collagen for gut health

Collagen For Gut Health: Does it Improve? (types & benefits)

Dr. Adil

Medically reviewed by Dr. Adil MaqboolMay 20, 2023

When you think of collagen (a protein), you often link it to the skin, muscles, connective tissues, bones, and even hair. It can help reduce the signs of aging, such as wrinkled, saggy skin and painful, less flexible joints.

But is it also good for your gut health?

You might be surprised to learn that there’s actually a big connection between your gut health and collagen. Collagen contains the amino acids glycine and glutamine which are essential for repairing the lining in our digestive tracts. That means that it can help rebuild and strengthen the lining, preventing and possibly treating a leaky gut.

Because a leaky gut can lead to all sorts of medical issues and discomfort in our bodies, including joint pain, constipation, bloating, allergies, asthma, acne, obesity, and even mental illness. it’s really good to find a way to stop it from happening.

Some studies have even shown that collagen is good for gut health.

So, how does collagen help improve our digestive tracts, and what’s the best collagen for gut health?

Let’s dig deeper into this below.

Does Collagen Improve Gut Health? (what’s the connection)

Yes. According to a 2022 collagen for gut health research published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, daily intake of a collagen peptide supplement can help improve mild digestive symptoms and reduce bloat.

This particular study used 20 g dietary collagen peptide (Peptan), which was taken by healthy female volunteers for 8 weeks.

Based on this study, it appears that there’s a positive connection between collagen and stomach issues. 

So, how much of it should you take? Let me tell you what I found in my research below.

How Much Collagen Is Needed Daily For Gut Health?

It’s worth noting that collagen supplements are dietary supplement products that aren’t regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Currently, there are no established guidelines on how much of it you need to take per day.

Still, it’s possible to enjoy collagen benefits with as low as 2.5g per day. The key is taking it regularly so you can enjoy its full potential.

Let’s dive into the benefits of collagen intake to your gut health in the next section.

Benefits Of Collagen For Gut Health (issues it helps treat)

Based on the 2022 study mentioned above, collagen can help you improve your gut health. Here are some of the benefits of collagen intake:

  • It helps promote better digestion
  • It helps repair your damaged gut lining
  • It helps heal your leaky gut and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)

Are the Benefits of Collagen for Men Different from Women?

The answer is actually a “yes” and “no.”

Men can enjoy the health benefits that women get from collagen: It’s also good for their gut health, skin, joints, and other parts of the body.

What’s different (a good kind of difference!) is that collagen can also boost testosterone levels as a bonus. That’s what a 2019 study discovered.

Does Collagen Cleanse The Gut?

As a protein, collagen isn’t likely to do a cleansing action in our guts. You’ll have to rely on fibers and probiotics for that mechanism. The most important thing, really, is that collagen can help improve your gut health. It might not cleanse your gut, but improving gut health is certainly fantastic, right?

So, how does collagen help repair and improve your gut health? Let’s discuss that in the next section.

How Does Collagen Repair The Gut? (mechanisms)

Intestinal flora gut health

We have already learned above that collagen can help repair the gut, so you might be wondering how they do it.

Here are some of the mechanisms that researchers propose:

Mechanism #1: Soothes, Repairs, And Strengthens The Gut Lining

The lining in our guts isn’t just there as a barrier to ensure the digested food doesn’t go to other parts of the body. It actually also acts as a gateway for nutrient absorption and a barrier against toxins and wastes.

When the gut lining is damaged, however, holes along the tract can form. This is called a leaky gut.

The leaks can release toxins, waste, and digested food into the bloodstream, leading to inflammation, infection, and other symptoms that can be detrimental to our health.

Here’s some good news: you can take collagen for gut healing. 

Collagen helps provide materials for repairing these holes, including the following amino acids (protein building blocks):

  • Glutamate
  • Glutamine
  • Arginine
  • Cysteine
  • Threonine
  • Glycine

Aside from helping repair the damaged sections, collagen can also soothe and strengthen your gut lining. This helps boost your gut health, which can also help boost your immune system. It’s a win-win situation.

Mechanism #2: Aids Digestion And Nutrient Absorption

Proper digestion is essential because that’s the best way to receive the optimum nutrition from the food we eat. When you have problems with a leaky gut, proper nutrient absorption is also compromised.

Just like mechanism #1 mentioned above, collagen can greatly help in this aspect. 

It helps support the lining’s integrity by providing the building blocks for repairing your gut. This helps ensure that nutrients are properly absorbed by your body.

Mechanism #3: Boosts Amino Acids for Healthy Gut Function

Collagen is packed with amino acids that can help promote your gut’s healthy function. 

Aside from the amino acids mentioned in mechanism #1, you can also get the following from your collagen supplement:

  • Arginine
  • Proline
  • Methionine
  • Serine

For the actual content, check your supplement for the amino acids declared by the brand.

