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Collagen for Gut Health & 8 Reasons to Love it

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Adding collagen to your routine for gut health is an easy and effective way to improve intestinal permeability. In this article, I’m diving into the best collagen for leaky gut and 8 reasons to love it.

best brand of collagen peptides for gut health
Collagen peptides for skin and gut health

Reading Time: 9 minutes


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.

Bar graph of how collagen gets depleted

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.

best types of collagen


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. Share on X


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.

  1. Upgrade Your Beauty Routine 

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.

  1. Helps Repair Intestinal Lining

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. 

  1. Improves Joint Health 

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. 

  1. Regulates Stomach Acid to Improve Digestion

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. 

  1. Maintains Cardiovascular Health 

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.

  1. Supports Bones

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. 

  1. Promotes Healthy Weight 

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. 

  1. Enhances Detoxification 

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.


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.

foods high in collagen

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:

  • Breakfast Smoothies: Add a scoop of collagen to your smoothie in the morning.
  • Oatmeal: Stir collagen into your oatmeal for an added protein boost. PRO TIP: this is even more helpful to stabilize blood sugar throughout the day. We should always aim to pair carbohydrates with healthy fats and protein. This helps you balance your breakfast instead just having a bowl of oatmeal with fruit and honey on its own.
  • Baked Goods: In some baking recipes, you can substitute a scoop or two of collagen for flour. You won’t even be able to tell it’s in there! I like to add collagen peptides to energy snack bars or balls. This helps helps boost my energy in between lunch and dinner (right around the 3pm slump) 
  • Soups: Adding a scoop of collagen to a soup after its made, such as carrot ginger, adds more protein. It also acts as a natural thickener too. 
  • Bone Broth: Bone broth naturally includes glutamine. Adding a scoop of collagen makes it even more of a nutritional powerhouse and healing superfood. 
Unique ways you can add more collagen to your diet for leaky gut


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?

collagen for leaky gut and autoimmune conditions

  1. Nicole Sharp says:

    Hi I have Ulcerative colitis and I already take glutamine 2tsps twice a day.Is it ok to take collagen peptides as well,or would that be much?

    • Nikki Yelton says:

      It sounds like you are already on track and doing a lot to improve your gut health! Collagen and glutamine will work together and I recommend both when someone is in the heal and seal stage of healing their gut after they have removed what they need to. I would ask your practitioner for personalized recommendations on dosing to make sure you are getting the right amount of each 🙂

  2. Alison says:

    What brand has all six types of collagen

    • Nikki Yelton says:

      Unfortunately it would be impossible to find all six types in one product. The brands I listed in this article though would be the top ones for gut health specifically

  3. Linda Goddard says:

    I found this article very informative. I have been on a low dose antibiotic for 4 years now and I feel it has damaged my gut health. I have random bouts of severe bloating. I have a good diet and I am careful what I eat. I am vegan so the recommended collagen isn’t suitable. Can you please recommend an alternative?

    • Nikki Yelton says:

      Hi Linda! Thanks so much for your comment, I’m really glad this was helpful to you! I wish there was a better vegan alternative to collagen. Your best option would be to talk to your practitioner about supplementing with amino acids such as L-glutamine and antioxidants such as glutathione to support your gut lining and facilitate healing.

      • Denise Crane says:

        I have had several diverticulitis flares….just coming g out of one now. I want to add collagen peptides……can I get this at Walmart? I want to try adding g it to smoothies and hopefully it will help my colon heal.

        • Nikki Yelton says:

          Hi Denise! I am really sorry to hear about your flare. It sounds like you are taking great steps forward in your health now which is awesome! So I always say brands matter so much when it comes to gut health and healing. I am not sure what brands Walmart carries, but I can definitely recommend my personal favorite brands of collagen that I see great results with and use in practice. You can check out the specific brands I like and use in this article above. Adding collagen to your smoothie is such a great way to incorporate it too. Let us know if you have any other questions as you go along!

