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The Most Plentiful Protein in the Human Body – Collagen

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 10:01 am

What is collagen?

Collagen is a type of protein that really is the “glue” that holds our bodies together. In fact, collagen is the most plentiful protein in the human body, nearly 1/3rd of its dry weight.1 Collagen is extremely strong and is a key part of our connective tissue - bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and skin. It is also critical for the integrity of the lining of our gastrointestinal tract, for blood vessels and much more!2

Like all proteins, collagen is made up of a variety of amino acids (protein building blocks). Collagen is extremely rich in the amino acid glycine, and is also high in proline.

Getting collagen in your diet (through gelatin, which is basically cooked collagen) or taking a supplement can provide your body with the necessary amino acids for maintaining strong bones and joints, keeping skin looking young and healthy, and for tissue repair and healing, including healing the lining of the intestinal tract. Along with this, getting enough vitamin C is critical since it is involved in the production of collagen in the body.

Traditionally, people got much more collagen/gelatin in their diet than most of us do now. Our western society tends to favour muscle meats, but does little with the bones, cartilage or other parts of an animal. Traditional societies used the whole animal, from nose to tail—and with good reason. The amino acids in collagen or gelatin help to balance out the muscle meats.

Food Sources of Collagen

Two methods I have used to increase my family’s intake of collagen/gelatin have been making bone broths and homemade jello.

For instructions on making bone broth, the click here! Once you get the hang of it, making bone broth can be a simple part of your cooking repertoire.

Here is a link to a recipe for homemade jello, using only juice and gelatin, a much healthier option than packages loaded with processed sugar, additives, artificial colours and flavours. If you want to reduce the sugar intake even further you can use diluted fruit juice.

Collagen Supplements

If you don’t have the time to make your own bone broth or are looking for a supplement alternative, we have some great choices for collagen supplements, which are easily absorbed. One is Naka’s liquid “Nutri-Collagen” providing 5g/tablespoon serving, in a great apple taste! Another is Bulletproof’s “Upgraded Collagen” Powder, which you can mix into liquids, smoothies and the like!

Those looking for more online information can check out Naka's take here and Bulletproof collagen here. Or better yet, come in as ask our supplements team in person!

1 Silverthorn, Dee Unglaub (2004). Human Physiology: An Integrated Approach (3rd ed). San Francisco, CA: Pearson Education.

2 Karp, Gerald (2002). Cell and Molecular Biology: Concept and Expirements (3rd ed). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

 

Getting collagen in your diet (through gelatin, which is basically cooked collagen) or taking a supplement can provide your body with the necessary amino acids for maintaining strong bones and joints, keeping skin looking young and healthy, and for tissue repair and healing, including healing the lining of the intestinal tract.

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