Collagen is an extremely versatile protein that can be found in many nutritional supplements and body lotions. Collagen may also play an important role in improving digestive health.
What is collagen?
As the most abundant protein in the human body, collagen can be found in bones, muscles, and in our digestive system among other areas. Collagen gives our skin elasticity and strength, replaces dead skin cells, and holds our joints and tendons together. Our body’s natural collagen production slows down as we age, which in turn speeds up the physical signs of aging like wrinkles and sagging skin.
Collagen and digestive health
Collagen improves digestive health by assisting the breakdown and transportation of food in the intestines. Collagen is a hydrophilic molecule, meaning it attracts water and other acidic molecules that aid in breakdown of important proteins and carbohydrates. Collagen also regulates the acidity in the secretion of your stomach acid, helping your body properly digest foods. Having excess gastric juices can lead to the development of ulcers, heartburn, and other digestive issues that stem from a highly acidic environment.
The amino acids found in collagen are broken down and used as energy by beneficial gut bacteria. The amino acids found in collagen may also play a role in preventing stomach ulcers, especially those induced by stress – glycine and proline, which are components of collagen, can prevent secretions of gastric juices in the lining of your stomach, reducing the risk of ulcers.
Collagen and leaky gut syndrome
One of the other large roles that collagen may play in your digestive health is as an aid to “leaky gut syndrome”, which can result in bloating, gas, cramps, and sensitivity to certain foods. This happens when there are negative changes to your gut’s microbiome, triggering inflammation because your gut bacteria are unable to get the nutrients they require. Collagen comes into play by helping your body to break down proteins which in turn soothes and heals the lining of your gut, reducing inflammation that cause the symptoms that stem from a leaky gut.
Collagen is one of the most versatile proteins naturally produced by the human body. Though the body produces the protein naturally, this production declines with age – in order to experience the full potential effects of collagen, it may be a good idea to introduce collagen into your diet. Collagen can be found in bone broth, gelatin, and is also commonly sold as a supplement.