Collagen: why all the hype?
Recently, the kids got their own phones. Not smart phones, but $30 flip phones. Enough technology to keep them safe, but not enough to lose them to yet another screen.
They were over-the-moon delighted with this tiny glimpse of adulthood, until they realised that to send a text message they had to push a button multiple times to get the right letters. No keyboard, no predictive text, it was absolutely hysterical. They kept looking at me incredulously.
“Is this what phones were like when you were young?”
Gosh, I had to explain that all phones were still secured to the wall when I was small. I felt pretty ancient by the time we were done discussing the timeline of phone technology.
They say that having kids keeps you young, but I’m not so sure that’s totally true. The sleep deprivation alone is enough to age you exponentially. First comes a wrinkle, then a grey hair … it creeps up on you until you suddenly realise (when you open your phone accidentally on selfie mode) that you actually look rather different to how you thought. Help! So, no wonder we get all excited when anti-ageing supplements come along.
Traditionally, anti-ageing supplements have fallen into the antioxidant bracket.
Antioxidants inhibit free radical damage, which basically inhibits the ageing and degeneration of our cells. Good news! And we don’t have to take supplements to get those — they’re in brightly coloured fruit sand vegetables, nuts and seeds, herbs, spices and cocoa (yay, chocolate!).
However, recently it’s collagen that’s been getting all the attention. It’s been popular as a supplement for a while, but mainly in the form of “bone broth” on Paleo-type diets. For those wanting to supplement collagen daily (and for whom broth just isn’t a practical or palatable solution), then powders and supplement capsules have been an option too. The problem is, they haven’t been all that bioavailable, until now.
Collagen, in the form of collagen hydrolysate, is easily absorbed by the body and dissolves well too. This means you can add it to a soup, smoothie or simply stir it into tea or coffee. Easy!
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, making up your tendons, ligaments and skin.
The problem is that as we age, collagen production declines and we have a dip in collagen quality too. This can mean hair loss, wrinkles, cartilage weakness, less supple skin and joint pain. Yikes!
The good news is that collagen supplementation from a quality source is effective at restoring collagen loss. My favourite is the Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate (on the shelves at Miles), which is grass-fed and dissolves like a dream. I add it to tea, coffee, herbal tea, smoothies and soup. Bonus tip: vitamin C improves absorption so have a kiwi, berries or even bell peppers on the side!
Don’t overlook the simple stuff though. You can assist your own production of collagen by not consuming things that slow it down (sugar, refined carbs, UV exposure and smoking) and by including more vitamin C, proline and copper in your diet. For vitamin C, you can just stick with fruit and veg. For proline, try egg whites, cabbage, asparagus and mushrooms. For copper, include sesame, cocoa, cashews and lentils. Staying young never tasted so good!
• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram
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