One of the supplements that I've been using for a while, is collagen peptides. I've been adding it to my hot drink in the morning or mixed it with some yogurt. Here's why I like it…
We can eat a really good diet, but still lack some nutrients. I am taking quite a few supplements, but what I've probably taken the longest is collagen peptides.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It's a fibrous protein that is found mainly in connective tissues. It's a building block of our skin, nails, hair, bones and joints, so if you want to have them strong and healthy, you need to have enough collagen in your diet.
Our ancestors who used to get more of collagen as they ate animal's skin, bones, tendons and ligaments, that are all rich in collagen. But with all the processed and packaged foods many of us are eating now, we don't get nearly as much of it nowadays as we used to. Not surprisingly…
Why We Need Collagen
Here are the main reasons why collagen is important for your health:
To maintain bone health. Around the time when we hit our thirties, our bodies start to lose bone substance faster than create it, so naturally the amount of collagen in our bodies decreases too. The older we get, the weaker our bones potentially get, which is why bone fractures and injuries take significantly longer to recover. Collagen helps to keep the bones strong.
If you're a woman and you've ever lost your period like I did, for an extended time, then your bone health might be in danger. Even just one year without your natural period puts you at risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Collagen is one thing that may help to improve your bone health.
To keep joints healthy. Collagen is present in cartilage that is found in our nose, ears, throat and joints and prevents bones from rubbing against each other.
While also joint problems are more common among older people, I know plenty of people around 30 years old with various joint issues. One of them is my husband… supplementing with collagen has made a difference: His knee pain has significantly lessened.
To maintain healthy skin. Collagen is responsible for our skin's integrity–strength, elasticity and overall vitality. Collagen is found in many skincare products, and it's known to help to fight against dryness and wrinkles.
To build stronger, healthier hair. Just like skin, collagen also helps to strengthen your hair.
I'm talking a lot about overtraining in this blog.. I know that a lot of women who are working out too much have experienced some hair loss. Collagen can help with that, although you definitely need to change your lifestyle as well by cutting back on exercise and starting eating more.
To keep you more satiated. Out of three macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat), protein has been shown to be most satiating. It fills you up, so you don't have to eat again two hours after finishing your breakfast. I'm all about it, because that way I can focus on other things and don't have to think about food too often.
But is collagen protein different from other proteins? According to some studies, yes. Collagen protein has been shown to be 40% more satiating than other proteins, like whey, soy and casein.
To heal and support stomach lining. Collagen is so important for gut health, which all starts with the health of stomach lining. Stomach lining basically looks like a wrinkly bag covering the walls of our stomachs. It secretes substances that help our bodies to digest food, but it also protects the rest of the body from the highly acidic environment of the stomach.
So if there's something wrong with stomach lining and doesn't function properly, it can cause a lot of digestive issues, like irritable bowel syndrome or leaky gut.
Collagen helps to heal and support stomach lining.
To promote healthy digestion. Collagen makes digestion faster by improving hydrochloric acid production in our stomach. This acid is needed to break down foods, and as a result, your digestion improves. Because collagen absorbs water very efficiently, it may also help to draw water into the intestinal tract and that way help the food move faster.
To sleep better. According to some sources, taking collagen can help you sleep better.
How I'm Using Collagen Peptides
Collagen peptides are short chain amino acids that are derived from collagen protein. The brand that I'm using makes their collagen peptides from pasture-raised, grass-fed collagen protein.
You can add collagen peptides to pretty much any food or drink, hot or cold. I've been having my daily collagen with my morning coffee. It has almost no taste at all. Or, most people who have tried it say that it doesn't, but I can in fact tell that there's something added to the coffee. It has very, very mild flavor that I like. I really look forward to my morning coffee every day.
Occasionally I've put collagen also into my smoothie, but the flavors of veggies and fruits are so much stronger that I can't taste any of it in a shake.
You can play with it and seriously put it in pretty much every food: oatmeal, soups, sauces and even desserts.
How Much Collagen Should I Take?
One serving of the collagen peptides I use has 70 calories, 18 grams of protein and 20 grams of collagen in it. I usually add one scoop, which is 1/2 servings, to my hot drink in the morning. You can take 1-2 servings daily.
Just be consistent with it and really do it every day! We all have bought supplements and then left them sitting in the kitchen cabinet. So make sure that doesn't happen.
For me, 1/2 servings, so one scoop a day, has worked well. I've seen some health benefits, which I talk more about next.
Taking Collagen Peptides: Before and After
It's interesting that when you look at the most articles about collagen and its health benefits, improving digestion isn't really mentioned as the first thing. Improving bone and joint health seems to be number one reason for using it, followed by all the anti-ageing benefits that collagen has.
However, for me the most noticeable change from the very beginning was much better digestion. I've always had some issues with constipation, but I'm feeling a lot better now as I've added a scoop of collagen peptides into my coffee every day. (Edited: I no longer drink coffee, but it works equally well in tea!)
My husband's knees used to always get really sore after some time of sitting. He had a knee injury from playing soccer years ago, and the knee is acting up every now when he's sedentary for some time. About a month after he started using collagen, his knees started to feel much better. The pain isn't completely gone, but there's much less of it.
Many women report that their hair growth and thickness has improved after they started taking collagen, so if you're struggling with that, giving collagen peptides a try might help as well.
I haven't tried taking collagen peptides in the evening, but apparently it can help you to sleep better, and sleep is something I struggle with quite a bit. I will try to take it before the bed and see if it makes any difference.
Can Collagen Cause Bloating?
Some forms of collagen can cause bloating, however collagen peptides are unlikely to do so.
You may have heard about collagen, collagen peptides and also gelatine. While they all collagen products, they are different things and also work differently in our bodies.
Collagen peptides are the most digestion-friendly form.
The difference is caused by different structure. Collagen itself has a long, twisted structure which makes it harder to break it down and absorb.
Collagen peptides and gelatine are hyrdolyzed forms of collagen. Hydrolyze is what makes the collagen chains shorter and better digestible.
Gelatine is a partly hydrolyzed form of collagen, which means that it contains some water which may cause bloating and other digestive discomfort. It's not fully broken down into peptides. In addition, it only dissolves in hot liquids.
Collagen peptides are the easiest type of collagen to digest. Therefore, it shouldn't cause any bloating or other digestive discomfort. I've never had any problems digesting it. Like I said before, it has only made my digestion better.
I've been really happy with the results that we've seen from taking collagen peptides. I'm planning to keep using it and try it also at night to see if it helps with sleep.
Do you take supplements? Have you tried collagen?
Disclaimer: This post has an affiliate link in it, but it's for a product that I personally use and recommend.