In this article:
- Defining collagen & its prominent health & beauty benefits
- What is collagen loading?
- How to do collagen loading?
- Safety & benefits of collagen loading
- Collagen loading for your workouts
How often do you catch yourself asking your body to simply do too much without allowing for proper recovery or refueling? We all expect our bodies to work like machines from time to time but we also need to prioritize our role as the mechanic. Prioritizing our own well-being should remain top of mind. It’s easy to forget that we are largely responsible for our health until it’s compromised.
However, as we demand more of our bodies and as we age, our daily health & nutrition rituals are more important than ever in maintaining the functioning of our bodies and preventing their decline. Today we examine how incorporating naturally-produced nutrients into our diet, such as collagen, can help us better fuel and repair our bodies. While we are able to manufacture collage from scratch, its production is not a linear process, as there is a significant decline after the age of 25.
So, how does one go about keeping collagen levels adequate as we age? While it may sound impossible, collagen loading allows you to boost your collagen levels over a short period of time, which is particularly appealing if you’re physically active. You may have heard the term before, but here is everything you’ve ever wanted to know about collagen loading and its countless benefits for performance and health!
Collagen is an insoluble protein, and the main structural component of numerous bodily parts, including skin, cartilage, and connective tissues. The importance of collagen lies not only in its structural role, but also in its abundance, as it accounts for one-third of the total amount of protein in the human body. While there are different types of collagen, the most prominent is Type 1 (90% of the entire collagen amount in the body), largely present in skin, tendons, bones, and internal organs. As we’ve already mentioned, this protein is manufactured in the body, and it consists of chains of amino acids.
With decreased levels of collagen, our skin becomes dull, lackluster, and wrinkly, as collagen is the component responsible for its elasticity and firmness. One of the main underlying causes of skin aging is a lack of collagen protein in the skin, leading to skin dryness due to lack of moisture and hydration. Collagen is often recommended for patients suffering from joint disorders, as it has been found to ease the unpleasant symptoms and reduce joint pain. Increased collagen levels have also been associated with improved bone mass and structure, a study on the role of collagen in bone health suggests.
If you’re looking to improve your lean muscle mass, collagen supplementation may be your best ally on this journey. Not only does 1-10% of all muscle mass consist of collagen, but it has been recognized as a necessary nutrient for the normal functioning of all muscles. Furthermore, a randomized controlled trial including 27 frail participants showed a significant increase in muscle mass and strength in individuals who supplemented with collagen products, in combination with resistance training. What’s more, collagen deficiency also affects cardiovascular health, as collagen is one of the main factors in the structure of arteries distributing blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
Because collagen fibrils are gram-for-gram stronger than steel, it is hard to imagine anything destroying this abundant protein. However, faced with our inevitable aging process and the limited capacity of collagen production, our natural collagen levels are jeopardized. To make matters worse, decreased collagen production isn’t the only threat to our collagen supplies. According to Medical News Today, collagen is influenced by poor lifestyle choices and environmental factors, including sugar consumption, smoking, excessive sun exposure, genetic changes, as well as autoimmune disorders. Overall pollution negatively affects every aspect of health, and collagen levels are no exception. Charged chemical particles known as free radicals appear to destroy collagen cells through oxidative destruction.
Did you know that 99% of people are actually deficient in collagen? Collagen deficiency means that your body lacks the most important protein many vital bodily functions and processes depend on. Therefore, in order to manage and/or prevent collagen deficiency, boosting collagen levels is necessary. And in order for this to be achieved in a short timeframe, and as efficiently as possible, collagen loading was introduced to the wellness world.
There are many collagen-boosting foods to pick from, including bone broth, animal skin, and cartilage. However, even if you were a fan of animal bone brew, the amount of collagen in these foods would not suffice for your daily needs. All-natural collagen supplementation contains a large dose of pure, highly soluble, bioavailable protein. It is easy to use, and even easier to implement into your daily menu, so obtaining your daily collagen dose will no longer be a hassle.
By “collagen loading”, you’re increasing your collagen levels over a short period of time. To “collagen load”, what you need to do is multiply your daily intake of collagen by way of supplementation. For instance, instead of one serving, you might take three servings per day of your collagen protein powder for the next 2-3 weeks. (Servings estimated at 10g scoops). Collagen loading represents a substantial boost to collagen levels, and it is a great strategy whenever you’re in need of any of collagen’s beneficial effects.
While it is certainly recommended to include more collagen-boosting foods (bone broth, animal skin, animal cartilage, chicken, fish and shellfish, egg whites, citrus fruits, leafy greens), the most effective way would be to include a hydrolyzed bovine collagen supplement into your daily nutrition.
The objective of collagen loading is to obtain as much protein as possible as quickly as possible, which requires a highly bioavailable source that is easily absorbed by the body. Hydrolyzed collagen is broken into short chains of peptides that are easily digested and utilized. For collagen loading, you should increase your daily intake of collagen supplements (3 servings a day) for 2-3 weeks.
Absolutely! While it is safe to increase your collagen intake, the recommended dose is completely individual, and it also depends upon the collagen itself. For example, collagen from marine sources is known to be up to 150% more bioavailable than collagen from bovine sources. Although both varieties are safe and effective, your dietary preferences may determine which one you use and therefore, how much you load. At the end of the day, the best & safest way to determine your optimal collagen loading dose would be to consult with your healthcare provider or nutritionist.
The best proof of whether or not collagen loading is effective or not is to consider before and after results. As we’ve already mentioned, supplementing with collagen powder is the most straightforward way to get more collagen into your body, due to its high bioavailability and ease-of-use in our daily nutrition. By promoting collagen levels, your body is also getting the numerous benefits of collagen, including strong connective tissues, healthy skin, flexible joints, hair growth, stronger nails, and optimized cardiovascular health, among others.
Speaking of collagen loading results, here is what several users shared with us:
“I have been taking this product [collagen peptides] daily for about nine months now. I bought this specifically for my nails, and I wanted to wait and see the results after a lengthy test period. My nails used to flake, peel, and break very easily. Now, they are stronger and I’m not seeing the flaking, peeling, and breaking of last year. I’m very happy with this product (whether the preportioned packets or the bulk jar) and will continue using it.”
"I have had two knee surgeries and needed help to limit arthritis. This stuff is the truth once it built up in my body. On my second tub no more anti-inflammatory drugs."
“Collagen peptides were recommended to me by a friend. After one month my painful knees aren’t painful anymore. The clicking has stopped as well. I mix this in my morning coffee and you can even taste it! My skin feels and looks better too!”
By increasing collagen levels, you’re getting specific benefits that will enhance your active lifestyle, whether as a recreationalist or at a competitive level. First and foremost, collagen is necessary for joint health, as well as ligaments, bones, and muscles. As we’ve mentioned previously, supplementing with collagen has also been associated with lean muscle building, better flexibility, and improved muscle strength.
Collagen not only helps to make the body strong, it also allows it to recover properly after grueling workouts, particularly in that hour window after exercise where post-workout nutrition is key. Collagen’s amino acid profile also contains glycine, which promotes sleepiness and quality of sleep, another important element of the recovery process. Finally, your collagen-infused pre- or post-workout smoothie could also help you in your weight loss process, as protein is low-calorie and highly satiating. Many users report that the extra kick of protein after a workout helps them to feel fuller for longer and snack less between meals.
If your goal is to boost collagen levels for optimal performance and recovery, then collagen loading with a premium collagen peptides supplement might be the perfect fit for your daily nutritional needs. To discover more about our Paleo and Keto-friendly collagen peptides, check out our online shop today.
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