[Updated: September 20, 2020]
I don’t know about you guys, but when I read about ANOTHER thing that I should be doing/drinking/eating to improve my health/life/overall wellness … it really stresses me out. It is impossible to do ALL THE THINGS, am I right? If I really did everything I was advised to do, I would spend every minute of the day meal prepping, popping supplements, and consuming the right foods and liquids. Keeping up with it would be a full-time, 24/7 job. Sigh. And the laundry wouldn’t get done … yikes.
But here’s one of those things you can add into your world without actually changing your diet or adding extra work: Collagen Peptides.
So let’s talk collagen peptides. It’s a total buzzword, super popular supplement these days. And to be honest, it deserves its big-man-on-campus status because it truly has a lot of wonderful health benefits. Collagen peptides are one of the few supplements I recommend to all of my clients.
*This post contains affiliate links for the collagen peptides I love and use myself. This means I earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of these links. For my full disclaimer, click here.*
You’ve probably heard the term “collagen” and know that it’s widely used in the cosmetics and cosmetic surgery industries to plump and rejuvenate skin and might have wondered what collagen really is.
In a nutshell, collagen is a protein that’s found in our bones, skin, muscles, blood vessels, tendons, and even the digestive tract. It’s formed from three long chains of amino acids.
What’s important to know is… starting in our 20s, we begin losing about 1 percent of our collagen each year, according to Dr. Whitney Bowe, board-certified dermatologist in an article published by the New York Times.
In addition to the natural aging process that causes a decrease in collagen production (always with the aging thing, ugh), many lifestyle factors also increase its depletion. I’ll give you a few guesses as to what those are…
Wait for it…
Poor diet, excess sugar consumption, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not getting enough sleep, getting too much sun exposure, lack of nutrient absorption, digestive issues … YEP. No surprises there.
So what happens when we don’t make enough collagen and/or do not consume enough collagen rich foods? Our bodies break down faster. We age at a more rapid rate. Our bodies hurt. And more crummy stuff.
What does collagen do?
According to Dr. Axe, collagen can boost your health in these 7 ways:
- Improve health of skin and hair (the ultimate anti-aging product IMO)
- Reduce joint pain and degeneration (collagen holds our bodies together)
- Aids in healing leaky gut (honestly my favorite benefit!)
- Boosts muscle mass, metabolism and energy (it’s a protein, remember?)
- Strengthens hair, nails, and teeth (the first result I notice)
- Improves health of the liver (seriously, your liver does about 500 things so give it some love)
- Protects heart health (the amino acids are super beneficial for good artery health)
Since collagen provides so many benefits, you may be thinking, “Oh, I should eat more collagen-rich foods or start taking collagen supplements to be sure these crummy things don’t happen to me.” Unfortunately, collagen is not easily digested, absorbed, and used by the body so consuming more collagen isn’t very effective.
That’s where collagen peptides come in handy.
What are collagen PEPTIDES?
I like this “collagen peptides” definition from the Vital Proteins website:
“Collagen peptides are short chain amino acids naturally derived from pasture-raised, grass-fed collagen protein. Unlike gelatin, these peptides are soluble in cold liquids as well as hot. Collagen peptides contain the same amino acids as gelatin which are identical to the protein found in skin, nails, hair, bones, cartilage, and joints. Gluten Free, rBGH Free, Non GMO.”
Unlike collagen and gelatin, collagen peptides are much easier for our bodies to digest, absorb, and use to rebuild and repair our skin, nails, hair, bones, cartilage, and joints… AND collagen peptides can be converted into energy!
Where do collagen peptides come from?
In general, collagen peptides come from the skin and bones of animals or the scales of fish. And, as with any supplement, the quality and safety of the supplement depends to a large extent on the quality of the source.
That’s why Vital Proteins gets its collagen peptides from grass-fed cattle or wild-caught, non-GMO white fish.
Are there vegan sources of collagen peptides?
No, not at the moment. But there are vegan options that help boost the body’s production of collagen. Vital Proteins Spirulina and Beauty Boost provide the nutrients your body needs to boost collagen production.
What’s the best collagen peptides supplement?
