There are many reasons to take collagen for gut health and incorporate it into your wellness routine! Have you ever wondered if there was a magic pill to heal your gut and boost overall health? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that magic pill just doesn’t exist. If there was something that could do a lot though, it would be collagen, and that’s why I’m breaking down the 8 reasons to love it in this article.
When it comes to healing the gut, there’s a system and process that you must take and it’s more than a single product or supplement. With that being said though, collagen is definitely one of the top considerations known to facilitate the gut healing process!
I like to refer to collagen as the super “glue” that holds everything together. Our body naturally produces collagen, which is essentially a long chain of amino acids. In fact, collagen is the most abundant protein in our body that makes up 90% of our connective tissue and bone, and 70% of our skin. As we age though (and by the time we hit our 20’s), collagen stores are naturally declining and we produce less of it each year. By age 40, collagen is depleting faster than we can produce it. By age 60 and beyond, the majority of our collagen is depleted completely.
Unfortunately, we can blame these depleted collagen levels on environmental factors, nutritional deficiencies, genetics, and stress. All of these contributors are just a few factors that correlate with the aging process. This is why collagen depletion is associated with skin wrinkles, saggy skin, and joint pain. For this reason, it’s important to consume plenty of collagen-rich foods. When it’s appropriate, supplementing with collagen in powder or capsule form can also help hold the body together.
All that being said, collagen in its whole, natural form is not digestible by the human body. Enter: collagen peptides. Peptides are a shorter chain of amino acids, which are better digested and absorbed by the body. This is why all collagen supplements state the terms “hydrolyzed collagen” or “collagen peptides.” Essentially, these two terms are interchangeable and simply mean that the collagen is bioavailable.
There are various types of collagen (16 to be exact), including types I, II, III, IV, V, and X. It’s important to know the various benefits of each type, as they affect different parts of the body. This is why it is so important to choose the right collagen product based on your unique chemistry and goals.
Type I: the strongest, most abundant collagen, which benefits the gut lining, bones, joints, and skin. Believe it or not, 90% of collagen is this type.
Type II: found in connective tissue and helps build/repair cartilage.
Type III: supports heart health and improves skin elasticity.
Type: IV: promotes healthy tissue lining around muscles and organs.
Type V: found in women’s placentas, which supplies nutrients and oxygen to the baby.
Type X: supports optimal bone health and integrity.
COLLAGEN FOR LEAKY GUT & AUTOIMMUNITY
Have you considered supplementing with collagen for leaky gut? If so, you are on the right track. Collagen is proven to support autoimmune disease, boost digestion, and so much more.
80% of our immune system is hosted in your gut. When you have a “leaky gut” or intestinal permeability; toxins, infections, food particles, and nutrients slip through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. This process creates an inflammation storm leading to autoimmunity. In fact, almost every client I work with struggling with an autoimmune condition has leaky gut when we test for it. For this very reason, I chose to focus on healing the gut in order to help my clients reverse symptoms of autoimmunity.
Now back to collagen. Collagen receives its claim to fame from its ability to heal, seal, and repair the gut lining, which results in improved overall health. Healthy gut, healthy life! This is because the villi that lines the intestinal wall is actually built of collagen.
Another reason collagen is so helpful for the gut is because it contains glutamine. Glutamine has been studied as the most important amino acid for preventing inflammation of the gut wall. It also improves intestinal permeability. Glutamine inhibits inflammation and oxidative stress that is associated with the gaps or openings of tight junctions along the connective tissue of the intestinal lining.
Studies even prove that there is a direct correlation between decreased collagen levels and digestive imbalances. More specifically, there is an association between low levels of serum collagen levels in individuals with crohn’s disease, colitits, Celiac disease, and inflammatory bowel syndrome. For this reason, supplementing with collagen might be a missing link and key to providing relief for those with digestive diseases.There is an association between low levels of serum collagen levels in individuals with crohn's disease, collitits, Celiac disease, and inflammatory bowel syndrome. Click To Tweet
8 BENEFITS OF COLLAGEN
Collagen is a nutritional powerhouse that has been used since ancient times. It’s been in the form of bone broth and gelatin to improve and heal digestive problems. It provides our bodies with the natural support it needs, from skin health to joint function to gut integrity, and more! Here are some of my favorite benefits of collagen.
Hair loss and skin issues are both symptoms of autoimmune issues. This is especially true for women with thyroid conditions and is why brittle nails, thinning hair, and wrinkles are often a complaint that clients share with me once we first start working together. This is primarily due to the fact that serum collagen levels are low in these individuals with a compromised gut and immune system.
I’m willing to bet you’ve seen collagen products while shopping through the beauty aisle. Collagen, specifically types I and III, are shown to improve hair, skin, and nail health. It boosts skin elasticity and reduces wrinkles, while promoting healthy hair and nail growth. In addition, collagen is also proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks.
