I get a lot of questions about collagen, its benefits and why I take it. It’s true: collagen has become very popular, in the last couple of years, and for good reason!
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, and plays a big part in all of our connective tissues. It promotes healthier hair, skin and nails, supports bone and joint health, provides healing for our intestinal wall, improves quality of sleep and supports a healthy inflammatory response.
After bone and muscle growth peak (around age 20), collagen-production begins to decrease. It is because of this constant decrease that supplementation is important!
Over 70% of our skin is made up of collagen, and without it (and as it continues to decrease), our skin loses elasticity and firmness, and begins to create sagging skin and fine lines. Amino acids in collagen (like glycine) can assist in hydration and elasticity improvements, reducing wrinkles and dehydration.
Vital Proteins Recommendation: Beauty Collagen. VP’s Beauty Collagen’s come in different flavors (Strawberry Lemon is my fave), and contain even more essential beautifying essentials, like hyaluronic acid (which adds more hydration to the skin), as well as probiotics.
Joints & Bones
Collagen helps maintain the integrity of your cartilage, which protects your joints. Since our collagen-production decreases, as we age, we’re more at risk of developing degenerative joint and bone disorders, such as osteoarthritis. Taking collagen, regularly, can help improve osteoarthritis symptoms, as well as bone & joint pain, in general.
One study took 73 athletes, who consumed 10 grams of collagen, daily, for 24 weeks. They experienced a significant decrease in joint pain, while walking, and at rest, compared to a group that did not take it (source).
Since collagen helps to lower inflammation, this can help support join pain, as well.
Vital Proteins Recommendation: Bone Collagen supplements, which contain supplements that help boost healthy bones. Also Cartilage Collagen, which contains Type II Collagen Peptides and Glycosaminoglycans, including naturally occurring Chondroitin Sulfate.
Collagen is also essential for keeping your muscles strong and functioning properly.
In one study, 27 frail men took 15 grams of collagen while participating in an exercise program daily for 12 weeks. Compared to men who exercised but did not take collagen, they gained significantly more muscle mass and strength (source).
Vital Proteins Recommendation: Collagen Peptides is the VP “tried and true” supplement, and it’s wonderful!
The gut is populated by billions of bacteria, which are essential for nutrient transfer. When foods pass through our digestive tract, molecules that form nutrients transfer into our bloodstreams, through the barrier of the gut lining. The barrier is designed to allow healthy nutrients to pass through, but often, sensitivities, like gluten or dairy, can cause larger gaps, which allow more than just nutrients to get out… and back in. “Leaky gut” causes a myriad of health issues, which is due to the body attacking those intruders, which leads to digestive problems, fatigue, sluggishness and skin issues.
Because collagen is a primarily component of the cells that line the gut, it’s a fantastic ingredient for supporting the digestive system.
Glycine and glutamine, another amino acid in collagen, are beneficial for promoting digestion and even supporting a healthy gut barrier.
Vital Proteins Recommendation: Beef Gelatin, which only dissolves in hot liquid, works like a gel, helping to heal the digestive tract. A wonderful way to focus on gut-healing.
What you can do
Aside from supplementing with collagen, there are a few things you can do to help slow down the collagen breakdown: Limiting as many damaging environment factors, like cigarette smoke and consuming alcohol) can help prevent further loss of collagen already present in your body.
Consuming proper nutrients, in your diet, such as Vitamin C, which is required for collagen-production. Consuming lots of nutrient-dense foods will be beneficial!
I’ve been using Vital Proteins products, for the past two years, daily. I love Vital Proteins because it’s free of any additional fillers or additives, and provides convenience (dissolving easily). I like to add it into smoothies, hot beverages, baked goods, etc. Collagen works best when blended with your liquid of choice, leaving it frothy with lighter consistency.
I start each morning with a warm cup of lemon water, with an added scoop of gelatin. Gelatin is the only VP product that doesn’t dissolve in cold water, or baked goods; it’s essential to dissolve in warm/hot water.
VP just came out with their new Collagen Waters, which is like a healthy Gatorade - perfect for after a sweaty workout class!
Whenever I’m baking, I always make sure to add in a scoop (or two) of peptides, as well!
*** The gelatin and collagen peptides are completely tasteless and odorless, which is SO amazing for adding it into anything and everything!
VP Collagen Peptides are sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hides from Brazil. They also have a Marine Collagen (vegetarian-friendly), which is sourced from wild-caught, non-GMO Red Snapper off the coast of Hawaii. Collagen is not vegan! Their Spirulina and Beauty Boost supplements are, however, vegan!
I really do recommend supplementing your diet with collagen, in order to make up for the regression of collagen in the body. It’s a wonderful source of easily-digested protein, that’s very convenient (because it literally has no flavor)!