For product quality, convenience, variety, and results, I love Vital Proteins. They make several products which contain collagen peptides, but I get the most bang for my buck out of the standard blue canister. It comes in two sizes and individual packets which are great to keep in your purse or for traveling. I also use use their Beef Liver capsules, Cartilage Collagen, Collagen Veggie Blend, Bone Broth Collagen, and Beauty Water supplements. I trust the quality of this company so much and have seen such positive benefits for myself and multiple clients.
How long does it take collagen peptides to work?
One study found that women between the ages of 35 and 55 saw significant improvement in skin elasticity after 8 weeks of daily supplement use. Another saw 6% higher collagen content, better blood flow, 12% less visible wrinkles, and 76% less dryness after 12 weeks of daily supplement use.
While you won’t get results overnight, within 8 to 12 weeks of consistent daily use your results should be noticeable.
So are you ready to start pouring this stuff over everything you eat or drink??? Let’s get to it! Here are…
5 Easy Ways To Incorporate Collagen Peptides Into Your Diet
*A little note — don’t go overboard. When I first started using Vital Proteins products, I took the “more is better” approach. My body wasn’t prepared for that much protein all at once and my digestive system was overloaded! Think bloating, discomfort, crazy skin breakouts, and an overall feeling of YUCK. Please make a point to start slowly and add more as your body adjusts.
1) Put it in your morning coffee or tea.
I know what you’re thinking. You are completely unwilling to risk ruining your beloved morning coffee with a weird powder. I feel you on that because I’m telling you — my morning coffee is PRECIOUS. In fact, there’s a sign on my coffee maker that my older son put there on Mother’s Day … it reads “I love you more than you love coffee!” I mean, that kid really gets me. So anyway, I was very skeptical when I tried it out. I was 100% convinced it would taste gross or at least be noticeable, but I promise it’s not. It is completely undetectable, so just stir it into your hot coffee or tea and BOOM. So many health benefits with no weird taste or change in consistency.
2) Add a scoop to your smoothie or shake.
Duh. I don’t really think this needs a whole lot of explanation. However, I will point out that collagen peptides is an excellent source of PROTEIN. In other words, think of it as a protein powder — you will use it in place of whatever protein powder you may be using when you make smoothies or shakes. If you double up, it could very possibly be too much protein for your body to digest at one time. See my cautionary tale above. The Collagen Veggie Blend is great for smoothies because it contains a ton of fruits and veggies in addition to the collagen peptides. (Here’s my favorite green smoothie recipe.)
3) Mix a scoop into your scrambled eggs.
Oh. My. Goodness. How weird does this sound??? But for real — simply add a scoop of the collagen peptides to eggs and then scramble them up in a bowl. Pour them into your skillet with a nice dollop of coconut oil or ghee (because good fat is your friend), and they will cook up EXACTLY LIKE NORMAL SCRAMBLED EGGS. But healthier. Don’t even tell your family or they will wig out.
4) Add it to your soups.
This is seriously a no brainer. Whether you make soup from scratch or buy it, add a big scoop of Bone Broth Collagen and stir until it dissolves. That’s it. The Bone Broth Collagen adds great flavor in addition to the benefits of the collagen.
5) Put it in your baked goods.
This is the only one I get a little worried about when I use it. I mean, surely this will screw up the consistency of my baked goods, right??? And if you know me at all, you know that baked goods are the way to my heart. There is NO WAY I’m going to mess up a batch of homemade, delicious smelling baked goodness with some collagen peptides that I can add to my coffee. But, this is a great way to get collagen into the little people in my house who don’t drink coffee. Yet. And little ones typically benefit from extra protein. So far, I have only had good luck using collagen in the muffin recipes on this blog. I always test them out with half a scoop and see how it goes.
See? This is totally doable! You can literally add a couple of scoops of collagen peptides to your daily diet and reap so many health benefits. Just pretend you’re pouring more laundry detergent. We’re already doing that ALL DAY LONG anyway 🙂
Do you use collagen peptides? Let me know your thoughts and experiences!
*For more information about Vital Proteins and the collagen peptides I recommend, please check out their website here..