Every so often, dietary science throws up a new ‘it’ ingredient that holds the key to a huge number of health, wellness and anti-ageing benefits

Every so often, dietary science throws up a new ‘it’ ingredient that holds the key to a huge number of health, wellness and anti-ageing benefits.

Ten years ago, it was omega-3 fats found in foods such as oily fish.

Hardly any of my patients had heard of them back then, but now nearly everyone knows what they are — and how critical they are for overall health.

I’m convinced that a decade from now, the same will be true of dietary collagen.

Collagen is most famous for being a vital building block of healthy skin, so you may recognise it from the labels on some top-end beauty products.

But its importance for health is far more than skin-deep. 

Based on years of intensive research, I believe collagen is the unsung hero of anti-ageing medicine. 

It can help you stave off wrinkles and cellulite; boost athletic performance (in bed, too!); improve your mood and your sleep; increase post-menopausal bone density; build your immune system; control weight; and maintain healthy nails and hair.

Collagen is most famous for being a vital building block of healthy skin, so you may recognise it from the labels on some top-end beauty products (stock image)

Collagen is most famous for being a vital building block of healthy skin, so you may recognise it from the labels on some top-end beauty products (stock image)

As a clinical nutritionist specialising in natural medicine and fitness, I’ve worked with hundreds of people to improve their health and physique, including dozens of top athletes.

I even travelled with the U.S. Olympic team to London 2012.

But it was my mother’s poor health which led me to collagen. A recurrence of her breast cancer when I was in my 20s spurred me on to devise for her the most healing and nutritious diet I could — and that’s how I uncovered study after study on this remarkable substance, pointing to huge untapped potential.

Today, thankfully, my mum is back to her old self; cancer-free and truly thriving.

So what do I mean by dietary collagen? Well, though it might be new to us as a superstar ingredient, our ancestors were very familiar with it.

In the days when food was scarce, humans ate every part of an animal they could, routinely consuming organ meats, ligaments, cartilage and tendons — all of which are teeming with life-giving collagen.

Dr Josh Axe (pictured) is convinced that a decade from now, the same will be true of dietary collagen

Dr Josh Axe (pictured) is convinced that a decade from now, the same will be true of dietary collagen

Today, we consume almost none of it.

And that’s a problem because it’s one of our best collagen supplement defences against the ravages of age.

Collagen is a strong, springy, fibrous substance and the most abundant protein in the body. Like an invisible suit of protective armour, it’s woven into a multitude of tissues.

Everywhere it’s found, it serves to strengthen, fortify, build and renew tissue at a cellular level.

It’s in skin, nails, bone, cartilage, tendons, muscles, the gut lining, the discs that cushion your vertebrae, and even the outer layer of your organs.

In fact, new research is demonstrating that collagen and the compounds it contains may help regenerate new tissue, aid gut repair, even increase your life span.