If you’ve even glanced at social media recently, you’ve probably seen this word again and again: COLLAGEN. I might seem late to the party on this one, but the truth is I was actually very early to the party. Collagen has been a part of my daily routine for a loooong time now, so much so that I almost forgot it’s something I need to tell you guys about. You know when you’re just so used to something that you forget to point it out? Yeah. I’m so sorry, collagen. Now it’s time to do you justice.
Let’s talk basics. What is collagen? It’s the most abundant, most important protein in the body. It’s a protein that’s crucial for the growth of our skin, bones, hair, nails, and joints, and it’s also pivotal for maintaining a healthy gut lining. Healthy gut lining means happy digestion. Collagen basically holds our body together, and it gives our skin its elasticity. As we get older, our bodies create less and less collagen, so it’s extremely important that we do everything we can to protect the collagen we do have and maximize our bodies’ ability to make more.
To create new collagen, our bodies need amino acids. Remember faintly a long time ago when you learned about protein..amino acids…building blocks… Does that jog your memory? What about all of the ads for collagen face creams that are meant to plump up your skin and get rid of wrinkles? Ring a bell? Let’s connect those dots. Collagen peptides have a high amount of amino acids like Proline and Glycine that allow our bodies to build new collagen which is crucial because, as I mentioned before, our bodies have a harder time producing collagen as we age.
Think about the stereotypical signs of aging. Wrinkles. Sagging skin. Joint pain. Brittle bones. Muscle loss. Slowed metabolism. Hair loss. Weak heart health. The list goes on. Collagen helps protect against all of those things, and more.
To keep it simple, think of it this way. Protein allows our bodies to build. Everything. Collagen is the most important protein for the body. Therefore, YOU NEED COLLAGEN.
If you’re an athlete, collagen peptides will help protect your muscles and tendons and also help you build new muscle. If you’re a human who ages (A.K.A. everyone), then collagen will help protect your bone mass. If you want long nails, shiny hair, and plumper skin, you want collagen in your diet. If you’re having problems with your digestion, collagen will help repair your gut lining. Collagen even improves sleep quality and boosts your metabolism. If anything is a “superfood,” it’s this.
I also want to highlight the importance of putting collagen into your diet rather than just on your skin. You can buy as many collagen creams as you want, but it’s not going to give you the results that putting something into your body will provide.
Back to my very serious personal relationship with collagen. It all started when my stomach problems got really bad about 2 years ago. My digestion and stomach lining were in shambles, and I needed to fix it – stat. One of the first things my doctor recommended was to supplement with collagen. I researched, bought Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, and started taking collagen every day.
At first, I was really just taking it because my doctor told me to. After being consistent for a few months, I stopped taking it for about a week when I ran out of my first container. During that week, I felt very… off. Initially I didn’t realize what it was, but I finally realized it was the collagen. My digestion was not on point, and my stomach pains were worse than usual. As soon as I hopped back on my collagen routine, I felt much better.
I also started to notice a difference in my hair, nails, and skin. I lost a lot of hair when I was very underweight, but I was able to grow it back at a very impressive speed after being consistent with my collagen routine. Every time I see my hairdresser, she always comments on how fast my hair grows and asks me how I do it. Collagen, baby! My baby hairs have become full-grown adults.
Then, my nails. I have always been plagued with weak, brittle nails. Nowadays, they grow too quickly for me to keep up with. And they’re strong. I’ve been going to the same nail technician since I was 12, and she’s seriously in shock about how much my nails have changed.
Next, my skin. I’m only 21, so I’m not dealing with a wrinkle problem. (I do think it’s never too early for preventative measures, though.) However, since taking collagen every day, I do feel like my skin looks plumper and brighter. There’s more life to my face. The one thing I’m convinced of is that collagen allows my skin to heal at a rapid pace. I’ve had a few laser treatments done that completely obliterated my skin, and I’ve also gotten some major cuts (throwback to that one time I sliced my whole hand open while cutting an avocado.). My skin heals very quickly now, and my dermatologist is always very impressed. He would tell me that the downtime for a treatment would be 2 weeks, and I’d be fine in 2 or 3 days. Obviously I can’t be 100% sure it’s the collagen, but I’m pretty darn convinced.
I make a green smoothie almost every day literally just to put my collagen in there, and I use Vital Proteins collagen as a protein powder replacement. When I first got into health, I had a really hard time finding a protein powder that was truly clean for post-workout. I honestly couldn’t find anything that met my standards until I discovered Vital Proteins, and I’ve been using it ever since.
If you don’t want to make a smoothie, there are a ton of other ways to use collagen. First of all, you can put a scoop into any liquid and it will dissolve right away. You can put it in coffee, tea, or any other drink. You can also mix it into salad dressings for added protein, use it in baked goods (pancakes?!), mix it in with sauces, pour it in soups…the possibilities are endless. You can also use the beef gelatin to make jello squares, puddings, egg replacements, and other delicious treats!
Vital Proteins has a few different collagen options, and I use them all. They’re all Whole 30-approved, gluten-free, non GMO, and Kosher.
The blue container is their basic, grass-fed Collagen Peptides. This is the one that I use most often. It doesn’t have a flavor, and it will dissolve in whatever you put it into. You can put it in hot or cold liquids, baked goods, smoothies – whatever. It won’t affect the taste! It has 18g of protein in a serving, which is very impressive. The collagen comes from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hides in Brazil. Fancy, right? Seriously, though, you want your collagen to come from a high-quality, sustainable source, just like all of your food. What you put in your body is the most important thing when it comes to health.
The teal container is the Marine Collagen. It’s also flavorless, and it will dissolve in hot or cold liquids. If you’re vegetarian, this is best for you because the collagen comes from wild-caught snapper. A serving gives you 11g of protein, which is not as much as the regular collagen peptides, but still a good amount. You can always add an extra scoop.
The green container is the Beef Gelatin. There is collagen in gelatin – don’t get tripped up about the name. This will dissolve in hot liquids, and it will make your drinks frothy if you blend it up! For example, this is great for Bulletproof coffee. You can also use this as a binding agent. Use this to make gelatin squares or puddings, like my Golden Milk Pudding. You can also use this as an egg replacement if you don’t want to use eggs in a recipe. One serving gives you 17g of protein, and the collagen comes from the same source as the regular collagen peptides.
Next up, the shiny green container is the Collagen Beauty Greens. The flavor is Coconut Vanilla (delicious!), and it contains raw greens, hyaluronic acid, and probiotics. As if the collagen alone wasn’t enough to save your gut, the added probiotics give you extra bang for your buck. This is marine collagen, so vegetarians can enjoy this one, too. 1 scoop gives you 10g of protein! I’m obsessed with this, and I love the way it makes my smoothies taste. I used this in my Coconut Creamy Green Beauty Smoothie, which honestly makes me weak at the knees. I make it almost every day.
Last, but certainly not least, is the yellow container – the Vanilla and Coconut Water Collagen Peptides. I think this is my absolute favorite. It is so delicious. If you like vanilla, you need this. One scoop gives you 18g of protein, which is extremely impressive. This collagen is from pasture-raised, grass-fed bovine hides. I love putting this in smoothies and cookies. I go through these containers too quickly…but so worth it.
I have tried other brands of collagen, but I always come back to Vital Proteins. It works best with my body. I honestly wish this post was sponsored, but it’s not. I see collagen as a pivotal part of improving my health, but even if you don’t have any “health issues,” I strongly believe everyone should add collagen to their diets. You’ll see nothing but improvements inside and out.
What’s your favorite way to use collagen? I’d love to hear!