Speaking of content, what type of collagen is good for your gut health or can you just pick anything you want? More on this later.

Mechanism #4: Collagen can help repair the gut lining:

There is some scientific evidence to suggest that collagen may play a role in gut health. A study titled “Molecular transport through primary human small intestinal monolayers by culture on a collagen scaffold with a gradient of chemical cross-linking” discusses the role of collagen in intestinal health sources. You can add it to the article.

Mechanism #5: Collagen can help with leaky gut syndrome:

Leaky gut syndrome is a controversial diagnosis not universally recognized in the medical literature. It’s hypothesized to be a condition where the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, allowing harmful substances to leak into the bloodstream. 

If you want to be really careful, you should omit this claim otherwise it can do fine in terms of a layman’s language.

What Type Of Collagen Is Good For Gut Health?

Collagen powder
Collagen powder

Just like any other supplement or health product, not all collagens are created equal. That means that not all of them can be good for your gut.

After all, if you’re taking a collagen supplement but it doesn’t have a good absorption rate, then you’re just throwing your money down the drain. The product isn’t likely to provide you with the best benefits.

So, what’s the best collagen for gut health?

Let’s take a look at the collagen type for gut health that will suit your needs and preferences:

  • Hydrolyzed collagen
  • Nano-hydrolyzed collagen
  • Type 3 collagen
  • Bovine collagen
  • Marine collagen
  • Liquid collagen
  • Collagen powder and capsule

How do these collagen products differ from each other, what are their strongest points, and which one should you choose? Continue reading to learn more.

Hydrolyzed Collagen For Gut Health

Collagen is a big molecule that might not be fully broken down by the digestive system to maximize its benefits. That’s why it’s a good idea to choose hydrolyzed collagen because the parts are already smaller.

So, what’s hydrolyzed collagen?

This is the kind of collagen that’s already broken down into smaller pieces through a process called hydrolysis (that’s why they’re called “hydrolyzed”).

In this process, water is used to cut up the molecule into its individual amino acid components. These smaller pieces are ideally easier for your digestive system to process, promoting better absorption and maximum nutrition.

Is there something better than hydrolyzed collagen? Yes. Let’s discuss it below.

Nano-hydrolyzed Collagen For Gut Health

If you’re happy with the hydrolyzed collagen I mentioned above, then you’ll love nano-hydrolyzed collagen. These are much smaller molecule pieces (around 4,000 Daltons or atomic mass units) compared to hydrolyzed collagen (around 10,000 Daltons).

In short, nano-hydrolyzed collagen is easier to absorb than regular hydrolyzed collagen.

Type 3 Collagen For Gut Health

Did you know that there are as many as 28 different types of collagen in our bodies? According to Cleveland Clinic, as much as 90% of the body’s collagen levels are made up of type 1 collagen. Of these three collagen types, type 3 is the most ideal for your gut health. They’re also great for arteries, muscles, and organs.

The others are good for your skin, nails, hair, joints, and other parts of the body.

While type 3 collagen is found all over the body, it’s also the best option when it comes to preventing and helping heal leaks and damages in your gut lining.

Bovine Collagen For Gut Health

Bovine collagen supplements (sourced from cattle) offer our bodies essential amino acids to support a healthier gut. It can also help promote healthier nails, hair, and skin.

These supplements are usually rich in collagen, types 1 and 2.

Marine Collagen For Gut Health

Sustainability is one of the main reasons why marine collagen is getting more popular these days.

Sourced from the sea, this type of collagen is rich in amino acids like glutamine, glycine, and proline to help strengthen and protect your intestinal lining. This can promote better gut health and function.

Check the label for hydrolyzed or nano-hydrolyzed marine collagen for better absorption, as I’ve already explained above.

Liquid Collagen For Gut Health

Depending on the brand, liquid collagen supplements can contain bovine collagen peptides. 

Some people find it more convenient to pick a liquid supplement, but others aren’t so fond because it might have an aftertaste. Also, it’s possible for the particles to settle at the bottom, which could affect the concentration if you don’t properly shake the bottle.

And while liquid collagen is ideal for some, check the label for the ingredients and content. Some brands provide reduced collagen content in their liquid products than in powdered or capsule options.

Collagen Powder & Capsule For Gut Health

These two types of collagen products are more popular than the liquid form. They’re usually available in higher concentrations than the liquid form.

Because of their higher collagen content, powder and capsule forms are preferred by most people.

Collagen in powder form usually needs to be mixed with water before consumption while capsules can be easier to take because you just pop one or two (depending on the dosage) in your mouth and chug them on with water.

Considering that all these collagen forms can be good for gut health, does it also mean that gelatin (the cooked form of collagen) also offers the same benefits?

Let me explain that to you below.

Comparison: Collagen Vs Gelatin For Gut Health

Because they come from the same source, collagen, and gelatin have nearly identical nutritional profiles, providing the same amount of proteins and other components.

