We often talk about how incorporating collagen rich foods can be beneficial for your gut health and overall wellbeing, but how does it actually work?
If you were wondering what makes this powerhouse protein nature's superfood then you have come to the right place.
So let's take a deep dive into how collagen protein supports gut health and the benefits it offers for digestive function.
Collagen is a type of protein molecule that is found throughout our body and is an essential component of many tissues, including the skin, bones, and tendons. Collagen is also present in the gut, where it plays an important role in supporting digestive health.
Strengthen and support our Gut Lining
Collagen is an important component of the gut lining, which is responsible for preventing harmful substances from entering the body. The gut lining is made up of a single layer of cells called epithelial cells, which are held together by tight junctions. Collagen helps to maintain the integrity of the gut lining by providing a strong and flexible framework that supports the tight junctions. This helps to prevent the passage of harmful substances, such as bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles, into the bloodstream.
The gut lining can become damaged due to various factors, such as inflammation, infection, and a poor diet. When this happens, the tight junctions can become compromised, allowing harmful substances to pass through the gut lining and enter the bloodstream. This is known as leaky gut syndrome and can lead to a range of health problems, including inflammation, autoimmune disorders, and digestive issues.
Research has shown that collagen supplementation can help to improve gut health by strengthening the gut lining and reducing the risk of leaky gut syndrome. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, researchers found that supplementation with collagen peptides improved the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a group of conditions that cause inflammation in the gut. The study also found that collagen supplementation reduced gut permeability, suggesting that it may help to prevent leaky gut syndrome.
Another study, published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, found that collagen supplementation improved gut health in patients with ulcerative colitis, another type of IBD. The study found that collagen supplementation reduced inflammation in the gut and improved the integrity of the gut lining, suggesting that it may be a useful therapy for managing IBD.
Promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria for our microbiome
Collagen also plays a role in promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which are important for digestive health. Beneficial gut bacteria help to break down food and extract nutrients, produce vitamins and other important compounds, and support immune function.
The gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that play a crucial role in maintaining gut health. A healthy gut microbiome is characterized by a diverse range of beneficial bacteria, which help to break down food, produce essential nutrients, and support the immune system. Collagen contains amino acids that are particularly beneficial for promoting the growth of these beneficial gut bacteria. These amino acids include proline, glycine, and glutamine, which are important for maintaining the health of the gut lining and promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
One study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that collagen supplementation increased the growth of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, two types of beneficial gut bacteria. The study also found that collagen supplementation improved the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are produced by beneficial gut bacteria and play an important role in gut health. SCFAs help to reduce inflammation, improve gut barrier function, and promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
A complete protein with gut health supporting essential amino acids
Unlike other proteins, Collagen also contains glycine, an amino acid that plays a key role in supporting digestive function. Glycine is important for the production of stomach acid, which is necessary for breaking down food and extracting nutrients. It also helps to improve the movement of food through the digestive tract, reducing the risk of constipation and other digestive issues. In addition, glycine has been shown to help reduce inflammation in the gut, which is an important factor in promoting digestive health.
One study, published in the journal Nutrients, found that glycine supplementation improved the symptoms of acid reflux, a common digestive disorder. The study found that glycine supplementation improved the production of stomach acid and reduced the frequency and severity of acid reflux symptoms.
Help reduce inflammation of the digestive system
Collagen may also help to reduce inflammation in the gut, which is a common issue in conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Inflammation in the gut can lead to a range of symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.
Research has shown that supplementing with collagen can help to reduce inflammation in the gut by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Collagen contains specific amino acids, such as proline and hydroxyproline, that have been shown to reduce inflammation in the gut by modulating the immune response.
Promoting production of digestive enzymes and mucus
Collagen may also help to improve digestion by promoting the production of digestive enzymes. Digestive enzymes are essential for breaking down food and allowing nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Collagen contains the amino acid glycine, which has been shown to stimulate the production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, helping to improve overall digestion.
Finally, collagen may also help to improve the health of the intestinal lining by supporting the production of mucus. The mucosal layer of the gut lining is responsible for producing mucus, which helps to protect the gut from harmful substances and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. Collagen has been shown to stimulate the production of mucus in the gut, helping to maintain a healthy gut lining and reduce the risk of gut-related health issues.
If you're looking for more ways to incorporate collagen in your every day diet, try slow cooked meals using the whole animal, such as bone broths and stews. Or supplement with Collagen and Gelatine.
Check out more Ossa recipes and follow us on Instagram @ossaorganic to see how to create simple and delicious dishes with our bone broths and supplements!