Collagen Protein: Uses, Benefits & Downsides

Collagen supplements have surged in popularity recently, with touted benefits for skin, hair, nails, joints, and more.

But what exactly is collagen protein?

Could collagen powder benefit your health after bariatric surgery?

Let’s break it all down.

What is Collagen Protein?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, making up around 30% of total protein content. It forms a structural framework that provides strength and resilience to connective tissues throughout the body.

Collagen protein powder is made by hydrolysing or breaking down the molecular bonds of collagen derived from animal tissues. Contents such as bone broths, eggshells, bovine hide, or fish scales can be a collagen-rich alternative to consider. This process creates small collagen peptides that are easily digested and absorbed.

Tasteless Collagen Protein comes in a powder form that can dissolve in hot or cold liquids. They provide extra collagen that your body can then use to support various structures and functions.

There are over 16 types of collagens that make up different parts of our body, but most collagen supplements contain one or more of these main types:

– Type I – Most abundant collagen, found in skin, bones, tendons, ligaments

– Type II – Main collagen comprising cartilage

– Type III – Forms connective tissues alongside type I collagen

– Type V – Found in hair, placenta, and cell surfaces

– Type X – Helps with bone mineralization and maturation

Marine collagen sourced from fish scales contains primarily type I collagen, while bovine and chicken collagen supplements offer a more complete collagen profile across the different types.

Potential Benefits of Collagen Protein Supplements

Here are some of the purported benefits of supplemental collagen peptides:

Improved Skin Elasticity and Hydration

Multiple clinical studies have found daily oral collagen peptide supplementation may increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density. This can help smooth wrinkles and give skin a firmer, more youthful appearance.

Reduced Joint Pain and Increased Mobility

Some research indicates tasteless collagen supplements may help reduce activity-related joint pain and improve mobility in athletes and active individuals. It may also provide benefits for osteoarthritis sufferers by increasing collagen in cartilage tissue. 

Protection of Bone Mineral Density

Amino acids like glycine and proline found abundantly in collagen help synthesize new collagen fibres to strengthen bones and prevent bone mineral loss over time. This helps maintain bone mass as we age.

Improved Sleep Quality

Collagen contains the amino acid glycine, which acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain to promote relaxation and sleep. Studies show glycine supplements can enhance sleep quality and duration for insomniacs.

Support for a Healthier Gut Lining

By reinforcing the intestinal barrier, collagen helps support overall digestive health and may help prevent leaky gut issues. The amino acid glutamine also plays a key role in maintaining the integrity of the gut lining.

Potential Drawbacks of Collagen Protein Supplements

While showing promise, collagen supplements also have some potential downsides to consider:

– More expensive than other types of protein supplements

– Quality varies substantially between different collagen brands

– Some users report bloating, gas, or indigestion, especially at higher doses

– Optimal dosing, and long-term safety are not well established

– Hydrolysed collagen is not a whole food source of nutrition

– Contains potential allergens if sourced from egg, fish, or dairy

For those who experience no side effects and notice positive impacts on their hair, skin, nails, or joints after taking collagen supplements, they can be a helpful addition to support connective tissue health.

But patients should not solely rely on collagen powders and focus on intaking collagen-rich whole foods to sustain bodily functionality. 

Collagen-Rich Food Sources

It’s important to focus first on obtaining natural collagen from real food sources like:

– Bone broth

– Beef, chicken, pork, and fish

– Fattier fish like salmon and tuna

– Eggs, especially the yolks

– Chicken wings, feet, neck, and other parts with skin and collagenous tissue

– Bone-in poultry

– Oxtails and short ribs

– Shellfish

– Gelatine powder

– Beans and legumes

– Berries

– Citrus fruits

Following a balanced diet containing ample lean protein plus foods naturally rich in collagen is vital for supporting natural collagen production. Vitamin C rich foods help catalyse collagen synthesis as well.

Tips for Purchasing Collagen Protein Powder

If supplementing with collagen powder, look for:

– Hydrolysed collagen that is easily digested and absorbed

– 10-20 grams of collagen per serving

– A high bioactive collagen peptide counts of 5,000mg+ per serve

– Third-party testing for safety and purity

– Quality sourcing and certifications like grass-fed, pasture-raised, non-GMO, etc.

– Unflavoured or lightly flavoured varieties without added sugars

– Clean ingredient lists not overloaded with unnecessary additives

How to Use Collagen Protein Powder

Collagen peptides mix seamlessly into any hot or cold liquid. Try adding collagen powder to:

– Smoothies

– Soups and stews

– Coffee, tea, hot chocolate or matcha

– Overnight oats

– Pancakes or protein waffles

– Yogurt bowls

– Baked goods like protein muffins

– Homemade protein bars

– Nice cream

– Protein shakes and lattes

Start with about 10 grams (1-2 scoops) daily and monitor effects. You can adjust serving sizes to meet your individual needs and preferences. Smoothies, coffee, and baked goods work especially well to hide any collagen flavour. 

Use quality supplements in moderation as needed to provide extra collagen support in your diet. A balanced approach allows you to reap benefits without overdependence on powders. While they may support connective tissue health, rely on natural collagen sources as your primary source. This helps sustain muscle mass, absorption of necessary nutrients and minerals, and keeps your skin glowing!

Explore a more comprehensive guide on collagen protein by subscribing to our newsletter to discover the diverse benefits and make informed choices about collagen supplementation.

Empower your health journey with knowledge and take the first step toward a balanced and collagen-rich lifestyle.

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