Collagen is one of the recent trends, which you can find in pills, powders, and skin products, and it is being seen as either a cure, or a quackery, depending upon who you talk to. Having looked into this, I can understand the scepticism, as much of what is being sold over the counter from commercial brands is not in a form which is usable or helpful. The key is eating from the source, or taking a top quality product.
To get collagen in diet, you need to be slow cooking organic meats, including the bones, and cartilage, in order to allow them to break down. You know when you have done this right, when you allow the meal to cool and put it in the fridge, and it becomes jelly like, which means that the collagen has broken down into gelatin, which is now available for you to eat.
I have included a podcast here with Chris Kresser interviewing the authors of a book about bone broth, where they discuss the benefits of bone broth in our diet.
For a few simple recipes on making your own broth, please see the following.
Recipes for Bone Broth:
My only caveats for bone broth is that is you suffer with histamine issues, bone broth may be problematic, so a caution for this. It is also important that you source good quality meat in order to cook a healthy bone broth.
If you are not in the market for cooking your way into good collagen levels, then taking a supplement is the best option for you. It is very important to be careful with what you take. As an example, if you are trying to get enough protein to help maintain healthy muscle growth, it can be hard to eat enough protein throughout the day, so a good collagen source can assist with this. The point is that it needs to be a good source.
To be effective at lean muscle growth, you need to be getting around 3-4g of leucine and lysine each day, as well as 1g of methionine. These are the most essential of the essential amino acids which make up protein. To get enough protein daily, we need to eat around 25-40g of protein in each of three daily meals, plus add one to two protein snacks every day. Whilst I find adding protein to a meal is feasible, finding protein snacks can be difficult.
The products which I stock in clinic help to support daily intake of these amino acids, by offering a simple method to up the intake of collagen peptides, in the form of a collagen powder. One dose would offer the right amount of supplemental collagen peptides to support good dietary protein, helping to maintain healthy lean muscle.
The main concern with taking supplemental collagen is getting the right form. There are a specific group of bioactive collagen peptides, which are sold in the products which I find work well. They are used by a variety of manufacturers due to being reliable, effective and well researched. They include Verisol (skin health), Fortigel (joint health), Fortibone (bone health), Bodybalance (muscle tone) and Tendoforte (ligaments, tendons). In clinic, I can run through which may be the best combination of these peptides for you, at your stage of life.
One of my favourite combinations includes the collagen peptides and adding powdered vitamin C and a number of other personalised supportive supplements, to make a once daily drink, which actually tastes delicious, and provides beneficial support to your ongoing muscle, bone and tendon health and more.
Taking collagen can help with skin elasticity (see the research at the end of this post), but also has shown support for post-menopausal health issues, tissue repair, bone density and general ageing. It does need to be taken regularly for a few months to have noticeable effects, so is worth finding a way to take it which can be included in a health ongoing wellness plan.
Favourite podcasts which help to educate about Collagen:
These guys are smart and funny, and give good research on this topic. They do manufacture their own products using the collagen peptides which I also stock from a different supplier, although I am looking into their products in clinic.
In this one, they go into detail about the types of collagen and the research to support taking supplements to support good health. Note: they do discuss Fortibone as being a great product, but not being available in Australia, and I do have access to this version via one of my suppliers who make a Practitioner Only supplement with this product.
This was an earlier podcast, where they were refuting a discussion on collagen by the ever interesting Dr Karl. Worth a listen, to hear some of the myths around collagen being dismissed.
Wellness by Design:
This podcast is more aimed at practitioners but is discussing skin health, and goes into good details about diet, and supplements, which can help, including a good discussion on collagen.
Another practitioner only podcast, but good discussion and research on the field of skin health and use of collagen to support this.
Finally, a meta-analysis (a collection of studies) demonstrating the benefits of supplementing with collagen for skin elasticity and hydration.
“In the meta-analysis, a grouped analysis of studies showed favorable results of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation compared with placebo in terms of skin hydration, elasticity, and wrinkles. The findings of improved hydration and elasticity were also confirmed in the subgroup meta-analysis. Based on results, ingestion of hydrolyzed collagen for 90 days is effective in reducing skin aging, as it reduces wrinkles and improves skin elasticity and hydration.”
For help with finding a good collagen product for your ongoing good health, please see me in clinic. I prefer to work with diet and lifestyle alongside products, so will be suggesting dietary changes and exercise, in order to achieve top results.