If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that I love getting the critically important collagen complex from homemade bone broth. I always emphasize how important it is to have homemade bone broth on hand for making soups, stews and gravies. A cup of bone broth or soup made from bone broth each day is a prescription for healthy skin, bones and joints. However, it is not always easy or convenient to have a cup a day. Here is another method I use for getting enough collagen complex on a daily basis.
Collagen tissue makes up 50% of the protein in the body, as it is the primary protein in connective tissue — the tissue that makes up fibrous tissues like tendons, ligaments, bone, cartilage and skin. Collagen makes up the matrix of joint cartilage and skin as well as cornea, cartilage, bone, blood vessels, the gut lining, and intervertebral discs.
Biochemically, there are several different types of collagen which appear in different types of tissue from bone, tendon and ligament to mucous membranes throughout the body including the intestinal tract and the cornea of the eye.
Gelatin is simply the cooked form of collagen. Back in the 1800’s in Europe, the many wars necessitated a cheap and efficient way to feed the troops. A chemist by the name of Jean-Pierre Joseph d’Arcet discovered how to extract gelatin from bones. Numerous other researchers ran with this idea and came up with various ways to extract and stabilize gelatin and place it into commercial foods.
Gelatin powders and tablets became a substitute for meat in soups and gravies and became a popular food. However, the manufacturing of gelatin was not regulated and poor quality products appeared on the market.
Gelatin is not a complete form of protein and so it soon fell out of favor and we are left with the artificially produced bouillon that is loaded with MSG, salt and other toxic additives. Additionally, the product jello, as you probably know, is loaded with artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners and/or sugar.
None of these products are healthy at all. But we now have a fabulous product that can be used in soups, gravies, shakes and (my favorite) as an egg replacer.
Wellcome Vital Proteins – Pasture-raised Collagen Protein Beef Gelatin & Collagen Peptides
This is a new product on the market that is, in my opinion, superior to the product I previously endorsed.
Vital Collagen Collagen Products are guaranteed from 100% grassfed and grass finished cows that are raised,
on lush grasslands in Brazil. The cattle industry in Brazil is based on perennial tropical grass pasture systems. We have taken great care to ensure that the pasture size for each animal is one animal per 2.67 acres. These standards are in alignment with the Global Animal Partnership 5-step animal welfare rating standards… Brazil also has a law (Decree No 57 824 Article 4(4)) which prohibits the addition of hormones to feed…They eat their natural diet – grass, and receive plenty of open space and sunshine. We believe in providing our animals with an environment that nature intended, and the result is a high quality protein that is natural and pure. (source)
Additionally, the processing of the hides involves using an alkaline solution of lime and water, which is heated to only 190º F. This is not a high heat process and it ensures a fresh tasting product.
This brings me to the complaint I always had with the other collagen product – the odor. I always smelled the scent of animal hide when I was making jello. Usually the other flavors in the dish offset this smell, but somehow I could still detect it.
Vital Proteins Collagen Protein has a very neutral smell. I like that.
Other Benefits of Vital Protein Collagen Protein and Peptides
I like the packaging of Vital Proteins. The container is a non-BPA container that is air and moisture tight and this ensures a product that will stay fresh. Collagen attracts water and this can cause it to also attract bacteria. The container prevents that.
The container has a wide opening and a scoop and that makes it super easy to use (unlike the other brand which was always a struggle).
The product is also certified Kosher. (See more facts about the products here).
Vital Protein Collagen Protein Versus Collagen Peptides
Collagen Protein –This is gelatin. It is composed mainly of the amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Collagen protein can be used to make homemade jello, gummies or used as a thickener in puddings because it gels. (Green lid)
Collagen Peptides – These peptides are derived from gelatin, and contain the same amino acids as gelatin. The main difference is that these are further processed by using an enzyme to add water molecules so that it can dissolve instantly in hot or cold liquids without gelling. This is great for soups, gravies and shakes! (Blue lid)
Other than the processing, this product has nothing added and is pure and fresh.
Benefits of Adding Collagen to Your Diet
Skin Health – As the skin ages, sadly, it loses elasticity and begins to sag. A diet rich in an important building block of skin tissue, like collagen, can improve skin elasticity as this study showed.
Bone Metabolism – This study showed that ingestion of collagen peptides may support bone health. Of course one has to also consider the use of the other critical supplements for bone metabolism such as cod liver oil and vitamins D and K2.
Another study has suggested that hydrolyzed collagen may be an effective treatment modality for osteoporosis and/or osteopenia.
Joint Health – Joints are essentially made of collagen which imparts tensile strength to the tissue and a substance called aggrecan that aids the cartilage to resist compressive forces.
In the condition of osteoarthritis, enzymes degrade aggrecan and collagen, resulting in the loss of cartilage and function. This is common and debilitating.
This study showed that supplying collagen peptides to folks with osteoarthritis had a very beneficial effect without the side effects common to drug therapy.
Fascia – Fascia is a thin protective sheath of collagen that covers almost every structure in the body. Take it from me — there is a lot of fascia in the body. When I was in chiropractic school we took 4 semesters of human dissection (among many other anatomy classes). We had to cut through an awful lot of fascia to get to the structure itself. This is all collagen.
Collagen essentially holds us together. We are structurally a fascia web that is connected from head to toe and from the skin to the deepest organ. When you move your toe you are also affecting the entire fascia web that runs through your body.
As a chiropractor, this is fascinating to me, as it translates into mis-alignments and malfunctions in the structural system that affect the deeper organ systems. I find this relationship in many of my patients.
This study showed that collagen peptides had a stimulatory effect on collagen turnover in cell culture (a good thing).
Digestion – Perhaps your grandmother knew that “good broth will resurrect the dead,” (a South American proverb). It’s partly due to the collagen peptides that are pre-digested and so easy to assimilate.
The amino acids in collagen provide unique calming and healing conditions in the digestive tract. The high concentration of the amino acid glycine stimulates stomach acid production and thereby improves digestion and nutrient assimilation. Low stomach acid is a chronic problem that leads to a cascade of symptoms in the entire body, so increasing stomach acid often alleviates a host of issues. (Source.)
How To Use Collagen Protein
I am also using the collagen peptides as an egg white replacer in a lot of my recipes. You could use it to replace the entire egg as well by mixing 1 tablespoon of collagen protein to 3 tablespoons of water. Mix rapidly at the moment you need it and quickly add it to recipes as the last ingredient.
Use the Collagen Protein (green bottle) for jello and anything else you want to gel such as broth, soup or gravy.
This is a sponsored post for Vital Proteins for which I received compensation. However, I endorse this product because of it’s high quality and would not recommend it unless I also use it. As always consult with your personal health care provider before making changes to your diet. See more of my disclaimer here.