There is no question that collagen has become one of the “it” products of the wellness world, promising a broad range of benefits that would attract anyone’s attention. And unlike many so-called wellness products, collagen is something that our bodies already naturally produce – in fact, it’s the most abundant protein in the human body.
Today, we’re answering all of your questions about collagen, including:
- What is collagen and how does it work?
- Is collagen a good source of protein?
- Is collagen a complete protein?
- What are the benefits of collagen supplements?
One of the most common questions about collagen has to do with its protein content, and whether or not it’s a good nutritional source of protein. We’ll be telling you everything you need to know about using collagen as a protein source, and more.
Before we start talking about collagen and its role in your health, let’s break down a few basics.
What Is Protein?
Protein is a key macronutrient and essential to building muscle. Protein makes up about 15% of an individual’s body weight, and is needed for a variety of purposes.
If you look at the chemical structure of protein, it’s made up of amino acids. Amino acids are compounds made from “building blocks” of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and/or sulfur. Think of amino acids as the basis for proteins, and proteins as the basis for muscle mass.
About 10 to 35% of your daily calories should come from protein, according to the USDA. Figuring out how much protein you need depends on your age, sex, and your level of physical activity. For example, a young man that is extremely active will generally need more protein than an elderly woman that is primarily sedentary.
What Is Protein Used For?
When you eat a food with protein in it, such as eggs, meat, nuts, or dairy, your body breaks it down and uses it to support your muscle mass. In turn, your muscle mass helps power your metabolism. Protein is also vital for maintaining a healthy immune system, and it also helps create the feeling of being “full” and satisfied after a meal.
Interestingly, a significant number of Americans don’t get enough protein on a daily basis. As a result, the lack of protein could be slowing down their metabolisms, preventing the development of muscle mass, and even affecting hormone levels. If you don’t get enough protein, you’ll also often feel tired.
What Is a Complete Protein?
A complete protein (also called an “ideal protein” or “high-quality protein”) is one that contains all 9 of the essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are the ones that our bodies cannot produce on their own, so we must consume them instead.
Usually, complete proteins are found in animal products such as meat and dairy, but they can also be found in foods such as quinoa, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and soy.
Why Is a Complete Protein Important?
Our bodies need 20 amino acids in total, but can only produce 11 of those. That means that it is critical that we eat foods (or use supplements) that contain the other 9 amino acids. Complete proteins are a highly efficient way to consistently get all of the essential amino acids, so that your body can have everything it needs.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein, with a fiber-like structure that helps make up our connective tissue. Connective tissue connects other tissues, and is a crucial component in bone, muscles, skin, tendons, and cartilage. It is also extremely useful in making tissues strong, stretchy, and resilient.
In food, collagen is only found in a select few sources, all of them being animal products (like meat and fish). There are other foods that can help support our body’s production of collagen, but very few that are useful sources of collagen. For this reason, many people opt to take a collagen supplement to ensure they are getting enough on an everyday basis.
As we age, our bodies’ natural production of collagen declines. That’s part of the reason why our skin tends to sag and wrinkle. Collagen production can also decline faster as a result of lifestyle factors, including sun exposure, lack of sleep, low activity levels, smoking, and others.
Is Collagen a Good Source of Protein?
Collagen, specifically collagen supplements, contain amino acids. As you’ve learned, amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Many collagen supplements also contain a variety of other nutrients to support healthy skin, hair, and nails.
However, collagen alone isn’t necessarily enough to be a primary source of protein. If you are in need of extra protein, but also want the benefits of collagen, we recommend combining collagen peptides with a high-quality plant protein powder.
Potential Health Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Researchers are still learning about the potential advantages of collagen supplements, but most people that use them agree that they see and feel noticeable improvements. Usually, collagen supplements are formulated to support healthy skin, hair, and nails, and consumers have reported increased growth and strength across the board.
But what does the science say?
There are studies that have found that collagen may improve skin elasticity, as well as improve joint mobility and reduce joint pain. For anyone wondering if they should consider adding collagen to their routine, all signs point to yes.
Find High-Quality Collagen for Sale Online from Core Culture
Once you start to search for collagen supplements, you’ll quickly realize that there are a lot of options out there – but what is the best collagen for your health? Like any supplement, not all collagen brands are created equally. So, it’s important that you choose the right one to maximize the potential benefits for your health.
Core Culture offers 100% Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides for skin, hair, and nails, including in convenient single-serving stick packs for anytime use. Containing probiotics, essential amino acids, BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), our collagen powder is a non-GMO, hormone-free option that will elevate your daily supplement regimen.
Browse the full selection of supplements from Core Culture to take your wellness routine to the next level starting now!
Image Credit: Taylor Knox / NutraMedia