It's impossible to open up any popular health and fitness magazine today and find less than five ads for different proteins that claim to be the perfect blend to turn you into a muscle machine, enhance recovery, repair DNA and crush appetite.
However, it’s pretty rare to see collagen mentioned anywhere in the protein saturated nutrition supplement market. What makes this so interesting is that collagen is an extremely immune-system friendly protein source that directly aids in energy production, building healthy DNA, detoxification, digestion, and direct rebuilding of joints, tendons, cartilage, skin, nails, hair, and organs – all without spiking the blood sugar or causing as much as an insulinogenic effect as many other protein sources. Sounds like something you should add to your life, right?
I personally incorporate collagen and collagen support quite frequently in my own anti-aging and healthy living routine.
Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not against whey protein, rice protein, hemp protein, pea protein, and other good protein powders and protein sources, but there is most definitely a time and a place for collagen, so today I want you to get exposure on why you should include collagen in your nutrition supplement protocol.
What exactly is Collagen
The word collagen comes from Greek roots that literally mean “glue-producing.” It makes up 30% of your body’s total protein content and is extremely potent when it comes specifically to soft-tissue repair. Collagen is simply a type of protein – 1 of over 10,000 proteins in your body.
Collagen is a long-chain amino acid and is actually the most abundant protein in the body, responsible for bestowing skin elasticity, hair strength, and connective tissue integrity. In fact, collagen protein makes up 30% of the total protein in your body, and 70% of the protein in your skin! Seems like a good ingredient to have working on your side.
While collagen is beneficial to the entire body, it’s most noticeably beneficial to your skin. This is because as you age, the epidermis (outer layer of skin) thins and loses elasticity via a process known as elastosis. As this happens, your skin tends to show more signs of aging and acquires more wrinkles.
In water, collagen breaks into gelatin, (and yes almost everything gummy has a collagen base) which means that collagen and gelatin are comprised of the same amino acids with a different chemical structure. Think of them as the same tool, but with different packaging. Both collagen and gelatin are a must for the efficient repair of connective tissues, ligaments, tendons, fascia, and skin.
So why use collagen instead of just taking protein powder or eating meat? First, many other vegetables and animal-based protein powders can be somewhat inflammatory to many people. Casein and whey are known allergens, egg protein can be quite inflammatory and many people are sensitive to pea, rice, and hemp as well. If you fall into the category of someone who gets bloated, gassy, or brain-fogged from a scoop or two of protein powder, you may fall into this category. A blood test or elimination diet will give more clarity as to which proteins may or may not work for you. Reach out to Sweat Nation If you'd like more information on discovering this about yourself.
Second, collagen protein itself (typically derived from a beef source) is made in the same way that bone broth is made – via low and slow heating to preserve the nutrients and amino acids. So you get a very dense source of amino acids, with relatively few calories, but some amount of “bulk” for satiety (I am also a fan of essential amino acids, but collagen offers a bit more of a smoothie, shake coffee or tea friendly approach).
Third, collagen offers a convenient way to mainline protein into your body without spiking your blood glucose. Most protein powders digest so quickly that they can actually turn into glucose and kick you out of a fat-burning state, or out of ketosis (if ketosis is your thing).
Why You Should Add MCT’s To Collagen
Fat is an energy source for your body. That’s exactly why we store it, and that’s why eating fat for fuel can be so beneficial for so many people. Every single cell in your body needs fat to function properly, and your brain is made up of predominantly fat.
Enter MCT’s (Medium-Chain Triglycerides).
When you are attempting to become a “fat-burning machine”, eating more quality fats while keeping protein moderate and eliminating carbs is the way to kick it to the next level. Your body does this extremely efficiently when MCT’s are present. So think of MCT’s as quick, clean fuel you will burn. MCT’s are some of the healthiest “fast fats” because they are what your body breaks fat down into for useable energy. In addition, your brain also uses about 20% of your total daily energy expenditure, and since MCT’s cross the blood-brain barrier, they offer potent fuel for cognition as well. MCT’s don’t need to be shuttled around the digestive system, they travel right to the liver and then are distributed for fast and lasting energy.
In addition, MCT’s are easily digested and have a thermogenic (energy-creating) effect, also known as “boosting your metabolism, they are a fast-acting source of energy which can then be used as fuel for your body, they support your gut microbiome by combating harmful bacteria and parasites and they contain antioxidant properties which reduce internal inflammation, which helps the performance of your heart, brain, and nervous system.
Most interestingly, when MCT’s are blended with collagen, you get the best of both worlds: a readily available source of non-glucose spiking fats combined with a readily available source of non-glucose spiking proteins.
So as you can see, you’ll get a hefty dose of readily available fats and proteins, with barely any carbohydrates. The benefits of this approach is good for
People with soft tissue injuries
People trying to build muscle
People who want to eat more protein
People who don’t like eating a lot of solids after workouts
People who want a non-inflammatory protein
People eating a low-carb ketogenic diet
If you fall under any of the previous give this approach a try for 30 days and see how your body responds.
For more info on getting blood work done to get a clearer understanding of what your body is asking you for, reach out. Sweat Nation is here to assist you on your journey to optimization.
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