Nutrients that would otherwise be properly digested and absorbed are able to escape the intestinal lining causing our bodies to get out of equilibrium and not have the proper nutrients for health. For me, Celiac disease caused me to experience extreme anemia since iron was leaking out of my intestines. I found myself on the couch with mental ‘fuzziness,’ blackouts and the inability to walk more than ten minutes.
After experiencing extreme gut issues, I now know the health of our gut truly impacts the quality of our life, physically and emotionally.
Collagen is the most abundant fibrous protein in the body. It is responsible for providing the scaffolding matrix upon which complex biological structures are supported. (2) So it’s not surprising that collagen is a major constituent of the connective tissue that lines your gut.
Using animals and digestive cells, scientific studies documenting the impact of collagen for improved gut health are relatively recent and limited yet are starting to support that collagen helps heal, seal and repair the gut lining (3).
Recent studies found correlations between marine collagen intake and abundant gut bacteria. One study found dietary collagen protein could increase short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production. Increasing SCFA production in the gut is beneficial since increasing gut bacterial abundance is associated with SCFA metabolism (4,5). As a result, the healthy microbiome gets rebuilt and strengthened, improving the lining of our gut (4). It’s not proven yet in scientific studies, but if collagen helps to support gut wall integrity then it can help mitigate nutrient loss due to impaired gut function.
In the above study for gut health, marine collagen (specifically derived from fish skin) was found to be more effective over bovine and porcine since it has a lower molecular weight (smallest peptide size) than bovine, and as a result is more bioavailable (4,5).
Hopefully there will be more scientific studies coming out to detail how collagen - and marine collagen especially - supports gut health and what is the recommended amount of marine collagen needed for optimal gut health.
1) Gut microbe drives autoimmunity: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/gut-microbe-drives-autoimmunity
2) Biologically Inspired and Biomolecular Materials: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/chemistry/pro-hyp
3) Collagen peptides ameliorate intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction in immunostimulatory Caco-2 cell monolayers via enhancing tight junctions: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28914450/
4) Changes in composition and content of food-derived peptide in human blood after daily ingestion of collagen hydrolysate for 4 weeks: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28914450/
5) Effect of a high-collagen peptide diet on the gut microbiota and short-chain fatty acid metabolism: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464620305028