The Amazing Benefits of Collagen: A Detailed Guide

Collagen has become a hot topic in the beauty industry due to its ability to promote skin elasticity. Health and wellness gurus are also enamored with its ability to promote bone and joint health. But is there any truth to all this hype? As it turns out, yes! 

Collagen makes up around 30% of all the proteins in our bodies, making it the most abundant protein we have. It acts as a “glue” for our tissues and tendons, and you can find it in almost every part of your body, from your bones to your gut and even your brain.

However, the aging process naturally slows down collagen production. This can leave you with saggy skin, stiff joints, achy bones and more unpleasant side-effects. But fortunately, there are plenty of food sources rich in collagen peptides you can use to aid your body’s natural production. There are also plenty of ready-made collagen powder supplements on the market, like Great Lakes Gelatin’s amazing collagen hydrolysate powder. 

Here’s how collagen peptides can benefit your health, inside and out, along with my favorite natural sources out there!

Slows Signs of Aging

The most famous use of collagen is for skincare and anti-aging purposes, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a fibrous protein that helps add elasticity to the skin. Studies have demonstrated that taking collagen supplements can show signs of improved skin within four weeks and reduce wrinkles in as little as eight weeks. That’s why collagen is a must-have supplement for anyone looking for more youthful skin. 

Healthier Hair and Nails

Collagen is packed full of amino acids that your body uses to produce keratin, the fibrous protein that forms the basis of your hair and nails. That’s a game changer for anyone struggling with slow hair or nail growth. It can help your locks grow longer and shinier and strengthen brittle nails. No wonder beauty gurus can’t get enough of it!

Brain Health

Collagen isn’t only helpful for cosmetic uses. It can also keep your brain sharp and perceptive. It’s high in glycine, an amino acid that’s vital for healthy brain function. Glycine can improve your moods, boost your cognitive functions and even help you get a better night’s sleep on occasional sleepless nights. 

Remember how collagen is high in lysine? Well, it’s not just good for hair-loss. Lysine is also amazing for promoting a healthy brain. That’s right. Collagen can even help your brain battle the effects of aging! How awesome is that?

Bone and Joint Health

As we age, our bones and joints can get achy and stiff. That’s because the production of joint-lubricating collagen decreases over time. We depend on it to keep our joints, ligaments and tendons agile. Taking a collagen supplement is a great way to reduce the pain caused by stiff joints and can encourage flexibility by supporting healthy cartilage.

It’s not just your joints that can benefit, either. Collagen is also found in your bones themselves, and it triggers your body’s osteoblasts (bone-creating cells). Studies show that women who suffer from osteoporosis can find relief by supplementing their collagen intake.

Better Workout Recovery

Since Collagen helps lubricate your joints and support your bone health, it can help you recover from a hard workout more quickly. It’s also amazing for athletes looking for relief from sports injuries!

The high amino acids in collagen enable your muscles to repair themselves more quickly. One study found that people who supplemented with collagen for 120 days had improved joint function and were less likely to experience joint damage after working out. Awesome news for anyone who’s always on the move!

Better Digestion

In the gut, collagen is a connective tissue that helps insulate the lining of the digestive tract. Our intestinal villi are made of collagen. And like everything else, low collagen levels can leave them weaker over time.  

As a result, those suffering from digestive issues can benefit from extra collagen. It can help strengthen your gastrointestinal tract and prevent particles and toxins from leaking into the bloodstream, promoting internal cleansing and improved digestion.

For that reason, going on a high-collagen bone broth cleanse is an excellent way to detox your system. It can help rid your body of waste and absorb nutrients, resetting your body’s immune system and settling your leaky gut.

Collagen is a Natural Protein Source

If you’re tired of wading through the sea of artificial protein supplements to boost your workouts, collagen might be the solution you’re looking for. 

Because it’s a naturally occurring protein, grass-fed collagen is an excellent alternative to artificial protein powders and shakes. Unlike the highly processed ingredients found in many protein supplements, collagen is clean and non-GMO. It’s kosher, gluten-free, and compatible with all kinds of dietary restrictions, including keto and paleo diets. 

Sources of Collagen

So now that you know all the amazing benefits of collagen, you’re probably wondering how to get it into your life. While it’s true that collagen production decreases with age, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to up your collagen intake naturally. 

My favorite way to get more collagen is with Great Lakes Gelatin’s line of powders. But if you’re looking for a way to obtain more collagen through your diet, there are plenty of foods you can try to boost your body’s manual production. Let’s go over them one-by-one!

