What is collagen and why should you be taking it?

What is collagen? 

  • Collagen is a major component of connective tissues that make up several body areas, including tendons, ligaments, skin and muscles.
  • It is a combination of 20 amino acids that form together to create a protein.
  • Your body makes 4 different types, each for a different purpose in the body (keep reading to make sure you are taking the best one!)
  • Everyone has a decrease in collagen production starting at 30 years old, then a more significant decease at 35 years old. For women– at menopause, you have a whopping 30% decrease in production within the first 5 years of menopause. Then a 2% decrease each year after. Likely, there is a similar decrease in production in men around this time as well (ages 50-60).

Why would you use it?

  • For skin – it helps decrease wrinkles and improves skin elasticity
  • For muscles – it helps build muscle mass
  • For tendons – it keeps them strong, durable, and keeps joints in place
  • For joints – it keeps joints moving properly and decreases pain
  • For digestion – it helps heal leaky gut and promotes a healthy gut integrity
  • For wounds – it helps heal tissue faster and helps scars form
  • For bone – it helps keep the bone matrix strong and prevents bone loss
  • For blood vessels – it strengthens the vessel walls to prevent cardiovascular disease

What kind should you take?

  • Opt for hydrolyzed collagen (aka. collagen peptide), which means the collagen has been broken down, making it easier for you to absorb.
  • Collagen is sourced from animals. It is extremely important to choose grass-fed, organic, collagen supplements that have been tested for heavy metals.
  • The type of collagen is important!
    • For joint health & pain relief = Bovine, chicken or pork collagen is best (type II collagen)
    • For skin health & wrinkle prevention = Marine collagen is best (type I collagen)

More ways to boost collagen!

  • Food as medicine (aka collagen containing foods):
    • BONE BROTH! – best when using cartilaginous bones
      • Pro tip! That gelatinous layer (gelatin) on top of bone broth is actually broken-down collagen. Don’t remove this, rather shake it up to mix it back in and enjoy!
    • Fish and beef
    • Chicken and pork skin
    • Congee (ancient Chinese porridge recipe)
    • Organ meat (high in proline + glycine)
    • NOTE! Always choose grass-fed, organic, meats and bones.
  • Supplements
    • Glutamine 1-3 grams daily- stimulates collagen synthesis
    • Amino acids – building blocks of collagen, specifically proline and glycine
    • Zinc 15-30mg daily – helps remodel collagen
    • Copper 1-2mg daily – cross-links collagen making it stronger
    • Vitamin C 1-2 grams daily – important cofactor in production of collagen
  • Therapies
    • Acupuncture – can stimulate collagen production
    • Injectable collagen – doesn’t last as long and higher rates of allergic reaction
    • Topical collagen creams – provided collagen peptides right to the spot its needed


  • Collagen is widely accepted to be safe. Side effects typically have to do with a sensitivity to the product (due to digestive issues, hypersensitivity, additives, etc.), rather than the collagen causing disruption.
  • ALWAYS talk to your doctor prior to starting any new supplements.

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