What’s the Deal With Collagen Supplements? We Break Down the Hype

Remember the bone broth craze, touted for boosting immunity, promoting gut health, and as the fountain of youth to protect skin from the common signs of aging? Most of the bone broth benefits were centered on one important component—collagen—and now that same component has become the go-to supplement on store shelves. 

Collagen supplements everywhere, from the grocery store checkout line to the beauty counter at national store chains. With claims to enhance hair, skin, and nails, and improve joint health and digestion, it’s hard to pass them up as the next big thing to add to your routine. Do they work as well as they claim? And what are they even good for? Let’s break it down.

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein that you find in connective tissue, as well as many organs, of animals. It can be consumed in your diet, but it’s also made and synthesized in the body. It’s a primary component of all tissues, including skin, and it plays a direct role in skin aging, i.e. wrinkles (or lack thereof!).

What Do You Use Collagen Supplements For?

Collagen is marketed as being a fix-all for helping to prevent aging in our skin, hair, and nails, but it has other potential benefits too. At MIMC, we like to use it for gut-healing protocols because it’s a non-inflammatory protein that’s SIBO compliant and it helps protect and repair the integrity of the gut lining.

Collagen provides the amino acids needed to repair and rebuild your intestinal wall, which can help prevent a leaky gut. A leaky gut not only leaks toxins and bacteria from your gut into your bloodstream, but it can also leak nutrients. A permeable gut lining can prevent vitamins and minerals in food from being absorbed properly (leading to other, more complicated issues later).

Collagen can also be beneficial for joint and muscle pain, and connective tissue issues, like inflammation, swelling, and wound healing.

Who Should Be Taking Collagen?

If you’re looking for an easily digested form of protein, collagen can be a great supplement to add to your routine. Those with already compromised guts can also benefit from adding collagen into their daily habits. It’s an easy additional source of protein that just requires blending into a daily beverage (we like it in tea or matcha, or blended into a smoothie), or adding bone broth into your meal plan.

What Collagen Should I Be Taking?

There are more than 28 types of collagen that have been identified, but most supplements focus on Type I, II, and III. Why is this significant? Because 80 to 90 percent of the collagen in your body is made up  of Types I, II, and III. Each of these three types of collagen has a slightly different job in the body and may come from slightly different sources. But, because most of our body’s collagen comes from those first three types, we don’t have use of many of the other types—and we don’t need supplements that contain types past I, II, and III.

Our Collagen Recommendations

  1. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides: Sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hides to ensure a natural, high quality, and sustainable source of the powerful ingredient, these collagen peptides are a form of collagen that’s easily used in the body.
  2. Vital Proteins Marine Collagen: Made from the scales of fresh, non-GMO, wild-caught white fish, this collagen is highly bio-available, digestible, and soluble in cold water.
  3. Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate: The unique combination of amino acids in concentrated levels of collagen hydrolysate can promote healing and conditioning over other proteins.