Collagen is literally a building block of your body. It makes up 30% of your total mass, and is involves in skin, cartilage, and muscles in different ways. There are 16 different types – though the common format is a tough, fibre-like protein that provides the scaffold that key body functions rely on.
While it has been used in beauty treatments for decades, Collagen is now finding its way into fitness. Among the common whey protein supplements, you will now find collagen protein powders. This takes different forms.
This guide has covers Collagen and fitness in depth. I don’t go into the beauty too much, though as a side effect of supplementing Collagen for fitness, you might end up with firmer, younger skin.
The younger you are, the better your natural collagen production. This protein is linked to youth in several ways. High production of it keeps you looking young and allows for muscle gain and that youthful energy level that sadly fades with time.
While everyone’s production declines with age, there are multiple factors which can slow this further. They include exposure to UV light, smoking and high levels of sugar consumption. If you have ever wondered why smokers have old looking skin, Collagen is the link.
Simply avoiding those habits and foods which reduce your production and staying fit and healthy will help your body produce more Collagen. The right balance of vitamins and minerals in your diet may also support production. Vitamins A and C are linked, with copper, and proline also useful ingredients.
These days, fitness fans are finding what women have known for years – that supplementing Collagen has positive effects. Collagen supplements take several forms. You can get it as protein powder, in pill format, as topical creams or in combination with other ingredients in ‘Superfood’ format.
You will find collagen in your muscles – this makes up around 10% of the total mass, acting as scaffolding in a similar way that it does in the skin. The role in muscle gain is more complex than just adding more protein to your diet.
Collagen has glycine, an amino acid which is key to muscle formation. A second amino acid, lysine is also involved. Many fitness fans choose to mix Collagen with Whey protein, getting the best from both ingredients.
If you are already a whey protein fan, then the switch to Collagen will be seamless. You can use it in shakes, add it to meals or take it in pill form. You can also eat more foods which either directly increase your levels or boost your natural production abilities. This list reads like a healthy eating 101:
Contrary to popular belief, topical (creams) have limited collagen boosting benefits. The molecules are too big to be effectively absorbed. Specialist wound healing bandage are used medically.
Muscle gain and better skin are already great reasons to boost your intake – though collagen has multiple health benefits. Wound dressings are used for wounds that do not respond to other treatments. It reduces the pain of osteoarthritis, repairs nerve damage and can help protect the delicate ‘scaffolding’ around your kidneys and other organs.
There are no major health negatives from taking collagen. You should keep in mind that this does not have the high-quality protein qualities that you get from other sources. This means that switching completely will leave you short in other areas. Adding a little will get you the benefits, without the drawbacks of missing out on vital amino acids.
Research is still in the early stages. So far so good for Collagen fans, with the positive results including skin and muscle repair, reduction in arthritis pain and nerve regeneration. As long as you add this to a balanced range of protein sources – you could be looking great while you enjoy those other benefits.
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