#33 Collagen & Gelatin - Benefits & How To Get More in Your Diet

The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast

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"Collagen acts as a lubricant that assists in holding your bone joints together and allows them to move without pain. There's plenty of research showing improvements in areas like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other joint pain related conditions. So it should be an essential part of our diets."

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SHOW NOTES

In Episode 33 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas and Kate Callaghan discuss how to add collagen to your diet and why collagen and gelatin benefits your health.
  • What is collagen/gelatin
  • Benefits of collagen including decrease in wrinkles and cellulite, bone health, digestive healing, sleep, hair skin and nail strengthening and weight loss
  • Difference between collagen and gelatin
  • How to incorporate it into your diet
  • Vegetarian sources
  • How to choose a good gelatin/collagen powder
  • Our personal uses of collagen/gelatin

Intro 0:00
Welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast where you’ll find the inspiration and answers to how you can become the healthiest, happiest version of you using whole food nutrition, smart supplementation, movement, and lifestyle hack. Your host, Natalie Bourke and Kate Callaghan, a degree-qualified Dietitians and Nutritionists, certified fitness instructors, speakers, and authors with extensive knowledge and clinical experience in the wellness industry. So sit back and enjoy the show.

Natalie K. Douglas 0:41
Hi, guys. Welcome to Episode 32. Wait, no, 33 of the podcast. We’re laughing because I literally just looked that up and then said the wrong number, but that’s okay. Welcome. Kate, how are you going?

Kate Callaghan 0:57
I’m good. Thanks, Nat. How are you?

Natalie K. Douglas 1:00
I’m really good. I’m very well. I guess nature restored. I was telling Kate before we actually hit record that I went on an overnight hike on the weekend. It was my first overnight hike. I do a lot of day hikes, but I’ve never really done an overnight one. I wasn’t really, I wasn’t really one of those kids that was brought up camping. So I’ve kind of just have avoided it ever since because I was like, I don’t actually know what you do. And I really don’t like creepy crawlies. But I decided that I will try anything once and I do, and I actually really enjoy it. And we only saw four red-bellied black snakes, which apparently was good.

Kate Callaghan
Oh, my God.

Natalie K. Douglas
I know. I was pretty nervous. Although, when I did see the snake, like as you know, I was the first one to see the snake. I was surprisingly calm. I was like, um there’s just a little bit of a snake just there. And my friend in front of me was like, what, what, where. And I was like, it’s just there just like right next to your foot maybe just move it.

Kate Callaghan 2:01
That is not okay but in saying that. So red-bellied black snakes, even though they will make you sick if they bite you. And if you’re a small person, they might kill you. But if they’re around, then you’re not likely to see brown snakes around, they kind of keep the brown snakes away.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah.

Kate Callaghan
And for those of you who don’t know brown snakes are the ones that will kill you.

Natalie K. Douglas 2:21
They will chase you.

Kate Callaghan 2:23
Yeah, Australia has pretty much everything that can kill you. So it’s like the black snakes are like the dolphins of land.

Natalie K. Douglas 2:31
That’s a really lovely way of putting it.

Kate Callaghan
Because dolphins, keep keep the sharks away.

Natalie K. Douglas
That’s true. All right. I’m gonna, I’m gonna think of that next time I see a red-bellied black snake. I actually was trying to be like, I just saw a red-bellied black snake. Isn’t that wonderful? but there’s gonna be no aggressive brown snakes. It works like in between. But then when I saw it again, I still like I was still like, whoa, whoa, that’s not okay.

Kate Callaghan 2:56
Yeah, I’d still pee in my pants a little bit, totally.

Natalie K. Douglas 2:58
Just please stay and hide, especially when I don’t have that great about like I my eyesight isn’t that great. So I did have five large boys walking in front of me. But yeah, they weren’t so worried. And I think sometimes they probably just didn’t tell me so that I wouldn’t worry. But anyway.

Kate Callaghan 3:20
So boy, that’s actually four red-bellied black snake or that’s just how many you saw.

