Collagen Diet: Benefits, How to Get It, Diet Tips & More

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Things you should know about the collagen diet

A collagen diet is relatively safe if carefully monitored.
Collagen is a general term for structural proteins in the skin and connective tissue.
A collagen diet is an eating plan to consume foods high in collagen that some reports claim to improve skin and beauty. Experts generally agree that more research is needed before these claims can be proven.
Decreases in collagen with aging may lead to skin and hair problems.
A collagen diet is relatively safe if carefully monitored.
Collagen supplements are relatively safe as long as 20 grams per day is a maximum dose. However, some supplements have been determined not to be safe due to virus contamination or toxic content.
What is collagen? What is the collagen diet?
Collagen is a general term for the main structural proteins found in the skin and connective tissues in humans and animals and makes up about 30% of the protein in the human body. The principal function of collagen is to keep the skin healthy and help wounds and scars heal properly. It is broken down in the body into amino acids, which are then used for cell building and regeneration.

Collagen is comprised of 19 amino acids (for example, glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, lysine, and arginine). There are at least 29 types of collagen. Humans have mainly Types I-III:

Type I exists mainly in the skin, tendon, vasculature, organs, and bone.
Type II is in cartilage, and
Type III is in reticular fibers (thin branching fibers in connective tissue).
The collagen diet is an eating plan that emphasizes avoiding too much sugar and refined carbohydrates and consuming foods high in collagen. Since collagen levels decline with age, eating more collagen can help maintain youthfulness, energy, and beauty.

Other forms of the diet may include consuming collagen supplements (for example, Dr. Axe diet supplements) and collagen injections. Collagen supplements are usually derived from animal bones, skin, and connective tissues, although there are some vegan sources of collagen as well.

What happens when collagen levels drop?
The body’s production of collagen decreases dramatically with aging. When this happens, there is a reduction in your skin elasticity and epidermal thickness. This leads to skin damage and an increase in wrinkles, crepey skin, and sagging skin. Low collagen may also reduce hair growth and contribute to hair thinning.

Decreases in collagen may also lead to stiffer and less flexible tendons and ligaments, shrinking and weakening muscles, joint pain, osteoarthritis, and gastrointestinal problems.

What are food sources of collagen?
Food sources of collagen include the following:

Fish
Chicken
Egg whites
Citrus fruits
Berries
Red and yellow vegetables
Garlic
White tea
Leafy greens
Cashews
Tomatoes
Bell peppers
Beans
Avocados
Soy
Herbs high in collagen (Chinese knotweed, horsetail, gynostemma)
Herbs that help to produce collagen (gotukola, bala, ashwagandha)
The above foods are considered to be foods to improve skin elasticity, anti-aging, and help joint pain by individuals who recommend this diet. It is important to note that while small, limited studies have shown some benefits of consuming collagen, it is unclear whether these benefits would have also occurred by consuming any type of protein and maintaining a healthy diet in general. Also, since collagen cannot be absorbed and is broken down into amino acids when consumed, the consumption of collagen does not guarantee that any new collagen will be made.

7 possible health benefits of a collagen diet
Collagen plays an important role in many functions of the body, and following a collagen diet may have the following health benefits:

1. Improves skin health
Collagen improves skin elasticity and moisture. As you get older, your body stops creating as much collagen, which can lead to dry skin and wrinkles.

2. Prevents bone density loss
Collagen is a major part of bone mass. Winc your body produces less collagen as you age, it is important to eat foods that promote collagen production.

3. Eases joint pain
Advancing age increases the risk of osteoporosis (weak bones) which can also have an impact on joints. Collagen maintains the balance of cartilage in the body, which plays a crucial role in maintaining joint health and protecting bones from damage.

4. Promotes heart health
Without enough collagen, your arteries can weaken, constrict, and transport blood less effectively. Lack of collagen can lead to atherosclerosis, which is a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries and leads to hardening or narrowing.

5. Promotes hair and nail growth
Collagen helps you maintain healthy hair and nails, encouraging shine and strength.

6. Promotes gut health
Collagen is beneficial to intestinal health, aiding digestion, repairing the lining of the gut, and promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

7. Boosts metabolism
Collagen may boost metabolism, which improves your ability to burn fat and manage weight.

Although many of these claims have not been scientifically proven, the overall diet recommendations of the collagen diet (minus the supplements) often contain many foods that are recommended for a healthy diet.

