Many of us are familiar with the collagen that makes up our hair, skin, and nails, but did you know it’s the most abundant protein in all mammals, making up about 70 percent of our entire skin? It’s no surprise that this powerful protein carries many health and aging benefits, as well as implications when not consistently consumed. That being said, the effectiveness of collagen is still highly debated, with scientists publishing reports to support both sides of the argument. Speaking from experience, however, I have seen throughout the years the kind of positive impact that collagen can have on people’s skin, hair, and nails.
Natural and Unnatural Collagen Depletion
As we age, our body’s natural production of collagen slows down at a rate of approximately one to two percent every year after we hit age 30. This causes a loss in skin elasticity, increased signs of aging, thinning hair, and even brittle nails. While you can’t necessarily slow down the aging process, you can help minimize the rate at which collagen depletes in your body.
Consuming dark leafy greens, as well as red and orange vegetables, is a good way to help slow the breakdown of collagen in your body. Additionally, it’s important to note that drug consumption — pharmaceutical prescriptions included — and sugar can have a negative impact on the levels of collagen in your body. Beyond what you eat, there are a variety of other factors that can affect how fast collagen breaks down in your body. Examples include poor sleep, lack of exercise, excessive sun exposure, and substantial stress.
Collagen Sources and Side Effects
The high concentration of collagen in the bones, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons of animals such as cows, lambs, chicken, and fish is a great source of collagen when turned into bone broth. Ideally, the bone broth should be made from organic grass-fed or free-range meat to achieve optimal benefits. While there are many collagen supplements you can add to your diet, at the Clean Living Company, we always say, “Food first, supplements second”.
In terms of the cons of collagen, there are very few reported side effects caused by consuming the protein. One common side effect includes skin irritation when applied topically using creams and gels. Like any product, we all react differently due to our own biochemical individuality, and a side effect experienced from the consumption of collagen could be due to a genetic sensitivity to the protein.
The Best Collagen Supplements
If you’re someone who’s lacking adequate collagen in your diet, we recommend starting by consuming a daily cup of organic bone broth. If you’re looking to take things one step further, here are some supplements you can add to your daily routine to help ensure you’re receiving all of the wonderful benefits of the protein.
Dr. Axe ‘Keto Collagen’
Vital Proteins ‘Collagen Peptides’
Garden of Life ‘Grass Fed Collagen Peptides’
Zint ‘Grass-Fed Beef Collagen’
Life-Flo ‘Grass-Fed Collagen Powder’
Sports Research ‘Collagen Peptides’
Dr Nigma Talib ‘Immortal Skin Collagen Powder’
Ancient + Brave ‘True Collagen Powder’
Ancient + Brave ‘Cacao Collagen’
Ancient + Brave ‘Coffee Collagen’
Dean Henry is the co-founder of the Clean Living Company (CLC). The CLC was established by Dean Henry and George Ball in early 2016 with the goal of serving health-conscious individuals throughout the UAE.