Collagen has gained a lot of popularity recently, and for good reason. It is a pretty incredible compound that has been shown to have amazing health benefits.
Collagen is a protein that our bodies use as an integral part of our connective tissues, bones, skin, nails, and hair. Having enough collagen in our tissues keeps us looking good and moving well. For a long time, collagen and it’s derivative, gelatin (made by cooking collagen), has been touted for it’s anti-aging benefits in enhancing the look of skin, helping with nail and hair growth, and improving joint function.
Our bodies can generate collagen out of amino acids, but this process is fairly limited and cannot produce enough collagen to keep our tissues as healthy and strong as they should be. We are actually meant to get a significant portion of our collagen from the food we eat.
As you may be able to guess based on where collagen is found in our own bodies, food sources of collagen come from the connective tissue, bone and skin of the animals we eat. Unfortunately, these are exactly the parts of the animals that we are not eating.
Mostly due to the low-fat craze and partially due to a desire for more convenient foods, we are taking the skin off and the bones out of our meat before we eat it. Even back just a few decades, bone in meats, whole cooked chickens, and home-made broths were common foods in western diets. When animal products are cooked this way, collagen is consumed along with the other proteins in the meat.
Because we no longer cook meats the traditional way most of the time, we are consuming a whole lot less collagen than our bodies need us to!
To remedy this, there are a few simple and easy solutions. The most obvious is to prepare food more traditionally by cooking meat with the bones in and the skin still on.
Another option is to consume bone broth. In addition to it’s rich collagen content, bone broth is also a wonderful source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. You can make your own bone broth in a pot or crockpot, or you can buy it pre-made. When purchasing pre-made bone broth it is important you get a frozen variety made from the bones of grass-fed, pasture-raised animals to ensure quality. I am a huge fan of the brand Bonafide Provisions.
Some people may also benefit from additional collagen supplementation. Many people, including myself deal with health issues linked to impaired digestion and a damaged gut lining. This can often include a condition called intestinal impermeability, or leaky gut.
When the gut is “leaky,” the connections between cells in the lining of the small intestine become weak, letting foreign particles into the blood stream. This causes inflammation and immune responses that can contribute to skin conditions, thyroid problems, and autoimmune diseases.
Two of the amino acids in collagen, proline and glycine, help in repairing a damaged gut. Consuming dietary collagen can be an extremely important step in healing the gut and managing a number of conditions.
To experience these benefits, bone broth is wonderful. However, many people like to have another option. This is where supplemental collagen comes in. If you do not like bone broth, or are just in the mood to consume your collagen in a different way, collagen powder can help you get the same benefits with a little more variety.
Personally, I drink either bone broth or supplement with collagen every day as a part of my journey to heal my digestive system and clear my eczema. So far, I have been loving the results! After about three weeks of regular collagen consumption, my skin and digestion are better than they have been in months.
My favorite brand for collagen supplements is Vital Proteins. They source their collagen from grass-fed, pasture raised cattle and wild-caught fish, and have a good selection of collagen containing products for different uses such as collagen whey protein powders for post-workout, and collagen beauty water with probiotics and hyaluronic acid for added skin benefits.
I recommend starting with their collagen peptides. Collagen peptides have been been partially broken down by enzymes to prevent them from gelling in cold liquids, which makes this supplement perfect for mixing into smoothies, cold-brew coffee, and yogurt. Of course, it works well in hot things, like tea, oatmeal, and soups as well! The peptides themselves are odorless and flavorless, so they will mix seamlessly into whatever you put them in. Plus, Vital Proteins also sells their collagen peptides in stick packs, which are perfect for traveling and bringing collagen with you on the go!
Now, out of full transparency, the links above are affiliate links, which means I get a small portion of the profits from each sale made through the links. I only partner with companies that I truly believe in and would recommend. I specifically sought out the Vital Proteins affiliate program after falling in love with their stuff! I’d recommend it to you whether I was an affiliate or not. With each purchase you make through these links, you are not only supporting an amazing company putting out truly healing products, you are also supporting me! So, thanks in advance 😉
Be sure to check my Instagram feed and story to see how I use my collagen peptides everyday! Comment below with your favorite ways to get collagen into your diet.