Collagen Supplements | Help or Hype?

Collagen Supplements
Help or Hype?

Does Collagen live up to all the hype?
It's everywhere! Collagen pills, powders, beverages, creams etc. Celebrities are endorsing it, "influencers" recommend it, and the claims about collagens greatness extend from gut health to weight loss, to fuller hair.  But does it really live up to all the hype? Is there actually sound science to back up all these claims? In this episode we're going to explore all things collagen including how your body works, how it makes and uses collagen, and if taking a collagen supplement could really be beneficial to you.  My goal is for you to be armed with solid information so that you can have appropriate talks with your doctor and make informed decisions on supplementation.  So listen up, you might be surprised by what you hear!

Full transcription available at the bottom of this post


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Full Transcript: 
Collagen, in it seems like everyone has jumped on the collagen band wagon, in fact, you might even be taking a college in supplement right now. I've heard companies claim that collagen will help from... With everything from better skin to healthier joints, stronger muscles, good for your heart, Healing your Gut, even for weight loss, but is collagen... Really all that it's cracked up to be. Does it really live up to all of this hype and should you be taking it? I am going to break through a bunch of the claims and a bunch of the miss, and we get right down to the science with you so you can make an informed decision for yourself. Let's get to it. 

I get asked about collagen so often, and I see people asking about collagen and so often that I had to do this episode for you guys before I dive in, I wanna remind you to head to and check out the 12 weeks to weight loss and wellness program, I'm so excited to bring this to you in April, this is not a calories, count points, count macros, count anything, plan. This is the last plan that you will ever need to go on because I'm gonna help you get control of your mind, to get control of your body, get control of your food, so that you can live free and have food freedom for the rest of your life. This is not accounting plan, this is a life plan, so if you wanna know more about it, I had to Teramo dot com, the link is always in the show notes, so scroll on down wherever you're listening and click on that and go check it out. 

So I have a lot to talk to you about today because I really want you to understand the science, I know science isn't sexy for a lot of you, but if you're gonna make informed choices for your health and for your life and for your future, and you need to understand what's going into those choices by nature, I am a skeptical person, so whenever I hear of a new miracle product on the market that cures everything, like collagen seems to be is celebrities endorsing it? And it's all over the place. Whenever that happens, I naturally get very skeptical and I am sort of the proven person, I need you to prove it to me that this really works, and so I'm gonna be the proven person for you. I want you to know that I'm coming into this conversation with no preconceived notions, I don't take a collage and supplement, I don't work with any companies or represent any college... Supplement Collagen in supplements. So I'm just coming to you as an unbiased reporter, if you will, and you'll see as we go that there's some good news and some bad news in the Collagen story, ultimately, when it comes to supplements, I want you to refer to your doctor before you take any kind of supplement. I am not your doctor, and I want you to really understand why you might be taking a supplement or why you might need it or not need it, collagen it is no different. 

Okay, so first, I think we need to have an understanding, a basic understanding of what college actually is and what does it do in your body, so Collagen is a structural protein that is found in your connective tissues primarily throughout your whole body of college and throughout your whole Bonner skin bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, etcetera.  Yes, even bones, the matrix that makes up the bone is actually collagen and then the minerals fill it in and make it hard. So collagen is everywhere in your body, its primary function is to help tissues with stand-stretching, and as we age, our body just starts to make less collagen, college makes up about a third of the protein in your body, more than any other type of protein in your body by mass, there's 28 different types of collagen, each one of those types is categorized based on the amino acids that make it up, so quick Biology lesson, all proteins are made up of amino acids, of mono acids are considered the building blocks of life, because the structures of your body are made up of these proteins which are made up of amino acids, and that's what collagen is... It's made up of amino acids. About 90% of the collagen in your body is considered type 1 collagen, and that is what's found in skin tendons, internal organs or organic parts of the bone, so that's primarily what we're talking about, is that type 1 collagen... Collagen proteins are made by your body out of other proteins that you have either created in your body or ingested and some other vitamins and murals minerals as well.