Natalie K. Douglas 3:24
No. Well, that’s just how many I saw.

Kate Callaghan
Did you have glasses on?

Natalie K. Douglas
I had my contacts in. But the thing with contacts is that my eyesight is terrible. So I can kind of see a little bit better than if I didn’t have them on. And I, and I can see up close, like good, but far away. Like if someone’s like, hey, look at it, see there’s a ship. I’m like, No, there’s nothing there for me. Like, it’s just a big wave that’s moving. But yeah, so it was like a little bit better.

Kate Callaghan
Oh, funny.

Natalie K. Douglas
Anyway.

Kate Callaghan 3:54
Well, there’s no snakes in New Zealand. So, there you go.

Natalie K. Douglas 3:59
Oh, so good, I can’t wait to come and do my hikes three. I’ll be so much more calm.

Kate Callaghan 4:03
Yeah, the only thing that’ll kill you here is if you fall off cliff, there’s no a lot of barriers, so you just gonna be mindful of that.

Natalie K. Douglas 4:09
All right, I’ll remember that. Remember not to go wondering, maybe I’ll get a leash and just get my fiance to just tie me on to it. All right, anyway, on to health topics, because that’s what the podcast is about. We’re actually going to be talking about collagen and gelatin today. So we’re going to be talking about a few of the benefits, where it’s found in food, where it’s found in supplements, maybe how we like to enjoy it as well in our diet or supplementation routines. And we’ll also go through the difference between gelatin and collagen. So I think where we’ll start is maybe just on what exactly is collagen. So basically, collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. So it’s found in your skin, in your bones, muscles, digestive system, surrounding your tendons and also in your blood vessels. So it’s really well known for replacing dead skin cells and also is responsible for the elasticity and strength of our skin. So there are lots and lots of benefits of it. And I’ll go through a few and then Kate, if you think of any additional ones, you can let, you can jump in and let me know. The first one I’d probably like to fly just because I’m a bit of a gut health fan is that it actually is really good at healing the digestive tract. So collagen is, is I guess the amino acids in collagen are really good at actually building the tissue that lines the colon and digestive tract. So that actually helps in healing leaky gut or can be a great supplement for anyone with any gut issues like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, IBS. I use it a lot in post-parasite infections or post-SIBO. I also use it for people who have been on antibiotic therapy or are currently on antibiotics. It can also help promote healthy stomach acid production. And therefore it allows us to actually digest our food better, and absorb our nutrients better. And it can also help with healthy bowel movements by promoting good transit time, which is basically the time it just takes your stool to move out of your system. So in terms of research, there’s been actual studies that have found serum concentrations of collagen, a decrease in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, which is super interesting. And to me, it just reinforces what I just mentioned about the benefits of it. So that’s a really good one to add in. If you do have any digestive or gut issues. The next one that I would flag would be that it really is great for promoting bone health. So when we actually lose collagen our tendons and ligaments have a greater amount of difficulty moving smoothly, so you’ve kind of feel stiff, and you may get swollen joints. So what collagen does is actually it kind of acts as a lubricant that covers and holds the bones together and allows them to move without pain. Well, maybe blood without pain is a better description. So there’s plenty of research, research in this area showing improvements in things like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other joint pain-related conditions. The next one, which is probably one of its most well-known benefits, and probably one that you guys are all aware of, because it’s mentioned the most is that it can be really helpful in reducing wrinkles and cellulite. So, as we actually age, collagen production declined, so our skin naturally becomes looser. And we know that. So with cellulite, what actually happens is the skin becomes kind of thinner, and loses its elasticity and as a result of well, that is as a as a result of decreased collagen, and therefore, the cellulite that like is more visible. So that can be another way of how it kind of comes about. An example of one research paper was where women aged 35 to 55 were given collagen at 2.5 to 5 grams, once a day for eight weeks. And the result showed a significant improvement in skin elasticity, moisture of the skin, less skin water-loss and a reduction in skin roughness. And then the last benefit that I’ll flag is that it can actually help with your like heal your fingernails and your hair and your teeth. So collagen is basically the building block of all of those things. So ensuring you’re consuming adequate amounts either through diet or supplementation can help with strengthening nails and reducing hair loss. So that’s another, a good one to kind of add in if you do have any issues with kind of splitting fingernails or breaking fingernails, or you’re losing a lot of hair or you have a lot of split ends, those kinds of things that can be worth a try. I mean, there’s lots of other reasons why that could be happening, but it’s definitely worth adding in to see if that can help for you. So, Kate, they were my kind of choice of benefits. There are of course more benefits. Did you wanted to add anything on collagen or did you wanted to speak about the difference between collagen and gelatin?

