By Dawna Stone
Senior Vice President
Move over, cream and sugar – I’ll take collagen with my coffee!
Collagen, the most abundant protein in mammals, is taking the health and food industries by storm. Already a staple in beauty products for decades, the protein can now be ingested. The bold idea of adding collagen powder to cuisine and drinks has been around for years, but recent research points to a number of uses including not just skin benefits but also bone quality improvement.
Collagen naturally occurs in the body. Having enough collagen helps maintain the vitality of connective tissue, especially when in tandem with elastin, another structural protein. In fact, the word collagen comes from the Greek word κόλλα (“kola”) which means “glue” – think of it as the glue that binds cells and tissues together. With collagen, the skin, muscles, tendons, even the skeleton and teeth, become more youthful and sturdy. However, the body produces less of it as we age – as such, people need to consume collagen-rich and collagen-enhanced foods.
Collagen powder is a tasteless substance, so adding this hot new “it” supplement to your food and drinks is practically foolproof. Many food products and natural food sources are also rich in collagen, so incorporating it into your diet is not as challenging as it seems.
Some of the best-known benefits include:
Skin elasticity, hydration, and anti-aging – several studies have proved how collagen makes skin smooth, supple, and youthful. MINERVA Research Labs in the United Kingdom published a study called the “Effects of a Nutritional Supplement Containing Collagen Peptides on Skin Elasticity, Hydration and Wrinkles” in 2015, where it was revealed that the combination of hydrolyzed collagen and certain ingredients resulted in a positive effect on skin, including antiaging, hydration, elasticity, and lessened wrinkles.
An even earlier study published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health in 2013, “Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Has Beneficial Effects on Human Skin Physiology: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study,” tested dietary supplements that claimed anti-aging properties on the skin. They found that specific collagen peptides in collagen hydrolysate (CH) also positively affected skin elasticity without any side effects.
Joint pain and inflammation – Another NIH study published in 2015 titled “24-Week Study On The Use Of Collagen Hydrolysate As A Dietary Supplement In Athletes With Activity-Related Joint Pain” revealed the positive effects of CH as a dietary supplement in relation to joint pain. In their study, subjects either belonged to a varsity team or played a club sport. These athletes experienced reduced or eliminated joint pain without negative impact on their athletic performance.
Collagen in Your Cuisine
In recent years, there has been an obvious rise to collagen-enhanced food and drinks. In addition to already collagen-rich foods, other collagen-enhanced products have become more publicly available.
While the body naturally produces collagen, this amount decreases as a person ages. It is one of the reasons people develop wrinkles, sagging skin, and even joint pain as they get older. To encourage collagen production, experts advise ingesting foods like bone broth, berries, sulfur-rich foods like garlic and onions, fish loaded with omega-3s, grass-fed meat, and vegetables–especially leafy greens.
To aid these foods in collagen production, another option is to take supplements or take collagen-enhanced foods and drinks. There are numerous products available in the market today, and some of the most notable ones are:
- Sparkle Collagen Peptide Dietary Supplement
- YANA Daily Collagen Shots
- Reservage’s lineup of collagen products including Bone Broth Boost, Freshwater Collagen Powder, Beauty Shot with collagen peptides, and Collagen Beautè
- Dirtylemon Beauty Elixir
- Primal Kitchen’s lineup of collagen products including their variety of Collagen Protein Bars and their Unflavored Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides
- Vital Proteins lineup of collagen products including flavored Collagen Creamer, Matcha Collagen, and Collagen Sports Greens
Ketogenic creamer brand Know Brainer also recently jumped on the collagen train, announcing their partnership with Nestlé. Through the Terra Food + Ag Tech Accelerator program, a San Francisco-based program, Know Brainer and other companies like Native State Foods, Regrained, and Remedy Organics invested in various research and development (R&D) initiatives.
Collagen + Coffee
Know Brainer and Nestlé have since announced their creamers will now feature added collagen. “Nestlé sees a lot of promise in functional foods and beverages to solve a real consumer need,” Ashlee Adams, Nestlé USA’s Head of Open Innovation, said in an interview. This is just one of many of Nestlé’s investments in the coffee industry.
Through consumer insight, as well as Nestlé’s guidance, Know Brainer developed and will release 10-serving 16-ounce multi-serve package sets. They plan to debut the collagen-rich products, available in full dairy and casein/lactose-free varieties, at the Natural Products Expo West this March.
Even people in Hollywood such as Jennifer Aniston and Busy Phillips have said in interviews that they add collagen to their morning coffee. Many trendy juice shops and cafes are beginning to offer collagen-enhanced drinks as well. One of the best reasons to add collagen to coffee is because its combined makeup allows the body to easily absorb proteins, making the drink even more beneficial.
Stephanie Eckelkamp, a writer at Prevention magazine, tried adding flavorless collagen powder to her coffee. She praised it, saying adding two scoops of collagen to her coffee gave her positive results as well. She tried drinking coffees and smoothies with added collagen for a month, and reported that she stayed full longer, enough to tide her over until lunch rolls around. In addition, she experienced a number of other health benefits like better joints and skin.
One of Ancestralize Me’s holistic nutritionists, Laura Schoenfeld, RD, said heat does not affect collagen’s benefits. As such, using collagen powder or a collagen-enhanced creamer like Know Brainer’s or Vital Proteins’ is completely beneficial. Alternatively, people can add collagen to tea, yogurt, soups, pancakes, salad dressing, or even water with lemon. In fact, as collagen is both odorless and tasteless, and dissolves well in both hot and cold temperatures, people can add it to practically any food or drink.
Senior Vice President
Dawna Stone is the author of seven books, a business owner, certified health coach, motivational speaker, and creator of the 5-Day Detox and the 14-Day Clean-Eating Program. Dawna appears regularly on local and national television. She has appeared on the Today show, Martha, MSNBC, HSN, and morning news programs on NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox. Dawna is a highly sought-after speaker and has done speaking engagements for Chobani, Disney, American Heart Association, Mass Mutual, Wharton Business School, Women’s Entertainment Television, PGA Tour, Super Bowl Leadership Forum, Susan G. Komen, and many more.