So when you eat a protein, your body breaks down that protein into the amino acid parts that it is made up of, then those amino acid parts are absorbed through your intestinal wall into your bloodstream, and all of those amino acids go to all the different places of your body where they're needed, and then they form together in different combinations to create different proteins, because again, there's a lot of different kinds of proteins making up different kinds of structures in your body, so your body is constantly gathering up all these different amino acids and different combinations to make different things. That's basically what's happening, right? The primary amino acid sequence of collagen is really four types of amino acids, and they're structured this way, glycine plus proline plus any other type of amino acid or glycine plus any type of amino acid plus hydroxy proline. So the ones that you need for sure to make collagen are the amino acids, glycine proline and hydroxy proline, and then that other amino acid can be any one of the other amino acids that your body makes. These amino acids are arranged in a triple-helix formation, that's where that kind of matrix word comes from, and the other building blocks that collagen needs are vitamin C, that's the biggie, and it also needs zinc and copper and a lot of other minerals to a lesser extent, but vitamin C is a big one that college in needs in order to form.

So the question really is, do you need to take a collage in supplement in order to get the building blocks of collagen? I wanna be really clear because I think a lot of people think that they take College and they eat it in whatever form in their powder, where their stick pack or their pill, whatever they eat College in, and then somehow that college in molecule travels all the way through their body to where collagen is needed, that is not how that works. What happens when you can assume a collagen product, that collagen product is broken down into its amino acid parts, those amino acid parts are then absorbed through the intestinal wall, just like any other protein that you would eat, broken down into it, it's a UNIVAC parts and then absorb and then into the bloodstream, and then throughout the whole body, wherever they're needed. So I want you to have a real clear understanding that when you ingest collagen, it doesn't enter your body as college, it enters as its component parts, just like every single other protein that you eat. Okay. Is that real clear? Eating more collagen doesn't mean you automatically have more collagen, it's not how that works.

So what does the science say about all of the claims that manufacturers of college and products are seeing, and those stars on TV drinking their college and water and all is whatever some collagen supplements claim that they can improve skin health, provide relief from Jo... Prevent bone loss, boast, muscle mass, promote heart health, increased hair and nail strength improved, and brain health and aid and weight loss. The reason they're saying all of this stuff is 'cause these are all the jobs of collagen in your body, so here's their logic, you consume more collagen than magically you have more college and in your body, and so all the things that college does and your body gets better, that's basically what they're trying to tell you. That's not how biology works though, it's not how your body works, there's a lot more nuance to that, so we're gonna talk about that a little bit. The science, when you really look at the studies that have been done is actually pretty inconclusive, there is nothing that definitively is saying like, absolutely collagen is gonna be amazing for you, and there's nothing also definitively that says, Oh my gosh, it's terrible, don't even bother. It's all a little bit gray and a little bit in the middle, I looked at dozens and dozens of studies on everything from skin to joint health to gut health. Here's the things that I found in general, researchers are asking the question, Does supplemental collagen accumulate in cartilage and stimulate your tissues to make more collagen? That'd be great if we can stimulate your body to make more collagen, unfortunately, there isn't a lot of proof that that actually happens. Every study I found was pretty small in the range of 25 to 100 people, and usually for a pretty short period of time, the studies generally didn't account for other dietary or lifestyle changes that may contribute to any positive results that they were able to show, so they can't they can't isolate collage and supplement and say, College and supplement did this, because there are so many other factors happening in your body that they aren't really accounting for the conclusion of pretty much every study I looked at say something to the effect of... The consumption of hydrolyzed collagen peptides may help with club blah, blah.

They cannot definitively say that it helps, they just can conclude that it MAY help... I don't feel like that's super helpful.  For me, the bottom line of what the science actually says is that there is some evidence that ingested collagen as aka College and peptides or hydrolyze collagen is absorbed through the intestine and does make it to places like joints. Well, to me, that's like a dog conclusion, so does every amino acid that you consume, every amino acid protein that you consume, just like collagen is broken down into a amino acids, absorb through our intestines and goes to where it's needed, which joint is one of those places because joints have to make college the real question for me is the actual mechanism about how it could be helpful, and that is still really unclear, studies have not answered whether or not supplementation with collagen is somehow more beneficial than just eating other types of protein. They haven't compared those two things, and I think that's a real missing spot for this, many of the studies were comparing groups who ate like a standard American diet, some processed food, high sugar, high chemical Hi toxin. And saying like, Okay, people that hate that, who then supplemented with a collagen supplement along with some other things, they had benefit...