What are the cons of a collagen diet?
There seems to be little if any cons to a collagen diet (excluding supplements). However, there are a few such as

allergic reactions to potential allergens like shellfish or eggs;
heartburn;
some individuals complain of feeling too full and others complain of a bad taste; and
too much collagen can result in thickened skin and organ damage.
Are collagen supplements safe?
Most collagen supplements undergo hydrolyzation to form hydrolyzed collagen that makes it easier to absorb and turn into tablets, capsules, and powders. Some supplements are infused foods that are drinks and/or edibles injected with collagen. Ingesting more than 20 grams per day may be harmful according to some dietitians.

Bone broth supplement is a trend used as a supplement, but recent data suggests the collagen in it may not absorb very well. In addition, supplements can be made from animal by-products (for example, bones, hoofs, tendons) and some may contain viruses (for example, mad cow disease) and others have had high concentrations of toxic metals found in the preparation. Check the ingredients before purchasing. Before using a supplement, consult with your doctor.

Can collagen be vegan?
Vegan collagen supplements are produced in a lab through genetic modification of yeast and bacteria
Unlike animals, plants do not contain collagen. Instead, they have proteins that can mimic the effects of collagen.

Some plants contain amino acids that are present in animal collagen, which include glycine, lysine, and proline. So vegan foods high in these amino acids may help boost the body’s natural collagen production.

There are also vegan collagen supplements that are produced in a lab through genetic modification of yeast and bacteria. The process involves transferring the human genomes responsible for collagen formation to yeast or bacteria.

The yeast or bacteria then begins to produce collagen building blocks. A digestive enzyme called pepsin is added, which helps turn the building blocks into collagen that has the same structure as that found in humans.

What are the benefits of vegan collagen?
Cruelty-free
Animal collagen is extracted from the bones and connective tissue of animals. Vegan collagen, however, is cruelty-free.

Cost-effective
Plant-based vegan collagen supplements are often less expensive and more environmentally friendly than animal collagen supplements. Plant-based collagen has the potential to be mass-produced on an industrial scale as demand grows. The components necessary to make authentic vegan collagen are inexpensive and easily obtained.

Improved safety profile
When a product is manufactured in a lab, it is easy to trace and remove contaminants. Each vegan collagen synthesis run can have a harmless tracer chemical identity added to it so that an assay can easily expose its sources if impurities are discovered. As a result, a product recall could be implemented immediately before any adverse problems occur on a bigger scale.

Lower risk of allergies
People with allergies may prefer vegan collagen because there is a potential for disease transmission with animal-sourced collagen.

Medical procedures
Collagen is widely used in dermatology for sutures and to promote wound healing and skin growth. Vegan collagen is more easily obtained than animal-derived collagen and may be beneficial for medical procedures requiring the use of collagen.

What foods can boost collagen formation in the body?
Amino acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are required to produce collagen in the body. Many varieties of vegan protein are complete proteins, which means they include all the amino acids that your body cannot make on its own.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the most significant components required by your body for natural collagen formation. Vitamin C is required to synthesize amino acids and stabilize collagen structure. It is difficult to create or store additional collagen if you go below a particular level of vitamin C. All fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C, but citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, and tomatoes are some of the best sources.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E can significantly boost the ability of vitamin C to decrease oxidative damage caused by free radicals on the skin and helps preserve collagen produced naturally in the body. Leafy greens, seeds, nuts, and tropical fruits, such as kiwi, mango, and avocados are rich sources of vitamin E.

Iron
Iron is essential for collagen production. Plant-based iron sources in the diet include beans, tofu, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.

Zinc
Zinc can help break down and rebuild collagen, aid in wound healing, and promote the health and integrity of your skin. Zinc-rich plant foods include nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains.

Copper
Copper is an essential cofactor for the enzyme lysyl oxidase, which helps the body’s natural elastin and collagen activities. Whole grains, beans, nuts, potatoes, tofu, leafy greens, chocolate, and dried fruit are good sources of copper.

Copper is one vitamin that should be obtained from meals rather than supplements because supplementary copper may quickly overload the body. Some people may not be able to metabolize copper, and excess copper can cause negative effects in the body.

Sulfur
Sulfur is involved in cellular collagen production and aids in collagen stabilization. It can be found in protein-rich foods and sulfinates, allicin, sulfides, thiamin, and biotin. The allium family of vegetables, which includes onions, garlic, chives, and leeks, is an excellent source of sulfur. Cruciferous vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains also contain sulfur.

Polyphenols
Polyphenols minimize oxidative damage and inflammation in the skin due to their inherent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These plant chemicals also help prevent collagen breakdown, boost collagen production, and reduce inflammation. Polyphenols can be found in fruits and vegetables as well as tea, coffee, and spices.

Aloe vera
Aloe vera increases collagen production and is high in polysaccharides, which help assemble amino acids into collagen, making it stronger. This results in better skin, hair, and nails.

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