Collagen supplements are becoming increasingly popular today as collagen is quickly gaining a superfood status. Our ancestors naturally consumed an abundance of collagen in bone broths, stews and gravies. However, as the western diet became more processed, we lost the skill of making and consuming collagen-rich food. This is now changing as collagen is making a big comeback.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. In fact, 30%-40% of the total protein in our body is collagen. It is present in muscles, bones, tendons, skin, ligaments, cartilage, blood vessels and the digestive system. The word collagen stems from the Greek word kólla, meaning glue. Collagen gives our skin elasticity, and a simple analogy is that it is the “glue” that helps joints and tendons to hold together and remain flexible.
Collagen contains 19 different amino acids including glutamine, glycine, arginine and proline. The excerpt below explains exactly why amino acids are so crucial to our health:
Protein plays a crucial role in almost all biological processes and amino acids are the building blocks of it. A large proportion of our cells, muscles and tissue is made up of amino acids, meaning they carry out many important bodily functions, such as giving cells their structure.
Put simply, collagen provides us with the building blocks that we need to create a healthy body. Below are three key benefits of consuming collagen on a regular basis.
1. Heals leaky gut and improves digestion
Collagen is phenomenal at helping to heal and improve the digestive system. It soothes the gut lining and helps to form the much-needed connective tissue of the gut wall. This is known as the “healing and sealing” effect. We already know that collagen provides us with necessary building blocks, and it is the amino acids in collagen that help to build the tissue lining the digestive tract. This can be especially helpful for sufferers of digestive disorders such as IBS, leaky gut and ulcerative colitis.
2. Improves skin health and appearance
Collagen production naturally declines as we age, and this can be seen in our skin in the form of less elasticity, loose skin and wrinkles. The good news is that, when you increase your collagen intake, the skin can regenerate and become firmer and increase in elasticity and smoothness. Collagen supplements are being clinically studied and have been shown to “significantly improve skin elasticity, skin moisture, transepidermal water loss (dryness) and skin roughness.”  
3. Reduces joint pain and improves bone health
Collagen is indeed the “glue” that holds our bones together. It protects and covers our joints, allowing for strength and flexibility. Less collagen in the body causes muscle stiffness, soreness and often bone pain caused by friction between joints. However, when we increase our collagen intake we can reduce joint pain and alleviate conditions like arthritis.
Collagen is necessary to prevent bone loss. Along with calcium, vitamin K2 and vitamin D, collagen plays an important role in stimulating osteoblasts—the cells responsible for bone formulation and increasing bone density.
The difference between collagen and gelatin
Gelatin is derived from collagen. For example, when collagen is cooked and broken down, it turns into gelatin. When you make bone broth, the gel that forms on top of the broth once it has cooled, is actually collagen-rich gelatin.
The two brands that we recommend and use are:
Both of these brands are sourced from grass-fed cows, and they are supplements that do not contain any additives, contaminants or fillers.
Collagen supplements are highly versatile and easy to add into your diet. Add it to smoothies, hot drinks or baked goods.
Special note: Collagen may not be a suitable supplement for anyone who has a histamine intolerance.