We went live with the one & only @Paulinejcox to talk all things COLLAGEN! Let's get down to the nitty gritty, answer your key questions, debunk those collagen myths - and explain the many amazing benefits of collagen!
Two collagen fans, one big conversation!
Hunter & Gather co-founder Amy met with amazing functional nutritionist Pauline Cox to discuss all things collagen.
If you missed the Instagram Live or just want to recap the key discussion points, read on to join the conversation and gain an expert insight into the benefits of collagen.
Pauline is an experienced functional nutritionist, health writer and author - as well as avid collagen fan - incorporating collagen into her daily routine for over 10 years now!
You may also know Pauline as co-founder of Sow & Arrow, one of our favourite Low Carb online health shops which also has a high street shop in Clevedon.
Amy is one of our lovely Hunter & Gather co-founders and is a fellow collagen lover.
She has also helped to create Hunter & Gather Bovine and Marine Collagen Peptides - developed to be the best quality and most effective collagen peptides on the market.
Needless to say, if you have a question about collagen - these ladies will be more than happy to answer it! Here are some of the key Q&As from when Amy & Pauline met to talk all things collagen.
What is Collagen?
Collagen peptides are essentially protein which is derived from animal sources. They contain the amino acids which our body uses to make its own collagen.
In the body, collagen is the most abundant type of protein - found in tissues, tendons, bones, joints - and in the highest amounts in our skin.
Natural collagen production declines with age and studies suggest that by the age of 50 we make around a third less collagen.
This is not something which only starts in later life, but actually begins as early as in our 20's.
Declining collagen levels can explain the visible signs of ageing such as sagging skin and wrinkles, but also have a much deeper impact on the body - within our bones, joints and tissues.
What are collagen supplements?
True Collagen supplements are made using animal based collagen, which is turned into either powder or capsules. This makes it easy to get the benefits of collagen - without having to eat things like bone broth and animal skin every day.
Collagen peptides essentially contain the raw materials (amino acids) needed to build our own collagen, which means that consuming them can help to increase natural collagen production in the body.
Taking collagen peptide supplements daily can help to top up your collagen levels and decelerate the ageing process.
This is helpful not just for the beautifying benefits but also for maintaining lean muscle mass, preventing osteoporosis and encouraging overall strength.
Scientific Evidence for Collagen Supplementation
Hydrolysing collagen breaks down the raw animal product into incredibly bioavailable amino acids which the body can absorb and utilise.
As collagen is digested it is broken down into di- and tri-peptides, and taken to the bloodstream to be transported to various tissues. This is something which science has been able to prove as effective.
"By tagging collagen peptides with a radioactive label, scientists can see exactly where those collagen peptides are going in the body and how they're being utilised effectively." - Pauline
Systematic reviews (where researchers take a selection of papers and collate data to reach a comprehensive conclusion) have shown that collagen supplementation is both effective and safe, with impressive beneficial results.
Collagen Q&A with Amy & Pauline
Loads of you lovely people joined us on Instagram Live to share your thoughts and ask your questions about collagen.
Here are some of the key questions and answers from the session.
1. Are all collagen powders created equal?
No! There is a huge variation in the quality and effectiveness of collagen supplements and powders.
This can be anything from the raw ingredients used to due diligence which effects things like purity, heavy metals and bioavailability.
Some collagen products - particularly capsules - will also contain added ingredients such as binders, fillers, rice flour and maltodextrin.
Amy explains that we don't need these at all, they are purely added to bulk the collagen out and make it cheaper to produce!
Collagen capsules are also often more expensive - due to the VAT element but also because pseudo-evidence (wrongly) implies that collagen is better absorbed when consumed within a capsule.
There's also only so much collagen you can get into a capsule - you won't get a heaped tablespoon in a capsule for example, but this would be the effective dose (10g or more is the recommended).
2. Can I have collagen if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
Unfortunately there is little to no research regarding the safety of collagen use during pregnancy or when breastfeeding.
As it is derived from a natural animal product, it would be logical to presume that it is as safe to consume as meat and other animal products.
"It is a real food item, it's come from one ingredient, one part of the animal" - Amy
Pauline also shared with us that she continued to supplement her diet with collagen throughout her pregnancies.
However, we would always recommend discussing with a medical professional if you're planning to take collagen when pregnant or breastfeeding.