Meat Proteins

High protein foods are naturally rich in collagen. Meat sources like chicken and beef are excellent ways to obtain more gut-strengthening collagen. The proteins will help build your strength and muscle. Plus the healthy saturated fats can promote weight-loss and heart health.

Fish and Seafood

You can also get your animal-based collagen peptides from the sea! Fish and shellfish contain essential proteins and amino acids just like land animals do, and marine-based collagen sources are easy on digestion. Just bear in-mind that a fish’s meat doesn’t contain as much collagen as other not-so-tasty parts, like the scales, bones and eyes.  

Dairy and Eggs

Although they don’t contain collagen directly, egg whites are high in amino acids that promote collagen production. The same goes for dairy products like milk and yogurt. They’re high in the amino acids lysine and proline, which can transform your body into a collagen-producing machine. 

Vegetables and fruits

Eating foods rich in Vitamin-C and certain amino acids can help encourage the production of collagen, too. Stock up on bell peppers, citrus fruits, broccoli, kale and kiwis to get a hearty dose of Vitamin-C. You can also stimulate your collagen production through plant-based foods like legumes, cauliflower, mushrooms, cabbage and wheat germ.

Spirulina

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that grows in both freshwater and saltwater. It’s one of the oldest superfoods on the planet. Humans have been using it to boost their health since the days of the Aztec empire, and for good reason. 

Not only is it one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, it’s also high in glycine and proline, two of the most important amino acids needed for collagen production. 

Bone Broth

It’s not just meat that’s high in collagen. Like human bones, animal bones are naturally high in collagen peptides, which makes them one of the best sources of collagen out there. Plus bone broth is insanely tasty, too!

Bone broth is one of the easiest things in the world to DIY. All you have to do is boil down your leftover chicken or beef bones. Check out my detailed instructions on how to make your own in an instant pot here. You can sip it directly for a midday pick-me-up or use it as a base for soups and stews.

Collagen Supplements

While there are tons of ways to obtain more collagen through food, the most efficient way to get it is by supplementing it directly. There are plenty of supplements out there on the market, but my favorite is Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate powder

What makes it so special? It’s made directly from grass-fed, pasteurized bovine hides, so it’s a clean and pure source of hydrolyzed collagen. Hydrolyzed collagen is easier to digest than gelatin, and it’s naturally tasteless and flavorless. You can get Great Lakes Collagen powder in a plain version or in all kinds of flavors like vanilla, lemon-lime and chai!

How I Use Great Lake’s Collagen Powder

I use both Great Lake’s Gelatin flavored and unflavored collagen powders. I mix the flavored powders into water and sip it throughout the day. Not only is it a great way to supplement your collagen intake, it’s also an amazing alternative to soda and artificial flavor waters and they are great for post-workout drinks as well!. 

The unflavored powder is my go-to for adding into food and flavored drinks. Because it’s tasteless, you can add it to just about any recipe you want whenever you need a boost of revitalizing protein! Try adding a scoop or two to your favorite baked goods, stirring it into your soup or use it to kick your day off with my Superboost Morning Coffee. My new Gut Healing Hot Cocoa is also an amazing guilt-free treat you can use to get your daily collagen fix!

I love how it doesn’t clump up or turn gelatinous like other collagen supplements I’ve tried. It’s easy on your gut, and your taste buds won’t even notice it’s there. The rest of your body definitely will, however, once your skin starts glowing and your joints loosen up! 

Benefits I've Noticed

I’ve been putting two scoops of Great Lakes Gelatin’s unflavored collagen in my Superboost Morning Coffee every morning for a while now, and I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my skin. It’s softer and more firm. I can feel the added flexibility when I workout, too. I can go way longer without having to worry about getting sore afterward. 

I also enjoy using the flavored powders after my workouts to give my muscles a boost. It’s a great way to refuel on essential proteins without sacrificing taste or filling up on empty calories. 

Conclusion

As you can see, there’s no shortage of ways to add collagen to your diet naturally. While collagen has been regaled as a beauty secret for slowing signs of aging, it’s beneficial to almost every part of your body. Whether you’re young or old, just about everyone can benefit from having more collagen in their lives. 

What are you waiting for? Head over to Great Lakes Gelatin’s website and pick out your favorite way to use collagen today! 

 Written by: @thetrailtohealth

"I have been taking this supplement for a few years now

I had very painful knees and was suffering with plantar fasciitis on one foot. I initially read about it online and was convinced that I needed to give it a try. Wow, am I happy I did. It has been a life changing supplement for me and I will never be without it. I take two heaping tablespoons every morning in my coffee. It is virtually tasteless and dissolves completely and it doesn't change the consistency of my coffee. Give it a try if you have joint issues. It just might work for you too!"

Karen C.