By Patrick Wardell
Quick question for you. Let me know if this makes sense…
I like to swim. Scratch that...I LOVE to swim. And I want to get better at it.
For that reason, I’ve decided to adopt a diet that is higher in fish-skin.
It’s simple. I just add some fish skin to every meal. That way, I can increase the webbing in my toes and the hydrodynamic texture of my skin!
Makes sense - right?
Me after adopting a high fish-skin diet.
Of course not...This is crazy!
So why have we been hearing the EXACT SAME argument about collagen?
There is real benefit to increasing collagen in your diet. But it may not be for the reasons you think.
Let’s look at the truth about collagen, and of course discuss how that relates to pirates :)
Collagen: Right Protein, Wrong Reasons
We’ve all heard it before - the argument for collagen. It goes something like this…
Want better skin, hair and nails? Easy - those things are made of collagen.
So the answer is simple: eat more collagen. After all, you are what you eat!
Not so fast…
While increasing collagen CAN improve the health of your skin and connective tissue, the truth is not so simple.
The TRUTH About Collagen Supplements
Zero percent of the collagen you eat is directly absorbed.
That’s because collagen, like all proteins, is made up of amino acids. And when you eat proteins, they’re broken down into their constituent amino acids - which are absorbed in your small intestine.
When you eat collagen, you’re simply adding new amino acids to your body’s available resources.
Your body can then use these amino acids to build all sorts of proteins - including those that make up your hair, skin, and nails.
If your diet is missing the amino acids required to make these tissues, then collagen supplements can certainly help!
But if you’re diet is sufficient in all your essential amino acids, then there’s no need to spend more for extra collagen.
Need more evidence? Let’s look at a real-world example that we’re all familiar with: scurvy
In the 17th century, sailors on long ocean voyages were dying of a terrible disease called scurvy.
Their vision would fade. Their gums would bleed. Wounds would stop healing and their bodies would deteriorate until death.
This pirate will DEFINITELY get scurvy.
If you’ve heard this before, you’ll know that the culprit was a lack of vitamin c. But the real story involves another deficiency: collagen.
These sailors lacked access to fresh food - especially meat, nuts, fruits, and veggies. Instead, they survived (or didn’t) on something called ‘hardtack’ - a depressingly dry biscuit.
Among other issues, this diet left them deficient in both the amino acids AND vitamin C required to create collagen. Thus, their bodies deteriorated toward a gruesome death.
But one positive DID come out of this...
The deadly effects of scurvy showed us JUST how important collagen is to our health.
Eat More Collagen...If You Need It.
To improve the health of your skin, hair, teeth, nails etc...the answer is not simply to eat more collagen. The answer is optimal nutrition.
If collagen supplements are beneficial to your diet, that’s great! If your diet already provides the building blocks you need, then feel free to skip the supplements.
This is why SOME friends might rave about the amazing effects of collagen, while others see no difference at all.
I use this brand. I wish they had paid me to say that.
The benefits of a collagen supplement directly depend on the quality of your diet. So before you buy the latest and greatest collagen supplement, remember this:
You aren’t exactly what you eat :)