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I can’t tell you how many questions I’ve been getting ever since I shared that I have started a collagen supplement regimen in my IG stories. So much so that to answer your questions I had promised a more detailed post, so here it is! Better late than never! Actually, I wanted to wait to give you a review of how it has helped me rather than just an article with some facts thrown in which, quite honestly, you can find anywhere on the internet.
So back in September I saw a functional doctor who recommended I take supplemental collagen. Now I’ll be honest. I don’t really like taking too many supplements. As it is, I take omega 3, probiotics and vitamin D on a daily basis and I truly didn’t want to add to the list. Also, I prefer getting this particular supplement through my food. She recommended I take it because I am prone to dark circles and bags under my eyes and so that’s how I got started. She also prescribed bone broth and I’ll get to that further down in this article but first let’s do a quick lesson in Collagen shall we?
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS COLLAGEN?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. It depletes as we age hence the need to supplement. It is what gives our skin its elasticity and suppleness as well as provide protection to the connective tissues in our joints called cartilage. There are 16 types of collagen but the main ones are 1,2,3 and 4. These have various roles in our body, everything from skin elasticity to hair, nail and even gut, bone and heart health.
WHAT IS HYDROLYZED COLLAGEN?
Hydrolyzed collagen is collagen that has been put through the process of hydrolyzation which means breaking the larger protein into smaller more absorbable peptides. Peptides are easier to dissolve in hot or cold liquids and don’t thicken the beverage as much as gelatin would.
THE DIFFERENT SOURCES OF COLLAGEN
There are different sources of collagen and your choice will depend on what works for your diet and lifestyle.
Beef / Bovine
This is sourced from the hide and bones of bovine. Collagen peptides are usually made by cleaning and soaking the hides in hot water and then in a solution to extract the collagen. This is then treated with an enzyme and further milled to give the final product.
This is sourced from the skin and bones of chicken. It is worth looking at how the poultry was raised.
This is sourced from the skin, bones and scales of fish and shell fish.
BENEFITS OF COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTATION
Some of the benefits of supplementing with collagen includes:
- Increased muscle mass. A study done on men who took collagen daily post exercise versus those who did not supplement with collagen after exercise. The first group gained significantly more muscle and strength than the one that didn’t supplement.
- Reduced risk for and even improvement in arthritis. A study on mice showed that there was an improvement on post traumatic osteoarthritis,
- Improved skin elasticity. A 2014 double-blind study published in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found that women who consumed extra collagen had higher levels of skin elasticity after four weeks than those who took a placebo.
- Reduced inflammation in the body due to collagen synthesis. This in turn helps to reduce joint aches and pains.
- Help with leaky gut syndrome which is the root cause of autoimmune disease. A recent study found that collagen peptides helped prevent further breakdown of the intestinal lining.
- Improvement in hair and nail health.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO INGEST COLLAGEN?
Now which is the best way to get that collagen? Through food or a supplement? Well that comes down to bio availability. How your body absorbs a nutrient. By getting it through food you are also helping to create the building block amino acids you need for healthier skin. However, some say that getting it through food isn’t the most effective way since the protein gets broken down into amino acids and reassembled in the body and may not boost the collagen in your body. I feel that the most effective way to get your nutrients in is also the most convenient way for you because convenience will help with consistency. If you feel a powder or pill will help you do be more consistent, then that is the best way for you because the change happens when you are consistent.
If you do opt for the powder, here are some ways I’ve tried having it:
- In my chai / green tea – I first tried it in my chai which is the regular black tea and plant based milk. It didn’t bother me much till I tried it in green tea. I like it much better in green tea. You don’t taste the brothy flavor in green tea as much as you do in chai.
- In my smoothie – This wasn’t too bad either but make sure you blend it well as collagen in chilled drinks tend to coagulate if not stirred properly.
- In my morning cup of lemon water – Lately I have been incorporating it in my morning water. I add lemon /apple cider vinegar to a glass of lukewarm water and a scoop of collagen powder. I also sometimes like to add it to my Lemon Ginger Elixer and water.
- I have yet to try this but have heard people recommend adding collagen to soups and stews for an added boost as well as to baked goods.
WHAT IS THE CORRECT DOSE?
I started with a scoop (comes in the tub of collagen) as suggested on the tub and am now going to try two scoops a day. The best thing is to check on the tub of collagen that you buy.
CONSUMING COLLAGEN RICH FOODS VS. SUPPLEMENTATION
As a busy mom and business owner, I am not always able to make bone broth. When I do, I freeze some in mason jars for later but in all honesty, I it is something I am not able to do a lot of these days. Especially in warmer weather when I would much rather sip on a cold smoothie than hot bone broth.
These days as the weather warms up, I have been taking a scoop of collagen peptide daily in my green tea and or smoothie as well as my morning glass of lemon water.
I try to be consistent but in all honesty was not able to keep it up during Ramadan. I have however seen an ease in aches and pains in my joints and right knee that I tend to get from running and yoga. The other day I got two friends, on different occasions tell me that I have a glow on my face and that could very well be from a collagen based beauty oil I have started using of late. Whichever source it is, the main ingredient is collagen:)
CAN COLLAGEN BE TAKEN BY KIDS?
Before starting your kids on any supplementation, I would urge you to check with their doctor.
If you want to know my stance, I am a huge proponent of getting ones nutrients through food and supplementing with collagen need not be something you need to be doing for your kids. Best to have them sip on bone broth or make soups that have bone broth as the base.
WHICH COLLAGEN IS BEST TO TAKE?
I was told to take Vital Proteins but there are many you can choose from. Just make sure you check for any additives like sugars and artificial ingredients.
Vital Proteins is gluten and dairy free as well as paleo and Whole30 compliant. They source their collagen from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hides and their marine collagen from wild-caught non GMO fish.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS to collagen supplementation?
There really are no side effects unless you’re allergic to the protein source.
IS IT HALAL/KOSHER?
The brand I take, Vital Proteins, is Kosher so it is fine to take if you follow a zabiha/halal diet.
Supplementing with collagen can help boost the depleting collagen in our body. It is helpful for joint aches and pains as well as skin, nail, hair and even gut health.
So there you have it! I hope that this post helped you figure out whether you want to try supplementing with collagen. I’d love to hear your experience with collagen so let me know in comments how you have benefitted from supplementing with it.