  4. […] collagen promotes digestion and reduces the risk of bowel […]

  5. Michelle says:

    What brand of liquid and powder collagen do you recommend for leaky gut?

    • Nikki Yelton says:

      Hi Michelle! I mention a few brands I love in this article so you can definitely check those out 🙂

      I suggest powder over liquid. I haven’t found a liquid collagen just yet that I trust and love, I am really picky with brand quality and making sure the product is heavy metal tested and transparent about test results in regards to that. When I find a liquid that meets all that criteria, I will certainly share with this community!

    • Francis Walter says:

      Hi there,
      Great article. I am quite susceptible to hernias. I had an operation recently and was looking into how I could strengthen my lining. It was great to see your article and get an understanding of collagen more. With the 2 products you recommended, do u know which of collagens are in them and how much of them are in there. Are there any products you would recommend for strengthening the intestinal lining rather then the beauty aspect. Finally, out of curiosity what are the full 16 strands. And where are u likely to find them as much of a collective as possible.

      • Nikki Yelton says:

        Hi Francis! Thanks for your comment and happy you stumbled upon this article. You are definitely on the right track by considering collagen to help strengthen your lining. To answer your question, the ones I talk about above are both Hydrolyzed Collagen that is sourced from Bovine hides and contains mainly Type 1 and some Type 3 Collagen. These types are found throughout the entire body and, therefore, its benefits cover the entire body, including: the digestive system, joints, hair, skin and nails, etc…

        As far as the 16 strands, are you referencing probiotics for this? I just want to make sure I answer correctly 🙂

  6. Meg says:

    Hello! I recently started to take collagen peptide by live conscious (highly rated) but after the 4th day I noticed gastro discomfort (like feeling of fullness nearly nausea).. so I stopped. A friend of mine suggested to try Modere liquid collagen but it’s only type II collagen. Would that be sufficient for the body or should I stick with I and III powder?

    • Nikki Yelton says:

      Hi Meg! It’s great that you are starting to incorporate collagen into your routine now! While I can’t recommend specific protocols to those who aren’t clients. I do have general recommendations and brands I typically use and suggest in practice. Personally, I am not the biggest fan of that particular brand as I have seen it cause GI distress. For the top recommended brands of collagen that are pure, heavy metal tested, and excellent quality, you can read the article above for those specifics. Let us know if you have any other questions!

  7. […] it comes to digestion, collagen molecules help attract water and move protein and carbohydrate molecules more efficiently through the digestive system. This […]

  8. Denise says:

    Can I take collagen peptides with omeprazole?

    • Nikki Yelton says:

      Hi! It’s always best to ask your provider about taking any new supplement with your medication. The great news is collagen can typically be a wonderful addition to your health and wellness plan.

  9. Janiel Myers says:

    What are your thoughts on Vital Protein collagen peptides?

    • Nikki Yelton says:

      Hi Janiel! I used to recommend that brand often before it was reformulated and bought by Nestle. Unfortunately, I question the quality and transparency of the product so it is something I don’t personally use or recommend at this time.

  10. Joyce says:

    I use Metamucil because it contains psyllium husk. They also make it with bovine hydrolyzed collagen peptides. Is this acceptable?

    • Nikki Yelton says:

      I find psyllium husk to support the colon and constipation but there are a bunch of extra ingredients in products like Metamucil that are worth avoiding if possible. The good news is you can find cleaner versions of this or make your own with collagen and psyllium. I have an article here that you might find helpful relating to collagen 🙂

  11. Lara says:

    Hi Can you please tell me how collagen peptides work with amine and glutamate sensitivity. Does it increase these levels? Thank you

    • Nikki Yelton says:

      Hi Lara! Thanks for your comment. This can be a complex topic. I would typically want to find out why the amine and glutamate sensitivity first and get to the bottom of that as a priority. Its not that collagen would increase those levels, but rather wouldn’t be as tolerated. Typically this is due to a histamine response in the body that is gut related.

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"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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