Thoughts On Collagen: How This Supplement May Help Us Thrive Through Winter

Before winter rears its chilly head and the noses at your house start to run, the time to fortify your immune system for the onslaught is now! One of the best ways to take on the season is with a strong gut, which is the cornerstone of your immune system. Your gut is home to trillions of beneficial bacteria that help keep immunity strong, plus trillions of not-so beneficial bacteria that need to be kept in line – in sum, your ‘microbiome.’

When your gut bacteria is in balance, defenses stay strong and the gut functions well. Throw off the balance with health-underminers like too much stress, too little sleep, a low-nutrient diet or one that’s high in sugar, and the bad guys can gain the upper hand, leaving you with a porous, ‘leaky gut’ that’s susceptible to invaders. (Small wonder as to why so many people get sick around the holidays!) The good news, however, is that there’s plenty you can do to help ward off winter ills – and one of them is to add a daily dose of collagen to your routine. Here’s how, plus a winter cup of cozy recipe to help keep immunity strong all season long…

Bring in the reinforcements

While most of us are familiar with collagen as the stuff that keeps muscles, bones, connective tissue and skin in good shape, it’s also a type of protein that’s helpful in maintaining the health of our digestive systems. Though collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, as time marches on, production decreases, so covering the shortfall with a collagen supplement (particularly if you’re over 40), is a great way to support the health of your gut – your immune system’s ground zero.

Prepare – and fill up – for battle

Because collagen is a protein, it has the added benefit of filling you up and curbing hunger cravings, so chances are, if you add it at breakfast, you’ll likely snack less and stay fuller till the lunch bell sounds. Or, if holiday foods and buffets are your Achilles’ heel, a heaping tablespoon of collagen before you head out may help keep your appetite in check. How to work it in? At Be Well, we love getting it from bone broth or by taking it in powder form, mixed into cold water, hot water, tea (see recipe below), smoothies, yogurt and even baked goods (fortunately, heat doesn’t degrade its effects).

Put up a good fight – and win!

So what’s collagen actually doing for you? First up, it’s helping to heal your digestive lining, and preventing further gut permeability. A healthy gut is better able to tame inflammation, the condition that can trigger all sorts of gastrointestinal ills and worse, any number of autoimmune problems. For those of us who’ve spent far too much time and money on unnecessary or ineffective, gut-undermining antibiotics, collagen is an excellent way to help heal the damage no matter what the season. Another way collagen helps keep digestion on track? It aids water absorption in the digestive tract, so things, shall we say, keep moving, with less straining.

Glow – and grow

Collagen is also essential in supporting the health of the the rest of your body, as in keeping structures like skin, bones, connective tissue, ligaments and joints intact, upright and supple, something we all want and need throughout the holidays and well beyond. So, when buying a collagen supplement – and there are more brands and variations hitting the shelves every day – be sure to look for:

– Good, clean ingredients that combine the nutrients needed to metabolize collagen correctly.

– A blend of nutrients, including Vitamin C, biotin, glucosamine sulfate, aloe vera and silica (preferably from plants), to supply the body with what it needs to build, repair, and maintain health.

– Significant amounts of the amino acids glycine, lysine and proline, which help generate more rapid cell growth, which can help improve the look and feel of skin, and are essential to build new connective tissue.


WINTER CUP OF GLOW: COLLAGEN REFRESHER

Ingredients:

8 oz warm water
1 heaping tablespoon, Collagen Refresher
Lemon slices and/or mint leaves as desired
Ginger slices as desired
A dash of cayenne powder
Stevia to taste

Instructions:

Stir until collagen is well dissolved and allow to steep for 5 minutes before drinking.

 

PIONEER IN FUNCTIONAL AND INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE

For Dr. Frank Lipman, health is more than just the absence of disease: it is a total state of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing. Dr. Lipman is a widely recognized trailblazer and leader in functional and integrative medicine, and he is a New York Times best-selling author of five books, How To Be Well, The New Health Rules, 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat, Revive and Total Renewal.

After his initial medical training in his native South Africa, Dr. Lipman spent 18 months working at clinics in the bush. He became familiar with the local traditional healers, called sangomas, which kindled his interest in non-Western healing modalities.

In 1984, Dr. Lipman immigrated to the United States, where he became the chief medical resident at Lincoln Hospital in Bronx, NY. While there, he became fascinated by the hospital’s addiction clinic, which used acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat people suffering from heroin and crack addiction. Seeing the way these patients responded so positively to acupuncture made him even more aware of the potential of implementing non- Western medicine to promote holistic wellbeing. As a medical student, he was taught to focus on the disease rather than the patient, and now as a doctor he found himself treating symptoms rather than the root causes of illness. Frustrated by the constraints of his training, and the limitations in helping his patients regain true health, he began a journey of discovery to search for the path to meaningful long-term health and wellness.

He began studying nutrition, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, functional medicine, biofeedback, meditation, and yoga. Dr. Lipman founded the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in 1992, where he combines the best of Western medicine and cutting edge nutritional science with age-old healing techniques from the East. As his patient chef Seamus Mullen told The New York Times, "If antibiotics are right, he'll try it. If it's an anti-inflammatory diet, he’ll do that. He’s looking at the body as a system rather than looking at isolated things."

In addition to his practice, Dr. Lipman is the creator of Be Well, an expanding lifestyle wellness brand he founded in 2010 to help people create, sustain and lead healthier lives.