Drinking collagen has taken the health world by storm, and many people are making it a part of their daily health regime. With its many anti-aging health benefits, it’s no wonder why health-focused individuals are taking advantage of this trend. However, is drinking collagen okay? And for those of us who are on a low carb diet or are considering going on a low carb diet, can it still benefit our health? On the keto diet, for example, a body burns fat for energy instead of glucose. Since collagen is a protein, it’s crucial for you to be aware that drinking too much of it can have adverse effects if you plan to go on a high fat, low carb diet. However, we can’t deny its countless benefits. We thought we would take the time to discuss why people are drinking collagen and how you can take it in conjunction with a low carb diet. To learn how a low carb diet can improve your health combined with collagen, check out the Body Reboot book. Below is a brief overview of how to use collagen on a low carb diet:
What is Collagen?
If you’re not familiar with collagen and its many health benefits, Health does an excellent job explaining why it’s so popular:
Collagen is the most abundant protein in skin, making up an impressive 75-80% of the organ, says New York City-based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. Along with elastic tissue, collagen is found in the dermis, or middle layer, of skin that gives it its fullness and plumpness.
Collagen is also found in bone, tendons, ligaments, organs, muscle, blood vessels, and hair, and is the main component of our connective tissues, says Health's contributing nutrition editor, Cynthia Sass, RD. “It’s often referred to as the ‘glue' that holds the body together,” she explains.
Consuming collagen is nothing new: humans have been doing it for centuries. Gelatin is the cooked form of collagen, and is obtained by boiling the skin, cartilage, and bones of animals in water. It's often used as a thickener for fruit gelatin and puddings (think: Jell-O), and in cakes, yogurt, marshmallows, ice cream, soup, bone broth, and even vitamins as a coating and for capsules. Needless to say, you've probably been eating collagen in unexpected ways all your life.
So Why Do People Drink Collagen?
So now that you know how collagen can benefit your body, you’re probably wondering why people choose to drink it. Health also discusses why some people consume collagen regularly.
“Collagen consumption can increase skin elasticity and help your body’s skin repair process, thus encouraging your body to form new collagen,” Dr. Jaliman tells us. She points out that collagen drinks and powders have been shown to have antioxidant properties, and antioxidants protect skin by limiting the production of free radicals, which can damage skin cells.
As a result, these powdery drinks could help repair damaged skin, since antioxidants promise environmental protection and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as the texture of the skin, Dr. Jaliman says.
Is Drinking Collagen on a Low Carb Diet Alright?
If you’re wondering if it’s okay to drink collagen peptides while on a high fat, low carb diet, according to Lively, it’s perfectly fine to drink collagen as long as there aren’t any fillers. If you need some extra protein in your diet, drinking collagen is perfectly healthy. Just make sure you’re getting enough fat in your diet so that you stay in ketosis (when your body burns ketones as opposed to carbohydrates).
The amount of protein found in a serving of Collagen Peptides (18 grams) is probably not enough to kick you out of ketosis, so you probably don’t have anything to worry about. However, if you want to stay in ketosis, it may be a good idea to add some healthy fats, such as coconut oil, grass-fed butter or ghee, to your collagen beverage (you can read more about biohacking your coffee here). Vital Proteins’ Collagen Creamers are made with coconut milk, which means they contain healthy fats in addition to collagen protein.
Although Vital Proteins’ Collagen Peptides don’t contain any added sugars or fillers, some other brands may not be as clean — so be sure to read your ingredient labels to make sure there aren’t any sugars or sweeteners in your collagen products.
What is Keto Collagen?
Now that you know how collagen can benefit your body and a low carb diet, you may be excited to learn that there is such a thing as keto collagen! Perfect Keto explains how keto collagen combined with MCTs may aid in weight loss efforts:
Keto Collagen is a blend of MCTs and grass-fed collagen powder. These are some of the healthiest fats and proteins on the planet.
The purpose of keto collagen is to give you great energy and recovery in one convenient scoop. A ketogenic diet can be difficult to get used to. Keto collagen will help you set yourself up for success, especially in those first few weeks when the keto flu can hit.
THE PURPOSE OF MCTS IN KETO COLLAGEN
When you’re in a ketogenic state, your body switches from using glucose and glycogen (stored glucose) as fuel and starts to burn fat as fuel.
But even when you’re not in ketosis, you need fat to:
For cell function
For brain function
Healthline discusses a few studies that revealed whether drinking collagen does indeed act as an anti-aging agent. So far the studies are showing positive results!
Volunteers took a daily supplement containing 5 grams hydrolysed collagen derived from fish cartilage as well as a whole host of other vitamins and minerals. Dryness, wrinkles, and nasolabial fold depth improved after 60 days, and collagen density and skin firmness improved after 12 weeks. Most parts of the trial didn’t use a placebo control, and the trial was published wholly by the company producing the supplement. (NCBI: Clin Interv Aging. 2014)
Another manufacturer-sponsored trial, run in conjunction with a university, had volunteers take either a daily supplement containing 2.5 grams of collagen peptide or a placebo for eight weeks. There were improvements in eye wrinkles as well as the content of the skin. The same supplement also improved skin elasticity after eight weeks in a separate trial. (NCBI: Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014)
Another placebo-controlled trial run by the manufacturer found that 10 grams of a daily collagen peptide supplement improved skin hydration after eight weeks, increased density, and decreased fragmentation of collagen in the skin after four weeks. (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, September 2015)
While it looks like collagen supplements are promising and could potentially work, the evidence is far from solid!
In addition to the above studies, WebMD also reveals how collagen is benefiting both men and women. New York dermatologist Whitney Bowe, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking and Feeling Radiant from the Inside Out discusses how drinking collagen is the next best thing:
When she learned a few years ago that people were eating it instead to make their skin look more youthful, she was skeptical. But she has since changed her mind.
“Just in the last few years, there have been some impressive studies showing that ingestible collagen can indeed impact the appearance of skin,” says Bowe.
One 2014 study of 69 women ages 35 to 55 found that those who took 2.5 or 5 grams of collagen daily for 8 weeks showed a lot of improvement in skin elasticity, compared with those who didn’t take it.
The science is truly in its infancy.
Mark Moyad, MD, University of Michigan Medical Center
Another found that women who took 1 gram per day of a chicken-derived collagen supplement for 12 weeks had 76% less dryness, 12% fewer visible wrinkles, better blood flow in the skin, and a 6% higher collagen content.
When you’re trying to improve your health and make better decisions, it’s nice that there are additional ways to stay on track. Collagen can undoubtedly improve your health, but since it is a protein, on a low carb diet you should be wary of consuming too much of it. The reason why is the keto diet is a high-fat diet, not a high protein diet. Speaking of fat, learn how a high fat, low carb diet can help you meet your health goals. We have a book that explains everything you need to know about the keto diet and how it can transform your health. Don’t take our word for it – ask the many people who have found success! At the time of writing this post, we're giving away free copies of the Body Reboot book. Cover the cost of shipping, and we’ll send you a FREE book! Check out this page to see if there are any remaining copies.
Sources: Lively, Health, Perfect Keto, Healthline, NCBI: Clin Interv Aging. 2014, NCBI: Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014, Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, September 2015
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