What is Collagen?
Popular in our grandparents time Gelatin (cooked collagen) is making a big come back from paleo dieters and traditional foods coming back from health reasons, such as bone broth (see my blog on how to make here). It’s a superfood that is also a big part of the GAPS diet, which has astounding effects on physical and mental issues. It is my belief, based on the research of Weston Price, that whole food based nutrition containing collagen is essential for one’s overall health, fitness, and wellbeing. But many people don’t have the time to make the bone broth every week, so you can get the daily dose of gelatin, the important part, without the broth from collagen peptides.
Collagen makes up 30% of the protein in our body but more than 70% of the protein that makes up skin. Collagen ensures, cohesion, elasticity and regeneration of skin, but because it is partially made up of essential proteins, our body cannot make it! This means we have to get it from outside food or supplement sources. This is why people notice such a positive difference in their skin when they begin to take it. I take Collagen Peptides everyday and am happy with the results, but it is specific as to which type you take.
(click photo or title for link to products)
- Promotes younger looking skin
- Improves skin moisture level
- Improves skin smoothness
- Improves the signs of deep wrinkles
- Improves skin suppleness
-Can even help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite
Outside of the skin it’s also great for:
- Gelatin helps to heal the gut including leaky gut
- It also has been shown over 4-24 weeks increase bone mass density, as well as other benefits for bone and joint health, and other nutrition and weight management.
- All connective tissues – tendons, ligaments, cartilage and muscle structure. This can help you build muscle, strength, become better at sport and many other things.
- Weight management – since high in protein, it creates a satiating effect leading to decrease food intake.
- “Protein sparer” – helps our body use the protein from meat most efficiently
- Improves treatment of peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle diseases, infectious diseases, jaundice and cancer
- Treats malnutrition and improves bone density
- Immunity booster
- People have also raved about how it has helped their chronic pain particularly with joint pain and arthritis.
- The glycine improves sleep quality, reduces daytime sleepiness, and improves memory during waking hours.
Whole food vs. Supplements:
I normally try to avoid supplements by taking the whole foods instead, and you can get collagen from bone broth soup, which I am a big fan of and you can see how to make it here. However, I don’t usually make it enough to have it everyday and I also have trouble finding a great source of bones from pasture raised animals. So this is a great whole food supplement.
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Why do we need to take it at all (Especially Now)?
This is one of the few supplements that everyone should add to their diet. Collagen is the main structural protein found in animal connective tissue. Our ancestors utilized sustainable whole animal nutrition, which provided an abundant amount of collagen. Over the past century, modern food processing has practically removed this natural and healthy protein from our diets, yet collagen remains vital for our body, and is the basic building block of skin, hair, nails, bones and joints.
Causes of Collagen Depletion
- Age. The amount of collagen in a person’s body declines over time. By age 25, the body starts to deplete collagen at a rate of 1.5% a year. By age 40, collagen is depleted faster than it is produced. By age 60, over half of the body’s collagen has been depleted.
- Autoimmune disorders. Certain autoimmune disorders cause the body’s immune system to attack and destroy connective tissue and collagen.
- Smoking. Many of the chemicals in tobacco smoke damages collagen in the skin. Firsthand smoke results in the most damage but even secondhand smoke results in collagen depletion.
- Sun exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight cause collagen in the skin to break down at an increased rate as well as cause a decrease in collagen production.
It is important to find pasture raised, organically fed, and happy cows. I like to use Vital Proteins because they provide the highest quality of collagen protein which includes one, single ingredient: 100% South American Pasture-raised Bovine Hide. Vital Proteins’ collagen is derived from the Nelore breed of cattle, which are non-dairy cows, and since the cattle were pasture-raised and grass-fed, this eliminates the risk of rBGH in their feed. Brazil also has a law which prohibits the addition of hormones to feed.
Their 100% pasture-raised Collagen Peptides and Collagen Protein Beef Gelatin have similar amino acid profiles and offer very similar nutritional benefits. Both are virtually odorless and tasteless, making them extremely versatile. However, they are quite different in application.
Vital Proteins offers two forms of collagen. The easiest way to explain the difference between “collagen peptides” and “beef gelatin” is that the peptides dissolve instantly in water and is more of a supplement and beef gelatin is better for cooking. If you don't know which you want, just take the Collagen Peptides as I do. They provide the same benefits but if you have digestive issues or want a thicker consistency for soups, jello, broth or sauces, go for the beef gelatin. The peptides, are water soluble and can be added to cold or hot smoothies or soups. It does not gel up and can be added to coffee or juice.
Beef Gelatin is cooked collagen that’s been dried and processed into a powder. It will gel when it’s mixed with water. It’s great for making homemade jello and pudding! It has the green lid.
