Collagen Protein: Is It Right for You?05 September, 2018
My Instagram feed is filled with images of food and babies (#momlife). I couldn’t help but notice so many of the food posts–beautiful images of protein shakes, juices, and smoothie bowls–referencing collagen protein powder. I did a little research and spoke to a few of my dietitian friends and learned that there is science to support collagen supplementation for everything from skin and hair health to joint and digestive support. I’m all about being preventative in slowing the aging process so I figured adding collagen protein to my daily routine couldn’t hurt.
I’ve been using the flavorless bovine collagen protein from Vital Proteins and add it to my morning coffee along with a splash of almond milk. You can’t taste it and it mixes in super well–no clumpy collagen coffee! Interested? Check out the insight Millennial Nutrition intern, Alexis Luna, shares below about this new trendy protein supplement!
What is Collagen Protein?
Collagen is simply a type of protein found in most animals (and us!). It’s like a glue that helps hold together our tissues, organs, and bones. Collagen also gives our skin that elasticity and plumpness, and as we age, the amount of collagen produced goes down and that’s when wrinkles and signs of aging begin to show.
There are several types of collagen that differ in their molecular makeup and where they’re found in the body. The main types of collagen you will find in animals are Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3. Type 1 is the most common type found in our bodies and what you’ll find in collagen supplements.
The collagen protein on the market comes from three main sources: bovine (cow), chickens, and fish. (Sorry vegans, there’s no such thing as vegan collagen!)
Reasons To Try Collagen Protein
Back in the day, it was more common for Western societies to consume collagen naturally in their diets from foods like bone broths and organ meats, but most people don’t eat these foods on a daily basis anymore. That’s where collagen protein supplements come in. Most people supplement with protein collagen to improve their hair, skin, nails, joint/bone health, and digestive system. There are actually quite a few studies indicating a link between stronger joint/bone health and improved hair, skin, and nails after taking collagen for several weeks. Although many health enthusiasts deem collagen as strengthening the digestive tract muscle and improving overall digestive health, there still needs to be more research to support these claims.
What To Look For
There are several forms of protein collagen supplements such as candies, capsules, gel tablets, beverages, and the most common–powders. Several powder forms are odorless and tasteless so you can simply mix a tablespoon with your morning coffee or smoothies.
A note of caution, since these supplements are coming from animals, please lookout for companies that treat their animals ethically and feeding them a nutrient-rich diet, free of synthetic hormones and antibiotics. Most of the reputable brands will let you know of the living conditions and part of the animal in which the collagen comes from (usually the hide or skin). Several well-known brands showcase the living conditions on their websites and packaging, ensuring the animals are living pasture-raised and grass fed (bovine varieties) or caught sustainably (marine varieties).
When you see “collagen peptides” or “hydrolyzed collagen” it simply means that the protein collagen has been further digested in the manufacturing process to its smaller parts. (Peptides are also known as amino acids, the building blocks of protein.) By the protein being broken down, it is easier for the digestive system to absorb and utilize the collagen proteins.
So, what do you think of protein collagen? Are you going to try it? If you do, let us know by tagging @millenialnutrition and using the hashtag, #millenialnutrition about your experience!
Alexis Luna, BS, NDTR loves food and helping others find simple ways to improve their overall health. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Arizona State University in 2017 and currently working as a Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, Registered (NDTR) for the Maricopa County government Women, Infants, and, Children (WIC) nutritional support program in Phoenix, Arizona. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, going to concerts, hanging out with her chihuahua, walking in nature, and cooking healthy meals. You can follow her on social media for nutrition tips and foodie pics on Twitter @luna_nutrition, Instagram @bluberrylec, and learn more about her upcoming side business as a personal chef nutritionist at www.alexislunanutrition.com.