What is it?
Collagen is a type of protein that you can find in your body that gives you structure. It makes up your skin, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons (aka connective tissue). Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and is what gives you the ability to stretch. When you go down to touch your toes that’s thanks to collagen!
Signs of low collagen:
The main characteristic sign of lower collagen is sagging skin. Young people are full of collagen which helps make their skin is very elastic. As time goes on and we get older our body’s ability to digest proteins goes down and the quality of our bodies collagen also goes down which leaves us with wrinkles in our skin. This is why I often recommend to my older clients that they increase their protein intake so that they don’t get too frail. This helps them also stay strong enough to get back up if ever they fall.
Another characteristic of low collagen would be injuries from physical activity or sports. Sprained ankles, torn ligaments, and strained muscles are all signs of your collagen not being strong enough to hold you together. If you suffer from these kinds of injuries, you may want to consider incorporating more collagen in to your diet.
Sources of collagen:
Collagen can only be found in animal-based foods simply because plants do not have skin, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Bone broth is the hallmark collagen source because it is so rich in two essential amino acids proline and glycine that make up collagen. Other collagen sources are foods that collagen helps the most like skin from poultry, gelatin (which is basically just cooked collagen), and tendons (hence my photo!)
How much collagen?
If you are not consuming homemade bone broth or other collagen rich foods at least 2-7 days a week then you are missing out on major health benefits. In this case, it is recommended to start using a collagen supplement everyday to make up for lost time. A collagen supplement does not replace bone broth, but it is better than nothing. That being said, some collagen supplement are just ground up chicken sternum, proving how essential bones are to your health. Furthermore, overshooting your collagen will not be harmful to the body and some spillover would actually be preferential to not getting enough.