Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard of collagen and the benefits it can provide. Collagen is an important protein that provides structure for many parts of the body. The human body creates collagen naturally but with assistance of proper nutrient absorption. With that, the foods and nutrients you eat can help your body make this protein. Although focusing on receiving your nutrients in a natural form through food ingestion should be your primary source for nutrient absorption, many people don’t get enough nutrients from diet alone. Overtime, however, the production of this proteins slows down significantly therefore, it is essential to use supplementation.
Before we dive deeper into the specific benefits, it’s important to understand that your body is all interconnected. Often times a symptom or deficiency showing itself in one region doesn’t necessarily mean that is where the cause is (I also see this often in my job).
I like to focus on viewing optimal health and wellness by taking an “inside-out” approach. This approach addresses every aspect of health and beauty to form a thriving system. This is why collagen is one of the most important nutrients, it is responsible for not just one, but several biological functions.
- Supports health skin, hair and nails. I like to view the skin as a window into the health of your body. It is very telling and it is sure sign that your organs and inner body systems are not working optimal. Also, the skin is your body largest organ, it should be on the forefront in terms of priorities. Collagen improves elasticity, hydration, and overall strength, prevents early signs of aging and hair loss.
- Allows muscle growth and regeneration. Increase muscle strength, aids muscle regeneration.
- Makes up joints, tendons, and ligaments. Maintains the integrity of tendons and ligaments.
- Promotion Gut Health. Heals intestinal barrier and prevents “leaky gut”.
- Ensures Heart Health. Supports cardiac muscle cells, aids in blood pumping.
- Supports Brain Health. Fights neuronal oxidation, prevents neurodegeneration.
COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTATION FORMS
Many collagen supplements go through a process of hydrolization. All this means is that the manufacturer has broken the collagen in the supplements down into peptides, making it easier for the body to absorb and use.
There are three forms of collagen supplementation: tablet, capsule, and powder. There is research debating these forms and absorption rates. My two sense: don’t overcomplicate it, everyone is different in how they absorb and process nutrients so it should come down to a matter of preference. If you prefer tablet vs. powder, or visa versa than choose the route you are most comfortable with.
It’s 2020 and our sedentary culture has lead to our society become physically inactive. The rise in popularity of the internet and smart phones has contributed to a round the clock lack of exercise in people everywhere. Sure, with major technological advancements and direct access to anything we want we certainly more ‘mobile’ in our freedom. We can talk about how heart disease is the current number one causes of death, and the obesity epidemic is still thriving. But one thing that has the power to change how we move, feel and increase life expectancy is mobility, hip mobility and all that it entails.
Everyone at any age or fitness level needs to be able to move their limbs and joints through their full range of motion. This goes for fitness enthusiasts, geriatrics and the younger generation. Emphasis on mobility allows us to move comfortably without a second thought. With that, you are able to perform day to day tasks like walk up the stairs, or pick up groceries. In terms of reaching your fitness goals increasing mobility is even more important, allowing you to properly use weight (or yourself) with proper form and full range of motion. If your joint mobility is poor, performing any type of physical activity is going to be that much harder, and the increase for injury is that much higher. In order to thrive, we require full use of our limbs, joints and muscles. No, I am not saying you need to be able to do a full split or be a pro yogi (although I wish), simply regaining and maintaining full range of motion.
Just like our bones and muscles require resistance training to maintain strength through adaptation, our joints require regular movement and use to maintain health and mobility. As I’m sure you may have heard before, the body works together as a whole and everything is interconnected. The most common deficiency is in one specific location, the hips. In my case specifically, my lack of hip mobility has hindered improvements in both hypertrophy and strength. It took years of me neglecting stretching and mobility exercises to finally realize that in order to see changes and growth I needed to prioritize that, and STAT.
One huge factor that decreases our hip mobility is a sedentary lifestyle. So many of us in today’s world are forced into a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting negatively impacts us in two ways: it weakens the glutes and shortens the hip flexors. Did you know that the sole function of your glutes and hip flexors is to stand in an upright position and is responsible for movement of the hips and thighs. So when your glutes and hip flexors are are weak your lower back or knees ending picking up most of the slack (and not in a good way). With that excessive sitting and weak posterior chain, your hip extension is no longer sufficient.
Restoring hip mobility has the potential to:
- reduce or eliminate lower back and/or knee pain
- improve your power output allowing you to fully engage posterior chain during squats, deadlifts etc. and making them safer
- improve overall strength and power of your hip extensions, again for compound movements, but also for explosive movements.
But most of all, hip mobility will improve your entire relationship with the rest of your body, eliminate a major stressor on your system as a whole and watch your fitness increase and your body achieve greatness!