Well, duh, if I took someone who was eating a shit diet and I gave them more nutrients and protein, they're gonna get about a result, that doesn't mean that it was because the collagen supplement made that much of a difference just changing their diet to a better diet would make a big difference. So again, to me, it's pretty inconclusive, there's nothing that's really showing that taking a college in supplement is better than just eating a healthy diet, so I want to address some of the specific claims that are made about college and supplements because I find it really interesting that health is one that I hear a lot problem, because I talk about Cota lot. I hear all the time that college and supplements help with your gut, so let me be real clear again, collagen supplements alone have not been proven to heal your gut. Interestingly, there does seem to be some promise in bone broth, but it's not because it's just the collagen that's in bone broth, it's all of the parts of bone broth, so the amino acids that are in the bone broth are likely helping the cells of your gut lining heal and repair, but it's not doing that without all the other nutrients also present, and also probably the soothing effect of just drinking the bone broth as opposed to eating food, giving your digestive system or arrest in that way.

There's a lot of components, I think, not just the collagen, in part that is proving to be pretty beneficial from bone broth.  I'm gonna talk about more about food sources of collagen in just a second, and I wanna bring up skin because skin is the one that you hear all the time, so here's the deal with college and supplements and skin, once you eat the collagen supplement again, broken down into amino, amino acids are absorbed through intestines, you have no control over whether or not those amino acids go to the collagen and building cells in your dermis, you have no control over where they go. So the thought that I could just have some collagen in and my skin's gonna improve, it's kind of a convoluted way to look at it, some studies of collagen with other nutrients like antioxidants, Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, fatty acids have been shown in some small studies to improve the appearance and hydration of skin and also along those same lines, some improvement and joint functioning, again, most of those studies have been really small and they don't show real statistically significant results in all fairness to collagen in order to study college and supplements, someone has to fund those studies and studies are usually funded by pharmaceutical companies and pharmaceutical companies have no interest in paying for college studies, so it is just hard, honestly, to get good information, but everything that I have seen shows that there's maybe something that's beneficial, but only beneficial if you also are taking the other building blocks of collagen, not just the amino acids, you're getting all of those other nutrients that are important as well.

And I wanna say specifically about skin products that use collagen in them, a topical collagen product is a total waste of your money, so don't buy it.  It is totally useless. Remember how I said that the shape of the college in molecule was that triple helix matrix shape was actually a pretty large molecule as molecules go, And that module is too large to penetrate through your epidermis, that most outer layer of skin to get to your actual dermis which is where the collagen production is taking place, so putting collagen on the top of your skin, it is not going into your skin, it's just not period, so it's doing absolutely nothing for you, you would be much better off spending money on perhaps a vitamin C product, because Vitamin C will penetrate your skin and is a building block of collagen, so it will get down to the dermis where it's needed.
So if I was gonna spend money, I would spend it on probably a vitamin C product and also a really good sunscreen because sun and sun damage is breaking down your collagen, so I wanna stop the breakdown of collagen and I wanna increase the growth of collagen inside out, there's very little proof that that helps at all, but outside in, there are some things you can do and there's other products as well, but those are just two of the more common ones that you would find a vitamin C product and a good sunscreen.

So if you didn't wanna take a collagen supplement, but you still wanna make sure you're getting all of the nutrients needed to make collagen in your body, you can get it all from food, probably food that you're already eating in general, you're always gonna hear me suggest food sources of nutrients, better than supplemental sources of nutrients, I am definitely not anti-supplement, I take plenty of supplements for different things and that I work with my doctor on, so I'm definitely not anti-supplement, but if I can get it from food pretty easily, then I don't wanna bother with a supplement for it, so the reason food is superior to supplements just across the board, is because your body doesn't use nutrients in a vacuum, it doesn't use just vitamin C for this one thing, and it doesn't use just amino acids for this one thing, it uses all of these things in concert, and so when you eat food, you get to ingest and then absorb into your blood stream, all of these things in concert. So again, collagen-specific, you need specific amino acids and you also need some specific vitamins and minerals and antioxidants like vitamin C and zinc and copper, so if I'm eating a food that has all of those things, I have a much better chance of being able to use those things to make collagen, than if I was just focusing on one or the other, does that make sense? Many people would have recommend, and I would probably in this camp, a really good source of collagen to be bone broth, and I would recommend bone broth, not just because of the collagen, but because of everything else that's in it as well.

So the Weston A Price website, if you've never looked at that website, super interesting and very informative, but they say This "stock contains minerals in a form that the body can absorb easily, not just calcium, but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons, so those are those very specific amino acids we mentioned, and also has stuff like chondroitin sulfates and glucosamine things that you might be buying individually as supplements", but bone broth has all of those things. And all of those things together work in concert to improve things like gut health and joint health and skin health, so to me, you're much better off getting that food source where you're getting all of those amazing nutrients at once, rather than buying an expensive college in supplement where you're only getting some the amino acid part and you're at getting all of the other really good stuff that you need. Does that make sense? So remember we talked about the glycine, the proline and the hydroxyproline as the building blocks of collagen, so where do you find those things in food... glycene is super common, it's in most meat, fish, dairy and lagoons, if you eat any of those products, any of those food products and you are probably getting an adequate amount of clay, proline is also found in jealous and meat and dairy and eggs, etcetera.

