There is plenty of research out there about different plants that can improve your health. From the immune-boosting effects of elderberry to the anti-nausea properties of ginger, there are countless ways to supplement your body for better health. When it comes to skin, hair, joints, and nails, however, there is one supplement that stands head and shoulders above the rest. And that supplement is collagen. Right now, there are countless collagen products on the market claiming to have extraordinary effects.
Each one claims to be the best, but what exactly do they even do? And what is collagen? Before we get into the benefits of these drinks, let’s get down to the basics.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein in your body. While you may think of your muscle tissue as containing protein, you might not realize that collagen is even more abundant than muscle tissue. There are four kinds of collagen, and it is found in your bones, connective tissue, joints, hair, nails, skin, and even in your vital organs. As people age, it becomes harder for your body to make new collagen, and so this is part of the reason you see a breakdown in joints, wrinkly skin, and have digestive problems.
Collagen is an animal protein, and so vegans and vegetarians often struggle to meet these nutrient needs. Not only do they need vitamin D supplements, but they also need to find a way to help their body make the collagen they need without consuming animals. One of the ways to help the body with this process is to add in higher doses of vitamin C. Some vegans have no problems with consuming fish protein, so they may look for collagen from marine animals.
What are collagen drinks?
Collagen drinks are a solid-liquid mixture that combines collagen proteins and sometimes other nutrients like vitamin C to improve uptake. You can find them in powder form that you add to your coffee or other warm beverages. You can also find them already pre-suspended in liquid to make them easy to consume on the go. Did you ever eat Jell-O as a child? Even the best collagen drinks on the market have a hint of gelatin flavor. But when added to coffee, tea, or even soup, you probably won’t even notice the flavor. Drinks make it easier to consume than eating more meat with connective tissue still attached.
What health benefits do collagen drinks offer?
While some claims are wild and unsubstantiated, people do experience positive benefits when they consume a collagen drink daily. Some people like to expedite their positive health effects by drinking more than one, but just one a day could give you the following improvements.
Improved Skin Health
While collagen is not quite the fountain of youth, it does improve the health of your skin. Some people see a reduction in dark circles and an improvement in overall skin tone. Others notice that their crow’s feet, smile lines, and laugh lines don’t look as deep after a while. Itchy dry skin is also an issue for some people and continued collagen consumption can help improve these problems. Redness and other patches also start to diminish in some cases.
Your stomach and intestines can impact your health dramatically. If they are not healthy, you may experience anything from gas and bloating to pain, ulcers, and bleeding. These problems are serious and should not be taken lightly. But for those who are working with nutritionists and doctors to improve their gut health, collagen drinks may be a good option. Collagen is relatively easy to digest. And in a liquid form it can be easy on a sensitive stomach.
The high concentration of amino acids in a collagen supplement helps to increase stomach acid. This makes it easier for your body to digest other foods more effectively. This can help reduce bloating and help you better absorb nutrients in your foods. Additionally, collagen helps reduce inflammation in your gut which can lead to healing of ulcers and other GI issues.
Want better hair? Some people find that their hair feels softer when they regularly take collagen. The collagen helps to improve the health of the hair as it leaves your body making it less brittle and less prone to split ends. It coats the hair more effectively creating protection from the sun and other damaging effects.
Do your nails crack and break? Want them to be sturdier and healthier looking? Then add some collagen to your diet. A collagen drink is a simple way to do it, but if you’re a meat-eater, then you can also add meat on the bone to your diet. You’ll find that over time with collagen plus some extra nutrients your nails may come in looking and feeling amazing.
Improved Cardiovascular Function
Collagen is used to produce strong walls in your veins and arteries. It also reduces inflammation in the body. These two effects alone mean that with adequate supplementation, your cardiovascular health should improve dramatically. Health veins mean that blood flows more freely throughout your body. This means that your heart does less work whether you are sitting, walking, jogging, or doing other activities. When oxygen can get to your cells more efficiently, everything works better.
Less Joint Pain
Did you know that collagen is critical for your joints? The padding in between your bones uses collagen as the main source of protein. It helps to create a buffer that’s not too hard when you walk, run, or even sit. There are also discs in your back that keep the vertebrae from rubbing against each other and help you to stand and walk without pain. Collagen helps keep the cushioning between your joints in good health. It helps to reduce inflammation which often causes more pain in your joints. Some people who go on collagen supplements experience a reduction in joint pain and find they can more easily walk and do normal activities. They have less pain in their hands as well.