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June 28, 2021 4 min read
If you follow the latest and greatest in skin care and health trends, you will likely have heard of collagen. Dermatologists, naturopaths and other professionals have touted the benefits of collagen for bone, joint, hair, skin and nail health.‡ One look on the internet and you’ll wonder, “what doesn’t it do?!” But as with everything, there is more than meets the eye with this golden child of supplements. Read on to learn more about the benefits and science behind this popular protein.
Collagen is a protein found in the body. It’s often called the body’s “scaffolding” because it provides structure and strength, holding the body together. It makes up about one-third of the body’s protein, making it the most abundant protein in our bodies.‡
As we age, our natural supply of collagen depletes. We produce less collagen over time, which can cause the appearance of aging, joint pain, loss of bone density and/or muscle mass and even heart-related conditions. It is estimated that our bodies produce one percent less collagen in the skin per year, beginning at age twenty .‡
While there is nothing that can be done to prevent this from happening, we can take steps to keep ourselves healthy for longer.
Collagen powder is a supplement, intended to help the body add collagen as it produces less. Hydrolyzed collagen (more commonly referred to as collagen peptides), which is found in collagen supplements, are collagen particles that have been broken down, making it easier for the body to process.‡
Collagen powder is different from the collagen produced naturally by the body in that it is made up of animal tissues. Depending on the powder, it could be bovine tissues (cow), marine tissues (fish), or a combination of cow, pig, chicken and fish skin and bones, and even egg shells.
If you’re not big into animal products, or that description just grossed you out a scootch, “vegan” collagen might be the answer for you. While there is no true source of vegan collagen (because collagen can only be sourced from animals,) there are plant-based alternatives available, or you can read on to learn more about boosting your body’s collagen production naturally.
Collagen powder can be added to food or drink to help supplement your collagen supply, so the short answer is yes! You can go ahead and add collagen powder to your warm bevies!
The long answer is a bit, well, longer. Some information you can find online shares concerns about collagen’s molecular structure melting in hot liquids. While there is no scientific evidence to speak to diminished results due to collagen powder in coffee or tea, some people prefer to put their collagen into cool liquids, like smoothies, to ensure the structure is not compromised.
Because collagen is protein, you do need to use caution to ensure that you are not getting too much protein (most of us get more than enough from our daily diet.) Please consult your doctor before adding collagen powder to determine if it is right for you.
Believe it or not, collagen has been popular within certain cultures for centuries. Chinese women have long viewed collagen as a “fountain of youth”.‡ Today, celebrities and influencers from Jennifer Aniston to Kourtney Kardashian to Kate Hudson have been speaking up about their love of the supplements for maintaining their youthful appearances and their bodies’ health. The idea of health and beauty coming “from the inside out” is not new, and while the scientific community has been divided on the benefits of collagen supplements, there is a growing body of scientific evidence to support it.
Recent studies have looked at many of the benefits of collagen to determine its efficacy in improving things like skin elasticity, skin hydration, blood flow in the skin, body composition, joint health and wound healing, to name a few.‡ While the science is still in its infancy, studies like this and this suggest that there is validity to these benefits of collagen powder supplements.‡
Yes!! Long story short, the foods that you eat may help your body to increase its collagen production. For example, bone broth – another whole craze we won’t get started on! -- is a source of collagen.‡ But there are also other less obvious ways to help promote production. Certain nutrients found in common foods have been demonstrated to support collagen formation. For example, copper, found in shellfish, nuts and red meat, has been identified to help with collagen production. Other nutrients like zinc (oatmeal, tofu, legumes,) vitamin C (leafy greens, broccoli, citrus fruits,) proline (egg whites, cheese, cabbage) and anthocyanides (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and cherries) are also recommended to stimulate natural collagen production.‡
If you’re anything like us -- a mushroom adaptogen enthusiast-- you will also be pleased to learn that Chaga, a mushroom used in traditional Chinese medicine, supports stem cell production‡ which can help the body to produce more collagen and in turn, restore skin elasticity and regeneration.‡ Incorporating Chaga into your routine may also have other benefits to your skin. You can also check out this article for more information on the overall health benefits of Chaga Mushroom Powder.
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