consuming more collagen is that it helps form connective tissue and therefore “seals and heals” the protective lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Today, we know that many illnesses can actually be traced back to inflammation or irritation stemming from an unhealthy gut. Poor gut health — including changes in the gut microbiomeand permeability in the gut lining — allows particles to pass into the bloodstream where they can kick off an inflammatory cascade (hence the name leaky gut syndrome).
- Studies have found that in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, serum concentrations of collagen are decreased. (7) Because the amino acids in collagen build the tissue that lines the colon and GI tract, supplementing with collagen can help treat gastrointestinal symptoms and disorders, including leaky gut syndrome, IBS, acid reflux, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In addition to helping heal leaky gut, collagen also helps with the absorption of water within the intestines, keeping things moving more freely out of body.
- Muscle tissues, ligaments, tendons
- Collagen is strong (fun fact: a gram of collagen is stronger than a gram of steel!)
- One of glycine’s most important roles is helping form muscle tissue by converting glucose into energy that feeds muscle cells. And remember that retaining muscle mass is crucial as you age, since it helps support posture, bone health and burns more calories than fat. When consuming collagen, you can benefit from also consuming vitamin C to ensure your body can convert the collagen into a useable protein. This can begin to restore the source or your energy and vitality.
- Metabolism and weight loss
- A boost in collagen may help increase your metabolism by adding lean muscle mass to your frame and helping with the conversion of essential nutrients.
- The purified, high-protein content of Hydrolysed Collagen is known to be an effective, natural appetite suppressant, in which many clinical studies have proven the satiating effect to promote weight loss (1,2).
Detoxing & Improving Liver Health
- If you’re looking to detox your body of harmful substances, improve blood flow and keep your heart young, collagen is extremely helpful. That’s because glycine helps minimize damage your liver experiences when it absorbs foreign substances, toxins or alcohol that shouldn’t be passing through it. One of the easiest ways to cleanse your liver is with a bone broth fast. I often recommend a three-day bone broth detox to rapidly repair leaky gut. This may help your body rid itself of chemicals and “reset” your gut, improving overall immune function. Studies have even found that glycine can be used to help reduce alcohol-induced liver damage and other forms of acute or chronic liver injury. (11)
- This is some of my most interesting discovery about collagen; and though it’s not extensively studied and it’s more anecdotal, I have found that ingesting collagen is the best way to consume protein. A lot of my vegan friends who have not had animal product in years were scared to take collagen-- but because they weren’t able to taste it, and feared the negative implications of not having enough collagen in their diets, started taking Crushed Tonic. All of them reported back with surprise as they didn’t feel any side effects (they were all incredibly sure that they would); and it made me curious, so I did some research and found out why:
- The American diet strips animal protein from its skin; when the two were designed to be eaten together. When we eat muscle meats from animals or fish without the other parts of the animal or fish, our diet is higher in the amino acid methionine and low in glycine. You may have heard in the past that a high meat or animal protein diet can shave off years from a person’s lifespan. Eating those other types of collagen - the bones, tendons, skin and other connective tissue parts of an animal or fish – may be the missing link in the research about why a high meat diet causes earlier death (on the other hand, researchers have found that a low methionine diet is what creates a longer lifespan by 30-40% and a high methionine diet is linked to a shorter lifespan). This is how our ancestors consumed animal: cavemen weren’t skimming the animal meat from the skin. And consuming those extra parts of the animal, which are loaded with glycine, would would result in a more efficient methionine clearance, reducing methionine toxicity, and thus making your body less inflamed.