Collagen Peptides are processed so the amino acids are broken down, making it easier to digest. It’s also absorbed faster by the body. Collagen Peptides will not gel and are easily mixed into hot or cold beverages and liquids. It has the blue lid.
Collagen Peptides (blue lid - 18g protein/serving): (function more like a supplement)
The peptides are gelatin proteins broken down into their constituent peptide chains. This is what happens naturally when you boil broth too hard and it will not gel, the gelatin has been broken down. The collagen peptides have the advantage that you can mix them into cold/cool liquids, as well as hot/warm, without them "gelling" or congealing. However, you cannot use them in recipes that call for gelatin. You may add our peptides to cold or hot beverages such as a smoothie, juice, flavored water, tea or coffee, as well as a variety of foods like pancakes, oatmeal or parfaits to boost the protein content.
Collagen Protein Beef Gelatin (green lid - 17g protein/serving): (great for recipes – cooking and baking) Our gelatin will “gel” in cold liquids. As a result, gelatin is ideal for hot preparations, and is a staple in many recipes. Our gelatin may be added to soups, broths, sauces or gravy as a natural protein booster and thickener, or used when baking. They can also be used to create a delicious homemade mousse, ice cream, pudding and yogurt -- even omelettes, meatballs and meatloaf, or use them to make nutritious fruit gelatin and healthy gummy snacks. You may also enjoy them in hot beverages like herbal tea or frothy butter coffee. Health wise, the gelatin has the advantage of taking slightly longer to digest and coating the small intestine, which is beneficial in gut healing diets like GAPS, AIP or SCD.
How is Vital Proteins' collagen different?
A few notable advantages they offer over their competition include:
--Single-sourced, pasture-raised bovine hide from Brazil, ensuring we only utilize pasture raised bovine. Unlike others who source their collagen from Argentina where cattle are typically grain finished, Vital Proteins produces our gelatin and collagen in Brazil, where the cattle industry is based on perennial tropical grass pasture systems. We have also taken great care to ensure the pasture size for each animal is at least 2.67 acres. These standards are in alignment with the Global Animal Partnership's 5-step Animal Welfare Rating Standards.
--HDPE, Non-BPA, air-tight canisters prevent moisture. By hermetically induction sealing each canister, we prevent moisture and oxygen from entering the canister, ensuring product integrity, quality and safety. Collagen is very hygroscopic and absorbs water. Without this protection, the collagen will start to degrade due to bacteria.
--Virtually odorless and tasteless, allowing you to make them taste the way you want
Other products they have that I like are:
Beef Liver Capsules
Exclusively pasture-raised and grass-fed in New Zealand, our beef liver is packed with Vitamin A, B12, Folate, Riboflavin, Zinc, Copper and Choline. Please see attached for more details. The following links may also prove useful in learning more about what leading experts are saying about nature's most nutrient-dense superfood: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/the-liver-files/
Cartilage Collagen (NEW)
Abundant in nutritional bioactive compounds, Vital Proteins' Cartilage Collagen Bovine Tracheal Cartilage is rich in Type II Collagen Peptides and Glycosaminoglycans including naturally occurring Chondroitin Sulfate. Type II collagen is the major structural component present in connective tissues. Rich in amino acids glycine and proline, Type II Collagen provides building blocks for cartilage, ligaments, tendons, skin, and bone.
Great recipe ideas can be found on their blog here (including a great ice-cream)
- - http://www.vitalproteins.com/blog/
- - http://wellnessmama.com/7419/gelatin-uses/
- - http://thecoconutmama.com/homemade-fruit-snacks/
and a helpful Frequently Asked Questions page on their website.
By utilizing the information presented on this site, you agree to and understand that author, Bill Farr is not a doctor or any other type of certified health care professional, and his opinion is not a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your doctor or your other health care providers concerning your symptoms and medical requirements before following any of the remedies or other suggestions he offers. His opinion is based on his own research and is to be used for educational purposes only. Bill Farr’s wellness plans and advice are meant to be used in conjunction with standard allopathic or osteopathic medical treatment and care.
– Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 22.3, Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix.
– Cosgrove, M.C., Franco, O.H., Granger, S.P., Murray, P.G. and Mayes, A.E. 2007. Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 86: 1225-1231.
– Karaguzel, G., Holick, M. 2010. Diagnosis and treatment of osteopenia. Rev Endocr Metab Disord, 11: 237-251.
– Nomura, Y., Oohashi, K., Watanabe, M. and Kasugai, S. 2005. Increase in bone mineral density through oral administration of shark gelatine to ovariectomized rats. Nutrition, 21:1120-1126.
– Moore, Daniel R., et al. “Daytime pattern of post-exercise protein intake affects whole-body protein turnover in resistance-trained males.”Nutrition & Metabolism 9.1 (2012): 91.