What is collagen?
Collagen is a structural protein that makes up nearly one-third of our body’s total protein. It is particularly rich in our connective tissue, which includes skin, tendons, cartilage, and bone.
You might say it holds us together, and in fact, the word collagen comes from the Greek word, kolla, which means, “glue.”
Not only is collagen found in the human body, but it is also the main component in animal protein – again, found in the connective tissue.
For that reason, the best sources for animal-derived collagen originate from skin (for example, chicken skin or salmon skin), bones (bone broth), and tendons (including chicken feet or calve’s feet). Through consuming dietary collagen, derived from animal protein, we can increase collagen in our own body.
Difference between collagen and gelatin
When you think of things like calve’s feet, you may also think of gelatin. Gelatin and collagen are really the same substance in different forms. Collagen is the protein that is found in the bodies of humans and animals. Gelatin is what you have after collagen has been cooked.
When you make a homemade bone broth, you’re putting collagen-rich bones into the pot with water, perhaps some vinegar, and your choice of vegetables and seasonings. After the broth has been cooked a few hours, drawing out the collagen and minerals, you have a rich, nutritious, gelatin-rich broth. You can see the gelatin once the broth has completely cooled or especially after being refrigerated.
Collagen powder versus gelatin powder is a similar concept. After going through partial hydrolysis to make it digestible, collagen is put through a heating process to make it into gelatin powder, which gels when you put it into the water.
That’s of course what’s used to make gelatin desserts. To make non-gelling collagen powder, the gelatin powder goes through a second processing (hydrolyzing), to make the molecules smaller and easier for the body to digest. As a result, you have hydrolyzed collagen (collagen hydrolysate) or collagen peptides.
Why we need collagen as humans
So, what does collagen do? Since collagen is a structural protein in the body, it’s vitally important for promoting:
- bone health
- strong tendons and cartilage
- muscle health, and
- the health of our hair, skin, and nails
In short: our epithelial tissue, which isn’t just on the surface. Epithelial tissue also makes up the lining of our digestive tract.
Collagen is different from other protein in that it’s high in specific amino acids. Collagen protein is especially high in glycine (22%), proline (13%), and hydroxyproline (12%).
For that reason, simply taking in protein isn’t necessarily going to have the repair effect that collagen protein does.
Symptoms of collagen deficiency
Insufficient collagen levels may show up as the following:
- Problems with GI tract lining, including IBS (aka “leaky gut”)
- Premature aging (wrinkles, crepey skin, sagging skin)
- Dry skin
- Brittle nails
- Stiff, inflexible joints
- Joint pain
- Issues with tendons or ligaments
- Weak muscles or loss of muscle mass
- Poor Bone Mineral Density (BMD) reports
- High blood pressure (due to inflexible flood vessels)
With a list like that, you’re probably wondering how to increase collagen in your body. Keep reading!
Conditions collagen can help (Benefits of taking collagen)
Signs and symptoms from the list above can be associated with a number of conditions. Because it’s so rich in healing amino acids, increasing collagen intake can help a number of seemingly different health conditions, There are benefits of taking collagen for:
- Aging skin (wrinkles)
- Brittle nails
- Insomnia (due to its high glycine content)
- Joint pain
- Osteoporosis and osteopenia
- Loss of muscle mass associated with aging (sarcopenia)
And there are likely even more that haven’t yet been studied.
Collagen and histamine
For people with histamine sensitivity, taking collagen is not recommended as it may trigger a host of histamine intolerance symptoms such as digestive distress, skin redness, hives, anxiety, headache, head and sinus congestion, fatigue or nausea and vomiting.
How our HBN collagen is formulated and how we are different
Do collagen supplements work? Yes, but not all collagen supplements are created equal.
That’s why we did our homework here at Hormones Balance. We wanted to make sure to provide you with a collagen supplement that is both safe and effective.
The Hormone Balance Nutritionals (HBN) collagen is created using specific scientifically proven collagen peptide blends: Fortigel®, Fortibone®, and Verisol®.
Fortigel® collagen is great for cartilage tissue (think joints) which is mostly comprised of a kind of collagen called Type I. In a study of 139 athletes, aged 18-30, with functional knee problems, 5 grams of Fortigel® per day for 12 weeks significantly improved activity-related pain.
Fortibone® collagen is especially helpful for improving Bone Mineral Density. In a study of menopausal women with osteopenia or osteoporosis, 5g of Fortibone® per day resulted in improvement in bone mineral density (BMD) by 6.4% in the hip bone and 5.5% in the spine, plus, showed improvements in bone formation, compared to a placebo.
Verisol® collagen targets skin cells, but also has benefits for tendons, ligaments, and even intervertebral disks, which are all mostly comprised of Type II collagen. In a study of 114 women, aged 45-65, those taking 2.5 grams of Verisol® collagen per day for 8 weeks had significant improvement in wrinkles.
The synergistic effect of these collagen peptide blends improves connective tissue throughout the entire body.
How to increase collagen in the body
So, how do you increase collagen in the body? You can certainly start by eating adequate protein so that you have the amino acid building blocks to make collagen. However, there are certainly dangers associated with eating too much animal protein, and protein isn’t as high in those specific amino acids (glycine, proline, hydroxyproline) that largely make up collagen.
You could focus on eating bone broth and chicken skin, but you might lose your taste for chicken skin after a while.
Our solution: Collagen Complete.
What’s in Collagen Complete
Collagen Complete by Hormone Balance Nutritionals is a synergistic formulation designed to benefit the health of bones, joints, and skin. It contains the research-proven collagen peptide blends Verisol®, Fortigel ®, and Fortibone®, which are derived from dietary collagen protein and produced with proprietary hydrolyzation technologies in order to optimize their beneficial properties.
Other hydrolyzed collagen proteins are available, but they cannot all be assumed to have the same efficacy, due to different amino acid and peptide profiles. In addition, the clinical effects obtained in studies with collagen peptides have not been duplicated with non-collagen type proteins, likely due to collagen’s unique composition.
How to Incorporate Collagen to Your Diet
How to Take: As a dietary supplement, mix 13 grams (approx. one scoop) with eight ounces of water per day, or as directed by your health care practitioner.
For best consistency, add the powder to mixing vessel before adding water or other liquid. This product can also be mixed into hot or cold beverages and foods, such coffee or tea, soups and stews, sauces, yogurt, or non-dairy milks, mashed potatoes or cauliflower, and homemade desserts.
Our recipes that contain collagen:
Tulsi Tea Adaptogen Latte
Schisandra Beet Adaptogen Latte
Nourishing Pumpkin Smoothie
Supergreen Basil Smoothie
Chocolate Addiction Smoothie with Avocado and Cacao Powder
Coconut Mushroom Ginger Coffee
Matcha Latte Drink Recipe
Better Than Coffee (Chicory Latte)
For more information on using supplements to balance your hormones, check out our FREE guide below: