Article taken from Psychologies Magazine and written by Nutritionist Daisy Connor of citysurvivor.co.uk
Discover the many faces of collagen, and its abundance of mind-bolstering benefits.
We’re accustomed to seeing collagen adorn our creams, oil and ointments, and hearing how fabulous it is for plumping our skin, smoothing fine lines, and strengthening hair and nails. But did you know that collagen is also a secret powerhouse when it comes to our mental health? This humble protein is said to help with cognitive function and memory, and can even calm a busy mind. Nutritionist Daisy Connor of City Survivor explains why it’s time we all started to look at collagen a little differently.
Keep calm with collagen
‘You might want to up your collagen levels to keep your skin looking fresh, but there’s strong evidence to suggest that dietary collagen, including supplements, has potential benefits for mental health, too,’ says Connor. ‘For example, it’s rich in the amino acid glycine, which acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning it helps to calm overworked and stressed-out receptors. This results in a calming effect on the brain and therefore, reduced stress and anxiety. What’s more, glycine is thought to improve cognitive function and memory, too.’
Happy gut, happy brain
‘We’ve known for some time that our brain and our gut are intrinsically linked,’ explains Connor, ‘so it stands to reason a happy gut equals a happy brain. Research shows amino acids in collagen have anti-inflammatory properties, which can support gut health by reducing inflammation and improving the integrity of the gut lining. In turn, this supports and maintains a healthy, happy brain.’
Your natural source
‘Collagen is abundant in our bodies – including skin, bones, tendons and ligaments,’ explains Connor. ‘In the past, we would get all the collagen we needed through our diet, by eating animal products. But, these days, even those who eat meat tend to throw away the collagen-rich parts.
‘One of the best ways to enjoy collagen is with a bone broth,’ says Connor. ‘Simmering all the bits you usually put in the bin creates a hearty collagen-rich liquid. Another way to get your fill is by eating the less popular parts of the meat, such as skin, feet and shanks.
‘However, for many, a collagen supplement is an easier (and more palatable!) way to increase your intake,’ she adds. ‘Collagen powder, for example, easily dissolves in drinks. She recommends a marine collagen powder from sustainably sourced wild cod skin, as opposed to bovine collagen, which has a great impact on the environment.
Did you know? For the most part, our body can make all the collagen it needs through a healthy, balanced diet. However, studies have shown that production drops off as we age, meaning there’s a greater need to seek out additional sources.
From tablets and capsules to powders and drinks, there are plenty of ways to supplement your collagen levels this summer …
Skinful Pure Marine Collagen Powder can be mixed into tea, coffee, smoothies and shakes, and is made from sustainably caught cod skin.
Healthspan Super Strength Marine Collagen Complex contains 1,000mg of collagen in an easy-to-take capsule
Absolute Collagen Marine Liquid Collagen Drink For Women can be enjoyed directly from the sachet, or add it to your favourite beverage.