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Who wants to know how to grow strong, healthy, beautiful locks?!
What good quality collagen does to your hair is truly amazing. You’re gonna love it!
Let’s get started…
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is considered to be one of the fundamental building blocks of your body because it essentially holds it together.
This substance is naturally produced by the body to provide it with structure and strength, but it can also be obtained through supplementation.
More than that, collagen gives the body elasticity, so that it doesn’t break or tear when stretching.
It acts as a protein that not only supports your hair, but also aids in the strength of tendons, joints, blood vessels, the skin, and even your digestive tract.
Collagen is an abundant substance of the body that composes 30% of its overall protein and is classified into 16 types.
These types generally fall into 3 categories:
- Type 1: This type of collagen can be found in your internal organs, bones and tendons, and in your skin.
- Type 2: This type primarily makes up your cartilage. The collagen in these areas acts as a cushion and binding substance to keep the joints together.
- Type 3: This form of collagen is typically used in conjunction with the first type. It’s also referred to as “reticulate.”
As you can see, collagen plays an important role in your body’s overall appearance and functionality in movement.
The problem is, as people grow older, the amount of collagen your body produces drops significantly.
This lack of collagen can result in many different complications.
Benefits of Collagen for Hair
So we’ve discussed how collagen is good for your hair, but how exactly does it help with its development?
Turns out, collagen does far more than just help your hair look pretty.
It has some critical below-the-surface functions as well:
1. Collagen helps build your hair
Collagen provides amino acids that are used to build keratin. Keratin is a protein that’s needed to form hair.
When you consume products with collagen, the body breaks it down into amino acids that are used to create new compounds and proteins.
More specifically, collagen contains 3 nonessential amino acids called glycine, hydroxyproline, and proline.
Proline is the main component of keratin, making it one of the building blocks of your hair.
2. Collagen helps fight damage to hair follicles
Free radicals are compounds in your hair that can cause damage.
These compounds are formed due to environmental toxins like pollution or poor health choices like alcohol or smoking.
Over time, these free radicals can damage your hair follicles, too.
Luckily, collagen helps fight free radicals because it can act as an antioxidant.
3. Collagen prevents your hair from thinning as you age
Collagen is an abundant component in your dermis, which is the skin’s middle layer that contains root hairs.
Collagen is necessary for making your dermis strong and elastic by replenishing the cells within it.
With a sufficient amount of collagen, you can maintain a healthy dermis and stop your hair from thinning, especially as you grow older.
4. Collagen slows the process of your hair turning gray
Melanin is responsible for giving your hair its natural color.
But when free radicals reach your hair, they damage the cells that create melanin, and in turn, cause your hair to turn gray.
Since collagen acts as an antioxidant, its properties can prevent such damage of melanin-creating cells.
Does Collagen Thicken Hair?
The key to achieving beautiful hair is not depending on your hair products…
It’s actually a reflection of the food you eat.
So watching your diet is an essential step to growing a healthy head of hair.
If we’re just talking about hair here, then the most important foods to consume are those rich in collagen.
Collagen gives hair cells the nourishment they need to remain strong. It also enhances hair’s flexibility and elasticity so that it’s not as prone to dryness and breakage.
Consuming collagen-rich foods also aid in thickening the hair as it aids in healthy cell growth.
Another important substance to consume is Biotin. Biotin is more commonly known as Vitamin B7 and plays a critical role in metabolizing amino acids, fats, and glucose.
In short, this substance supports the growth of our body’s cells, including the ones in your hair.
Through the help of both biotin and collagen, the connective tissues in your body are better able to remain flexible and strong.
Explaining the Connection Between Collagen and Hair Loss
A study conducted by Emi Nishimura – a stem cell biology specialist from the Tokyo Medical and Dental University – discovered that hair loss is related to a decrease in collagen levels.
The study conducted on rats revealed that mice who lacked type XVII collagen had damaged stem cells that resulted in hair loss.
However, mice who continued to produce that type of collagen didn’t suffer from hair loss – even as they age.
From these results, the scientists concluded that type XVII collagen, or lack thereof, is closely associated with hair loss.
When this form of collagen decreases, hair follicles shrink and hair falls out as a result.
Some scientists believe that this information will eventually help experts find the cure for baldness in years to come.
Biotin vs collagen for hair
We’ve previously discussed how biotin and collagen work together in thickening your hair.
These two components are closely related to each other, but each have their own set of benefits.
Let’s take a closer look at some of those differences and benefits:
Biotin is an enzyme that keeps our systems in a stable state – despite changes in our environment.
It also aids in the body’s metabolism and maintenance of both skin and hair.
Supplementation of biotin can increase hair growth and prevent hair loss deficiency. Apart from your hair, biotin also helps in growing stronger nails and reducing skin rashes.
Collagen, on the other hand, is more of a structural protein that plays a vital role in your cartilage, bones, and skin.
As previously discussed, the intake of collagen can improve your skin, nails, and hair by promoting elasticity.
Collagen also helps prevent bone loss and decrease pain around your joints.
But between these two substances, which is a better choice for your hair?
Well, the answer depends on your specific needs.
If you’re also struggling with joint pain, then you’re probably dealing with low collagen levels and may want to consider supplementing.
If you experience brittle nails and frequent skin rashes, you may be deficient in biotin and supplementation should help.
How to Use Collagen for Your Hair
Collagen is largely obtained through the diet. The two richest sources are animal hide and bones.
Unfortunately, those are two parts of an animal we usually just throw away.
For this reason, it’s best to supplement with collagen if you want noticeable results in your hair, skin, and nails.
There are people out there who tout collagen hair treatments that are applied topically, but that just doesn’t work.
Hair – or more specifically the cells that build your hair – are manufactured on the inside of your body.
So just rubbing or soaking your hair in powdered collagen is a little silly.
Most supplements are in powder form, which makes them easy to mix into other foods like smoothies and soups.
Collagen coffee is a delicious way to get your daily collagen, or try mixing it into some no-bake protein bars!
You’ll also want to incorporate whole foods with nutrients that collagen needs to be absorbed properly.
Things like eggs, salmon, and citrus fruits are good, and they also provide an array of vitamins and minerals that complement overall health.
Best Collagen Supplement for Your Hair
We’ve already talked about the two best places to get collagen – bones and hide.
But did you know that bones are a superior source of it?
Unfortunately, most collagen supplements are sourced from animal hide.
That’s a problem because the process involves harsh chemical solvents to extract the collagen.
Collagen sourced from the skin of animals also has fewer nutrients and restorative benefits.
Bone-sourced collagen, on the other hand, provides your body with amino acids and proteins that are usually lacking in the standard American diet.
And it does so without any toxic chemicals or solvents.
Look for bone broth sourced from 100% grass-fed beef that’s responsibly raised on pesticide-free pastures.
I use and highly recommend Paleovalley’s 100% Grass Fed and Finished Bone Broth Protein Powder.
It’s just grass-fed bones slow simmered in purified water, then gently dried at low temperatures to preserve their nutrients.
The resulting powder is loaded with collagen and nutrients, yet it’s tasteless and mixes easily into smoothies, soups, fat bombs, and more.
Taking care of your hair the natural way
Besides nurturing your hair with collagen and other products, it is also essential to make sure that all the things you put on your hair are toxin free. It is not easy to find products that do not damage your hair or scalp on the long run as most commercially available haircare items contain heavy chemicals.
We reviewed quite a few products including organic dry shampoos, non-toxic hairsprays and hair dyes to make the choice easier. We plan to frequently update the list so that you read the reviews about what is readily available. Another thing that is coming soon is DIY natural hair care products, its a complex topic, stay tuned.