I actually looked back at my Amazon order history to calculate that number. If you need a little help in the math department, that’s almost 3 years. Almost 3 whole years of including one single supplement in my daily routine. Every. Day.
That trusty day in November 2016, I placed my first order of collagen peptides. And I fell in love. I’ve raved about them on the ‘gram and in a few places on the blog, but today I’m sitting down to answer your COLLAGEN FAQ’s:
Q | SO WHAT EVEN IS COLLAGEN?
It’s the most abundant protein in our body! It contains 19 different amino acids, which is a lot for a single source. About 30% of collagen is glycine, which is critical for building healthy DNA strands. It also contains glutamine, which has been shown to prevent issues like anxiety, brain fog, poor digestion, and a weakened immune system, just to name a few.
It makes up 90% of our connective tissues (including our gut!), 90% of our bones, and 70% of our skin.
((Click here for a great article with more detail about the types and chemistry of collagen. ))
Q | ISN’T COLLAGEN JUST A BEAUTY SUPPLEMENT?
Because of its benefits in improving skin elasticity and hair growth, collagen is often included in beauty products. But calling collagen a beauty supplement is like calling cauliflower a side vegetable. It’s so much more than that! Sure, smoother skin and longer nails are great. I’m all for that. But that’s not enough reason for me to keep taking a single supplement every day for 3 years.
The reasons I take collagen every.single.day:
#1 | My gut
Remember how I said collagen makes up 90% of our connective tissues? That includes our gut! I spilled all the deets in my How I (Naturally) Killed a Yeast Overgrowth and Treated Leaky Gut blog post that’s taken the internet by storm, but as a quick recap:
Your gut is a complex system of connective tissue. Stretched out, it would fill an entire tennis court, but it’s all scrunched together in your digestive tract and it functions to absorb nutrients and excrete toxins. It also houses 70% of your immune system, specifically in your gut-associated lymphoid tissue. (If this is news to you, then definitely check out this blog post.)
Have you ever made almond milk? Think of your gut as your nut milk bag. Just like the bag is supposed to allow the milk through but keep the pulp behind, your gut is supposed to allow nutrients through to your bloodstream but keep toxins and waste inside your digestive tract. If you’ve damaged your nut milk bag and it now has holes in it that let the pulp into your milk jug, you’ve now got what should have been smooth creamy almond milk with chunks of pulp in it. Yuck. That’s what happens if you damage your gut, too. It allows the waste and toxins and inflammatory items that should be excreted through your digestive tract into your blood stream, and that causes a whole host of issues.
There are many ways we can damage our gut, but you could say eating lots of gluten when you (didn’t know) you have celiac disease is a big one. Whoops. I caused a lot of damage to my gut all those years that I sought medical help for my range of symptoms but never got diagnosed with celiac, so I’m super intentional to do everything I can to continually heal that damage. And collagen is one of the best ways to do that, because it supports my gut in rebuilding those tight junctions that have been broken down.
#2 | My thyroid
It’s estimated that more than 20% of your thyroid hormone is converted in your gut. The bacteria that live in our gut serve so many functions for us, but one of the lesser known ones is converting our inactive T4 hormone into the active T3. (Check out this article from Dr. Chris Kresser for more details). This means, without a healthy gut, our bodies struggle to take the thyroid hormone our thyroid makes and turn it into the active version our cells need to actually create energy and regulate metabolism.
You can call me a double autoimmune warrior because I’m not only fighting Celiac Disease but also Hashimoto’s (that makes me double awesome, right?) – and my biggest issue with my Hashi’s has not been my thyroid production but my thyroid conversion. Focusing on healing my gut has been a foundational step in treating my Hashi’s and improving my active T3 levels.
#3 | My mental health
90% of your serotonin is created in your gut! You know, that thing that makes you feel happy and helps your neurons fire appropriately? I mean, come on, you can’t tell me that’s not insanely amazingly important information!
