Hi guys, this topic might be a little further out of your scope that some of the others I’ve talked about. I’ve seen a lot of health and fitness bloggers mixing collagen powder into their morning coffee or drinking a warm cup of bone broth before bed, so I figured I’d look into it!
To start with, bone broth comes from boiling animal bones in water. Obviously we humans can’t eat bones, but they do contain a lot of healthy nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, protein. Protein actually makes up ~50% of bone but we need to use the heat of cooking to break the bones down – predigesting it, shall we say – so the protein is available as amino acids.
Certain types of bones will also release collagen (which is basically gelatin). This is why your bone broth might not be so appetizing at room temperature or below – but just heat it up and those bits of jelly will become liquid again.
Okay, so bone broth provides nutrients, but what’s the deal with collagen supplements? Collagen has been linked to healthy skin, joints, better sleep, and improved digestion.
A study found that adding gelatin to the diets of mice actually helped increase pathways that helped heal UV damage mimicking that created by the sun. Another study (actually done in humans) found that daily collagen supplementation increased skin hydration and elasticity.
Collagen from bone broth is broken down to amino acids when cooked, and those amino acids can be turned back into collagen in our bodies to help rebuild joint and connective tissue. Or that’s what the articles will tell you. The amino acids can certainly be used for that, but realistically the collagen amino acids don’t zoom straight to our joints for use there and only there. But studies have found improvements in osteoarthritis and in athletes with joint pain, so it’s still beneficial!
A study found that the amino acid glycine (which makes up about a third of the protein content of collagen), given directly before bed, helped study subjects who tend to sleep poorly get more restful sleep and decreased daytime sleepiness. Sounds like something I should try.
A study in rats found that gelatin supplements protected the lining of their intestines from damage artificially caused by ethanol.
My Take Away
So what’s my opinion on the subject? Now that I’ve done a little poking around I think that supplementing with collagen could be helpful. But I also know that not having it in our diets won’t hurt us. Collagen hydrolysate supplements tend to be a little pricey to me, as is high quality, organic bone broth. But that study on the effect on people’s sleep certainly does make it tempting!
Hey, we’re all unique. The information on this blog isn’t a substitute for individualized advice from a healthcare professional. Check with your doctor before making any major changes to your lifestyle.