If you’ve been around us at Wild Foods for a while, you know we are crazy about collagen. It’s one of our Best Sellers, and we use it all the time too.
But what exactly is it? Why do we take Wild Collagen, let alone need it in our diets? And how much collagen should we be consuming? Let’s start answering those questions and more…
When you search for the definition, you get results that look something like this:
Col·la·gen /ˈkäləjən/ noun: collagen; plural noun: collagens the main structural protein found in skin and other connective tissues, widely used in a purified form for cosmetic surgical treatments.
There are different types of collagen. Exogenous (external or outside) collagen is used for medical and cosmetic purposes. Endogenous collagen (internal or inside) is natural collagen synthesized by the body.
So it is naturally occurring in our bodies and is your most abundant protein—found in skin, muscles, tendons, and bones. As we often say, it’s like “the “glue” that holds the many parts of your body together.” We need it.
Another analogy is thinking of collagen-like as a scaffold. Those are the structures you see used on many construction sites. They are there to support a work crew and the materials they’re working with—aiding in the construction project, maintenance, or repair of buildings and bridges. Scaffolding is a framework that provides structure, strength, and solidarity.
If Our Bodies Have Collagen In Them, Why Do We Need To Consume It Too?
The modern Western diet is sadly all too often full of pre-packaged foods, refined grains, processed meat, corn, and sugar-laden drinks, which can all potentially rob your body of the collagen it has.
Autoimmune disorders may cause antibodies that target collagen. The chemicals resulting from smoking tobacco also offer damaging prospects to both the collagen and elastin found in the skin, not to mention the vast array of other harms smoking presents.
While we need to be outdoors in the natural sunlight each day, unfortunately, those ultraviolet rays make collagen break down more rapidly, damaging collagen fibers in the skin, causing the skin to rebuild incorrectly, which then often forms wrinkles.
And the aging process causes our natural collagen quality and production too slow, starting that decline sometimes even as early as in our mid-20’s. It can decrease even more dramatically in women after menopause.
We need collagen, but isn't it already in our food?
It’s true, a nutritious diet that is health-focused can help the body produce collagen. Since collagen is found in connective tissues, foods such as chicken skin, pork skin, beef, and fish are all sources of collagen.
Foods like Wild Bone Broth, contain Type II Collagen and whether you’re making a pot of soup, a nice hot stew, or simply adding a scoop to a smoothie, it’s a great, easy way to get a flavorful dose of collagen in.
Other friendly-to-collagen foods to consider are berries (which protect against free radicals that can break down collagen); orange vegetables (think carrots and sweet potatoes, which could help restore and regenerate damaged collagen); garlic (a source of sulfur, and a major player for promoting collagen production); and dark green vegetables (like kale and spinach, rich in Vitamin C, and good for offering a boost to the natural production of collagen).
Problem is, while several foods contain collagen, their absorption may not be as efficient as that of hydrolyzed collagen.
Why hydrolyze? And what are peptides?
Collagen and its long helix chains of amino acids can be difficult to break down during the natural process of digestion. When collagen is hydrolyzed (or broken-down due to reaction with water, hence the term “hydro”) it becomes smaller molecules, therefore making it easier to absorb into your bloodstream. This is why hydrolyzed collagen is thought to be more efficiently absorbed than the collagen contained in the foods you eat.
If you’re currently using a collagen powder or have been researching it on the web, you may have run into the collagen vs. collagen peptides variations. So what’s the big difference?
Proteins and peptides are fundamental components of cells, with peptides being smaller than proteins. Peptides are traditionally defined as molecules consisting of between 2 and 50 amino acids. As discussed above, when those peptides are broken down using a water process, this creates collagen peptides.
Collagen peptides contain the same amino acids like collagen, just with different structural properties, making the collagen peptides more bioavailable or easier to absorb. So, hydrolyzed collagen and collagen peptides are pretty much just two names for the same kind of product.
Simply put, collagen is a protein, and when broken down through hydrolyzation (water process) to become collagen peptides, they are more easily and efficiently absorbed by your body!
We have talked some about its scientific makeup and why we need it in our bodies, but what are some specific things collagen peptides help out with health-wise? Well, of course, everyone feels varying benefits, but many people use collagen for the following reasons:
Healthy Skin & Hair
Collagen may slow the effects of aging, offering a reduction in skin dryness and wrinkles, along with hydration of the skin and added elasticity. Hair too may be stimulated to grow, preventing brittleness, and offering improved strength with the supplementation of collagen.
Taking collagen regularly may increase bone mineral density, which is the number of minerals found in your bones. This would mean offering skeletal support, which could in turn limit breakdowns that may lead to osteoporosis.
Muscle Mass & Getting Fit
Collagen is a protein your muscles need to stay strong and optimally function. When combined with a healthy exercise routine, collagen peptides may stimulate muscle growth. Perhaps imparting a gain in muscle mass and strength.
A Healthier Heart
Since collagen provides structure to your arteries, without enough of it your arteries could become fragile and weak. Taking collagen peptides may provide a reduction in artery stiffness and lower risk of heart-related conditions.
Some people feel that using collagen supplements boost their metabolism and possibly promote weight loss when included as a part of their nutritious diet and active lifestyle.
Others taking collagen have expressed an experience of reduction in symptoms of anxiety, along with overall mood improvement. Studies are being done with the exciting discovery of one type of collagen that’s being made by neurons in the brain. It was suggested that increased neuronal production of this type of collagen is an important component of the brain’s defense against the proteins widely thought to cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Quicker Wound Repair
Since collagen is so great for the skin, it can pretty much go without saying that it may assist in the support of internal and external wound healing as well!
Happier Gut & Smoother Digestion
Many health practitioners are promoting the use of collagen to treat intestinal permeability, also known as “leaky gut”. While opinion on the effectiveness of its use varies from person to person, what we do know is collagen makes up a major part of our body and that includes many of our digestive parts and the gut lining.
Joint Pain Relief
Cartilage is that rubber-like tissue that protects your joints. Collagen can help maintain integrity. Supplementing your body with collagen peptides potentially offers your cartilage the chance to accumulate collagen, which may stimulate your tissues to make more collagen. This could lead to lower levels of inflammation which means a reduction in joint pain disorders like osteoarthritis.
Time To Go Wild
Because collagen makes up so much of the protein in your body and is so significant, it would make sense to choose quality collagen to nourish your system. We’re proud of our Wild Collagen Peptides because it is a non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free product made from pasture-raised, grass-fed bovine hide.
There are no fillers or additives in this product and we enjoy using it in just about anything, cold or hot! It’s flavorless on its own, so it goes delightfully in smoothies, shakes, coffee, soup, sauces, or even sprinkled directly on a steak dinner or steamed vegetables.
We like using a scoop a day, and most people say they’ve felt the benefits of supplementing with Wild Collagen within 30-60 days. It has zero carbs and you can take it any time of the day that works best for you and your schedule. If you are heading to the gym, a lot of folks prefer to take their collagen about 30 minutes before exercising to help support tendon health and facilitate muscle repair and growth.
Here’s an easy recipe to add our Wild Collagen Peptides to your daily hydration.
Refreshing Collagen Water Recipe
2 cups of filtered water
1 scoop of Wild Collagen Peptides Powder
3 slices lemon or lime3 slices cucumber
2 sprigs of mint with optional ice cubes.
Instructions: Combine the water and the collagen in a quart mason jar. Stir (or shake) until the collagen is completely dissolved. Add citrus, cucumber slices, and mint. Drop-in some ice cubes and drink up.
As you add Wild Collagen to your healthy lifestyle, let us know your favorite uses. And enjoy all of the Wild benefits!