Let’s just say, when my Hahimoto’s diagnosis knocked on the door, anxiety and depression barged right in (completely unwelcomed of course). Nothing is more debilitating than feeling so far from your true self and not in control of your own thoughts or emotions. And seeing that so much of our neurotransmitters are created in the gut, it’s no surprise that an unhealthy gut can also cause brain imbalances. Because collagen can support gut health, I think of every scoop I drop in to my coffee as another weapon in my arsenal against letting anxiety and depression win my life.
Q | I READ THAT MY BODY NATURALLY PRODUCES COLLAGEN. DO I EVEN NEED TO TAKE IT?
Yes, our bodies are amazing and they produce collagen from the amino acids we supply it in our diet. But that natural production starts to slow down when we reach our 20’s and continues to drop off as we age. (Hence why aging is associated with brittle bones, saggy skin, and wrinkles!).
We can include collagen in our diet through its richest whole food source: bone broth. But let’s be real. Are you really guzzling down multiple cups of bone broth every day? I know I’m not. Which is why I’ve chosen to supplement it.
Q | HOW DO I KNOW WHICH BRAND TO TRUST?
It’s no secret collagen is all the rage as gut health is a buzz topic as of late. Which means there are lots of companies out there making their version of collagen peptides. Therefore, you have a lot of options. Many good ones. But just like I talked about in this previous post, I think it’s so important that we as consumers actively use our dollar to vote – for quality, for sustainability, for access, for anything that might be important to you. And those are all the reasons I’ve been loyal to Further Food since day one.
They’re spurred by a story and rooted in passion. | Further Food was started by Lillian Zhao when she was seeking a holistic healing approach for her father who was diagnosed with diabetes, her mom with hypothyroid, and her best friend with IBS. She believed in the healing power of real food and found collagen and gut health to be foundational to all three of those diseases. As a company, they are grounded in helping people heal and live their best lives and you truly see this reflected in all they are and do. And as an autoimmune warrior, this touches a part of my chronic-illness-fighting soul in such a special way.
They’re women-owned and operated. | Lillian is joined by Allegra and Ashley, and they make an incredible trio of boss babes that run this amazing company. Is there anything better than supporting a women-run biz?
They care about quality. | Further Food knows quality matters, so they ethically and sustainably source each individual ingredient themselves, knowing this gives them more power to know where they come from. This matters a lot to me as a nutritionist and I just love knowing I can rely on Further Food in their sourcing efforts.
They care about the environment and the community. | They’re the first company to package their entire collagen line in 100% post-consumer recycled packaging! This reduces their carbon footprint by 78%, reduces their energy usage by 90%, and saves plastic from entering our oceans! I know caring for our globe can feel so overwhelming, but imagine if every brand you bought product from made efforts like these? The ripple effect is limitless! And each year since their founding, they’ve given back to a chronic illness non-profit.
Amazing, right? Such a special company led by such special ladies.
Q | HOW DO I TAKE IT?
The best part about collagen peptides? They are completely tasteless and they dissolve in any hot liquid! Aka, you can truly sneak them in anything! You’ve seen them featured in my Golden Crockpot Soup and my Coconut Chia Pudding, but they’re definitely most famous in my life-changing Bulletproof Superfood Coffee Creamer. I start every morning with a hot cup of decaf coffee, admittedly because it’s basically just a vehicle for my powerful fat-blasting and metabolism-boosting and gut-healing superfoods in my creamer. I always sneak a few scoops of my collagen peptides into the creamer itself, but I also put a scoop straight into my coffee each morning. In fact, I’ve even given my collagen its own pretty glass jar to sit right next to my coffee maker just to make that daily scoop as easy as can be.
Huge thank you to Further Food for sponsoring this post. It’s such a joy to share my favorite brands with y’all and it’s because of brands like these that I’m able to create this extensive content for you. As always, all opinions are my own.
If you now know the amazing healing power of collagen peptides and want to include them as a part of your daily routine, Further Food has been kind enough to give y’all 15% off! Use the code MOLLIE at checkout and enjoy!