After incorporating collagen into my diet for sometime now, I feel it’s important to share more information about the benefits of collagen, why I use it, and how it has helped me in the last two year. Girls don’t talk about getting bald spots at the age of 23. It’s not something I wanted to talk about either, but here I am more than two years after the most stressful period of time in my life still seeing the effects of what extreme anxiety and constantly elevated cortisol levels did to my body.
A short time after I changed my routine to maximize hair growth, I wrote this blog post about how I began to see stress take its toll on my body. At that time I had only begun incorporating Vital Proteins collagen peptides into my daily routine in the hopes that it would give my hair that extra boost it needed to grow back in the spot where I was experiencing hair loss. Now almost two years later, I’ve continued to support my diet with Vital Proteins collagen and some of their other products as well. Not only do I feel my hair is stronger than ever but I’ve noticed other changes too!
I will say the increase in hair growth is not exclusively from changes to my diet. A lot of lifestyle and environmental changes occurred for me that I believe truly changed how I felt on a daily basis. My stomach and digestion was also impacted greatly because of stress. I don’t have any food allergies or sensitivities (that I know of), yet I was constantly cycling through constipation and diarrhea, and feeling bloated after eating foods that were regulars in my diet. Those occurrences are now a rarity for me, and while I do think it’s largely because I moved back to Chicago and took myself out of the high stress environment I was living in, I know that adding collagen to my diet also played a part in helping to aid the harsh digestion I was experiencing.
This post was sponsored by Vital Proteins, but as I previously mentioned I began using it when I felt it was right for me. All opinions and results from using it are my own.
What are collagen peptides?
Collagen peptides are proteins sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hides. Collagen itself is a naturally occurring protein found in our connective tissues — including skin, hair, nails, bones, and joints. In this form we are able to ingest, it’s extremely bioavailable to the body, meaning it’s absorbed quickly for optimal use. As you can see from the label, a 2-scoop serving contains 18 grams of protein, another reason why adding it to your coffee or smoothies is so great. It will give them the staying power you need to feel nourished.
So, why collagen?
- Healthy Hair, Skin & Nails — Our hair, skin, and nails all rely on collagen to stay “hydrated”, and while your body does produce collagen, after the age of 25 (me!) your body starts producing less of it. Of course, I saw reasons to incorporate into my diet before the age of 25, so it doesn’t hurt if you haven’t reached that golden age just yet. I’m not saying collagen will regrow your hair, but it will help to keep it stronger, something I need especially for those baby hairs I have in that spot now. I like to think as the collagen as an enhancer for my hair skin, and nails, that supports growth and optimal shine, skin, and nails especially in the winter when dryness and dullness come with the freezing temps.
- Digestive Benefits — The lining of our digestive tract is made up of muscles, membranes and amino acids, some of which are also found in collagen. Ingested collagen surrounds itself with water and stomach acid as it moves through the GI tract, which assists the breakdown of other proteins and carbohydrates in the intestines. It can also help to move food through the GI tract more smoothly, all positives if you’ve ever suffered from mild IBS or other digestive issues. I’m also super fascinated with the gut-brain connection, and while we are still learning so much on how they are connected, there are a couple things we do know that further solidifies my use of collagen. Research has shown that continued stomach discomfort can produce feelings of anxiety, stress and even depression. So when they say you want your gut to be happy, it’s not only because you’ll be sick less (80% of your immune system is in your gut), but because you’ll be happier overall, with more energy. Bottom line is that it all starts in your gut, which is also why I make stuff like fermented foods and probiotics a staple in my diet.
- Muscle & Joint Health — If you’re like me, you to try to be as active and possible and don’t really think about your muscles and joints until you wake up with a kink in your neck or suddenly feel muscle tightness or cramping after a workout. That’s right, I probably don’t stretch enough, and wear bad shoes on top of that which means I need to be extra proactive to do anything I can to help my muscles and joints. As important as exercise is to our lives, the constant ware on the muscles can eventually add up. Using collagen can help keep your flexibility in tip top shape and prevent the muscles and joints from stiffening up.
Ok, So How Do I Use it?
The sky is really the limit here. From Instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen people swear by putting it into their coffee every day. Why? Because it’s completely tasteless, at dissolves right into your swirling hot coffee. If you have the time to put your coffee in a blender or Vitamix, that will really froth it up! If not, using a hand frother like the one I have linked to below works great too!
1Easylife H422 Stainless Steel Handheld Electric Milk Frother with Bonus Mix Spoon
My favorite ways to add collagen:
- Mix into coffee or smoothies
- Add to baked goods, like I did in these recipes:
- Add a scoop to oatmeal
- Matcha almond milk lattes with pumpkin pie spice on top. My go-to instead of a second cup of coffee in the afternoon.
- Adding the coconut collagen creamer into coffee or smoothies. Gives them just a hint of coconut flavor.
- Drinking collagen beauty water with cut up lemon and strawberries.
- Mixing the dark chocolate and blackberry with a handful of greens and almond milk. Makes the perfect post-workout smoothie that tastes like ice cream.
New Vital Proteins Products I’m Trying:
This month I’m also trying their new vanilla & coconut collagen peptide water and their spirulina and beef liver supplements. I haven’t used them long enough to tell you exactly what benefits I feel just yet, so stay tuned on that for more to come!
Vanilla & Coconut Water— this beauty water tastes like you’re on a tropical vacation, something we could all use right about now! I’ve been mixing a scoop into my water bottle and shaking it up until it’s nice and incorporated to reap the benefits from the collagen, and the hyaluronic acid, which is a highly absorbable nutrient that works with collagen to give structure and moisture to skin tissue. You man recognize it as an ingredient in some of your skin creams and lotions.
What is it?
Spirulina is sourced from blue-green algae. It’s a great source of vitamin A, vitamin K and other potent phytonutrients that help to aid in the body’s ability to naturally detoxify while giving our overall energy levels a huge boost. This one from Vital Proteins is 100% vegan.
What is it?
Don’t let the name deter you from adding this into your daily routine. I too was a little hesitant, but when I read up on the benefits, like its abundance of vitamins and nutrients such as B12 (great for energy production) copper, folate, and choline, I’ve been taking it like clockwork. I know it also works in conjunction with collagen to help all of its functions as well.
If you’d like to to try some of the Vital Proteins products I use, I’d love for you to use my affiliate links found here. I do receive a small profit from your purchase, but I wouldn’t have the links on my website if I didn’t believe in the products!
Do you have specific questions for me regarding anything I mentioned above? Let me know!