Bone Broth vs Collagen

Bone broth and collagen have become very popular in recent times, especially among people who are health conscious. Bone broth is believed to boost collagen in the body. Collagen is a natural protein manufactured by our body, and it is the main building blocks of our skin. Collagen can be found in our tendons, ligaments, and bones. So what's the difference between bone broth powder or bone broth protein versus collagen powder or gelatin? Let’s start with the basics.


What is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein consisting mainly of amino acids, and it is the most abundant protein in our bodies. Collagen is the cornerstone of everything in your body- from the skin to organs to eyes and hair. It helps form the foundation of your cells also, so it is evident just how significant this substance is. As we age, our body's natural collagen production begins to decline. As a result of this, supplementation is an excellent addition to anyone's health regimen. It can visibly assist with the effects of aging- think reducing wrinkles.

Collagen itself is a protein found in many diverse sources. Collagen supplements are found in collagen peptides. These are the purest type of collagen, broken down chemically to be able to attain the best possible absorption by your body. Collagen is a protein from the body which makes up joint-supporting connective tissues, is responsible for skin elasticity, and helps preserve the lining of the digestive tract. 

The body makes collagen by itself, but production slows down as you get older, so getting some in your diet is recommended to compensate for a possible deficit. The challenge is that it is only found in animal bones and skin, hence the prevalence of bone broth. 

Collagen makes up nearly 75 percent of the support structure of your skin.[1] However, as we age, the amount of collagen in the body starts to degrade, and you begin to lose collagen year after year. Since collagen is also responsible for maintaining the skin's elasticity, your skin even starts to lose its elasticity as you age. 

What's Bone Broth Powder?

Bone broth is made from boiling the bones of beef and other creatures like fish, chicken, or lamb. The bones must be boiled for extended periods to be able to reap the benefits, so a simpler way to use bone broth is by buying the powdered form. Bone broth powder is made of bone broth that's been condensed and freeze-dried to produce a more suitable supplement. Bone broth powder comprises loads of collagen, but that is not all. Additionally, it contains nearly 20 other types of amino acids, also minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Another important element in bone broth is known as alkylglycerols- lipids that have healing properties. Since it is so jam-packed of valuable substances, bone broth powder is a valuable supplement. 

Some of the related benefits are anti-inflammatory effects, healing digestive issues and assisting people with ailments like IBS, promoting gut health and boosting the immune system's efficacy

Foods that Boost Collagen

For all the reasons mentioned above, getting collagen in your diet is a good idea. However, collagen is typically found only in animal bones and skin, which is why bone broth collagen is so popular. Bone broth, though, is not too easy to find, and making it at home requires a lot of time. While it is also possible to buy bone broth collagen powder to make smoothies, there are many conflicting beliefs on how much actual value you will get from using bone broth collagen powder.

There is yet another strategy: eating foods that boost collagen. These foods do not contain the protein, but they provide nutrients your body uses to make it.  This is why eating foods that help boost collagen and are not bone broth can help you get this essential protein. Here are some foods that have the same bone broth collagen benefits, but you don't need to spend hours and hours in the kitchen making the bone broth.

 

1. Citrus Fruits

Vitamin C is known to play a significant role in boosting the production of pro-collagen, which is the body's precursor to collagen. Research done by the University of Otago in New Zealand has also proved this.[2] This is why getting a proper intake of vitamin C from citrus fruits is crucial.

Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits, are full of pro-collagen. You can try switching to having a bowl of citrus fruits for breakfast and forego the slice of bread instead.

Vitamin C also functions as an antioxidant, so adding citrus fruits to your diet will also protect your skin from damage from free radicals in the body.

 

2. Eat your Vegetables to get more Collagen

While bone broth collagen benefits are unparalleled, but bone broth collagen is not possible for everyone to make. This is why including a lot of leafy vegetables in your diet can help boost the production of collagen in the body. Vegetables contain a lot of essential nutrients that are precursors to the natural production of collagen in the body. After all, the body will be able to produce more collagen when it has the proper nutrients. 

Here are some nutrient-rich vegetables you should include in your diet to boost the production of collagen in the body. 

Dark leafy green veggies such as spinach, kale, collards, broccoli. These leafy greens contain a lot of antioxidants, which help protect against damage from free radicals that lead to a breakdown of collagen. 

