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publishDate

September 14, 2021

author

Lindsay Delk, RDN
Can Collagen Promote Heart And Gut Health?
Author

Fact Checked By Lindsay Delk, RDN
 September 14, 2021

Heart And Gut Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that one person dies every 36 seconds in the U.S. from cardiovascular disease (1).

In addition, 60–70 million people in the U.S. have digestive diseases (2).

There are many things you can do to help your heart, including eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking.

For optimal gut health, eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and take antibiotics only when necessary.

Adding a collagen supplement to your daily routine may be another thing you can do to keep your heart and gut healthy.

Collagen

Collagen is a fibrous, supportive protein that makes up about ⅓ of the protein in your body (3).

It is a major building block of your bone, skin, muscle, and connective tissue.

It is the glue that holds your body together.

You can get collagen from fish, beef, chicken, egg whites, bone broth, or a collagen supplement.

Collagen supplement powders are usually hydrolyzed to break down the collagen and make the proteins easier to absorb.

Hydrolyzed collagen, collagen hydrolysate, and collagen peptides are all different names for the same thing.

Collagen for Heart Health

Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart to the rest of your body.

Atherosclerosis happens when the buildup of fat in the walls of your arteries causes them to become thick and stiff.

There are two main causes of atherosclerosis: fat and cholesterol deposits in the arteries and hardening of the arteries.

Atherosclerosis progresses slowly with no symptoms, so you may not know you have a problem until you have severe cardiovascular disease, blockage, a heart attack, or a stroke.

The stiffness of your arteries is a good marker for atherosclerosis and can predict your risk of coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease.

Keeping your arteries soft might reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Just like other parts of your body, collagen provides structure to your blood vessels, and it may help you keep your cardiovascular system healthy in several ways.

  • Collagen can prevent stiffened arteries

In one study, participants were given 16 grams of collagen tripeptides each day for six months (4).

The study showed that the collagen supplements reduced the stiffness of the participants’ arteries and increased their HDL levels (good cholesterol).

These two benefits can help prevent and treat atherosclerosis.

In another study, 70 participants were split into two groups (5).

For 12 weeks, one group was given 2.5 grams of hydrolyzed pork collagen each day, and the other group was given a placebo.

The group that received the hydrolyzed collagen had a significant reduction in the stiffness of their arteries, which could help in the prevention of atherosclerosis.

Another study had 58 participants with slightly high blood pressure or high-normal blood pressure (6).

One group received hydrolyzed chicken collagen and the other received a placebo.

After 18 weeks, the group that received the collagen had lower stiffness of the arteries and lower blood pressure.

  • Collagen can lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation

Collagen is mostly made up of three amino acids: proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline.

Glycine has been linked with heart health, and taking a collagen supplement will increase your intake of glycine.

One study followed 4,109 participants for 7 ½ years (7).

Researchers found that participants with low levels of glycine in their blood had a higher risk of having a heart attack.

This was especially true for participants who had high LDL levels (bad cholesterol).

Other research showed that hydrolyzed chicken collagen might help prevent atherosclerosis by reducing inflammation in addition to lowering cholesterol levels (8).

  • Collagen can lower blood pressure

Research has shown that hydrolyzed chicken collagen can lower blood pressure, which can also improve heart health (9).

In a small study, participants were given hydrolyzed chicken collagen for four weeks, and their blood pressures were significantly decreased (10).

Collagen‘s ability to lower blood pressure might be due to glycine because glycine has been shown to decrease blood pressure (11).

Collagen for Gut Health

Gut health refers to the function of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.

Your GI tract includes your esophagus, stomach, small intestines, and colon, which all work together to allow you to eat and digest food.

Your gut also communicates with your brain and plays a role in your overall health and well-being.

Some say that increasing your collagen levels may support your gut and its healing.

  • Collagen is an easy-to-digest protein

Protein is essential in the proper functioning and repair of your body, including your gut (12).

Collagen is a protein, so taking a collagen supplement will increase your intake of protein.

Hydrolyzed collagen is already broken down into smaller pieces of protein, so it is an easily digested and bioavailable form of protein.

This easy-to-digest protein may be especially helpful if you have gut issues and have a hard time absorbing nutrients (13).

  • Collagen may reduce inflammation and improve gut functioning

Glycine, a major amino acid in collagen, is helpful in reducing inflammation, which may be a problem for you if you have digestive issues (14).

One study also showed that glycine could help reduce or treat stomach ulcers (15).

Research showed that hydrolyzed marine collagen decreased inflammation and improved gut functioning in mice (16).

The marine collagen improved the gut barrier, which improves gut functioning (17).

Choosing a Collagen Supplement Powder

If you decide to take a collagen supplement to get more collagen in your diet, choose a collagen supplement that has a concentrated amount of collagen.

A typical suggested dose is about 10 grams per day.

Some collagen supplements, such as gummies, have a very low amount of collagen. Hydrolyzed collagen powders are usually more concentrated.

Collagen supplements can come from several sources, such as beef, pork, and fish (marine).

Marine collagen is considered the most sustainable because it is made from the bones, scales, and skin of fish, which would be wasted otherwise.

Different sources provide different types of collagen, so choosing a multi collagen powder with collagen from different sources will provide a broad range of benefits.

Choose a collagen supplement powder that doesn’t have added sweeteners, artificial flavors, or other additives.

And always talk to your doctor before adding any supplement to your diet.