You may have been hearing a lot about collagen in the past few months. It’s in facial creams. Foodies and influencers are sprinkling collagen powder and peptides on their acai bowls, broths, green juices and avocado toasts. So, what is collagen? Is it just having a moment, similar to the matcha latte? And how does it affect your body?
Collagen is a protein found throughout the body. Various kinds of collagen make up our hair, skin, nails, bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, blood vessels and intestines. It helps strengthen and provide elasticity to our body. That means it also strengthens skin and the cell walls of our veins. When veins are not strong enough to pump blood back to the heart, it can pool in the vein. A study published in the American Heart Association journal “Circulation” found that the type of collagen and elastin in varicose veins is modified compared to healthy veins.
As a protein, collagen contains some essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. They help the body to repair tissue and break down food, among many other basic functions. We cannot create more essential amino acids. Instead, we must get them from our foods or through supplements.
You can purchase collagen supplements as proteins or as peptides. As supplements, they can be used almost interchangeably because they contain similar amino acids. However, collagen proteins and peptides are broken down differently. Proteins take slightly longer to digest and gel when added to foods, while peptides do not.
When experimenting with the supplements, try using collagen protein as thickener for broth, soup or gravy. It can also be used in desserts such as pudding, ice cream or mousse. Collagen peptides can be added to any foods. You can dissolve peptides in coffee, tea, juices or smoothies. Stir them into pasta sauces, eggs, dips and any food other food when you’d like to get an extra boost of protein.
Am I a Candidate?
Determine if you are at risk for developing or already have symptoms for venous disease.