“Collagen is the most abundant source of protein in our body and is essential in providing structure to our skin, hair, nails, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bones,” says independent, Waterloo-based nutritionist Corina Crysler. Translation? Collagen helps provide flexibility and strength in your muscles and tendons, firmness and elasticity in your skin, and amino acids for your gut.
But like most things, collagen wanes thanks to the hard-hitting combo of outside aggressors and aging. In your 20s, collagen in the body begins to decrease, and by the time you hit 40, collagen depletes faster than your body can replace it.
“Smoking, sugar and ultraviolet light affect collagen,” says Dr. Mark Lupin, a Victoria-based dermatologist. Stress, a poor diet, and dehydration also contribute to the reduction of collagen. The fix? A collagen supplement.
Since it’s a large protein, collagen isn’t readily absorbed unless it’s been broken down into smaller amino acids and peptides, so opt for a powder formula that’s hydrolyzed. Crysler suggests drinking your collagen mix with water before a meal to help aid digestion. And while it doesn’t matter whether you take your collagen supplement before every single meal, consistency is key.
Pass the Powder
Collagen is usually sourced from the skin, tendons or cartilage of cows or fish (sorry vegetarians).
Sproos offers up bovine (grass fed) or marine (wild-caught) collagen to add to hold and cold beverages. Opt for a box of 10-gram packets, which are perfect for those on-the-go. $34.99 at Sproos.
Sustainably sourced collagen is at the heart of this brand which offers up a range of collagen products including flavoured creamers, wellness shots, and collagen rich bone broth. $34.95 at Vital Proteins.
Grass-fed USDA cattle or wild-caught fish is the collagen makeup of Genuine Health’s non-GMO and hormone-free collagen powder. Expect an easy-to-mix formula that comes in tropical flavours. $29.99 at Genuine Health.