Kate Callaghan 9:25
Yeah, I think you covered covered most of the bases. I would say it gets great for skin obviously especially if you’ve got any conditions like eczema or psoriasis, that can be wonderful for helping to heal that. And of course, it’s it’s protein so it’s a great source of protein for those of you who are struggling to get enough protein in their diet, you can throw this into into smoothies and things as a substitute for other protein sources other protein powders. But the difference between collagen and gelatin they’re same same but different. So collagen is, basically the raw protein, raw collection of amino acids. Gelatin is what happens when we cook collagen. So collagen you find in like the tendons, the bones, the skin of animal products. When we cook those so for example when we make bone broth so we simmer up those bones with the tendons and ligaments and skin. That’s when it transforms into gelatin. So that it changes structure just slightly and it gels so same same but different. Collagen Hydrolysate, which is what we, is that how you say it? Hydrocelate?

Natalie K. Douglas 10:40
Yeah, I always struggle. I’m like hydro-drocelate, hydro-losate. I’m just like whatever. Just say it though.

Kate Callaghan 10:46
Hydrolyze. Hydrolyze.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah. Hydrolyze.

Kate Callaghan
Is basically collagen but it’s a little bit more processed. So those amino acids are broken down all the proteins have broken down even more into shorter chain branches of amino acids and they can be more easily digested than gelatin for some people because they are a little bit more broken down. Anything to add to that?

Natalie K. Douglas 11:15
No, I think that.

Kate Callaghan
Oh.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yes?

Kate Callaghan 11:17
I do have others to add. Sorry.

Natalie K. Douglas
Go for it.

Kate Callaghan
Again, the difference is, gelatin, the name suggests it, gelatin will gel and it won’t dissolve in cold water, collagen will not gel and it dissolves in both hot and cold. So if you want to want to throw into everything especially like smoothies and things. Then really want to go for collagen hydrolysate. If you wanted something to gel, then you’d go for gelatin.

Natalie K. Douglas 11:44
That’s a very good point because I’ve had several clients when I first started recommending it, getting the wrong one and they’ll like, Nat, I know you said this is good for me but I just, I can’t do it because I’m trying to put it in the smoothies and it was just following this huge glunk and they thought they just had to eat it or I had this one patient once that I told she, like I recommended bone broth for her but she didn’t realize she was supposed to heat it up and she was eating like the cold gelatinous bone broth.

Kate Callaghan 12:14
Yeah. I’ve had people do that as well. I’ve said, heat it, heat it up. That’s a terrible stuff.

Natalie K. Douglas 12:17
I know. Anyway, respect.

Kate Callaghan 12:23
Now, on that with the the gelatin. When it’s cold that is actually pretty fabulous. So Soulla, my friend Soulla from Star Anise Organic Wholefoods also runs broth bar and larder in Sydney. She makes brothsickles out of broth, which might sound disgusting to you.

Natalie K. Douglas
It sounds amazing.

Kate Callaghan
But they’re delicious. So she actually add broth into these ice creams and they’re amazing. Olivia, loved them when we’re in Sydney.

Natalie K. Douglas 12:51
Yeah, it’s such a good idea and the other thing that she actually does that I thought was a really good idea is frozen bone broth ice cubes that you can put into your smoothies as well.

