For years, collagen has been hailed as the holy grail of skin, hair, and nail rejuvenation. It has been known to add luminosity and firmness to the skin, and is a common ingredient in beauty supplements. The most common form of edible collagen is gelatin. A common drawback of gelatin, however, is that it’s time-consuming to prepare. Gelatin has to be cooked into a gel (most commonly Jell-O or pudding) in order to be edible, as it does not dissolve in beverages.
A new form of gelatin, called collagen hydrolysate, has recently entered the market. Collagen hydrolysate has the same nutritional properties as gelatin, and is more easily digestible. Unlike gelatin, it can be mixed into both hot and cold beverages. Collagen hydrolysate comes in a flavorless powdered form, and can be seamlessly mixed into coffee, tea, juices, smoothies, and even ice cream or sauces for an extra protein boost with anti-inflammatory properties.
Collagen hydrolysate is also recommended to be added to food dishes containing meat to aid digestion, as it helps to balance the absorption of amino acids into the blood stream. When meat is consumed, the amino acids cysteine and tryptophan are released into the blood stream. During levels of high stress or in cases of excess consumption of meat, these amino acids are released in too large of quantities in the blood stream, leading to suppressed thyroid functioning. Excess levels of cortisol are then released, which signal the brain to break down muscle instead of fat in order to conserve energy. Meat consumption can also lead to increased levels of serotonin, causing fatigue. Excess tryptophan triggers inflammatory conditions, such as allergies, asthma, edema, acne, and arthritis. In excess, tryptophan also decreases immune functioning and leads to premature aging. Adding collagen hyrolysate to the diet helps to even out the absorption of cysteine and tryptophan by releasing the amino acids glycine, proline, and alanine.
Other added benefits of collagen hydrolysate include hormonal balance, stress reduction and improved sleep. The glycine contained in collagen hydrolysate is an inhibitive neurotransmitter, and calms the central nervous system, leading to decreased physiological symptoms of stress and anxiety and better quality of sleep. Glycine also helps to balance hormones by inhibiting the production of excess estrogen. Excess estrogen has been linked to weight gain, diabetes, and increased risk of breast cancer. Glycine helps the body maintain healthy blood sugar levels by regulating estrogen and boosting the ability of insulin to process glucose as energy rather than storing it as fat. The skin firming and circulation boosting properties of collagen hydrolysate can drastically reduce the amount and appearance of cellulite.
The recommended dose of collagen hydrolysate is 1 tablespoon twice per day. Since it’s a pure protein source, it can be used as a protein replacement, and should also be accompanied by a carbohydrate and fat source when consumed. Blending the powder with a banana, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 1/3 cup of almond milk, and ice is a tasty treat in the morning to rev up metabolism and energy levels.