All green plant vegetables, such as green algae, arugula, kale, lettuce, green beans, broccoli, and bok choy, are rich in chlorophyll, the pigment that lends plants their green color. Studies have shown that consuming chlorophyll helps boost the precursor to collagen (pro-collagen) in the skin.[3] Since green vegetables also contain some of the most essential nutrients for disease prevention, they also are a potent way of preventing the breakdown of collagen.[4]

Vegetables like beets and other red vegetables help increase collagen production and also act as a natural sunblock due to the abundant amount of lycopene they contain.  Sweet potatoes and carrots contain Vitamin A that works to restore collagen that has been damaged, and garlic contains taurine, sulfur, and lipoic acid that helps rebuild collagen fibers that have suffered damage due to aging. 

 

3. Oysters

Oysters are high in zinc and vitamin B12, which help increase the body's collagen production. Oysters are also rich in copper. Both copper and zinc play important roles in the production and protection of collagen in the body. 

Zinc activates the other proteins in the body[5] to kick start the production of collagen. On the other hand, copper[6] helps the body by connecting elastin and collagen proteins for forming a stronger skin barrier. 

Oysters are one of the few sources of food that contain both zinc and copper.

 

4. Chicken

It should come as no surprise that most collagen supplements are manufactured from chicken. Chicken is a rich source of dietary collagen. Studies [7] have shown that chicken neck and cartilage is a great collagen source for arthritis.


5. Egg Whites

Even though eggs do not contain connective tissues that are present in many other animal products, egg whites are still a great source of proline8, which is one of the primary amino acids that's required for collagen production in the body.

Summary

Making bone broth collagen is not a very practical solution for most people, especially if you are pressed for time. However, research has indicated that consuming foods that boost the natural production of collagen in the body can also help. In 2014, a double-blind study by the University of Kiel in Germany was published in the Skin Pharmacology and Physiology journal.[9] The study found that women who had a higher intake of extra collagen also had higher levels of skin elasticity after only four weeks, as compared to women who were on a placebo. 

 Another study found that there was a 13 percent decrease in the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines in healthy adult females after taking a collagen supplement for 12 weeks.[7]

Keep in mind that collagen does not only benefit your skin, but also for your digestion, joint pain, and muscles. So if you are not able to make bone broth, then adding these collagen boosting foods to your diet can help you increase your body's collagen production.

References

1. JDDonline - Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. (2019). Article. [online] Available at: https://jddonline.com/articles/dermatology/S1545961619P0009X/1/ [Accessed 27 Nov. 2019]. 

2. Pullar, J.M., Carr, A.C. and Vissers, M., 2017. The roles of vitamin C in skin health. Nutrients, 9(8), p.866.

3. Sadeghi, A., 5 Foods That May Give You Younger Skin.

4. Singh, B., Mal, G., Sharma, D., Gautam, S.K., Kumar, M., Solimene, U., Metalla, M. and Marotta, F., 2018. Plant Polyphenols: The Futuristic Bioactive Therapeutics for Skin Care. In Polyphenols: Prevention and Treatment of Human Disease (pp. 385-394). Academic Press.

5. Tengrup, I., Ahonen, J. and Zederfeldt, B., 1981. Influence of zinc on the synthesis and the accumulation of collagen in early granulation tissue. Surgery, gynecology & obstetrics, 152(3), pp.323-326.

6. Harris, E.D., Rayton, J.K., Balthrop, J.E., DiSilvestro, R.A. and Garcia-de-Quevedo, M., 1980. Copper and the synthesis of elastin and collagen. In Ciba Foundation Symposium (Vol. 79, pp. 163-182).

7. Schwartz, S.R. and Park, J., 2012. Ingestion of BioCell Collagen®, a novel hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract; enhanced blood microcirculation and reduced facial aging signs. Clinical interventions in aging, 7, p.267.

8. Hida, A., Hasegawa, Y., Mekata, Y., Usuda, M., Masuda, Y., Kawano, H. and Kawano, Y., 2012. Effects of egg white protein supplementation on muscle strength and serum free amino acid concentrations. Nutrients, 4(10), pp.1504-1517.

9. Proksch, E., Segger, D., Degwert, J., Schunck, M., Zague, V. and Oesser, S., 2014. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin pharmacology and physiology, 27(1), pp.47-55.


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