Collagen peptides have gotten quite popular recently… and they’ve been touted to reverse aging, decrease joint pain, help your hair grow, strengthen your finger nails…the list is endless! Cool, bro! But what does the science say?
Since I'm turning thirty in a few days (GULP)... I'm more interested than usual in "anti-aging" stuff. My mom has been buying me cremes and creams (is there a difference? I HAVE NO IDEA), gels, potions, whatevs for my face and neck since I was in my early 20s. Somewhere in my mid-20s I realized skin cancer ain't no joke and got way better about applying sunscreen. And now? I'm 29 and curious about collagen.
Here's what I already knew about collagen because I'm a running-obsessed lunatic. Collagen is great for athletes.
Ya see, collagen is not a complete protein meaning that it does not have all nine of the amino acids (amino acids is a fancy term for the ‘building blocks’ of protein) that humans are required to eat from diet to stay healthy. Instead, collagen primarily contains glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and alanine. Collagen is often sold in a "hydrolyzed" form which is already partially broken down and therefore readily accessible to the athlete's body. (1)
A ratio of 4:1 carbs:protein pre- or mid- workout helps prevent your body from breaking down muscle and accelerates recovery. Pretty awesome if you're mid-heavy-training cycle! Collagen is also thought to help with joint pain for my athletes with achey joints (um, whose knees don't bug them now and then?! amiright?) (2)
But.. for those of us who care less about the athletic benefits and more about our personal vanity; the great thing about collagen’s concentrated amounts of glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and alanine lends to the development of new collagen fibers. Collagen is the protein in our skin that helps our skin stay elastic, supple and youthful appearing!! (2)
The best part about collagen is that the research suggests that the supplement is not harmful... meaning that even if all these supposed benefits are a placebo effect, at least we're not harming our bodies in the process!! My new fave treat is to add collagen to iced coffee in the morning. I simply brew coffee using my good-ole'-fashion french press, stick it in the fridge overnight and stir in collagen. Collagen is flavorless and totally soluble in cold liquid, so it does not contribute a funky taste or texture to my favorite part of the day: my morning coffee.
My fave collagen supplement is by Vital Proteins since their collagen is made from grass-fed cows' collagen. I love to use DOLLARS to support companies that are practicing humane, sustainable practices that help nurture our bodies and our mother earth.
Heyo, if anything, doesn't hurt to turn 30 while sipping a delicious cup of iced coffee... jus'sayin.