One of the things I’m often asked is what vitamins and supplements I buy for my children – and while I tend to shy away from that question (for the sheer fact that we don’t do vitamins) is that I don’t recommend too many supplements.
Sure, there are some things that we take daily and are pretty crazy about, but all in all, vitamins are not something that you will find that we rely on.
What do we rely on?
What is Collagen?
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body and is what makes up our strong hair, and nails, and beautiful skin. A polypeptide collagen contains amino acids proline and glycine, which are found within the connective tissue within the organs.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body – found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessel walls, and tendons. Believe it or not, it is 30% of the overall protein in our body. What’s even more shocking is that it’s 70% of the protein that makes up our skin.
If there was anything that holds your body together like superglue, Collagen is it. It’s a long chain amino acid and is comprised of glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and arginine and is only found in animal bones and connective tissue.
As we ate, collagen production decreases. Even more, our lifestyle choices play a huge part in reduced collagen levels – stress, sickness, processed foods, sugar smoking and chemical overload. It’s important that we do what we can to maintain our collagen levels because when that glue weakens or decreases, we experience the results…. that can mean muscle pain, wrinkles, dry, brittle hair, and more.
Our body has the innate ability to produce the animo acids found in collagen, however, it doesn’t always produce them at the level at which we need – therefore it’s important that we look for a source of collagen that can help us maintain those levels.
External sources of collagen
Collagen is in the form of protein found in the body, while gelatin is produce when collagen is heated.
Collagen can come in two forms – gelatin, or collagen powder. Both are similar, but when you are using for your family you will want to be aware of the difference.
Collagen Powder: Hydrolyzed Protein (collagen powder) contains proteins broken down into individual peptide chains. This type of collagen is easily used at home in shakes and smoothies, hot and cold drinks, and has no taste or odor. You can find
Gelatin: Gelatin is a pure form of collagen that “gels” and is what you would need to make chewable gummies, or marshmallows. It’s great for people who are suffering from leaky gut as it is able to coat the digestive system. Gelatin gels much similar to the way bone broth gels in the fridge – because the natural collagen has been broken down.
Collagen for Hair Growth
Taking collagen peptides has helped my nails grow long and strong – but it has had the most profound effect on my hair… as well as the hair of my kids.
Collagen provides the amino acids that are necessary for hair growth. Collagen is special because it has a balance of amino acids that make up the protein your hair needs to grow. Glycine, proline, alanine and arginine are responsible for helping support hair growth in people that may be experiencing loss.
Collagen can increase body temperature, which in turn can support healthy blood circulation that hair needs to grow. Arginine is one of the most important amino acids for hair growth – not only does it help against hair loss, it supports healthy immune function.
Arginine plays a strong role in producing nitric oxide, which supports healthy blood circulation that keeps a healthy supply of nutrients to your hair follicles.
Do you know someone losing their hair? Lysine, another amino acid in collagen, can help inhibit 5 alpha reductase, which is an enzyme that has a pattern of being involved in male pattern baldness. Excessive hair loss/shedding can be a sign that your body is struggling to absorb iron – collagen can help your body with greater absorption of minerals thus helping provide a better structure for hair growth.
Benefits of Collagen
Collagen may be great for skin, hair and nails, but it also has a myriad of other benefits:
Gelatin helps balance hormones. Collagen hydrolysate and gelatin help balance the amounts of tryptophan and cysteine present in muscle meats. Gelatin contains no tryptophan. When you eat muscle meats, then large amounts of amino acids enter your bloodstream. To deal with that tryptophan, your body releases serotonin, and serotonin then releases more cortisol (this is a great source to read) – which then suppresses your thyroid. Amino acids are not bad, but when they are consumed out of proportion then they can make for problems.
Your metabolism and your thyroid go hand in hand, so by adding gelatin to your diet you will improve your metabolism by improving your thyroid function.
Gelatin has glycine, and glycine is recognized as an inhibitory neurotransmitter that promotes natural sleep.
The glycine in gelatin stimulates stomach acid production by absorbing water and helping to keep fluid “in” the digestive tract. That helps repair the gut over time, and improves assimilation of nutrients in your body.
Poor digestion is the underlying cause of most, if not all, hormonal imbalances, so improving your digestion will lead to greater assimilation of nutrients, and will support your thyroid and therefore better hormone balance.
Where to find Collagen
There are many places to find collagen powder and gelatin but it’s important to make sure that you pick up a brand that raises pastured beef, that are grass fed and humanly sourced.
Their collagen powder and gelatin are sourced from grass fed, pastured animals. Batch testing for heavy metals is done on a regular basis.
Is Collagen for Kids?
Collagen is something we introduced in our diets a few years ago and have seem incredible health improvements as a result. With 5 kids, I have seen a tremendous impact on their health, nails, skin and even hair. This is the one supplement that is a must in our family for better health.
My 10 year old has long, beautiful locks that grow incredibly fast – and collagen is a regular part of her diet.
Our ancestors consumed large amounts of gelatin in their diets because they ate nose to tail — but these days, we skip many of those animal parts and as a result, our diets don’t have as much of the gelatin that our bodies need.
Gelatin and Collagen help seal their gut, which in turn lead to an improved immune system, and help them sleep comfortably.
The glycine in gelatin that balances protein also helps improve sleep quality – helps decrease anxiety and balance the mind.
Do you use collagen? And if so, what’s your favorite way to incorporate in your family?
Rapport, D. The Specific Dynamic Action of Gelatin Hydrolysates, J. Biol. Chem. (1926) p. 76.