What is Collagen?
You’ve probably seen collagen listed as an ingredient in skin creams or other cosmetics products. But you might have also seen it advertised as a main ingredient for snacks and foods.
So you can put collagen on your skin, and eat it?
Yes! Collagen is not a mystery lab chemical. Collagen is simply a type of naturally occurring protein that your body needs. In fact, it is the most common type of protein in animals.
Basically, collagen acts like glue. It helps keep your body together. It’s a large part of what keeps your skin and fingernails in one piece, and it helps your body repair itself after damage. As we get older, our body starts to produce less and less collagen. This is one reason why our bodies literally fall apart over time- the glue goes away! But the good news is, your body can easily use any collagen you add to it, whether you eat it or put it on your skin.
Nutrition at a Glance
100% pure collagen would just be entirely protein. Collagen is often found in collagen peptide supplements, which may also contain various vitamins and minerals. 100g contains:
- 357 calories
- 85.7g protein
- 0g fat
- 0g carbs
- 0g fiber
- 207 mg calcium
- 321 mg sodium
Since this ingredient is completely carb free, you can eat as much of it as you want without breaking keto. In fact, collagen is an excellent supplement for keto, because it is pure protein.
Since collagen is one of the most important types of the body’s “glue”, it really helps keep you together in many different ways. Some of the most important health benefits include:
- Supporting skin health
- Strengthening bones
- Boosting your immune system
- Retaining water
Supporting Skin Health
There’s a reason why every cosmetics department contains loads of collagen creams, sprays, and ointments. Skin is held together by collagen, and as we age, that collagen goes away, leaving us with wrinkled, dry skin.
Your body can absorb collagen directly through the skin, and can also make use of it when you consume it. Collagen also may play a role in preventing skin cancer. The efficacy of collagen on skin health is well researched and documented.
Although your bones are hard and your skin is soft, both are held together by collagen. Increasing the amount of collagen in your body will help the health of each. This is particularly important for older men and women. Weak bones later in life can cause problems like osteoporosis and arthritis.
Boosting Your Immune System
Collagen is also involved with cellular communication and migration. It is vital for helping transport materials throughout your body.
No surprise, then, collagen boosts your immune system. Additionally, collagen helps repair and maintain the lining of your gut, which means a healthier microbiota that can better fight disease.
Collagen is rarely associated with serious health risks. It is, after all, something your body makes on its own.
Like anything else, however, too much can hurt you. If you take collagen supplements, be sure to stay within range of the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.
Additionally, supplements may contain other ingredients, such as sugar, that you should watch out for.
Types of collagen
You should know that collagen is not a single monolithic entity. There are actually at least 28 different types of collagen, and they all serve different (overlapping) roles in the body.
Some of the most common types of collagen include:
- Type I: The most common type, which accounts for 90% of your body’s collagen. It is found in your skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
- Type II: This type provides elastic support for your cartilage.
- Type III: This type builds up your arteries, muscles, and organs.
- Type IV: This type holds your skin together.
- Type V: This type supports many organs, including eyes, skin, hair, and placenta.
Collagen supplements may contain multiple types of collagen, helping you body repair as needed.
How we use collagen
We put collagen in our Butter & Salt bar.
As said before, collagen is basically glue- it holds your skin and bones together. But that same gluiness is also great for holding protein bars together!
Since collagen is pure protein, it works well with a keto diet. It helps keep you satiated, and provides the structure needed to repair and maintain your body.