Kate Callaghan
Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas
So, because I know obviously when it starts to get really hot like a lot, well, I know personally the last thing I feel like doing is drinking a hot bone broth thing like I, I’m just not gonna lie I don’t really like it that much but I know it’s good for me. Whereas, I’m perfectly willing to free some bone broth cute ice cubes and pop them in my smoothie because you can’t taste it especially when you’ve got so much other stuff going in there. So another good way to get some bone broth into your system. The other thing that I was going to ask Kate was and a question I get a lot is, is there a vegetarian source of like equivalent of gelatin or collagen? So did you want to answer that one?

Kate Callaghan 13:47
Yes or no. Yes or no. There is basically a normal answer. You can get marine collagen which which can be beneficial and can have similar effects but in my opinion that animal source is going to be your best source but if you’re like no, no. I’m not going to touch anything from an animal then I won’t get a marine collagen supplement. What are your thought?

Natalie K. Douglas 14:09
Yeah. I agree. No, I completely agree in terms of health benefits. I hundred percent agree like people always bring up agar agar as like as a replacement and in a in a recipe from purely a recipe production point of view, Yes, agar agar will have a gelatinous effect like you can make the same things with it but it’s not going to have the same health benefits. So yes, the marine collagen is the next best thing to be going for but I agree with Kate I think the other ones are a better choice in terms of health benefits. One, one benefit I actually forgot to mention and I can’t believe I forgot it because I love it is that collagen can actually help with sleep. So the reason why this is, is because it’s actually rich in an amino acid called glycine. So the way that works is that glycine is actually kind of like an inhibitory neurotransmitter which basically means it basically means it has kind of like a calming effect or anti-anxiety effect. So it does that by stopping one of our alertness neurotransmitters called norepinephrine. So, I think the research showed that around three grams of glycine given at bedtime produces measurable improvements in sleep quality. So, having a little bit of your collagen, your hydrolyzed collagen or having some gut-healing gummies before bed or something like that could be really beneficial. You might not get up to the whole three grams of glycine. So you may need to supplement a little bit extra but at least that’s a start. So that’s something that I get people to try if they are having issues with sleep and having a little bit of protein just before bed can also help with stabilizing your blood sugar levels. So that can actually help with sleep from another perspective as well.

Kate Callaghan
Yeah, a good call. I can’t believe it. Forgot that one as well. I tried to jam gummies into Olivia before bed all the time. Eat the gummies, you must eat. And she love them. Because they’re like tiny teddies.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah.

Kate Callaghan
Good to go.

Natalie K. Douglas 16:21
Yeah, they are pretty cool. I haven’t made any in ages. I really should. On that note, let’s talk about actually, how do we incorporate gelatin into our daily diets?

Kate Callaghan
Okay.

Natalie K. Douglas
So, how do you incorporate it at the moment?

Kate Callaghan 16:37
So, gelatin, I will make a little gummies and I have a, a recipe for gut-healing gummies, three, 3 Ingredient Gut-Healing Gummies on my website which is super simple. The tastiest one I’ve made is actually a banana cream pie gummy which is pretty much banana, coconut milk, cinnamon, gelatin, I believe. Gummy, yeah, gelatin powder. It’s amazing. I make.

Natalie K. Douglas 17:02
And crushed meat pie. No, don’t, that was such a bad joke.

Kate Callaghan
It really was. Sorry.

Natalie K. Douglas
If I knew how to edit my podcast, I’d edit that out but I only know how to put the introduction. Sorry, guys.

Kate Callaghan
It’s like a dad joke.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah.

Kate Callaghan 17:19
So, tat’s how I use gelatin if I am making soups and stews then I want to add a little bit more jelly goodness in their corner, picking up sauces, a little bit, then I might add gelatin in there but really my main use for gelatin is the gummies. Collagen, I throw into everything. So collagen, well, if Olivia is having porridge for breakfast will put in there. I occasionally have porridge and right put it in there and just serve it around mixes it easily. I’ve put it in my banana omelet before in the mix before I cook it. I put it into smoothies. I put it into my dessert which is yogurt and berries and nuts, anything and everything. Collagen’s super easy. The collagen hydrolysate not like, I don’t put tendons and skin into those things.

