Collagen is trending! Head to your local health food store and you're bound to see all sorts of collagen-centric products, from drink mixes to gummies to enhanced flavored water. Collagen is a big buzzword in the beauty world, but what does this protein actually do, and can it really give you long, lustrous hair, healthy skin, and strong nails?
What is collagen?
Collagen itself is a protein found abundantly in the body. Its main role is to provide structure to your skin, muscles, joints, and more. As you age, your collagen production slows down, which is why older adults may find their skin becoming less firm. You may also experience collagen loss due to bad health habits like smoking, a poor diet, or UV rays and other environmental factors.
Are there different types of collagen?
Yes! There are many types of collagen found in the body, though Types I, II, and III are most prevalent and the most frequently used in supplements.
Type I is the most abundant form of collagen in your body, found in your skin, organs, tendons, and bones, and even your teeth! Type I is one of the most common forms of collagen found in supplements, and the one you should opt for if you're looking for beauty benefits.
Type II is often sourced from chickens and is therefore often acquired via chicken broth. Because it's a component of cartilage, it's often used to help support your joints, but it also plays an important role in forming your gut lining. Type II collagen is generally found in supplements meant to help support joint health.*
Type III collagen is often sourced from cows and is helpful in building arterial walls, which is essential for heart and cardiovascular health.*
What are the potential benefits of taking collagen?
Collagen has many benefits, though it's most commonly known for its beauty benefits: supporting lustrous hair, long nails, and glowing skin.* You've probably noticed those popular collagen powders at your grocery and health food stores and have maybe even tried mixing them into your tea, smoothies, or juice.
Collagen may also help support your joint health.*
How do I ensure I'm getting enough collagen?
Eating a protein-rich diet with plenty of lean meats, bone broth, seafood, and eggs is a great place to start. If you eat a plant-based diet, you'll find collagen in a variety of citrus fruits, berries, and greens like kale and spinach, as well as beans and nuts. Sounds like it's time to start making delicious collagen-packed smoothies! You can also choose to supplement with a collagen-based gummy, vitamin, or powder, though you'll want to make sure you're taking the correct type for your desired benefit (and your dietary preferences, especially if you're vegan or vegetarian). Regardless of how you get your collagen, you'll be able to see (and feel) its benefits!