Guest post By Aimee McNew of Paleo Hacks
A morning cup of Joe has become a staple for many of us, and research shows that coffee can even have some great health benefits of its own. Still, if you want to take your coffee game to the next level, why not supercharge it with a nutrient that can boost your body? Enter: collagen peptides, a popular supplement that has been popping up on almost every blog and health food store in the last few years.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is one of the nutrients found in gelatin, which is a gummy substance that comes from the bones of animals, primarily livestock, poultry, and seafood. Collagen doesn’t have any flavor, and for many, this means it’s easy to consume regularly.
While bones are rich in collagen, they are also packed with other amino acids like glycine and glutamine, which have numerous benefits for the whole body. Collagen makes for an easy protein powder add-on or swap for those who want a dairy-free protein powder that also nourishes the gut.
The Benefits of Drinking Collagen Every Day
With collagen, you can turn your morning coffee into a superfood while balancing the effects of caffeine with protein, meaning you can stay energetic for a longer period of time. (Bonus: try adding grass-fed butter and coconut oil with the collagen for a supercharged, bulletproof coffee for breakfast in a pinch.)
Collagen supports a leaky gut.
Leaky gut, or increased intestinal permeability, is a condition where the gateways of the small intestine that prevent unauthorized particles from entering the bloodstream become weakened or damaged due to food sensitivities, toxic agents, chemicals, age, or other conditions. We want these tight junctions running at full capacity to avoid complications with autoimmune disorders, hormone imbalances, digestive problems, and to just protect general well-being.
Collagen contains glutamine and glycine, two amino acids known to actually repair the gut wall and to help turn leaky gut around.
Collagen improves digestion.
To make the most of our diet, our small intestine needs to absorb the good nutrients. Without sufficient digestive function in the stomach or small intestine, we may eat a great diet, but not reap all the benefits of it.
Collagen can protect the mucosal lining of the digestive system, which plays a huge role in absorption and complete digestion.
Collagen strengthens hair, skin, and nails.
Our hair, skin, and nails are a reflection of what’s going on inside of our body. Amino acids like those found in collagen can be nourishing for hair and skin because it renews cells and provides more lubrication and elasticity—the opposite of dry and brittle. It can also help to reduce signs of aging on the skin, including wrinkles and fine lines. Collagen is also beneficial for those experiencing hair loss, including alopecia.
Collagen aids the liver in ditching toxins.
While coffee has some liver-boosting benefits of its own, collagen can be an extremely useful support in helping to bolster the body’s main detox organ. The liver has lots of responsibilities on its shoulders, not the least of which is taking out the trash. The liver filters the blood, removes toxins and chemicals, and prepares them to be eliminated from the body via the bowels and the bladder. When the mechanisms behind these detox pathways are compromised, the body stays more toxic.
Collagen supports the liver because it is rich in amino acids, especially glycine. Glycine can protect the liver against damage, which is essential for an organ that handles such a high volume of toxic substances.
Collagen eases aches and pains.
Here’s where collagen is perhaps most impressive. It can actually help to reverse the aches and pains that come with normal aging as well as more serious and chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritic conditions plague more than 50 million adults and almost 300,000 children, and those numbers are only continuing to rise. It’s estimated that 78 million adults will have some form of arthritis in the next 25 years. Arthritis can be life-altering and debilitating. It’s amazing that a simple superfood like collagen can have such a significant impact on how our joints function.
Approximately 150 million American adults drink coffee. Can you imagine how many cases of arthritis or other chronic pain conditions might have the potential to improve if those coffee drinkers added collagen to their morning cup of java? Collagen can also help reduce inflammation and address hormone imbalances that drive obesity and diabetes.
The Ease of Collagen
We exist in a society that rarely consumes the whole animal. If you think about it, generations past didn’t face many of today’s degenerative diseases as frequently because their diets were naturally richer in bone broth, organ meats, and other amino-acid rich foods.
While collagen can be increased in our diets by drinking bone broth, there is a huge percentage of Americans who either won’t go to the effort of making it or who will try it and be put off by the distinctive taste. Coffee, on the other hand, is more universally appealing. We can return to the nutritional roots of our ancestors by getting more collagen into our diets, one scoop at a time.