There is quit a bit of talk lately on social media about collagen protein, so I thought I would discuss why I recently incorporated it into my routine.
First off, what is collagen protein? Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and makes up the majority of our connective tissues. It provides the infrastructure of the musculoskeletal system; it also ensures the cohesion, elasticity, and regeneration of skin, hair, tendon, cartilage, bones and joints. Collagen protein is most readily absorbed into the digestive system when it is hydrolyzed. This is a process in which the collagen fibers are broken down into its smaller collagen peptides through a process known as "hydrolysis". The peptides make a chain of amino acids (aka peptide) consisting of glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine. These natural peptides are highly bio-available, digestible and soluble in cold water. It is also important to know that these amino acids are not present in muscle meats, and most of us don't get enough of them in our modern diets. Our ancestors ate collagen on a regular basis in the form of bone, skin, and scales. Looking at the health and wellness of our ancestors, it is of good reason to consider adding collagen peptides and bone broth (more on this in a future post) into our modern day diet.
Benefits of Collagen
Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails
There is growing research suggesting that collagen peptides can contribute to healthy skin. In oder to receive the full benefits listed below, the peptides must have excellent bioavailability. Thus consuming the hydrolyzed form of collagen mentioned above is best. Collagen peptides can:
- promote younger looking skin
- improve skin moisture level
- support nail growth
- prevent formation of deep wrinkles
- improve skin smoothness
Supports Bone and Joint Health
Glycine and proline are two amino acids needed for production of new collagen. Supplementation with collagen peptides can protect against degradation of connecting tissues and could prevent injuries during exercise. In addition, a recent study of 250 osteoarthritis subjects were given 10 grams of collagen peptides daily, and the results showed a significant improvement in knee join comfort.
Collagen soothes and healths the digestive tract. It can also help break down foods and aid in digestion. The gelling power of gelatin also holds water in the intestines where it is needed to help move food along smoothly. Glutamine is proven to improve the lining of the intestinal tract. A strong intestinal lining helps prevent food allergies or intolerances by keeping food from leaching into the bloodstream.
Contributes to Weight Management
Collagen is a good source of protein and can provide 10-18 grams per serving. Adding collagen peptides to a shake post-workout is a great way to increase your protein intake and maintain a healthy body. It can help regulate the body's metabolism by providing protein that is quickly absorbed. Try adding a serving to my Berry Superfood Breakfast Smoothie for an antioxidant jumpstart!
Where to purchase collagen and some recommended brands
The best prices for collagen peptides are found online. As stated above, I recommend purchasing bio-available, hydrolyzed collagen peptides. In addition, since most collagen powders (those that dissolves in water) are made from cattle hides, it is important to purchase well-sourced (pasture-raised) peptides. I currently have this Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate. I add a serving to my smoothies, tea, or bulletproof coffee. Based on what other nutritionists have said, I know the brand Vital Proteins is top of the line, and I fully support the company, I just cannot afford it quit yet!
Unless you plan to make homemade gummies or jello with your collagen, make sure to purchase an unflavored collagen peptide or hydrolysate. Vital proteins also makes beef gelatin which is great for making gummies or adding cohesion to jams and pudding.
If you are looking for a tasty treat made with collage protein, I encourage you to give my no bake Brownie Protein Bites a try! They make a great pre or post-workout snack.
1. Cosgrove, M.C., Franco, O.H., Granger, S.P., Murray, P.G. and Mayes, A.E. 2007. Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 86: 1225-1231.
2. Lin, M., Zhang, B., Yu, C., Li, J., Zhang, L., Sun, H., . . . Zhou, G. (2014). L-Glutamate Supplementation Improves Small Intestinal Architecture and Enhances the Expressions of Jejunal Mucosa Amino Acid Receptors and Transporters in Weaning Piglets. PLoS ONE,9(11). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111950