Collagen is a protein that holds your skin together. It’s what gives youthful skin that nice bounce. It’s also what makes gelatin jiggly! Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies slow down and produce less protein. Our hair starts to thin, our nails get brittle, our skin sags, and it gets harder and harder to build muscle. But thanks to advancements in technology and nutritional studies, there are now ways to slow down this loss of collagen!
People used to inject collagen into their skin, but most plastic surgeons consider this method outdated. The effects don’t last as long as some of the newer fillers that are available. Plus, collagen injections often trigger allergic reactions or infections, leading to rashes, itchiness, or lumps that must be removed.
Buyers beware! Collagen is a protein, and therefore cannot be absorbed into the skin. Any cream or lotion that touts the benefit of collagen is, unfortunately, not practical. Don’t waste your money on such snake oil.
In the end, it’s simple: to help your body make more protein, you need to eat more protein. While there are other factors involved, increasing input does help with output. But several sources of protein, such as meat, seafood, and dairy products, also contain saturated fats and cholesterol that can lead to heart disease or high blood pressure.
Still, there is a way to eat protein without all the adverse side effects. Just eat collagen! Studies found that eating collagen, either as a broth or as a supplement, can help improve hair, nail, and skin health. In one study, older men who lifted weights and took a collagen supplement gained more muscle and lost more fat than men who did not ingest collagen. And since collagen is the glue that holds your skin together, eating collagen can also help with wound healing, the formation of new blood vessels, and immune function.
Source your collagen wisely.
Of course, some medical professionals are skeptical about the source of collagen. Since collagen comes from the skin of animals such as cows, pigs, and chickens, it can contain contaminants such as heavy metals and other pollutants. So, if you do want to take a collagen supplement, make sure that it comes from a clean source. One misconception about collagen is that it is made from horse and cow hooves. While these body parts are made out of protein, it isn’t collagen. It’s a protein called keratin, the same one that makes up your hair and nails. For the best and cleanest source of collagen, you can make your broth by boiling the leftover skin of organic chicken and meats that you’ve purchased.