Beauty Benefit: Younger skin, stronger nails, thicker hair.
Deeper Benefit: Immune system, brain function, joint health.
Sipping bone broth may contribute to a more youthful glow but more importantly, it is powerful for the immune system and brain function. Broth has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years but recently gained popularity due to the rising attention of paleo and ketogenic diets. The warming and nourishing effect of broth is the main reason it is part of my daily “slow the aging” routine.
The stock is made by simmering bones of animals for hours, sometimes up to two days. Vegetables, spices, and herbs are often added for flavor and additional nutrients. The result is an anti-inflammatory broth packed with amino acids, collagen, and minerals essential for your longevity.
Why I Love Collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, primarily found in joints, muscles, skin, and even the organs and blood vessels. I have listed eight reasons why it deserves attention for a healthy body and brain.
- It keeps you upright and mobile
- It makes up 75-80% of our skin. After the age of 40 our natural production of collagen starts to dramatically slow down.
STUDY: A 2014 study published in the Journal of Anatomy examined skin samples of 45 subjects from 1 months old to 95. It concluded that a 1-year-old had 85.77 percent of skin area occupied by collagen. A 49-year-old had 72.45 percent and 90-year-old individual had only 56.63 percent collagen1.
- It plays a role in healthy skin and facilitates hair and nail growth.
- It inhibits infections caused by viruses.
- It helps heal and seal the gut (where most of your immune system is based) . (See my blog on gut health.)
- It fights inflammation in the body.
- It is nature’s multivitamin, naturally packed with vitamins and minerals.
- It builds stronger muscles and restores sexual and hormone health.
Collagen proteins need to be broken down into smaller peptides, or amino acids before we can absorb them. Therefore, food sources are most effective, bone broth being the richest source.
However, sipping bone broth does not exactly drive this nutrient-rich source of collagen straight to your crow’s feet or sagging neck. We need to keep in mind, lifestyle, and diet influences such as adequate Vitamin D, sufficient water intake, and avoiding refined foods.
Bone Broth with Other Nutrients
STUDY: A randomized controlled trial in September 2018 found that oral supplementation with collagen bioactive peptides combined with chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, L-carnitine, vitamins, and minerals significantly improved the clinical parameters related to skin aging and joint health, and therefore, might be an effective solution to slow down the hallmarks of aging2.
It is important to get adequate protein in your diet to benefit from collagen. This is crucial if you are struggling with joint stiffness or pain, hair loss, brittle nails, and overall fatigue and weakness. You may want to consult with a qualified practitioner to help you modify your diet and determine if supplementation is right for you.
How I Like My Collagen
I do not rely on one source. But most of my dietary collagen comes from bone broth. I will make it myself or buy it ready-made (liquid cartons or frozen). The broth provides a few amino acids including glycine, which helps with blood sugar, sleep, and neurotransmitter production.
Bone Broth Recipe
It is quite easy to make. It just takes time because it is a slow cooking process.
3 lb. of bones (sourced from grass-fed, hormone-free chicken or pasture-raised cows) I highly recommend getting these at a local farmers’ market or butcher.
Fill up a 2-gallon pot to just a few inches from the top.
Add 2-3 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar and let this sit for 20-30min. The acid helps draw out the minerals, amino acids, and collagen from the bones.
Add whatever herbs and spices you like, also some vegetables. I normally add celery, onion, and dry and fresh herbs from the garden. Turmeric is also a powerful root herb to boost the anti-inflammatory power of the broth.
Add some sea salt or Pink Himalayan Salt and a few dashes of black pepper.
Bring this to a boil, then down to a simmer for 12 to 24 hours (the longer the better).
Strain, pour broth into glass jars, and store in your refrigerator or freezer.
There are several foods that provide a source of collagen including chicken, eggs, fish, garlic, avocados, and leafy greens.
Ayurveda and Collagen
Ayurveda is the Science of Self-Healing from Ancient India. One of the objectives in this practice to balance elements causing the illness- diet and lifestyle recommendations, yoga therapy, herbology. Other practices include massage, marma point therapy as well as specific cleansing therapies. Collagen is found in two of my favorite Ayurvedic herbs: Ashwagandha and Gotu Kola. I normally consume these as teas or a more convenient tincture.
You can throw a spoonful in your coffee, add them to baked goods or pancakes, and soups. However, there are so many on the market today it is hard to know which one is effective, and safe. Look for a brand that hydrolyzes the collagen peptides for better absorption and uses on-GMO ingredients, and grass-fed, pasture-raised sources. One of my favorites is Ancient Nutrition Multi-Collagen Protein which yields 20g of collagen in two scoops.
Collagen can be found in several foods but are we getting enough of it from the diet? Comment below or share your favorite source of collagen!
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My DIY Protocol to Repair Nails:
Natural Secrets for Pearly Whites:
Other Mineral Foods; Pink Himalayan Salt:
1. Age-related dermal collagen changes: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4089350/
2. Improved skin elasticity and joints with collagen peptides combined with vitamins: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30122200/
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