Natalie K. Douglas
I’m just seeing you in like this little lab in your kitchen like for speeding Olivia gummies and like putting tendons and stuff in a big slow cooker.

Kate Callaghan
Do you know what? She gets a good dose of gelatin and collagen in her diet because she loves munching on the bones. So that is kind of the best source of these little superfoods is meat, eating those meat on the bone sources. So chicken drumsticks, lamb shanks, and really having a munch on the bone and around all those tendons. She devours them. She’ll eat the bone before she eats the the meat. And I’m not complaining about that.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah.

Kate Callaghan
Because she’s getting all sorts of goodness into her. And you know, getting these the gelatin and the collagen and their amino acid profile. And that glycine, that you spoke about Nat, helps to balance out that amino acid profile that we get in the muscle meat. So that, especially that methionine rich muscle meat.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yep.

Kate Callaghan
Which is really important. But how do you use it?

Natalie K. Douglas 19:03
Well, I pretty much use it exactly the same as you. The only addition. Well, I don’t make soups because I, I have, well I just don’t like soup but anyway just…

Kate Callaghan 19:13
You know what? I’m gonna be completely honest. I’m happy while making soupie but I…

Natalie K. Douglas 19:18
But if you do that, with collagen and gelatin in there.

Kate Callaghan 19:22
I make a lot of soups.

Natalie K. Douglas 19:26
Yeah, no, I just, I just, I just don’t understand soup. I’m like, all people who order soup when they go out to a restaurant like no, don’t order soup.

Kate Callaghan 19:36
If it’s a really good soup for an entree. I might have it in the winter but not like if those are party, I’m going for party. Anyway, we’re getting, we’re getting distracted.

Natalie K. Douglas 19:47
Yeah. Sorry if I have offended any soup lovers. I just just not one of them.

Kate Callaghan 19:52
All of the people are currently doing the cabbage-soup diet doing their detox.

Natalie K. Douglas 19:55
Oh my gosh, I just, I’d rather just drink lemon juice than eat, than drink soup. I just can’t even deal, anyway. In saying that, well, Oh, yes. How do I use it? So yeah, pretty much all the same ways that you use it, the only additional thing that I will do is sometimes I will have like, a couple of tablespoons of collagen to the one that dissolves. I’ll actually put it in like a hot cacao or something. So I mix, couple of tablespoons of collagen, some cacao powder, and a little bit of almond milk in the bottom and then I add hot water to that and have like a hot cacao. Sometimes I even put a little bit of like, something to make a little bit sweeter if I’m just feeling like that. So, sometimes some plant-based protein that has a bit of a flavor or I may put in a little bit of honey or stevia, it just depends on the day and what I’m feeling like. But that’s the only real additional way that I use it that you hadn’t mentioned. Because to be honest, my main way is putting it in, in smoothies. So, well at least in summer, and then in winter, I will try and use bone broth as a base to different things or if I’m not using it as a base to things and I will do, I will be adding it to my like hot drinks and stuff like that just to get it in but it is really beneficial. And I even think like, if you’re a vegetarian for taste reasons, and you’re open to using some collagen or gelatin in your diet, as Kate said, it’s a really good idea because you’re missing out on a lot of those important amino acids. And it can be really thing, a really good thing to add in. I actually think there is a, a post about it at some stage on Chris Kresser’s website about why vegetarians should consider adding gelatin to their diet as well, which I’ll try and find a link to because that went through a lot of the reasons for that as well. So if you’re open to that, I’d highly recommend it. But yeah, I don’t think it’s a difficult thing to incorporate in terms of like looking for a supplement. Is there anything in particular that you look for in a gelatin or collagen supplement Kate? Because I know there are lots on the market and I get asked that sometimes to that. Well, which one is best or like had you, is there anything you should avoid when you’re picking a supplement?

Kate Callaghan 22:27
Yeah, I think we just need to keep in mind what we would usually keep in mind when we’re choosing animal products. So making sure that that animal is appropriately, humanely, ethically raised, so grass-fed beef, ideally organic, ideally free-range, not treated with a lot of hormones, not caged. All of those things that you would keep in mind purchasing general animal products.

