The Protein You’re Not Eating (But Should)
Monday, July 24, 2017
LifeTime WeightLoss in Collagen, Paul Kriegler, Protein, Supplements

Consuming enough protein is incredibly important for our health and fitness, and it’s a topic we’ve often written about on this blog. In fact, maybe you’re the person who orders meals with “double protein” so you’re not hungry again in an hour. But for those of my clients who don’t consume enough protein, a funny thing happens when I ask them to eat more. Almost immediately, more chicken breasts, lean ground turkey, egg whites, beef jerky and low-fat deli meats populate their food logs.

While all these are excellent sources of essential and branched-chain amino acids, what about the “other” parts of the animals like organ meats, skin or connective tissue?

Whether our choices are driven by convenience, laziness or an unpleasant, somewhat graphic image, by neglecting those “other” parts we may be missing out on important amino acids. That’s because it’s possible to get enough total protein in your diet, but still not have the optimal balance of the necessary amino acids for your body to operate at its peak physiological potential. And it’s mostly because many of us are not lining up to eat organ meats, otherwise known as “offal.” 

For example, muscle meats are high in the amino acids tryptophan and methionine but very low in glycine and proline.[i] Considering that glycine and proline are considered conditionally essential amino acids,[ii],[iii] we need to get a consistent supply of them from our diet (or supplements) to maximize our health.

If our protein intake (really, our amino acid intake) is too “muscle meat” dominant, it may impact our risk of joint or tendon injuries, inflammation response,[iv] detoxification,[v] neurotransmitter balance[vi] and even cardiovascular health. Imbalances in amino acid intake can create imbalances in many parts of our metabolism.

It’s time we reconsider the balance of our amino acid intake and consider trading out some muscle cuts in favor of more organ meats, skin, connective tissue and bone broths. Or at the very least, incorporate supplemental sources of the amino acids we’re often lacking in our modern “muscle meat” dominant diets.  

The protein you’re probably missing out on.

Unless you frequently prepare organ meats; eat slow-cooked cuts of meat with bones, connective tissue or skin; or make homemade bone broth on a regular basis, you’re probably (like me) missing out on several of the benefits of collagen. We need to start consuming more of these collagen-rich foods (or supplements) if we truly want to optimize our health and age “gracefully.”

Collagen — the uncooked form of gelatin — is the major structural protein that forms the connective tissue and extra-cellular matrix of the human body. Collagen is the durable, supportive material that gives our bones, organs, skin and connective tissue shape, flexibility and strength. It’s found in all animals and seafood, but the most abundant sources are mammals. In fact, collagen is the single most abundant protein in the animal kingdom. About 90% of our organic bone mass and about 80% of our skin is made of collagen.[vii]

Structurally, collagen is a tough, fibrous form of protein that isn’t well digested by humans unless it’s cooked or simmered for many hours to “release” it’s repeating amino acid peptides of glycine-proline-x (where “x” can be any amino acid). That’s why collagen and gelatin are ranked so poorly on measures of protein quality or absorbability until they’re enzymatically broken or “hydrolyzed” into smaller chains. 

The Life Time Grass-Fed Beef Protein with Collagen Peptides is a powdered form of bovine collagen from grass-fed cows that’s been hydrolyzed (enzymatically broken down) into short amino acid chains that have a very low molecular weight. This makes them very easy to digest and absorb into circulation.[viii],[ix] With an amino acid profile rich in glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, this supplement makes  an excellent source of these nutrients that many of us are missing out on.

It doesn’t taste like beef, or even bone broth for that matter. It’s a fine powder (both fine in terms of texture and flavor) that can be added to a variety of foods and beverages to conveniently boost your intake of the amino acids that you may be missing in your daily diet. Why would you want to add beef collagen peptides to your diet?

Younger, suppler skin.

Have you been disappointed by the latest “age-defying” topical serums and lotions, or frightened by the cost of other cosmetic procedures that promise more youthful skin? Then you’ll be pleased to know this: several studies have shown that oral supplementation with collagen peptides significantly improves skin hydration and elasticity, and significantly reduces wrinkle depth in as little as a few weeks.[x],[xi],[xii]

Using collagen peptides as a supplement has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on cellulite morphology, essentially helping to smooth out the uneven protein matrix that supports our skin.[xiii] Nearly all my clients — even those with aversions to organ meats — would love these benefits.

Leaner and more muscular.

The benefits of protein supplementation in active individuals are well-researched and well-known. And now we find that collagen peptides may offer unique benefits to elderly men with  age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia). One double-blind study showed that daily collagen peptide supplementation, in combination with resistance training, improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men when compared to the placebo.[xiv] The men taking collagen peptides after their workouts gained more lean mass and lost more fat mass than those who didn’t receive additional collagen peptides postworkout.

More durable joints.

