What is Collagen and Why YOU need it

What is Collagen

There has been quite a buzz within the Paleo community recently about collagen. I’m sure you have heard of collagen, and if you are like me you find yourself asking what is collagen? Personally, I did not know exactly what collagen was. I knew it had something to do with skin and cartilage, but that was basically the extent of my knowledge about it. However, always wanting to expand my knowledge, I did a little research. Before I share the official results of our what is collagen quest, I have something to share.

This might anger the Paleo Police but who cares. I have been Paleo for 4 years and the first time I have ever ingested collagen on purpose was when I got Vital Proteins. Gasp!

The truth is my taste buds are picky. I can’t do fish oil gels, some tastes and textures make me gag and other brands of collagen made my stomach cringe. That is why I love Vital Proteins, I can sneak this stuff into all my drinks and trick myself. It works every time which confirms my permanent status as a child.

What is collagen?

Basically, collagen is the glue that holds a body together, and we would quite literally fall apart without it. Between 25 and 33 percent of a person’s body and more than 80 percent of a person’s skin is comprised of collagen. In addition to skin, collagen is found in ligaments, cartilage, tendons, muscles, bone tissue, blood vessels, intervertebral discs, gastrointestinal tract, and the cornea of the eye.

Collagen is the most abundant protein found in humans as well as all vertebrate animals. The protein that makes up collagen contains amino acids that are essential, meaning the body cannot produce them on its own and must be obtained through diet or supplementation, and non-essential, meaning the body can produce them. However, unless a person is in prime health condition, the body has a hard time producing enough non-essential amino acids, in particularly glycine and proline. Therefore, essential and non-essential amino acids have to be obtained through food or dietary supplements to support proper collagen production.

Causes of collagen depletion

  • Age. The amount of collagen in a person’s body declines over time. By age 25, the body starts to deplete collagen at a rate of 1.5% a year. By age 40, collagen is depleted faster than it is produced. By age 60, over half of the body’s collagen has been depleted.
  • Autoimmune disorders. Certain autoimmune disorders cause the body’s immune system to attack and destroy connective tissue and collagen.
  • Smoking. Many of the chemicals in tobacco smoke damages collagen in the skin. Firsthand smoke results in the most damage but even secondhand smoke results in collagen depletion.
  • Sun exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight cause collagen in the skin to break down at an increased rate as well as cause a decrease in collagen production.

How to increase collagen production

  • Protein. There are nine essential amino acids necessary in collagen production that must be obtained through diet and the consumption of animal products, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy (if tolerated).
  • Vitamin C. Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C is it is commonly known, plays an important part in stimulating collagen production as well as protecting the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays. Foods that contain vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli.
  • Gelatin and bone broth. Collagen is naturally found in the skin, bones, and joints of animals and is easily digestible when in the form of gelatin and bone broth. Collagen, when it is cooked, breaks down and becomes gelatin. Mineral and collagen-rich bones, when cooked down, become a gelatin-rich bone broth.
  • Collagen Peptides and Collagen Protein Powder. A convenient-to-use form of collagen that can either gel (collagen protein) or not gel (collagen peptides), depending upon which type is of collagen protein powder is being used.

Benefits of collagen peptide and protein powder supplements

  • Supports skin health. Collagen supplements improve skin elasticity, increase skin moisture levels, and reduce the appearance wrinkles. When applied on the skin, popular collagen creams do not increase collagen within the skin as their molecules are too large and cannot be absorbed. Therefore, collagen supplements must be ingested for any noticeable benefits to occur. Collagen supplements also increase the rate that wounds heal.
  • Supports bone and joint health. Collagen supplements improve bone metabolism and increase bone and mineral density. Collagen supplements also build new collagen, increase joint mobility, strengthen cartilage, and can help relieve some arthritic conditions.
  • Supports digestion and gut-health. Collagen supplements naturally bind to water, which helps to move food through the digestive tract. In addition, the amino acids in collagen supplements supports stomach acid production, which aids in digestion, In addition, collagen supplements help to reduce inflammation of the gut lining, which supports nutrient absorption.
  • Supports weight management. Collagen supplements are high in protein, which creates a satiating effect and leads to a decrease in food intake.
  • Supports strength and endurance performance. Collagen supplements help to maintain and restore protein content in muscles after exercise as well as strengthen connective tissue found in tendons, ligaments, and bones.

If you are still asking yourself the question what is collagen, just bookmark this post and come back to read it whenever you want. After doing all this research, I learned one very important lesson: our bodies need collagen!! Like I shared above, I have to trick myself into eating collagen so here are a few ways you can sneak it in too.