Most of the time, they also offer the same amount and types of amino acids.

Still, despite being similar, collagen is used as a nutritional supplement while gelatin is mainly used for cooking and other food preparations.

Of course, you can argue that these two might have similar effects on your gut health – and you’re actually right! Both collagen and gelatin have high bioavailability, which can help ensure that they’re digested and processed easily by your tummy.

Still, gelatin is food while collagen is a nutritional supplement. So, choosing which one to pick really depends on your preferences.

What about natural sources of collagen? You’ll be amazed at these sources because they’re actually all around you. Continue reading to find out.

Natural Food Sources of Collagen 

Be sure to add the following to your regular diet because they’re rich yet natural sources of collagen:

  • Fish, including salmon
  • Chicken, beef, and fish bone broth
  • Egg whites
  • Beef
  • Gelatin
  • Chicken

Bone broth is a collagen-rich liquid prepared by brewing bones and connective tissues for at least 10 hours. It’s a long, tedious process but that can provide you with a nutrient-packed tonic to help heal your gut issues.

For best results, choose only the bones of organic farm animals, ensuring they’re free from antibiotics, growth stimulants, and steroids.

If you’re looking for collagen supplements, it’s always a good idea to choose the best ones that can meet your needs. Continue reading for my top picks and recommendations below.

My Top 3 Best Collagen to Promote Gut Health

Let products can help boost your gut health by offering a boost of collagen right where you need it:

  • Codeage Multi Collagen Peptides Powder
  • Terra Origin Collagen + Protein Bone Broth
  • Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein

Let’s take a look at each one below.

1. Codeage Multi Collagen Peptides Powder

Codeage Multi Collagen Peptides Powder

Codeage Multi Collagen Peptides Powder contains a healthy boost of five different collagen types from five varied food sources, including:

  • Eggshell collagens
  • Organic beef bone broth
  • High-quality grass-fed bovine collagen
  • Wild-caught white fish (marine collagen)
  • Free-range chicken bone broth

It’s a hydrolyzed collagen powder product that contains 18 amino acids, great for improved gut health and healthier skin, bones, and hair.

2. Terra Origin Collagen + Protein Bone Broth

Collagen + Protein Bone Broth

Terra Origin Collagen + Protein Bone Broth is a bovine collagen hydrolysate that contains turkey and chicken broth proteins to provide you with collagen powder to help heal certain digestive ailments and improve your overall gut health.

It helps restore the gut lining, lets you avoid joint pain, and can even promote the growth of probiotics (the so-called good gut bacteria).

As a bonus, you can also get to enjoy clearer, younger-looking skin.

3. Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein

Multi Collagen Protein

Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein contains 10 types of collagen from four different sources, including the clinically studied and proprietary fermented eggshell membrane collagen.

The combination is great for:

  • Improving gut health
  • Erasing crow’s feet 
  • Reducing knee stiffness

Plus, this brand also comes with 100% DV (daily value) of clinically studied Vitamin C and 2 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) of the probiotic Bacillus coagulans, providing a boost to your good gut bacteria. 


Does Collagen Reduce Gut Inflammation?

Yes. Regular consumption of collagen can help repair your damaged gut lining and prevent or treat gut inflammation. It’s always a bonus that collagen also promotes better joint, bone, and skin health to help reduce the incidence of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and other age-related conditions.

Can Collagen Cause Gut Health Problems?

Getting a pure, high-quality product is essential in ensuring that you don’t experience issues with your collagen supplement.

Contaminated or low-quality collagen might cause an upset stomach or other gut health issues.

How Long Does It Take For Collagen To Heal Leaky Gut?

Collagen isn’t a magical substance that can quickly heal your leaky gut upon contact. Instead, it can take at least 3-4 weeks to start noticing its benefits to your gut.

Some people might need as much as 3-4 months before they experience significant improvement and normal function of their intestinal mucosa (gut lining).

Is There A Downside To Taking Collagen?

While collagen isn’t likely to cause major issues or serious side effects, you might still experience the following:

  • Heartburn
  • Bloating
  • Feeling of fullness

It’s also important to check the supplement label if you’re allergic to something because some collagen products might contain allergens.

Can Collagen Replace Probiotics?

No. Although some collagen supplements contain probiotics (e.g., Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein) and they both help promote gut health, they’re different things. Collagen can’t replace probiotics and vice versa.

Which Is Better Collagen Or Probiotics?

They have different functions and benefits in the gut, so you can’t really compare them directly. It might actually be better to take them together. Collagen helps rebuild and strengthen your digestive tract while probiotics help maintain a more balanced gut microbiome.

Do I Need Probiotics If I Take Collagen?

Yes. It’s still a good idea to take them together instead of just picking one, so you can maximize their benefits and improve your gut health.

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