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Collagen. It feels like everyone is talking about it. But what is it, why do we need it and how do we get it?
According to Wikipedia (yes, don't you know, it's a totally factual source of info):
Collagen is the main structural protein in the extracellular space in the various connective tissues in bodies. As the main component of connective tissue, it is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up from 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content. Depending upon the degree of mineralization, collagen tissues may be rigid (bone), compliant (tendon), or have a gradient from rigid to compliant (cartilage). Collagen, in the form of elongated fibrils, is mostly found in fibrous tissues such as tendons, ligaments and skin. It is also abundant in corneas, cartilage, bones, blood vessels, the gut, intervertebral discs and the dentin in teeth. In muscle tissue, it serves as a major component of the endomysium. Collagen constitutes one to two percent of muscle tissue, and accounts for 6% of the weight of strong, tendinous muscles. The fibroblast is the most common cell that creates collagen. Gelatin, which is used in food and industry, is collagen that has been irreversibly hydrolyzed. Collagen also has many medical uses in treating complications of the bones and skin. The name collagen comes from the Greek κόλλα (kólla), meaning "glue", and suffix -γέν, -gen, denoting "producing". This refers to the compound's early use in the process of boiling the skin and sinews of horses and other animals to obtain glue.
So that's probably way more info than we need. Basically, collagen (especially Type 1) gives our skin strength and elasticity and keeps our joints and tendons lubed up. As we age (OMG can we stop?), the body's production of collagen begins to slow down and we start to see things like wrinkles, sagging skin and join pain. Other factors also lead to collagen breakdown: a diet high in sugar, smoking and too much sun exposure. So what to do? Well, I heard Jennifer Aniston was taking collagen n powder form, so of course i started doing the same. And Ive actually noticed a huge difference in a bunch of ways, which apparently is exactly what adding collagen into your diet is supposed to do:
1. Improves skin + hair health. Yup. My hair has started to grow faster and unbelievably, I've noticed a marked difference in my cellulite and stretch marks. Not kidding.
2. Reduces joint pain. Another yup. My chronic knee pain is almost nonexistent now.
3. Boosts metabolism, muscle mass and energy output. Actually, yes. At least, I think so.
4. Strengthens nails, hair + teeth. I don't know about teeth, but m hair and nails seem better.
Other things it claims it can do, but that I can't attest to: aid in leaky gut syndrome (not going there), improves liver health and protects cardiovascular health. So basically, collagen is a miracle. There are a ton of types and brands, but the ones I like are by Dr. Axe, Vital Proteins (Jen's fave) and Zint. I've been adding 2 tablespoons to my coffee every morning, and I swear I really do believe it works!