Can Collagen Help Your Immune System?

Overview

People are more aware of germs and staying healthy now than ever before. From stocking up on water, to taking as many supplements as possible, there is a global call-to-action to protect our immune systems. There is a lot of false information circulating regarding what will actually help you stay healthy and strong enough to defend yourself against germs. What you eat and what supplements you take are absolutely essential to creating a strong and stable immune system. Collagen supplements are something that people are taking for protein and beauty boosting, but there may be more benefits than that. Collagen may help with strengthening your connective tissues, improving your digestive tract and gut health, increasing bone health, joint health, and more. Clearly, collagen is a supplement that has a lot of health benefits. Its benefits, especially helping with the gut and digestive track, are important for staying healthy. The healing of your digestive tract and repairing connective tissues is helpful for defending yourself from harmful bacteria. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and it is built through chains of amino acids (like essential amino acids glycine and proline) that act as building blocks for our bodies. Our natural collagen production begins to decrease as we age, which is one of the reasons why we might develop joint pain, wrinkles and lack of smoothness, issues with our digestive system (like leaky gut), and other such issues. The benefits of collagen are extensive, but how does it fit in with the current health crisis and strengthening our immune systems? Read on to find out. 

Does collagen help with colds?

Collagen does not directly help with colds, but it can indirectly help to strengthen our immune system and overall health to prevent against colds and other sickness. We briefly mentioned the health benefits of collagen above. Glutamine is a key amino acid that is needed for a strong immune system, and it also happens to be a key amino acid found in collagen. Glutamine plays a role in cellular repair and stimulating immune cells. It helps to speed this process up, meaning faster recovery and stronger cells to protect against illness. Similarly, it helps to strengthen our gut lining. Having a weak gut lining allows for bad bacteria to more easily enter our system. By increasing your collagen intake, you strengthen connective tissues that help to seal the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. That way, you can keep bad bacteria out that could otherwise turn into an illness or infection. 

Does collagen help blood flow?

The natural collagen in our bodies helps with cardiovascular and blood health. Proline (an essential amino acid in collagen) helps to reduce fat buildup in your bloodstream and blood vessels. It also helps to prevent fat accumulation in your arteries. If your collagen levels are normal, there's a good chance of your body protecting itself from heart-related issues. Blood flow and having clean and strong blood vessels is very important to your overall health. Without it, your body would not be able to function, and at the very least it couldn't keep you strong to defend yourself against germs and sickness. 

What vitamins should I take to boost my immune system?

There are a few vitamins that are helpful for boosting your immune system. You can get these vitamins both from food and supplement form. It's always best to get the nutrients you need primarily through food, but vitamin supplements are a great way to boost your intake and make sure you are getting enough. The best vitamins for helping your immune system are vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C. 

Besides taking vitamins, you should also turn to food to help heal and protect you. Foods like bone broth, smoothies that contain fruits and veggies, and vegetables (especially leafy greens) are all good sources of the vitamins we mentioned above, plus antioxidants and other essential nutrients. Bone broth can be made at home, and it's perfect for when you are feeling under the weather. It supports immune function by healing the gut lining and providing a multitude of vitamins, nutrients, and collagen, which strengthens you from the inside out. The most effective way to stay healthy is to take care of yourself. This means eating the right nutrients, drinking water, and staying active. 

Does collagen cause inflammation? 

No, collagen does not cause inflammation. There are a lot of known things that cause inflammation in the body. Processed foods, sugar, alcohol, and gluten and dairy (if you have a sensitivity) are all known causes of inflammation. Signs of inflammation include skin issues, not having a healthy gut (bloating, etc.), weight gain, and issues with your joints and bones. Our own collagen plays a large role in preventing and correcting these issues. Taking a collagen supplement can also help in combatting these issues. Thankfully, there are many different types and varieties of collagen. Some include: collagen peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, collagen powder, and more. Supplements are either made from bovine, marine, porcine, or chicken collagen. This means there is likely a supplement that will work for everyone. If you don't know which supplement to take, you can always talk to a nutritionist or doctor. One of the leading causes of inflammation is contaminants. From free radicals in the environment to hormones and chemicals in food, contaminants are everywhere. This is why, when you choose your supplement, the collagen type you take matters. For example, if you choose bovine collagen that is not grass-fed, you risk having hormones or other additives in your supplement. Marine collagen, on the other hand, is the most bioavailable type of collagen. This means it absorbs more quickly and thoroughly than other types. Choosing one that is non-gmo and wild-caught will ensure you are getting the highest quality product available. Our Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars have 12 grams of wild-caught marine collagen (which is a full daily dose of collagen). They also contain 15 grams of protein (which helps with lean muscle and keeping your body strong). Our Lemon Love flavor contains lemon. Lemon is a citrus that is packed with vitamin C, which is one of the most important immune-boosting vitamins. Our Cocoa Kiss flavor contains cocoa, which provides antioxidant support for the body. All three of our flavors contain vitamin A (beta carotene) which helps stimulate natural collagen production. What you put in your body does have an effect on inflammation that occurs. Eating anti-inflammatory foods, along with drinking plenty of water, are two of the best things you can do for yourself. It is essential to eat clean and take care of yourself in order to have a strong immune system and help your body to function properly.

Sources:

http://www.biology.arizona.edu/biochemistry/problem_sets/aa/proline.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14600124

https://www.humann.com/nutrition/different-types-of-collagen/#section4

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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