Our body is full of different types of protein found in our bones, muscles, skin, and even digestive system. Of the different types, one of the most prominent proteins is collagen. Without it, our skin would lose strength, our gut health would deteriorate, and we would have a hard time building and maintaining muscles. Collagen is a complex protein with 19 different amino acids, both nonessential and essential (like arginine, glutamine, and glycine). One of the most vital roles that collagen protein plays in our body, is its involvement with our tendons and joints. Collagen acts similarly to glue, making body parts more in the way that biomechanics intended. Without collagen, we would literally fall apart. Our body loses collagen in different ways. For one, the aging of our body deteriorates the level of collagen found in our joints, hair, nails, and skin. In fact, loss of collagen is a major contributor to joint pains, wrinkles and hair loss! Negative habits like process sugar consumption (put down the soda!), constant sun exposure (hello tanning beds) and smoking (ew) also decrease collagen in our body. Some genetic disorders that can lead to loss of collagen as well. Benefits of Collagen So, we know what collagen is and what happens when we don’t have it, but what are the benefits of including collagen in our diet? Reduce Joint Pain and Inflammation As mentioned above, loss of collagen can lead to joint pain. Like WD40 to a door hinge, collagen acts as a greasing mechanism for our body to move easily. In a recent study on the effects of collagen on articular pain, collagen was shown as an effective treatment for bone and joint issues including osteoarthritis. By including collagen in your diet, you may reduce inflammation, joint pain, and other joint irritations. Digestion Got digestion troubles? Have no fear, collagen is here. Jokes asides, collagen is a great option for people who have tummy issues like leaky gut, constant bloating or irregular bowel movements. To keep it short and sweet, the biggest benefit collagen has for the digestive tract is its aid in forming connective tissue. Collagen amino acids are the building blocks of the connective tissue, which acts like super glue to the gut, sealing the holes and tears as well as healing the lining in our gastrointestinal tract. Boost Metabolism Collagen helps build lean muscle mass, which helps increase metabolism. Arginine, found in collagen, increases the body’s protein-making ability. The better at making protein, the better the body is at repairing muscles and healing damage. Stronger Hair, Teeth and Nails The protein found in collagen actual make up teeth, nails and hair. By adding collagen into your diet, you will be contributing to the strength and growing ability of all three! Long hair don’t care. Ways to Include Collagen into Your Daily Routine Powder: Many people, including the BKN team, include collagen in their morning routine. Some put it into their morning coffee, others into their smoothies, as the tasteless powder disappears instantly. You can also throw it into baking! Bone Broth: Bone broth is a great way to add collagen into the diet. While you can buy it, making it at home is just as easy. Check out the recipe in our detox post. Pill supplements: Don’t think you can fit in either of the options above? No worries! Take collagen in pill form! There are lots of collagen supplements, so do your research to find one that fits best for you! Collagen can come from beef, chicken, fish or eggs. An important thing to remember when purchasing your collagen, whether it's bones for broth or powder for smoothies, is the actual source. Your source needs to be 100% grass fed, pasture raised, organic, wild caught and, or not grain fed (cows aren’t wild caught obviously, so apply where it can be). Whatever the form, make sure you include collagen in your daily routine because your joints, hair, nails and health will thank you!