It might seem that the word ‘collagen’ has popped up all over the place recently, but it has in fact been around for a very, very long time… Remember when Mom used to tell you to eat jelly because it was good for your hair and nails? Or when Granny boiled bones for hours to make a get-better-soon-gelatin-broth? Bingo! Collagen, or more specifically, collagen peptides, is actually a hydrolyzed version of high quality gelatin. The amino acid chains in the gelatin are broken up through a process called hydrolysis. This means our bodies can more easily absorb and utilize these little health bombs in order to revive, repair and support organs, bones and cells throughout our bodies.
My own relationship with collagen started in 2018. Health wise I wasn’t at a great place as I had just finished Radiation Therapy after a Breast Cancer ordeal. My immunity was at an all time low, I was hopscotch-ing between laryngitis, bronchitis, tummy bugs, pneumonia, and various other infections. I started to research healing foods that I could incorporate into my diet in the form of a Super-Duper-Vitamin-Fiber bomb-Dynamite-Morning-Smoothie (guidelines below if you are interested). During this time, my best friend arrived at my house with a tub O Nutricia collagen. At the time I thought, like most, that the benefits of collagen were mostly ‘cosmetic’ i.e. hair, nails and skin… little did I know that this was the answer to my ‘improved immunity’ prayers.
On top of the whole Big C drama, I was also told in the beginning of that same year that at the ‘youthful’ age of 41 I was in full blown menopause (this is how we found out about the Breast Cancer in the first place, but that’s another story for another day!) I recalled reading somewhere that collagen also helps to retain bone mass. This is something menopausal women have to work at as the decrease in estrogen production when the ‘meno-monster’ arrives makes us less able to hang on to calcium from dietary sources, and osteoporosis becomes a bleak and probable possibility if one doesn’t supplement correctly. So I was quite happy to drop a scoop of collagen into my morning smoothie, I couldn’t taste a difference, and if my hair and skin could benefit as well, bonus!
Well, only a few days later, I hurried to my laptop to properly research collagen supplementation. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt, especially my gut! At that point, I hadn’t eaten pasta for 5 years, as just looking at it made my stomach bloat and caused cramps and constipation for weeks on end. The list of things I had to avoid eating was way longer than the one of things I could eat without consequences. I suppose some would call it IBS, but I never had it diagnosed, I just avoided stuff. What I didn’t know was that the same way collagen helps to tighten and tone your skin, it also tighten and tones your digestive tract! Some of the amino acids in collagen (glycine and proline) not only promote a healthy mucosal lining in the stomach by preventing inflammation of the gut wall, but it also helps the production of gastric juices, which facilitates digestion, healing the gut and de-bloating the balloon belly! Now THAT’s a bonus! Especially for my husband, as we can now eat pasta (his favourite) twice a week! LOL!
In the last year I’ve noticed huge improvement in many areas of my body. Yes, my skin’s texture and ‘plumpness’ did improve tons; wrinkles and stretch marks have lightened or disappeared altogether; my hair has grown from super short to down past my shoulders; my nails are long and strong, but it’s my ‘non-cosmetic’ overall health which has surprized me the most! My digestive and immune systems have improved immensely; any joint pain that I previously experienced has disappeared, my muscles seem to have firmed up, my energy levels have improved, I sleep better… Just a big WOW all round!
Hippocrates said more than 2000 years ago: “All Disease begins in the gut”. From my experience, I couldn’t agree more! It’s a year later and my immune is stronger than ever, and if I do feel something creeping up on me, all I have to do is fling another scoop of O Nutricia collagen at it! 😉
Herewith my guidelines for my Super-Duper-Vitamin-Fiber bomb-Dynamite-Morning-Smoothie:
- One cup of greens (Kale/spinach/swiss chard)
- Half a cup kefir or probiotic rich plain yogurt (or freshly squeezed orange juice/pomegranate juice/unsweetened almond milk)
- ½ frozen banana
- ½ cup blueberries (or ½ cup of either: strawberries/raspberries/pineapple/watermelon/pawpaw/mango/apple/kiwi)
- 2 celery stalks (or ¼ cup of either: cauliflower/broccoli/peppers/cucumber)
- 1 tablespoon of seed mix (Chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds) or 1 teaspoon nuts or nut butter (raw and unsalted) almonds/pistachios/walnuts/cashews/almond butter/peanut butter/cashew butter
- 1 teaspoon dried goji berries
- 1 scoop O Nutricia collagen powder
- 1 teaspoon hempseed powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon Veggie Superfood powder (greens, cruciferous veggies, sprouts and mushrooms)
- Add filtered water to get the consistency that you prefer.
- If I feel I need a bit more sweetness, I add a little bit of raw honey.