Collagen supplementation is something I recommend to every client. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and is the substance that holds the whole body together. It is found in the “bones, muscles, skin, and tendons, where it forms a scaffold to provide strength and structure.” (McIntosh, 2017) Our bodies rely on collagen to support healthy hair, skin, and nails, improve bone and joint health, and aid in digestion. From our muscles to our joints and everything in between, maintaining our collagen production is essential for overall health and wellness. Think of collagen as a glue that holds the body together!
I have been including collagen in my daily routine for over 5 years. It has improved my joint health, gut health, hair, skin, and nails. at 46, I have zero joint pain. My husband, who is a chef, has had significant arthritic wrist pain from constant saute work. That pain is now gone primarily due to collagen supplementation.
Collagen makes up 30% of the protein in the body. It is a hard, fibrous protein that is very strong. There are at least 16 types, but types I, II, and III account for 80-90% of the collagen in the body. Endogenous collagen is produced in the body. Collagen production begins to decrease after 40, and declines drastically in women after menopause. Excess sun exposure, smoking, and high sugar consumption all deplete collagen. (McIntosh, 2017) We can eat to promote collagen creation by eating fresh and organic brightly colored fruits and vegetables as well as pastured proteins.
We can eat collagen by eating collagen-rich foods like long-simmered broths and proteins with lots of connective tissue. Only about 27% of the collagen occurring in foods can be utilized. In addition, our modern diet has been stripped of most of the collagen. With the introduction of modern food processing and our instinct to strip meats of skin, bones, and connective tissues before eating, we’ve nearly eliminated all forms of collagen that were once abundant. Collagen is found throughout the connective tissue of our body, as well as the connective tissue of animals and fish. Past generations consumed almost every part of the animal – organs included –which allowed them to enrich their diets with collagen, naturally. Supplementing our diet with a clean form of this vital nutrient has become an important part of our daily routines.
- Promotes Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails
Since collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, it’s responsible for supporting skin
elasticity, stronger hair, and nails.
- Supports Bone and Joint Health
Collagen has been shown to improve joint health as a result of its gel consistency and ability
to support ligament and tendon health. Studies have shown that collagen helps the joints to
move with ease and can help to promote joint comfort in aging adults and supports overall
- Improves Sports Performance
Collagen gets absorbed and used by our body right away. This means all the parts of our body
that need it most get to take advantage of collagen’s power, including for athletes and exercise
- Aids in Digestion
Collagen is made up of a collection of amino acids, all of which are unique, but work together to
help aid in promoting healthy digestion. Two superstars in the amino acid world that are found in
greater amounts in collagen than other forms of protein include arginine and glycine. Collagen helps heal the gut and improves healthy functioning of the gut barrier.
- Contributes to Weight Management
Collagen has been shown to aid in weight management due to its glycine content. Glycine has
been shown to promote the building of lean muscle mass and convert essential nutrients. Glycine
has also been shown to help maintain a healthy body as a result of the roles it plays in the digestive
and central nervous systems.
Why do I recommend Vital Proteins brand?
One simple reason—sourcing. Vital Proteins is the leader in clean, sustainable sourcing. You can read about their sourcing here.
I usually have 2 servings (4 scoops) of Vital Proteins collagen per day. Here are my favorite products and how I use them:
Vital Proteins Collagen Hydrolysate (Collagen Peptides) is a powder that can be added to anything hot or cold. It is easily digested and contains a broad range of proteins. Because the amino acid peptides in the hydrolysate version are broken down, they are easy to digest and assimilate. Collagen Hydrolysate is 90% bioavailable and a great choice for anyone, but especially good for those with impaired digestion. (Carpentier, 2015) This brand sources from grass-fed beef hides. This is Type I and III collagen. I add this to my coffee and to smoothies. You can add it to tea as well.
This is my morning coffee routine. I add the following ingredients to my blender and blend until frothy:
- black coffee
- 2 scoops Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (I sometimes use the Dark Chocolate and Blackberry Collagen Peptides to switch things up)
- 1 tsp. Tava Vanilla Ghee or Bulletproof Brain Octane MCT Oil
This turns coffee into a delicious source of protein and healthy fats.
Vital Proteins Gelatin is only soluble in hot liquids. It is the same as the hydrolysate product except that the amino acid peptides are not broken down to the same extent. The same great benefits are here as well, but may not be as digestible for those with gut issues. This can be added to hot drinks or used in recipes calling for gelatin. I use this for making fruit gelatins and gummy treats. This is Type I and III collagen.
Vital Proteins Cartilage Collagen is found only in cartilage. This supplement is from bovine trachea. The Collagen Cartilage supplement contains chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and the antioxidant proteoglycan. This works to reduces oxidative stress in the joints which is caused by cartilage-attacking enzymes. (Energetic Nutrition, 2016) My husband takes this supplement for his wrist arthritis which is now gone!
Vital Proteins Veggie Blend is a combination of collagen peptides and 11 organic fruits and vegetables. I serving (2 scoops) provides 21 grams of protein, 3 servings of vegetables, and 1 serving of fruit. I’ll be honest that it does not taste fantastic, but I have come to love this product for its nutrient density and convenience. If I am short on time, this is a great meal replacement. I also keep some at my office to pack a lot of nutrition into a hectic day. I sometimes add it to a smoothie as well.
Carpentier, France, “Collagen Peptides For Anti-Aging: Hope Or Hype?”, Collagencomplete.Com, 2015 <http://collagencomplete.com/collagen-peptides-antiaging-hype/>
Energetic Nutrition, “Collagen Type 2 For Joint And Cartilage Health”, Nutrients For An Energetic Lifestyle, 2016 <https://www.energeticnutrition.com/blog/2016/06/collagen-type-2-joint-cartilage-health/>
McIntosh, James, and Helen Webberley, “What Is Collagen? What Does Collagen Do?”, Medical News Today, 2017 <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262881.php>