What Is Bone Broth Collagen Good For? A Complete Guide
“I’m noticing changes in the cellulite on the back and side of my thighs. They look sooo much smoother!”
I penned those words in my journal on Day 7 of my bone broth detox.
Think about that for a second. In just seven days, I noticed a significant difference in the way my skin appeared. How did I do it? It was all bone broth. More specifically, it was the collagen found in bone broth.
I first heard about collagen via Mark’s Daily Apple about four years ago in a “Dear Mark” post. At that time, I was struggling with serious digestive and skin issues and searched for natural sources of gut-healing foods and supplements. His post led me down the path of daily bone broth consumption, helping to heal digestive issues and smooth out my cellulite.
If you read through articles within the paleo and naturopathic space online, you’re likely no stranger to collagen protein. But have you ever stopped to research these health claims?
I wager that if you read to the end of this post, you will have answers to all your questions.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein, the most abundant protein found in the human body. It’s found in human connective tissues and animal connective tissues, including:
- Animal bones
- Animal hides
- Fish skin
- Fish scales
Collagen is naturally found in bone broth, but is heavily marketed and sold in various forms. You can find bone broth collagen in liquid, capsule, and powder supplements. You may see it marketed as hydrolyzed collagen or collagen hydrolysate. You can also find it in the form of skin-firming creams and serums.
Collagen Is a Buzzword — and for Good Reason
The nutritional benefits of collagen (both from bone broth or in supplement form, such as bone broth collagen powder or collagen protein powder) are endless. There’s three we want to highlight: Collagen strengthens your skin, nails, and hair, it strengthens muscles, and it heals your stomach lining.
Collagen Helps Strengthen Your Skin and Nails
In the United States, skincare and beauty industries alike proclaim the following collagen health benefits:
- Anti-aging effects for your skin
- Improving skin elasticity
- Reducing skin roughness and cellulite
In one study, collagen was shown to decrease signs of lines and wrinkles. In a study of 69 women ages 35 to 55, those who took a collagen supplement showed signs of improved skin elasticity compared to those who took the placebo (1).
Collagen might also help improve skin hydration. In one study lasting just eight weeks, collagen supplementation helped decrease skin dryness (2).
Collagen Strengthens Your Muscles
Bone broth collagen is packed with amino acids, the building blocks of protein (3). Collagen contains all nine essential amino acids — those that can’t be made by the body and must be consumed through food.
Collagen’s amino acid profile is special because of proline, glycine, glutamine, and arginine. These four amino acids contain impeccable inflammation-reducing and healing properties. Proline is an amino acid that helps stimulate muscle growth and strengthens your joints, tendons, and heart muscles (4)(5). Glycine helps maintain muscle mass, prevent the loss of cartilage, and improve athletic performance (6).
Collagen Helps Heal Your Stomach Lining
Consuming bone broth can help heal the lining of your digestive tract (7). The lining of your gut can be compromised by several factors: antibiotics, environmental factors, antacids, alcohol, and processed food (8)(9).
Leaky gut syndrome is the result of toxins causing small holes in your digestive tract. A permeable stomach lining allows partially digested food and toxins to penetrate the tissues beneath it. This can damage your gut’s healthy bacteria, leading to a number of digestive issues and chronic disease (10).
There are Actually Many Types of Collagen
There are many types of collagen, including 28 known varieties. Most collagen falls under type I, II, or III. Type I accounts for over 90 percent of human collagen. While all types of collagen share the same goal (to fortify your body’s connective tissues), the unique benefits vary depending on the collagen type.
Type I collagen is:
- Found in highest concentrations in bone broth
- The richest and most robust type (of the three listed here) found in the human body
- Found in tendons (ligaments, bone, skin, and organs) which connect muscles to bone. Without collagen, your ligaments would literally tear off the bone.
- Gram for gram, stronger than steel (11)
- A big player in wound healing
- Key in bolstering bone formation
Type II collagen is:
- Highest in turkey and chicken bone broth
- The primary collagen in cartilage
- Principal for immune system and digestive support, especially in repairing and sealing the gut lining (leaky gut)
Type III collagen is:
- Highest in beef bone broth
- Found in connective tissues such as the skin, lung, uterus, intestine, and vascular system
- What gives skin its resilience and firmness
- What forms our blood vessels and cardiovascular tissues
My Personal Experience With the Bone Broth Detox
The bottom line? Collagen production is extremely important to the health of my skin, connective tissues, and gut health. Fortunately, I found bone broth right at the start of my search, and it ended up being the perfect collagen supplement for my lifestyle. There are other options out there, like protein powders, collagen powders, or collagen peptides, but bone broth is very easy to integrate into any diet.
Throughout my personal experiment with the bone broth detox, I really identified with this quote:
“When you drink bone broth, you’ll mainline the building blocks of collagen straight to your cells, ‘reinflating’ them … You’ll build strong, resilient skin cell walls … and you’ll reverse inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods. Plus, you’ll load your body with nutrients that protect against photoaging … you can have beautiful skin at any age. It all happens with food.” — Dr. Kellyann Petrucci
Clearly, it held true for me and my skin health. But keep in mind, collagen supports many parts of your body (including your digestive system, bones, and muscles), not just aesthetics.
I have nothing but positive things to report, so get some bone broth in your diet!
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