Natalie K. Douglas 22:51
Yeah, I agree. And as we mentioned before, make sure you read the label in terms of whether it is gelatin or whether it is collagen, depending on how you want use it. I know Kate, I’m sure you’re the same. I kind of have both I have a gelatin and I have a collagen depending on what I would like to use. So that can be helpful. And there are so many recipes out there for gummies, there’s some on Kate’s website, there’s some on mine. They’re everywhere. So experiment, and they are super easy to make. They’re really good, as Kate said, for kids as well, like having them as little snacks is, is a great idea. And you know, you can actually buy like cookie kind of type things or molds that are different shapes. So in hearts or little bears or stars. And as an adult, I also enjoy making the shapes because it’s just more exciting to eat a star but it is a circle. So, yeah, do that, or if you’re like no, I don’t do shapes or stars, then you can put them in ice cubes, mold, mold, or you can even just put them in like a flat tray and then just cut them into squares if you really are averse to any creative shapes in your mouth. I was so bad.

Kate Callaghan 24:07
Wow. Wow.

Natalie K. Douglas
Oh, no. That’s number two for today.

Kate Callaghan
Explicit.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah. I’m going to have to mark it.

Kate Callaghan
Do you know what? I thought of one more thing that can be helpful for, for people who are. Yeah, you should just meet yourself now, compose yourself, woman.

Natalie K. Douglas
I’m going to do that.

Kate Callaghan
So, for people who are actually trying to lose weight and find that they have issues with satiety and find they have issues with overeating. And they actually have legitimate issues with overeating, not you know, trying to eat an 800 calorie diet, day diet and getting hungry, you’re going to get hungry on that stupidly low amount but if you actually legitimately have issues overeating, then having gelatin and having these gummies can be really beneficial and really help with with satiety. Obviously not the ones made on coconut milk and coconut cream but let’s say if you just did up some raspberries, some awesome kombucha gummy, gummies they can, they can be great. I probably wouldn’t have straight, straight jelly.

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah.

Kate Callaghan
You could but it’d be boring.

Natalie K. Douglas 25:13
Yeah, that’s true. No, that’s actually, that’s a really good idea and a really good point and so much better than like, going for some kind of weight-loss meal replacement bar or anything like that, that’s just really full of processed things. So that’s a good idea. And you know, they’re easy to carry with you, like they’re not like once they’re set, you could put them in your lunch box, and they’ve lost, you know, like the EP, they’re not going to like melt or do like disintegrate as soon as you leave the house or anything like that so you can take them with you. And that’s a good idea to have on hand as Kate said. So I think we’ve gone through most of the benefits and explained everything. If you guys have any questions in relation to anything we’d brought up, brought up, let us know. Otherwise, Kate, was there anything you wanted to flag with people or add before we go?

Kate Callaghan 26:07
If you’re looking to look at your own general collagen production and support your skin and joints and all of the wonderful things that we’ve spoken about. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C in your diet really important for collagen health.

Natalie K. Douglas 26:18
Yes, good tip. Alrighty, well, thank you for putting up with my terrible jokes and inappropriate jokes. The last one was not intentional everybody. I did not mean that. But it’s going to stay in there. And if you guys have any suggestions for topics, let us know. Otherwise, we will speak to you guys in a few weeks. Kate, have a lovely day.

Kate Callaghan
You too, Nat.

Natalie K. Douglas
Bye.

Kate Callaghan
Bye.

Outro 26:46
Thanks for tuning in to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. Remember, we love to make the show relevant to you. So, if you have any questions or topics you’d like to discuss on the show, simply submit them to [email protected] or [email protected] and we’ll get them answered for you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast on iTunes and share it with your friends and family too. Need more personalized nutrition advice? Why not invest in a consultation to accelerate your journey to your optimal health. You can find Nat over at HealthByWholefoods.com.au and Kate at TheHolisticNutritionist.com. See you next time guys.

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