Collagen is a protein that provides the matrix (framework) for your tissues. While scientists are still learning more about the human proteome - the diverse array of proteins in the human body - current best estimates are in the hundreds of thousands. Among these proteins, there are 28 different types of collagen, with 90% of this collagen in the form of type 1, 2 or 3 in humans.
Collagen is found externally such as in skin, hair and nails as well as internally such as in tendons, ligaments, bones, gums, cartilage, the gastrointestinal tract, heart, liver and other organs. It’s everywhere! And is often referred to as the “glue” that holds the body together.
What are the claimed benefits?
Increase elasticity and firmness
Increase hydration and moisture
Reduce cellulite appearance
Bones & Joints
Increase bone collagen formation & bone mineral density
Decrease joint pain
Decrease joint stiffness
Increase joint range of motion
Decrease symptoms of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
Tendons & Ligaments
Improve movement mechanics
Increase tissue repair
Reduce injury risk
Increase fat loss
Decrease muscle mass loss with age
Reduce high blood pressure
Increase vascular strength and pliability
Increase nitric oxide
Decrease cholesterol, triglycerides and inflammatory markers in Diabetics
Type II Diabetes
Decrease fasting blood sugar and insulin, hemoglobin A1c and inflammatory markers
Increase epithelial thickness and barrier function
Repair damaged mucosal layer
What the science says
Collagen is not only abundant in the human body - making up 30% of your total body protein - but has wide reaching roles. Research supports the aforementioned claims and then some. Collagen is what gives skin and other tissues their flexibility, pliability and strength. It's also responsible for the thickness of your skin and gastrointestinal tract - both important barriers for keeping what you need in (nutrients, moisture) and what you don’t need out (bacteria, viruses, toxic chemicals).
As you age, your body’s ability to produce collagen diminishes which is in part why skin thins and wrinkles, why joints may start to feel more painful or stiff and why it can take longer to recover from the same exercise you might have readily bounced back from decades earlier. Don’t worry though, ample research has shown there are strategies to help slow this process, and in some instances even reverse it.
The Apeiron Life Perspective
Nutrition, exercise and sleep - foundations of your Apeiron Life program AND of promoting collagen synthesis.
The whole of a diet is always greater than the sum of its parts. The thousands of individual nutrients in whole foods work in concert to accomplish many biological tasks. Same is true in the case of collagen.
While some proteins are the foundational building blocks of collagen, other nutrients are the mortar that allow the blocks to come together and finally, the contractor nutrients that direct the body to either make more collagen or protect it from being degraded. The blocks, mortar and contractors are all required to build and maintain a strong collagen matrix.
Placing more demand on this matrix through heavier weight lifting and diverse and dynamic movements stimulates hormones that signal for increasing collagen production. Work with your Apeiron Life experts to optimize your collagen synthesis while mitigating your injury risk along the way.
Researchers have connected growth hormones to increased collagen synthesis. These hormones are most active when you’re sleeping. 7-8 hours of sleep each night is optimal for keeping your joints, skin, heart and all of your systems strong and supple.
Will a supplement benefit you?
According to one of our esteemed scientific advisors, Dr. Keith Baar, PhD, who is a collagen researcher at UC Davis, consuming 15-20g of hydrolyzed collagen or gelatin may increase your body’s collagen synthesis. There are a few caveats:
Best effects are seen when taken in conjunction with vitamin C and in the context of a balanced diet that includes all of the other necessary nutrients.
Best effects are seen when taken 30-60 minutes prior to resistance exercise when the tendons are loaded.
Best effects are seen when you’re regularly getting 7-8 hours of sleep in order for tissue repair and remodeling to be optimized.
Collagen hydrolysate and gelatin hydrolysate are the most bioavailable supplement sources. If you’re curious to try it, your Apeiron Life expert can recommend the ideal brand/product for you based on the totality of your goals and health status.
While the building block, mortar and contractor nutrients can be obtained throughout a vegan or omnivorous diet (as above), dietary collagen supplements can only be obtained from animal sources at this time. Synthetic vegan sources are in development.
Research has shown fish skin sourced supplements to be highly bioavailable sources. This is often referred to as “marine collagen” and several products are available on the market. Additionally, consuming the skin and small bones when you eat fish is not only a great source of omega-3’s but collagen and calcium too. A few of our favorites:
Grass fed beef collagen and bone broth are other great sources of collagen. Bone broth and has gained recent popularity, although has been used in cultures throughout the world for thousands of years. You can purchase organic bone broth or make your own. The key here though is organic chicken, fish or beef broth, and grass fed if opting for beef. Since harmful chemicals are concentrated in fat and bone marrow is abundant in fat - in both animals and humans - drinking a concentrated form of that in the form of bone broth can be especially toxic.
More reading & resources
The Best Way You Can Get More Collagen - Cleveland Clinic
Collagen - Fullscript Ingredient Review w/ references
Collagen - Fullscript Handout