This supplement helps heal a variety of stomach conditions
Many of us are familiar with collagen in products to reduce wrinkles or strengthen your hair and nails. It turns out, however, that taking collagen orally amounts to a superfood for your gut.
What is collagen
Collagen is naturally created by your body and contains short-chain amino acids made from protein. The amino acids consist of hydroxyproline, arginine, glycine, and proline. Once the amino acids are low, your body struggles to produce the highest beneficial level of collagen. It’s not uncommon for the amino acids to be low even in a healthy person. But, the body tends to produce less collagen as you age.
Adequate collagen is needed not only for outer parts of the body such as hair and skin, but also internally – for joints, connective tissue, and a healthy gut.
The most common type of collagen supplement you will find at the store is hydrolyzed type-I collagen. This can be extracted from animal hides, bones or fish scales. Hydrolyzed means that the amino acid chains have been broken down into smaller units. In this form, the substance can be dissolved in hot and cold liquids –perfect for adding to smoothies and soups.
What collagen can do for you
Collagen can both protect and heal your intestinal tract. Many people suffer from digestive and intestinal disorders, including food allergies and sensitivities, which are difficult to treat medically. Collagen can play a role in helping people heal or cope with these conditions.
For instance, leaky gut syndrome describes a condition in which the cells lining your digestive tract begin to come apart. This allows particles to make their way through your intestinal lining, causing inflammation and an inflamed immune response. Some common symptoms include anxiety, cognitive issues, fatigue and changes in your appetite. Leaky gut also frequently produces stomach bloating, constipation or diarrhea, and discomfort.
A study in Food & Function determined that collagen was able to help heal leaky gut. The research indicates that collagen was able to lessen the particle breakdown and inflammatory response. This positive result could be significant for people who have been merely managing this condition with diet and other supplements.
Collagen is also abundant in bone broth. Gelatin is a component of bone broth, which turns into collagen during the cooking process. An excellent source for collagen, gelatin is a protein full of antioxidant-rich, gut-enriching, metabolism-stoking amino acids such as proline, glycine, arginine, and glutamine.
Bone broth is part of the well-known diet called The GAPS Protocol, which people use to heal chronic health issues related to the gut. Glycine – one of bone broth’s amino acids – stimulates bile acid and stomach acid production and helps detoxify the liver.
Many people with acid reflux have experienced relief or healing from using bone broth. The production of stomach and bile acids, prompted by the bone broth, creates the perfect environment for digesting food properly. The gelatin helps by coating intestinal walls and assisting in preventing proteins from passing into the blood.
Bone broth is also a popular remedy for people with Celiac disease – a gluten allergy – or even those with gluten sensitivities, following an accidental exposure. Some Celiac sufferers also use collagen powder to calm their agitated stomachs.
Things to consider before taking collagen
Because collagen is made from animal proteins, vegetarians and vegans won’t want to partake. There are also concerns about potentially dangerous levels of heavy metals in some supplements, so, it’s crucial to do your research. You’ll want to see transparency about the process of obtaining the amino acids, and every added ingredient.
Consider the possibility of taking collagen if you have a gastrointestinal disorder or even occasional gut issues. But if you have a diagnosed condition under treatment by a physician, consult your doctor before adding collagen to your regimen.
Some people take it for three or four months as a treatment. Consuming collagen incites our body to produce more of it, so the more we take in, the more our bodies make.
If you’re going to give collagen a try, also consider making lifestyle choices that don’t damage collagen as you age. Stopping smoking, managing your blood sugar, reducing sun exposure, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight are all key to keeping collagen, and your body healthy.