Collagen is the most plentiful protein in your body. It’s in your muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, blood vessels, skin, intestinal lining, and other connective tissues1. Think of collagen as the glue that holds your body together!
A cool story about college is that it has the ability to significantly help to improve leaky gut! About 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut. When your gut becomes leaky, toxins, food particles, and infections tear through your intestinal wall and enter your bloodstream, causing inflammation. Over time, this chronic inflammation can lead to autoimmunity.
Thankfully, your intestinal wall is made up of tiny folds or “villi,” which are actually built of collagen. When we see clients with a leaky gut, I use supplementation to increase the production of collagen-produced amino acids. These little compounds literally “seal the leak” in your intestinal lining by promoting tissue growth and cellular health.
If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease or thyroid condition (the vast majority of which is autoimmune), then you likely have a leaky gut and would benefit from adding collagen into your diet.
We have also seen firsthand how the supplementation of collagen can smooth skin and support strong beautiful nails!
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Making collagen naturally
Incorporating certain foods into your diet supports the body’s natural production of collagen. Focus on protein-rich foods like beef, chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and dairy. These foods contain the amino acids that make up collagen, namely glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline2.
Collagen production requires certain nutrients!
In addition to these amino acids, the body also requires certain nutrients, like vitamin C, zinc, and copper, to ensure adequate collagen production is taking place. Incorporating these vitamin and mineral-rich foods is incredibly important.
You can find vitamin C in citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Minerals zinc and copper can be found in animal proteins, shellfish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and beans.
In food, collagen is naturally found in animal flesh like meat and fish that contain connective tissue.
With that being said, the richest forms of collagen are found in the connective tissue of animals and skin and bones of fish. Today, most people only eat muscle meat proteins, which do not give us adequate collagen or the amino acids that we need to help repair and restore our bodies3.
Bone broth is an excellent source of collagen.
A great addition to your diet to increase collagen consumption and production is bone broth! Bone broth is made from a variety of meaty joints and bones, simmered for an extensive period of time, and typically sipped on its own as a restorative tonic4.
Bone broth is rich in amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that boast anti-inflammatory properties, support the immune system, joint health, and collagen production.
Supplementing with collagen peptides
Supplementing with collagen peptides helps to replenish the body’s collagen supply. Collagen peptides are short-chain amino acids that are absorbed by the bloodstream to repair, rebuild, and restore our hair, skin, nails gut, bones, and joints5.
Collagen peptides are tasteless and textureless and will blend into all foods and beverages. When purchasing collagen peptides, ensure the bovine source is grass-fed and marine source is wild-caught.
Simply incorporate the peptides by adding it to your coffee, tea, oatmeal, soup, or smoothie! You can find lots of easy, healthy ways to use collagen here.
While collagen naturally degrades as we age, additional lifestyle and environmental factors can negatively affect our overall collagen production6. Incorporating nutrient-dense whole foods, with a focus on high-quality protein, is a sure-fire way to support and protect your body’s natural collagen production.
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