Whether you have stiff joints, tight tendons, or frequent and intense training sessions that put stress on the joints, you may benefit from a daily dose of collagen peptides. Over the span of a few months, collagen peptide supplementation appears to promote structural integrity and mechanical properties of tendons.[xv] Collagen peptides have also shown potential as therapeutic agents to support management of osteoarthritis and joint health.[xvi],[xviii]

Healthy gut.

Like our skin, the lining of our digestive tract is technically an external surface of our bodies. The lining acts as a vital barrier to protect us from pathogens and other substances. Thus, it’s important to keep it healthy and intact. The amino acids found in collagen are also uniquely supportive to the health and integrity of our digestive lining, not just our skin.[xviii]

It’s not just an old wives’ tale that soothing bone broth is a helpful method of easing illness and promoting the strength of our immune system (by way of a healthier gut).

Better sleep.

Few things can make us look or feel younger and more energetic than a solid night of sleep. And while there are hundreds of sleep remedies available — and dozens of over-the-counter medications that promise more restful sleep — what if a real solution could be part of your bedtime snack?

The rich glycine content in Beef Protein with Collagen Peptides is associated with both subjective[xix] and objective[xx] improvements in sleep depth and quality — without strong sedative properties when consumed at other times — and may be your ticket to a deep, restorative night’s rest.

How will you be adding collagen?

If you’re not consuming quality sources of collagen daily, it’s important to understand that this may contribute to a sub-optimal balance of amino acids in your body. And while a low intake doesn’t put you at risk for disease, it’s possible that without adding sources of collagen to your diet you may not be achieving your peak potential of health and fitness.

I’m excited for you to reap some of the benefits of a balanced amino acid intake by adding collagen peptides to your daily diet. That’s why I’d like to invite you to join us for a Collagen Challenge. You’ll receive a weekly email from Coach Anika with a recipe and tips. Click here to sign up and you’ll receive a 15% discount on Beef Protein with Collagen Peptides. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook, and you’ll also have access to a daily recipe. Plus, it’s a great way to keep motivated and share your recipes and tips with other like-minded individuals. 

 

In health, Paul Kriegler, Registered Dietitian and Life Time - Nutrition Program Development Manager. 

 

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader. 

References:

[i] http://www.jbc.org/content/193/1/23.full.pdf

[ii] http://jn.nutrition.org/content/130/7/1835S.full.pdf

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20093739

[iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12589194

[v] http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/3/3/187.pdf

[vi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25533534

[vii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/

[viii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19961355

[ix] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16076145

[x] https://benthamopen.com/contents/pdf/TONUTRAJ/TONUTRAJ-8-29.pdf

[xi] http://www.jmnn.org/article.asp?issn=2278-1870;year=2015;volume=4;issue=1;spage=47;epage=53;aulast=Borumand

[xii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23949208

[xiii] http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/jmf.2015.0022

[xiv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594048/pdf/S0007114515002810a.pdf

[xv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16161767

[xvi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24852756

[xvii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20401752

[xviii] http://www.pathophysiologyjournal.com/article/S0928-4680(00)00045-6/pdf

[xix] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/S40279-014-0147-0

[xx] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1479-8425.2007.00262.x/full

[i] http://www.jbc.org/content/193/1/23.full.pdf

[ii] http://jn.nutrition.org/content/130/7/1835S.full.pdf

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20093739

[iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12589194

[v] http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/3/3/187.pdf

[vi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25533534

[vii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/

[viii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19961355

[ix] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16076145

[x] https://benthamopen.com/contents/pdf/TONUTRAJ/TONUTRAJ-8-29.pdf

[xi] http://www.jmnn.org/article.asp?issn=2278-1870;year=2015;volume=4;issue=1;spage=47;epage=53;aulast=Borumand

[xii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23949208

[xiii] http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/jmf.2015.0022

[xiv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594048/pdf/S0007114515002810a.pdf

[xv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16161767

[xvi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24852756

[xvii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20401752

[xviii] http://www.pathophysiologyjournal.com/article/S0928-4680(00)00045-6/pdf

[xix] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/S40279-014-0147-0

[xx] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1479-8425.2007.00262.x/full

[1] http://www.jbc.org/content/193/1/23.full.pdf 

[ii] http://jn.nutrition.org/content/130/7/1835S.full.pdf

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20093739

[iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12589194

[v] http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/3/3/187.pdf

[vi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25533534

[vii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/

[viii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19961355

[ix] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16076145

[x] https://benthamopen.com/contents/pdf/TONUTRAJ/TONUTRAJ-8-29.pdf

[xi] http://www.jmnn.org/article.asp?issn=2278-1870;year=2015;volume=4;issue=1;spage=47;epage=53;aulast=Borumand

[xii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23949208

[xiii] http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/jmf.2015.0022

[xiv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594048/pdf/S0007114515002810a.pdf

[xv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16161767

[xvi] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24852756

[xvii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20401752

[xviii] http://www.pathophysiologyjournal.com/article/S0928-4680(00)00045-6/pdf

[xix] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/S40279-014-0147-0

[xx] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1479-8425.2007.00262.x/full

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