Collagen protein is the most abundant protein in the human body. The unique blend of amino acids found in collagen protein allows it to provide the building blocks for healthy connective tissues like skin, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen protein can also contribute to bone development [*] and gut health.
The uniqueness of collagen protein is in its amino acid blend. Collagen contains greater amounts of the essential amino acids glycine and proline (which converts to hydroxyproline). These two amino acids provide numerous benefits to our body. In addition to their role in connective tissues, these amino acids have anti-inflammatory benefits, are important for the function of our nervous system, and play an active role in cellular health.
Our body produces collagen naturally but as we age our natural production declines increasing our need for collagen in the diet. While there are whole food forms of collagen, which I will go over later in the article, collagen peptide supplementation is increasing in popularity due to the convenience and delicious addition they can make to our diet.
Collagen peptide supplements make it easy for you to get more of that unique amino acid punch in your diet and reap the benefits of doing so. Here is what you need to know about how to use collagen peptides:
When to Take Collagen Peptides
There are a lot of potential benefits to supplementing with collagen peptides. I most often recommend collagen to clients when improving gut health is the goal. Recently, there has been an increasing interest in how gut health affects the whole body and not simply digestion. One of the key components of a healthy gut is a strong intestinal barrier. This barrier is often referred to as the intestinal epithelium. This barrier is responsible for effective nutrient absorption and protection from bile and other digestive enzymes. A compromised intestinal barrier, sometimes referred to as “leaky gut” may result in infection, inflammation, food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease and even type I diabetes. The unique blend of amino acids found in collagen can help improve the integrity of our intestinal barrier to help improve our gut health and thus overall health.
Collagen supplements can also be helpful when experiencing joint pain [*]. Again, the unique blend of amino acids here can be used to improve the health of our connective tissues thus improving our joint health. Interestingly, research has found that subjects supplementing with collagen long-term reported decreases in joint pain and significant improvement in their ability to complete physical activity.
Another great time to reach for collagen peptides is when we are looking for some beauty benefits (and who isn’t). Research has shown that collagen can increase the strength of our nails [*], the health of our hair, and even skin health by improving skin elasticity [*] and hydration [*]. It’s no wonder this supplement has become one of the most popular on the market.
Since collagen peptides are now being incorporated into delicious flavorful powders, I also recommend this supplement to keto dieters who have sweet tooth cravings and want to stay on track with their diet. Perfect Keto chocolate collagen is typically the go-to since it provides those unique amino acids, has a delicious taste, and adds those keto-friendly MCTs. Our customers love putting collagen in hot liquids like coffee.
Optimal Dose for Collagen Peptides
Collagen supplements can come in capsule or powder form. Capsule form typically contains less collagen while powder contains much more. The optimal dose for collagen peptides is different for everyone, but starting with just 10 grams of protein from collagen per day can provide significant improvements.
With or Without Food
There is much debate on whether or not collagen peptides should be taken on an empty stomach. Many health and wellness advocates will say that an empty stomach is best for absorption. While there may be some truth to that, the research is lacking and I have experienced plenty of health benefits myself from taking collagen, not on an empty stomach. My advice is that you incorporate this supplement however best suits your needs.
Boost Collagens Effects
To further enhance the benefits of collagen supplements, you could also incorporate natural collagen-boosting ingredients. The antioxidant vitamin c is important in natural collagen production making it a great ingredient to combine with collagen supplements. You can also add supplements that will further complement the goals you have such as using hyaluronic acid if your goal is to improve skin health.
Protein Shake or Recipe
Collagen peptide powders make for great nutrient-packed shakes. They can be simply added to water or incorporated into your favorite shake recipe. My go-to is:
- 2 cups Water, Raw Dairy from the Farmers Market, or other hot or cold liquids
- ½ Avocado
- 1 scoop Perfect Keto Chocolate Collagen Powder
- 1 tablespoon organic Almond Butter
- Optional: 1 scoop of Perfect Keto Whey protein
Collagen peptide powders can also be used to create a ton of delicious recipes and you can get unflavored collagen. Check out our blog to see unique recipes that incorporate collagen protein powder.
We talked about collagen peptide supplements a lot, but collagen can also be found in whole foods like fish, meat, and eggs. The best whole food source of collagen is bone and connective tissue making bone broth and eating the connective tissue around animal bone great ways to get more collagen in your diet.
If that last line made you think, “there’s no way I’m eating the connective tissue on animal bone” then this is why we created collagen peptide supplements. Collagen peptides can be taken in supplemental form to help increase your daily intake of collagen and the unique amino acids that it provides. Our paleo ancestors would be jealous.
There are many types of collagen products, be sure to look for supplements that contain high-quality collagen from grass-fed cows. You may see this on the label as grass-fed bovine collagen. The grass-fed bovine part is most important as this is the best source of collagen around. Be sure to look for collagen supplements that do not contain added sugars.
Marine collagen is dairy-free collagen that comes in a close second. Plant collagen is far less optimal so be sure to avoid this if your goal is to increase your intake of more bioavailable or better-absorbed collagen.
Gelatin is often considered a great source of collagen because it is partially broken down but most collagen supplements are collagen hydrolysate which means they are also partially broken down. An advantage to collagen powder is also its ability to dissolve in both hot and cold liquid, which gelatin and especially gelatin gummies cannot. Gelatin can also cause digestive discomfort while collagen powders have much less reported side effects.
Collagen is an important protein due to the impact its amino acids have on our body. Since our natural production of collagen decreases as we age, our reliance on dietary collagen becomes greater. Get collagen in your diet for gut health, joint health, and skin care through whole food sources or collagen protein powder like what we offer right here at Perfect Keto.