And in smaller amounts, you can find it in foods like asparagus mushrooms, cabbages, hydroxy proline is found in the connective tissue and collagen components in animal meat, organ meats, also in bone broth or any college in derived food. Again, like those gelatins, finding hydroxyproline in plant sources is often really hard, and I think this is why for some people when they take a collagen supplement, they feel like something's working... It's because in general, our diets don't include a lot of organ meats or bone broth or collagen containing foods like those gelatin, so we might not be getting a lot of hydroxyproline as an amino acid in our normal diets. So that's one place where I can see a little bit of a benefit to taking a collagen supplement, however, I can also get it from bone broth, I can also get it from eating organ needs, I can also get it from lots of other food sources, I don't have to take a supplement to get it... A vegan source is alfalfa sprouts, but again, any vegan source of an amino acid is going to be an incomplete amino acid profile, and it's just going to be less massive, there is present in me.

So if you choose to use a collagen supplement, here's the things you need to consider, you're gonna really wanna pay attention to how you feel, and that's probably true for any supplement that you decide with your doctor to take, people have reported everything from digestive distress to headaches, to kidney stones as a result of college and supplementation, so everyone's just a little bit different, you may have zero side effects and someone else just me get raging headaches. It's hard to know going in, right, which camp you're gonna land in, so just pay attention to how you feel and know that it could be related to the college, to think that you could take a supplement and that you... There is a supplement that somehow would have zero reaction for... You is pretty naïve. You can have a reaction to just about anything you take, you gotta really pay attention and see if you are feeling better or feeling worse in any way, and of course, again, I'm gonna say it 100 times, talk to your doctor about supplements, don't just hear some lady on a podcast and be like, Oh, I'm gonna go take that. No, you gotta do some research, you gotta talk to your doctor, you gotta make sure it's right for you, something else to pay attention to if you do decide to use collagen, is that if you have a fish or shellfish or egg allergy, I would avoid collage and supplements all together, many of them are made from fish, shellfish and egg ingredients because they're cheap, and they don't always label that on the label, it might not always be clear to you that those type of ingredients are in the product, so I know you're supposed to label allergy information, but for my money, if I had an allergy, I just would avoid it all together, you also really wanna be aware of the source of the animals that your college is coming...

Collagen is an animal product there is no such thing as vegan, collagen... Collagen is an animal product, so you need to know about those animals that your collagen product is coming from, so if it's coming from a cow, right, you wanna make sure it's grass-fed and pasture and no hormones and no antibiotics, because what we're talking about in a collagen supplement is ground up fish and chicken and pig and cow parts, their bones, their tendons, their ligaments, they're organs, all the parts, those parts can often act like sponges for things like contaminants and heavy metals, and then if I isolate those parts and grind them up and make them into a powder. And then serve them to you, you are getting an extra high dose of these potential contaminants, so where the animals were coming from, how they were raised, how the company prepared, the collagen. And all of these things matter. You really need to do your research, don't just buy a shit from Amazon or buy it because this celebrity told you, or because you saw it on Instagram that is irresponsible, you need to understand what is in the things that you are consuming.

So do a little research before you take a product, fair enough, something else to consider if you're using collagen as a meal replacement, so for example, in a protein shake, you're gonna have to make sure that you fortify that collagen with other sources of protein, because collagen in itself is not a complete protein, so a complete protein means that it has the full amino acid profile of the amino acids that your body cannot produce itself and needs to consume, collagen is not a complete protein, so you have to make sure you're getting complete proteins other than collagen, and be careful because replacing other protein sources with a just collagen source could lead to a deficit, especially in the amino acid trip to fan. Now, again, college and is not a complete protein, it doesn't contain trip to fan. Tripoint is essential for the production of serotonin. Serotonin is the feel-good hormone in your brain, if you don't have enough trip to fan, you're not making enough star tone in, and if you don't have enough serotonin, you are going to start to experience increased feelings of depression, anxiety, irritability, nervousness. So pay attention, you cannot use collagen as your only source of protein, you will start to have problems, one of those key problems is going to be mood disorders, and speaking of how much collagen you're taking, your collagen supplementation should not exceed about 15 grams per day or about 36% of your total protein intake in a day, if you do supplement with collage, and you're gonna wanna make sure that you choose the bio-available sources of collagen, so these are collagen that's already broken down, so in a bone broth that collagen is already broken down, so when you drink it, you can just absorb it, right.