3. Can my children have collagen?
Again, there is sadly little to no research into the safety of collagen peptides for children. Unfortunately there's just not enough specific research to say for certain that collagen is 100% safe for all ages.
Pauline tells us that she has used collagen to help optimise her children's protein intake and provide key amino acids which are needed during growth.
As it is neutral in flavour and easily added to most meals and drinks, kids never know when it has been mixed in!
Collagen is a very simple and easy way to increase protein intake - as with whey protein. However, we'd say again that it's always best to get the go ahead from a medical professional before giving collagen to your children.
4. Can I use collagen with bone broth?
Yes! Collagen and bone broth are both popular within Keto, Paleo and Carnivore lifestyles - to help boost intake of key nutrients which are often lacking in the modern diet.
The good news is that you can use them both, to enjoy the benefits of each every day.
Pauline notes that using both collagen and bone broth together is especially useful if you have concerns about your gut health, such as leaky gut.
The only caution would be if you have some histamine issues, as taking both may exacerbate these. However, some can take collagen and bone broth together with no issues.
Always be sure to choose a quality and grass fed bone broth and collagen powder.
5. What is the difference between marine and bovine collagen?
The main difference between Bovine and Marine collagen is the collagen types they contain.
Bovine collagen has both type 1 and type 3 collagen, which are beneficial throughout the body. Marine contains primarily more type 1 collagen, which is great for hair, skin and nails.
If you're trying to target muscles and bone density - you really need more type 3 and so bone broth and bovine collagen would be recommended. But if you're more interested in the beautifying benefits of collagen, Marine collagen may be the better option.
You can learn more about the difference between the two in our article below.
6. Can collagen help with Leaky Gut?
As collagen is a key structural protein and is also great for gut health, some people find that it can be helpful to manage the symptoms of Leaky Gut syndrome.
Signs of leaky gut include brain fog, systemic inflammation, skin issues, migraines, poor recall and low mood. Pauline has a number of clients who have found that collagen can help.
"It's kind of me-search! It's research on your self and what works for you." - Pauline
If you suffer with Leaky Gut or any kind of digestive condition, collagen could be a simple and easy way to help manage any symptoms as well as promote overall health and wellness.
You can learn more in our article below.
7. What is the recommended daily serving of collagen?
Amy explains that the minimum recommended daily serving for Hunter & Gather Collagen Peptides is 2 tablespoons. However, you can increase this depending on your needs and personal preference.
"We recommend 2 tablespoons per day which is around 13g for bovine or 10g for marine, but you can have up to 30-40g. Some people also choose to do collagen loading when they first start - to build up collagen stores." - Amy
If you're new to collagen, you might like to start with a higher dose for 6-8 weeks, to build up your stores. Then following this you can reduce down to a couple of tablespoons each day, to keep collagen stores topped up.
If however you are concerned with gut health, or you have experience histamine symptoms of leaky gut, you may be best to start introducing collagen slowly and gradually build up.
8. I heard collagen does not survive in digestive juices, and that you need a special capsule for it to be effective?
Amy and Pauline were keen to debunk this - as it is such a common misconception!
Stomach acidity and digestive juices are what break down protein, so that it can be absorbed - this goes for protein from collagen as well as protein from regular food.
So, protecting collagen peptides from stomach juices with a capsule would actually hinder their bioavailability and effectiveness.
It is true with some supplements e.g. probiotics, but research suggests the opposite for collagen powder.
9. How long until you see results?
Most people will start to see and feel noticeable results from collagen after around 6-8 weeks - but for some this could be sooner, or take a little while longer.
You may notice anything from fresher, plumper skin with fewer wrinkles to less joint pain and increased muscle mass.
Pauline tells us that we need to embrace all other aspects of optimising health to feel the maximum benefits of collagen.
Following a low sugar lifestyle, sleeping well, exercising and getting plenty of fresh air will nurture the benefits of collagen more rapidly.
Don't forget that you also need Vitamin C from your diet, which is integral to collagen synthesis in the body.
"You need Vitamin C to make collagen. This is one of the reasons I like to have collagen mixed in with some natural yoghurt, coconut yoghurt or dark skinned berries. Sea buckthorn is good too." - Pauline
10. Can you take bovine and marine collagen together?
Definitely! Marine collagen is a smaller particle and so potentially more bioavailable than Bovine collagen. But Bovine contains different types of collagen, for wider benefits.
