Collagen for Gut Health: Will it Resolve Stomach Issues?

Overview

Your gut health is directly related to several other aspects of your overall health. From clean and glowing skin to your mental health, to a healthy digestive tract, a healthy gut means a healthy body. Think about this: everything we eat, drink, and consume gets digested and absorbed in the gut. We already know that junk food is bad for us, and eating clean foods can boost your mental and physical health. When you eat something unhealthy, the gut is the first place it goes and affects. This is why it's so important to make conscious eating choices. Issues that can arise from unhealthy eating include leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, and poor overall digestive health. Through a clean and healthy diet, and some supplementation, it is possible for you to fix these issues, which in turn can help fix other related issues. One supplement that may be able to help is collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and it is made through chains of amino acids. These amino acids are building blocks for our bodies. Some of these amino acids, which are considered essential, include glycine and proline. Collagen plays a large role in our bodies and helps our connective tissues, joint health, digestive system health, skin health, and more. As we age, we start to produce less collagen. This is why we start to see signs of aging, such as wrinkles, weak bones, joint pain, and lackluster skin. Thankfully, there are many types of collagen, with many health benefits. One of these benefits is improved gut health. Read on to learn how collagen may be the answer to your digestive health woes!

Is collagen good for gut health?

Yes! Collagen is good for gut health. There are a few major benefits of collagen when it comes to your gut: it aids in digestion, helps repair the gut lining, and helps heal leaky gut and IBS. There are foods that already contain collagen or help strengthen the gut, which we discuss later. Taking a collagen supplement can potentially help boost your natural collagen production and promote healing in the gut wall. It's important to take a supplement that contains either hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides. This means the collagen has been broken down into very small particles, making it easy for your stomach to absorb and digest. 

Does collagen help digestive issues?

Yes, collagen helps digestive issues. Here's how it helps the issues we mentioned above:

IBS / Leaky gut syndrome: When it comes to leaky gut and IBS, amino acids are essential. More specifically, the amino acid glutamine is needed to repair and heal the gut wall. Glutamine is an amino acid found in collagen. It has been found that those with lower collagen levels are more likely to have digestive imbalances. 

Aids in digestion: When collagen is ingested, it becomes surrounded by water and stomach acid. It is a hydrophilic molecule, which means it attracts water molecules and acidic molecules. As it moves through the GI tract, it assists with breaking down proteins and carbohydrates and therefore helps move food through the GI tract more smoothly.  

Repairs the gut lining: An important aspect of healing and repairing your intestinal lining is collagen synthesis. If there is damage, new muscle cells are made. There is a spike in collagen production when new muscle cells are generated, suggesting that collagen is important for repairing damage. 

Can collagen cause stomach problems?

Collagen has been shown to improve and repair stomach problems, making it highly unlikely that it would cause problems instead. It's a natural supplement and has no known side effects. It could cause problems if you get a supplement that isn't made with clean ingredients and has additives in it. For example, if you buy a product that contains added sugar and doesn't use organic or non-GMO collagen, it could upset your stomach. However, if you are buying high-quality supplements that contain no additives, there should be no reason it gives you stomach problems. Of course, everyone is different, and you could have a highly sensitive stomach that doesn't react well with collagen. This issue is widely unreported and uncommon. Just start with the daily recommended dose and see how your body handles it. 

What should I eat for a healthier gut?

As we mentioned, your diet is the key to both your gut health and overall health. Highly processed and sugar-filled foods break down collagen, contribute to excess body fat, diabetes, high cholesterol, and can cause skin issues such as acne and dull, dehydrated skin. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats and proteins can improve your collagen levels, boost your mental health, give you glowing skin, strengthen your immune system, and improve your quality of health overall. The easiest way to eat for a healthier gut is to ensure you cut out processed foods. Some people find that going gluten-free and dairy-free significantly improves inflammation and bloating in their bodies. Try and eat a diet that is mostly composed of vegetables and fruits, with the addition of lean meats and seafood, or other sources of protein if you are vegan or vegetarian. One of the best things you can consume for a healthier gut is bone broth. Bone broth is made from simmering the bones of cows or chickens with other herbs, spices, and vegetables to create a superfood broth. People commonly include garlic, rosemary, ginger, carrots, onions, and more to create the broth. The broth takes all day, and sometimes overnight, to create. That way, the broth will be densely packed with nutrients and flavor. Bone broth is similar to collagen in that it heals the intestinal wall and improves the function of the gastrointestinal tract. Another great thing to eat for gut health is smoothies. Since the food is already broken down, but still contains fiber, it is easier for your stomach to digest and still keeps you full and gives you plenty of nutrients. It's always better to make your own if you can. Many smoothie places are not actually healthy, and contain juice concentrates, frozen yogurt, or added sugar. When you make your own, you can add protein powder, vitamin C, collagen powder, or any other supplements you like. Be sure to include leafy greens as well as fruit, so that it is balanced. Something simple you can make that is great for your gut health is a homemade tea with ginger, lemon, and honey. This tea is great for settling an upset stomach, helping to remove toxins and impurities, and immune-boosting. Taking probiotics is another way to help your gut health. These contain good bacteria that help to settle the GI tract and ensure everything runs smoothly with your digestive system. You can take it as a supplement, or eat fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt, and kombucha. Lastly, if you don't want to take a supplement or don't have time for a meal or to make a snack, Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars are a great way to up your collagen intake. They are made with easily digestible hydrolyzed marine collagen, and other gut-loving ingredients such as sweet potato and yacon syrup (which can actually help to improve your gut health).





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

Sources: 
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3792777/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9344231/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25368996/

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