Body Positive Fitness and Wellness

Why I Drink Collagen Every Day

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!

picture from empoweredsustanance.com

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.

 

 



4 thoughts on “Why I Drink Collagen Every Day”

  • From my understanding of digestion, all proteins are broken down into amino acids in the stomach and gut. The amino acids are then absorbed. Your skin and the rest of your body use these individual amino acids to make things like collagen. The amino acids in collagen are abundant in the diet. So it seems to me that collagen products are just another protein supplement, and that there is no magical healing properties for skin or gut. If you have some data to show that it improves your skin or gut health, I’d love to see it.

    • You are correct! Collagen, like any protein is broken down into it’s amino acid constituents in the stomach. These amino acids are then absorbed through the small intestine into the blood stream, where they can be taken to any cell in the body and be synthesized into new proteins. Unlike other animal proteins, collagen is made up of only four amino acids: glycine, proline, hydroproline, and argenine. Because collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and constantly needs to be regenerated, adequate consumption of these specific amino acids is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the collagen in our bodies. It is hard to do this with other protein sources, as they contain a wider variety of amino acids, and the four needed to synthesize collagen are available in much smaller amounts. Specifically, the amino acids glycine and proline have also been clinically shown to have positive effects on digestive and metabolic health. Here are just a couple of the studies: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12589194, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/76/6/1302.full, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25012270.

      The effects of consuming collagen supplements has also been studied. It has been shown to protect against the dysfunction of the tight junctions in the small intestine, a major contributing factor to food intolerances and autoimmune diseases (http://www.fasebj.org/content/30/1_Supplement/125.5.short). Studies have also been done on the anti-aging skin benefits of collagen supplementation (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23949208).

      Personally, the improvements in my skin (acne related) are connected to my improved digestion and gut health, and reduced inflammation.

      However, whether or not you are looking for the specific benefits of a protein source high in glycine and proline like collagen, it is a great source of protein in general that is well sourced and has a low chance of causing gastrointestinal distress, which many dairy and plant-derived protein powder do for some people.

  • I have bad skin and I fell for the “leaky gut” crap for a long time. Tried changing my diet every-which-way to fix my horrendous acne, eczema, and dermatitis. Turns out I just have sensitive skin. I stopped using all products with SLS and boom – no more eczema, and my acne is at an all-time low ever since. I’ll add that it took months to heal completely, during which I abstained from face make-up and washing my face more than once a day.. There are potentially irritating detergents (SLS being the most common) in everything these days, but for whatever reason none of these “wellness blogs” seem to suggest cutting those out?

    Our bodies are superb at making collagen. You really don’t need to take collagen supplements in your 20’s. But sure, if you have 50 dollars lying around, maybe you can convince yourself it will solve all your problems.

    • Thanks for the comment Helene! Since I have a background in nutrition and fitness and not skincare, most of the content I share will be through that lens. There are lots of natural skincare and wellness blogs out there! It is just not my area of expertise. I do know, however, that my skin is very sensitive to my diet, and I am sure I am not the only one. I will definitely look into SLS and it’s effects on skin health. Sounds like I have some interesting reading to do!

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