As mentioned, collagen is an aid in healing, sealing, and improving the integrity of the intestinal lining. As a result, intestinal permeability is reduced and leaky gut symptoms improve. When the intestinal lining is compromised due to damage or inflammation, we need to promote new smooth muscle cells to heal and repair the intestinal wall. Studies have shown that collagen can speed up this process. It’s a key component to repairing and healing the stomach lining.
Types I, II, and X are the rockstars in joint health. Essentially, it acts as a glue in the body while reducing inflammation. Type I collagen contains proline and glycine. Glycine has been shown to reduce joint pain and inflammation. It also improves the integrity of joints, tendons, cartilage, and connective tissue by increasing mobility.
Despite common belief, adequate stomach acid is essential for proper digestion. Without it, you cannot digest, break down, and absorb food optimally. Collagen not only helps heal the gut lining, but also promotes healthy levels of stomach acid production. This prevents the excess of gastric juices which often leads to an overly acidic environment. An overly acidic environment can contribute to common symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, ulcers, and stomach pain.
Collagen is also a hydrophilic molecule. This means that it attracts water and acidic molecules to aid in the breakdown of food. When collagen is ingested and combines with water and stomach acid as it moves through the digestive tract, carbohydrate and protein molecules are able to move through the GI tract more efficiently. This is one of the main reasons you can expect to see improvements in digestion with regular collagen consumption.
Specifically, type IV collagen is responsible for forming basal lamina, which is necessary for proper nerve and vessel function. It provides the amino acids necessary to prevent fat buildup in the bloodstream and arteries, thus encouraging heart health.
There is a lot more to maintaining healthy bones than eating calcium. Collagen is necessary for bones because your bone cells are continuously turning over. Adding collagen to your wellness routine enhances the integrity of various tissues in the body, including bones. Yep, bones are technically tissue! As a result, you can count on collagen to improve bone density and even improve osteoporosis.
Collagen provides essential amino acids to the body, which improves muscle mass and increases metabolic weight. Specifically, the amino acid glycine helps build muscle by converting glucose to energy. More muscle improves the metabolism by making it a fat burning machine while you are at rest. In addition, since collagen typically contains 9g of protein per serving, it is an excellent way to help you balance your meals so that you stay satisfied, fueled, and full. Hence, it can add in weight loss or help with weight management.
We are exposed to an enormous amount of toxins on a daily basis. Unless we live in a bubble, there is very little we can do to avoid them completely. The liver is responsible for processing these toxins we are exposed to and removing them from the body. Collagen assists the liver in filtering and removing toxins from the body due to the naturally occurring amino acid glycine that is found in collagen. Glycine protects the liver from damage and aids in proper detoxification.
HOW TO INCLUDE COLLAGEN IN YOUR WELLNESS ROUTINE?
You can get food sources of collagen through food sources like pasture-raised meats, bone broth, fish, leafy greens, tomatoes, and beets. While diet is always a great place to start, some individuals will benefit further from taking a collagen supplement.
I personally take collagen daily and recommend including collagen as hydrolyzed peptides in order to experience the benefits of collagen listed above. Collagen peptides is a specific form of collagen in which the protein is hydrolyzed. Therefore it’s able to dissolve into virtually any liquid, hot or cold. These peptides break down to a low molecular weight and are smaller and easier to digest and absorb.
Of course, you can reap the gut health benefits from other forms of collagen too, but peptides are my top pick. This is mainly due to its versatility so that you can slip it into almost any recipe! Like collagen in the human body, it’s also found in abundance in land and sea animals, which is where most collagen supplements are sourced from. This is why quality matters, as with all other food and supplements. Always look for collagen peptides that are sustainably-sourced, such grass-fed, pasture-raised, or wild-caught.
Finding a clean source of collagen can be tough. This is why I highly recommend working with a qualified practitioner who can help choose the right hydrolyzed collagen.
My top 2 high quality picks for most individuals looking to heal their gut would be 1. Orthro Molecular CollaGen peptides (through a practitioner or professional dispensary), or Perfect brand hydrolyzed collagen peptides. Both of these options contain the type of collagen that is easily absorbed. They are also lab tested and regulated for heavy metals, which is really important. These options provide the best and fastest way to reap these 8 additional benefits of collagen. As always, you should consult your physician before starting and incorporating any new supplement to your wellness routine.
The best thing about collagen is how versatile it is! You can enjoy collagen peptides in just about any recipe or beverage. A few ways I suggest incorporating more collagen in your diet is by adding it to:
SUMMING IT ALL UP
There you have it! Collagen is an essential nutrient for overall health, including G.I., skin, bone, joint, heart, and more. I suggest supplementing with collagen peptides on a daily basis. This can help your body replenish its collagen levels and support your gut health goals. Luckily, in today’s world, collagen is readily available. Not only is it an easy addition to any healthy diet, it’s also delicious!
Do you currently add collagen to your routine? How do you like to incorporate it?
"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."
-Nikki Yelton, RD
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