It can be nice to take both bovine and marine collagen if you're targeting key health issues e.g. digestive conditions, or take a lot of medications (or have done in the past).
You can use both and alternate to give the body a beneficial diversity of different types of collagen.
"We recommend having the Bovine Collagen everyday and adding in Marine for an extra boost when desired!" - Amy
If you're just starting to take collagen, try bovine initially and see how you get on. Then you can add marine collagen for an extra boost and to enjoy the beautifying benefits of collagen too.
You can of course choose to stick to just one or the other, for example if you don't eat cattle for religious reasons or have an allergy to fish.
11. Is collagen necessary if you're following a good ancestral eating template?
Lots of people asked us if taking collagen was really necessary if you try to eat a Paleo, Carnivore or ancestral diet to start with.
Pauline tells us that this totally depends on what your desired outcome is. If it is longevity and health optimisation, then taking the best advances we have in science can help to achieve this.
Do you need collagen? No. Do you benefit from collagen? Absolutely. Used alongside your usual healthy diet, collagen peptides provide a buffet of amino acids which the body can readily access.
"Tap into the best our modern world has, with our caveman genes." - Pauline
12. Why would collagen be good for women who are getting older?
Collagen is not just a supplement for women, but it can have some specific benefits for female health.
Women over 30 have lower levels of growth hormones, which explains why men are better at building muscle - especially when over 30.
Because women have less muscle mass, they are more prone to insulin resistance - as muscle tissue is the main user of glucose in the body.
So, supplementing your diet with collagen can help to maintain lean muscle mass, improve glucose utilisation and balance insulin sensitivity.
Throw in the benefits of collagen for appearance - plumper skin, fewer wrinkles and shiny, strong hair and nails - and collagen is an easy win for women!
13. What is the difference between collagen boosters and collagen peptides?
You may have seen lots of collagen 'boosters' on the market, usually aimed at vegetarians and vegans who would not eat animal products, including collagen.
Collagen boosters are usually in supplement form and contain nutrients such as Vitamin C and Zinc, which support the production of collagen in the body.
They may help to slow down collagen degradation and can be used alongside a healthy diet to optimise the body's ability to build collagen.
Lifestyle habits can help too, such as fasting for growth hormones and eating adequate quality protein, so that the body can build muscle.
However, vegan and plant-based have become buzzwords in recent years and Amy & Pauline suggest that businesses are capitalising on that.
"Plant-based collagen boosters don't work in the same way as collagen peptides, they're a different amino acid structure - they're not the same thing." - Amy
Without the actual collagen peptide amino acids - so-called collagen boosters are far less effective than animal-derived collagen. Learn more below.
Amy also noted that some Hunter & Gather collagen customers are in fact vegetarian and vegan regarding the food which they eat, but utilise collagen to overcome psychological barriers to eating muscle meat.
Collagen is technically a by-product of the meat industry and would go to waste unless used to make collagen powder/peptides.
14. What are the benefits of collagen for beauty?
Incorporating collagen into your daily routine can help you to ditch expensive face creams to unlock true beauty from within.
Cosmetics also contain harmful ingredients which make their way into the bloodstream, contributing to toxic load.
By replacing them with collagen you can tackle the root cause of hair, skin and nail issues - with a completely pure and natural solution which actually does the body good.
15. Is collagen Carnivore friendly?
Yes, collagen is Keto, Paleo and Carnivore friendly and can be used to support each of these lifestyles as well as ancestral eating templates.
Hunter & Gather 100% Pure Collagen Peptides
Hunter & Gather Collagen Peptides are derived from grass fed animals and wild caught fish, providing a source of 100% pure, hydrolysed collagen.
They contain no hidden or added ingredients - just collagen as ancestral nature intended, but in a way which fits in with modern life.
Adding a couple of tablespoons of collagen to your morning coffee, smoothie, breakfast or any healthy recipe is a great way to support optimal health daily.
"If you're curious about it, give it a go - it's unflavoured, it's one of those products that's so easy to incorporate into your smoothie, yoghurt, soup, coffee. Give it a go and see for yourself!" - Pauline
We hope you've enjoyed an expert insight into all things collagen! You can watch the full interview with Amy & Pauline on Instagram here.
And for more from Pauline, check out the following resources to keep on learning.
📸 Instagram - @PaulineJCox
All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.
It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.