So in your supplement, you're gonna wanna make sure that it's the bio-available forms of collagen, and so you're gonna look for words like hydrolyzed, hydrolysate or peptides, those are the broken down forms of collagen so that you can absorb them easily through your intestinal wall, something else to think about, again, all collagen is from an animal, there is no such things plant-based collage in... So if you're a vegan, this is not your Jam, I'm not talking to you, 'cause you're not taking college in anyways, 

And I bet this is something that you never thought about, because when there are mass-produced supplements that everyone's talking about, and you must have it and it's this miracle thing like that's what college is right now, I always am interested in who's making money from this... It's a question that I always ask because everybody has a little bit of skin in the game, and I want to know those things because when I'm looking at sources, I wanna know if I can trust that source, so think about this previously, the things that collagen is made of again, the bones, the ligaments, the tendons, the organs, and if you have a mass factory farm where you are slaughtering cattle for meat, all of these extra parts are the leftover parts that you're not making money on, and in fact, you have to pay money to dispose of... Well, if I can make college and supplementation super popular, now all of these parts of the animals that previously were costing me money, I can now make money from all of the things that your college in products are made from... Were previously waste products, the cost companies money, and now they are amazing in-demand products that companies can make money from, so is it because it's super good for me, or is it because the company can make money from something that used to cost the money... I don't know, but I wonder. So I want you to wonder to... I want you to use some discernment here, 

Here's the bottom line for me, clearly, Collagen creation in your body is super duper important, giving your body the proper nutrients and amino acids in order to provide the building blocks for collagen Creation is super duper important. I am not convinced, however, that a collagen supplement is needed in order to do that, the question for me really comes down to what is the cause of the problem you're trying to solve with a collagen supplement? So maybe it's old-looking skin or bad joins or whatever the case, are those things actually caused by a shortage of the amino acid building blocks that your body needs to make collagen, or are those things actually caused by something else, something else on the chain, something like widespread inflammation or another disease process or gut health? Is a shortage of amino acid building blocks, really the issue or is something else? The issue, that's the question, because if something else is the issue taking a college in supplement is not going to help.  When you are taking a college and supplement, it doesn't contain any amino acids that your body isn't already making on its own out of other proteins that you have consumed, so if you're eating adequate protein already, you're already eating the building blocks for making collagen. So really a begs the question for me again, why do I need to take a college and supplement if I'm already eating proteins that contain all those same building blocks? To me, I don't... For me personally, a college and supplement just isn't really the answer, I am really though interested in continued exploration and study, especially more study on bone broth because I think bone breath holds a lot more promise just because of all the things that it's comprised of... Unfortunately, I'm not gonna hold my breath on this one because there's probably not a lot of money to be made from bone broth, so probably not a lot of money is gonna go into studying bone broth, so we may never really know the actual scientifically proven answers on these ones, we might just have to try it and see if it works, because if no one's gonna make money, pharmaceutical companies are gonna make money from bone broth studies, so you're not gonna see a lot of bone broth studies.

I'm still interested to know the answers though, so here it is, like everything else, taking a collagen supplement is not going to magically give you a healthy gut or a better joints or nicer skin or Fuller hair, if you choose to use a collagen supplement, it has to be a part of an otherwise healthy diet and lifestyle full of nutrients and vitamins and minerals, and proteins and water and sleep and moving your body and avoiding toxins and avoiding processed foods and eating less sugar, you still have to do... All of the things that you have to do, collagen is not a miracle substance is not magically going to eat collagen and have more collagen, that's not how your body works, so... I'm sorry if I burst your bubble, but if you wanna stop wasting your money on collagen and you just eat some quality protein, you're gonna get the same result, I think... I hope that was helpful. I hope maybe I save you some money in the long run. And I want you to know that if any of this ever changes, if there are studies that come out that say some new things, or I start changing my mind because of new signs and information science changes all the time, so I will bring that to you, but from what I know now, I'm not really gonna spend my money on collagen personally, you do you... You do what you wanna do. You make your own decisions. You're an adult lady. I hope this was helpful you guys until we talk next time be well 

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