Our bodies are made up of many different proteins, and one of the most important is collagen. It’s found almost everywhere - in our ligaments, tendons, skin, bones, muscles, and blood vessels. Collagen is also naturally occurring in animals such as pigs and cows as well as plants, fish, and sponges. When we’re young, our bodies are excellent collagen producers. But as we age, our bodies begin to reduce the amount produced. One way to boost collagen in our bodies is by taking grass-fed bovine or beef collagen. Here’s everything you need to know about beef collagen - what it is, what its benefits are, and how to use it effectively in your diet.
What is Beef Collagen?
Beef collagen, also known as bovine collagen is a natural protein found within the bones, tissue, and cartilage of cows. The supplements you see on the shelves are made by boiling down animal byproducts such as bone and tissue that contain high levels of collagen and extracting the concentrate - this is what appears on the shelves of supplement stores.
No one type of collagen
There are around 20 different types of collagen found in the human body. Each type has a specific role to play, and different sources affect different types, for example, marine collagen affects types I and II, whereas beef collagen produces strong reactions from types I and III.
What does this mean?
Depending on your collagen source - you can adjust your intake according to deficiencies within your body or desired health benefits.
Health benefits of Beef Collagen
There are many health benefits associated with collagen supplements including some of the following:
1. Collagen helps to hydrate and improve skin
As we get older, our levels of type I and III collagen drops. This is what leads to the natural wrinkling and drying out of the skin. Beef collagen is strongly associated with types I and III and studies show that collagen supplements can greatly reduce the effects of ageing by boosting skin collagen - improving skin appearance and elasticity.
2. Collagen supports the gut and microbiome
Collagen is a pact with amino acids. These acids are key in ensuring the digestive system is capable of breaking down foods properly. Think of collagen as a regulator within the gut. It ensures gastric juices are kept at the right levels - reducing the risk of heartburn and stomach ulcers - common symptoms of an overly acidic digestive system. Collagen is also key in repairing stomach and intestinal lining and is an effective weapon against leaky gut.
3. Collagen helps you sleep
One of the most important amino acids in beef collagen is glycine, which has strong links to sleep. Namely the temperature moderating effects of glycine, which allow for a better quality of sleep, as well as regulating spikes in blood sugar levels which have been proven to affect the quality of sleep.
4. Collagen boosts hair and nail growth
Beef Collagen may improve hair growth and strengthen nails by combatting brittleness. The hair building protein ‘keratin’ is made from various amino acids - including collagen. Moreover, collagen helps prevent the effects of free radicals that can impact hair follicle growth - the ability of the body to fight these free radicals decreases over time but collagen with its antioxidant powers can help promote healthier, more robust hair growth.
5. Collagen improves muscle strength
It won’t surprise you to learn that collagen, as a major natural protein in the body, is important in muscle building. Beef collagen is just as important. Including more collagen in your diet has been proven to slow down muscle decay and age-related muscle loss. Combining muscle resistance training along with increasing collagen intake can help increase muscle strength and improve exercise performance.
6. Collagen helps with joint pain
Collagen has been proven to effectively maintain the structural integrity of cartilage - the soft bone-like tissue that protects bones from rubbing together and causing inflammation. As we age, and our collagen levels decrease, so too does the structural integrity of your cartilage causing several age-related joint issues such as osteoarthritis. Improving collagen within the body can help maintain cartilage health - thus smoothing out our joints as we age. Studies have shown that athletes who consistently took collagen noticed a significant improvement in joint pain and related ailments.
Benefits of using grass-fed beef collagen
It’s true - the source of the collagen makes a big difference in both the efficacy and nutritional and health benefits gained from including it in your daily meals and drinks. It matters because beef collagen comes from cowhides and tissue - you’ll want to consider how they were raised and in what conditions. Choose carefully by making sure you’re sourcing from grass-fed and naturally raised cows. Check for third-party and official verifications and be prepared to dome some research to make double sure.
How to use Beef Collagen in your diet
Beef collagen can be incorporated in endless ways into your diet. Collagen simply dissolves into liquids - and depending on which kinds you use will impact the thickness in different ways.
- Beef collagen gelatin will thicken when added to liquid and can be used as an egg replacement or general thickening agent.
- Beef collagen peptides will instantly dissolve when stirred into liquid and won’t ever thicken. This makes beef collagen peptides extremely accessible - simply add them to any or all of your existing recipes and favourite drinks.
As a powerful and important natural protein, beef collagen has a great many health benefits including better hair growth, stronger muscles, and improved gut function. While evidence of the benefits is only emerging, there are some serious improvements to be enjoyed by including it in your diet.