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4 Ways to Add Collagen to Your Day

3 min read

couple drinking smoothies

By Emily Hirsch, MS, RD

Searching for the fountain of youth and still coming up empty-handed? Collagen may not be springing from fountains, but adding it to your daily routine may be the answer to helping you look and feel great all while slowing the aging process.

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. This protein plays an important role in binding connective tissues and is often referred to as the “glue” that holds the body together. Collagen creates the building blocks of your skin, hair, nails, cartilage, bones, tendons and joints.

Adding collagen into your daily routine can keep skin looking plump and smooth all while reducing the appearance of wrinkles. 

Your body’s collagen production slows at a rate of 1 percent per year beginning around age 20, and you may have lost as much as 30% beginning around the age of 50. As you can imagine, losing collagen can take its toll on your skin, along with other parts of your body like your bones and joints. Collagen loss leads to increasing wrinkles, hair loss, brittle nails and joint discomfort and stiffness.

Why Is Collagen Important?

Adding collagen into your daily routine can keep skin looking plump and smooth all while reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Additionally, collagen supplements can keep your muscles and joints feeling young and mobile.

study in 2014 found that for women ages 35 to 55 who took a daily collagen supplement for eight weeks, showed a significant improvement in skin elasticity compared with those who didn’t take it. Additionally, in a recent review of eight studies, researchers concluded that short- and long-term use of collagen supplementation can increase skin elasticity, hydration and skin collagen concentration with no reported side effects.

A 2018 systematic review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that collagen supplements provided short-term relief from osteoarthritis-associated pain. 

With all the potential benefits collagen provides, there are many opportunities to add collagen as you move through your daily routine.

4 Ways to Add Collagen to Your Day

  1. In your morning coffee or breakfast smoothie. Do you have a skin care routine in the morning? Why not start the day by addressing your skin care needs from the inside out? The specialized proteins found in collagen play an important role in cell regeneration to promote skin elasticity and strengthen hair and nails.

    Moreover, collagen supplements are flavorless (although some have added flavoring), and can be easily stirred into just about anything. Not a coffee drinker? No problem! Try stirring collagen powder into your tea, water or a smoothie. Not a big morning beverage person? No problem! You can stir your collagen supplement into oatmeal or yogurt for a boost of skin-enhancing benefits.
  2. After working out. After a hard workout, a protein-rich snack is important to help your muscles recover. Having an adequate protein source on hand after a tough workout isn’t always feasible; however, stirring a collagen supplement into your water bottle couldn’t be easier. Not only does a collagen supplement provide an excellent source of collagen; it has the added benefit of helping to reduce joint discomfort.
  3. Curb the afternoon slump. If you’re looking for a mid-afternoon boost that won’t cause you to crash, consider adding your collagen supplement to tea, water, or yogurt. Collagen is chock full of the amino acid glycine, which can help improve mood. A study examining the effects of glycine on sleep-restricted subjects found that glycine helped study participants with work-related anxiety and reduced fatigue throughout the day.
  4. Add collagen to your evening routine. Having trouble sleeping, or waking up feeling sluggish? If so, the glycine found in collagen supplements may help. A 2012 review found that glycine can lower core body temperature, one of the requirements for quality sleep. Taking collagen at night might be an easy way to help you get the rest you need.

    Adding collagen to your daily routine is a simple way to improve your skin, reduce joint discomfort and even enhance the quality of your sleep. 

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