Collagen and Your Gut Are Friends
Have you heard that joke about that protein that walks into your gut and they become best friends… well, there’s no joke here, but there are some truths! Collagen is a fundamental protein that accounts for more than 25% of the total protein count in our bodies. It helps lay the foundation for our connective tissues, skin, joints, muscles, bones, hair, etc. As we age, our bodies’ natural ability to create its own collagen diminishes. That’s why we need to help our bodies out and consume collagen-promoting foods and/or collagen protein itself!
Collagen has plenty of health benefits hidden within, and some of the most notable are the positive effects it has on our gut! Yes, collagen has been linked to reduced wrinkles and cellulite, joint pain, bone fragmentations, daytime fatigue, lowered blood pressure and slowed weight gain (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). And it is true that collagen has also been linked to improve joint health, better sleep quality, enhance memory retention and brain health, increase muscle strength (8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14)… do we need to go on?
However, we’re here to focus on collagen for gut health purposes, and there are quite a few to name! Collagen helps your gut through strengthening and repairing your intestinal lining, alleviating digestive syndromes, helping out your digestive tract as a whole and more. Our digestive tract works everyday to keep our bodies running in tip-top shape, but a poor diet and damaging lifestyle can hamper our gut health. But no need to fear, collagen is here!
Benefits Of Collagen For Gut Health
As we get older, we need to give our bodies a helping hand, providing it with external supplements and nutritious foods. In specific, our bodies need help with collagen production as we age, whether it be through eating collagen protein or collagen-promoting foods. This microscopic protein is responsible for numerous health benefits and here are 5 of those benefits of collagen for gut health!
Collagen Heals and Strengthens Gut Lining
Our intestinal lining takes quite the beating throughout the years of our lives, taking in everything and anything that we eat on a day to day basis. As those days go on, our gut wall tends to loosen and become damaged. Studies have seen a localization of collagen proteins in areas in which there are damaged gut walls (15), meaning that those collagen proteins come to aid the repair of those muscle cells in the gut lining. Other studies have linked collagen with improved and renewed tight junctions in our intestinal lining, keeping our gut strong from foods and unwanted microorganisms passing through the intestinal barrier (16, 17).
Reduces Gut Inflammation and Soothes IBS
Collagen is made up of a group of helpful amino acids, one of them being the notable glutamine. Not only does glutamine contribute to the strengthening of the gut wall, but also reducing inflammation and IBS. Studies have linked collagen, in specific glutamine, to reduced gut inflammation, which in part affects irritable bowel syndrome (18, 19, 20, 21). With less stress on the gut, IBS can be reduced with the help of collagen and it’s subsequent amino acid profile (22).
Helps Heal and Prevent Stomach Ulcers
Other than glutamine, collagen is made up of quite a few other amino acids, two of them being glycine and arginine. These amino acids have been linked to reducing digestive tract inflammation, as well as soothing acid reflux in the gut (23). These effects, combined with other attributes, have linked collagen to anti-ulcer properties, including healing and preventing stomach ulcers from damaging our gut system (24, 25, 26).
Improves Digestive Regulation
Our gut is constantly digesting the foods that we eat, having little to no break. Collagen helps our gut with this digestive process, aiding with the absorption of nutrients through our intestinal lining. On top of nutritional absorption, collagen helps pass foods through the digestive tract, as it keeps our digestive tract hydrated, making it easier for food to pass and be digested (27, 28).
Relieves and Heals Leaky Gut
Amongst the other amino acids that make up collagen, glutamine is an important contributor of health benefits. Studies have linked glutamine to improvements in tightening the intestinal lining, which acts as a barrier between your gut and the rest of your body (29). As leaky gut is associated with ‘intestinal permeability’, it’s crucial to lower that permeability and tighten the gut lining through the help of collagen’s glutamine (30).