What Is Collagen and What Are The Benefits

by | Mar 25, 2019 | Gut Health, Product Spotlight | 0 comments

I follow a Functional Medicine Approach to Gut Health: Remove, Replace, Re-inoculate, Repair.

What that means to me a little more specifically is

  1. Eating a nutrient dense diet, including little to no sugar and lots of fermented foods. Also making sure you aren’t consuming foods your body is intolerant or sensitive to.
  2. Adding into your body, things it may need to heal and thrive, such as supplements.
  3. Making sure your gut has lots of diversity and good bacteria.
  4. Lifestyle modification to manage stress, make sure your body is moving and you are getting optimal sleep.

In this article we are focusing on repair by utilizing collagen supplements. If you missed the article on bone broth, check that out here, as that is another great option!

What is a collagen and why would I need to supplement?

Collagen is a protein that is made by the body and found in your skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, connective tissues and gut lining.  It is a primary building block for healthy skin, teeth, bones, hair, nails, cartilage, joints and mucosal lining of your gastrointestinal system.

Our bodies begin to produce less collagen once we hit age 25 so it is thought that supplementing can help. Additionally, many people suffer from a gut lining that is leaky / impermeable, which essentially means your barrier to keep the good in and the bad out is not working properly and your body eventually will start to react and activate an inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation is a known factor in many of the diseases of our time.

To make the collagen powder supplement we are seeing on the market today, bones, connective tissue and / or animal hide is cooked down to form gelatin and then further broken down into smaller proteins during a process called partial hydrolysis. This process makes an easily absorbable and digestible powder for the digestive tract known as hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides. That powdered form contains those same amino acids that we talked about last week that help support your gut and many other areas of our body!

How is collagen similar and different when compared to bone broth?

You are going to get a lot of the same benefits for your body and gut health with either product, a good quality bone broth or collagen peptides.

One of the main benefits of using collagen peptides over bone broth is it is more versatile. It is a tasteless powder that can be added to hot or cold liquids, sweet or savory and even used in baking, smoothies or added to coffee. Also, depending on the products, you may get a larger more concentrated dose of collagen in the supplement form when compared to broth.

It also typically has a higher protein content.

Note about gelatin:

Gelatin is derived from collagen and they both have an identical amino acid profile and many of the same benefits. This is another option to incorporate into your diet but due to the fact that gelatin gels and thickens liquids, its use is more limited and as a product it is less versatile. It could however be beneficial in specific gut health diets like GAPS, SCD or Autoimmune Protocol or if you have specific digestive problems. This is because it takes longer to digest and the thicker nature of the compound coats the small intestine and gut lining. Because it is not as processed and is larger molecules, when compared to collagen,  some might experience more GI side effects such as gas and bloating. Start with small doses and work up.

Again, keep in mind it gels in cool liquids, so best to only use in warm liquids or warm liquids that become foods – like jellos.

You can supplement with gelatin by itself in powder form or you will get gelatin as part of bone broth, so that would be one benefit of choosing that product over the collagen powder.

What we do:

At this point in my journey, I am not focusing on relieving any specific symptom, instead focusing on more of a ongoing wellness path. With that said, I don’t personally consume either bone broth or collagen daily. I try to get them in a few times a week and often use a combination of the two. If I were trying to relieve a symptom and not just in a maintenance phase, these would definitely be things I incorporated daily. My husband on the other hand has some joint issues and he does collagen powder daily as part of his routine.

We support a company called Vital Proteins and like the unflavored collagen peptides and my husband typically takes his collagen in the form of flavored collagen creamers.

Vital Proteins makes its collagen from grass fed and pasture raised cows raised in Brazil and the animals are never given antibiotics or hormones. Collagen can come from bones, cartilage or hide from the animal and Vital Proteins uses the hide because it regenerates every few months and they feel this provides the cleanest source of collagen. Some might say by not using bones, you lose some other beneficial nutrients, so again decide what is important for you and maybe a reason to consider incorporating both bone broth and collagen into your diet instead of picking one over the other!

Decide what is best for you on your wellness journey. Consider asking yourself, do you have an issue you are trying to help resolve or improve or are you just interested in boosting your overall health? Would I be more successful building it into a daily routine for consistency or just once in a while? Would I be more successful using the broth or powder or a combination? There is no right or wrong way. Remember you are on a journey and anything you add in today is more than you were doing yesterday!


Giveaway and special offer: GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED

Make sure you head over to Instagram to enter to win the giveaway. I am giving away one bottle of the Unflavored Collagen Peptides. Winners will be chosen Friday March 29th.

**Some of the content in this post was provided by Vital Proteins. I do however, always do my own research and only endorse products we use and love.

**Some of these links may be affiliate links. Embrace Wellness LLC is a participant in various affiliate programs designed to provide a means to earn advertising fees by linking to products they trust and recommend. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same and in some cases less, but Embrace Wellness may receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us maintain this work!

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