  1. Stir a spoonful into any homemade ice cream recipe.
  2. Add it to your coffee, hot or iced.
  3. Add it to smoothies.
  4. Leave a comment letting others know how you use your collagen!!

**Update** – I have been using the collagen peptides every day mixed in with my drinks. I have 1 teaspoon in the morning with a glass of water, 1 teaspoon post workout and 1 teaspoon before bed. It is absolutely life changing for me using collagen every day. Click here or on the image below to get yours now.

What is Collagen

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DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.  The information provided here was not provided by a doctor and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The contributors who provided this information and everyone involved in operating this website disclaim any liability or responsibility for the results or consequences of any attempt to use or adopt any of the information presented.

****Disclosure: If you purchase any of the products linked in this post or products through the links on the right side of my page, I receive a small percentage from the respected affiliate programs.****


  1. Very satisfied with Vital Proteins collagen peptide. Take 2 scoops daily in my coconut yogourt along with 2 teaspoons of GLA (borage oil) to help prevent wrinkles.

  2. We add it to drinks, sauces along with bone broth, taco beef, stir fries, soups, stews, fruit gelatin gummies and smoothies.

  3. Did you know that collagen (with elastin) is what makes up our connective-tissue system. You actually can boost the health and functioning of your ct system, though manual therapy and self care such as The MELT Method. Some yoga moves, that pull our tissue briefly in two directions, can restore the fluid state of CT. Long-lasting or repetitive compression or tension on our CT causes dehydration in this flexible, fluid scaffolding…but the cool thing is that brief little snippets of compression and/or tension rehydrates it.

    Please check it out, because your readers could be boosting collagen easily. Would boost the efficasy of collagen supplements.

  4. Thanks for the use of the coupon! I love Vital Proteins! I stir it into my tea or coffee every morning. It’s made my hair and nails grow a lot faster and my hair seems to be thicker and healthier too.

  5. Hi George, Just wondering if this deal is for Canadians too and will the delivery be free as well? I love this stuff too but its soooo expensive for Canadians like everything else!
    Thanks, you rock! Caveman – rock, get it!! ;p

    1. The deal works for everyone and they use flat rate USPS for international shipping, I don’t know if that’s you. I would call them, they have excellent customer service

    2. Hi Sylvie, and thank you for your interest in Vital Proteins. The coupon is valid for purchases through our U.S. website. However, the international shipping is not free. When you go to check out, the shipping rate will be calculated for you based on the destination’s address.

  6. I tried this morning to order with the discount code and it accepts the code but does not reduce the price. Is anyone else having this problem with their orders? I tried calling but there is only an answering machine.

    1. We talked to the company, it may be a issue with your browser. If you call during working hours it should be fine or you can try a different web browser. I just checked and the code is working :)

    2. Hi Cari! Thank you for the feedback, as well as your interest in Vital Proteins. You may also try clearing out your cookies. Such experiences may have something to do with cookies, browser settings, and/or use of an older browser. If a different browser is not an option, please know you can place your order and then email us with your Name & Order Number, along with the coupon code CAVESTER20, and we will gladly apply a credit for the 20% OFF. This request can be sent to info@vitalproteins.com, but we hope that will not be necessary.

  7. If I am adding collagen to my smoothies, do I need to add any other kind of protein or will this do it?

  8. I want to try and add collagen to my diet, being able to add it to my coffee sounds fantastic, but I don’t want it to be from animal sources, can I still use the powder?

  9. I’m new to all this info, so just to clarify–if I want to mix it in drinks, I should get the protein powder, but if I want to make foods that gel (gummies, etc.), I want the peptides? Although it sounds like both can be used in drinks. I just want to make sure I’m buying the right kind! Thank you!! And thanks for the great coupon!!

  10. I usually add some collagen to my morning smoothie. I also stir it into a cup of hot tea sometimes as a snack replacement. The protein boost will get me through to the next meal. I haven’t tried this brand, but I keep hearing good things about it. I may have to try it out.

  11. Thanks for the discount code. I’ve been wondering if I should add something like this to supplement my joints for endurance training…I tend to have knee pain due to poor cartilage, so maybe this will help. I appreciate you posting this info and the discount! Have a rad day!

    1. Yes, it is, from what I have read. Some people prefer it to Great Lakes as it is said to have a more neutral taste. Check out Wellness Mama, Delicious Obsessions, and Beverly Myer–On Diet and Health for some other bloggers who use gelatin and have made the switch. My daughter uses it and says it dissolves more easily. I haven’t tried it yet but plan to next time I need gelatin. Hmmm, with this coupon code, I may just need to order now!

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