Health Benefits of Collagen, What the Evidence Shows

A food-based way to heal your intestines, skin, and joints.

Collagen is a very popular supplement right now for improving skin and joint health, and numerous studies support this. Preliminary evidence also suggests it may reduce dysfunction in your gut lining. If you’ve wondered what the research really says about collagen’s impact on your health—and why you might choose marine collagen over bovine collagen—this episode will give you some quick, practical highlights, and options for how to get more in your diet.


Dr. Michael Ruscio, DC: Hi, this is Dr. Ruscio. Any time we can achieve healing with a dietary or food-based intervention, that is clearly a win. Thankfully, collagen shows promise in healing intestinal tissue, joint tissue, skin tissue, and muscle tissue. And I’m happy to announce that we’ve just released a fish-based Marine Collagen. I’ll come back to the importance of why fish is so critical in the sourcing of the collagen in a moment. But don’t worry, there’s no fishy odor or taste.

Now, regarding supplemental collagen, what does the research literature show? It’s very important that we look to the research to help us decide if a given supplement or intervention is something that we should consider undergoing. I’ll put up a short synopsis of what the literature shows to date here on the screen.

[Continue reading below]

Dr. R’s Fast Facts Summary

Benefits of Marine Collagen

  • Improves skin elasticity and moisture
  • Gives joints and muscles support
  • Benefits muscle strength
  • Preliminary data shows collagen is beneficial to the gut decreased in intestinal barrier
  • Can be added to Elemental Heal

What about Mercury

  • There is no concern for mercury in this product
  • Our collagen is tested for Mercury

Hunter-gatherers consumed mainly fish as they moved away from the equator. Most incorrectly assume it was beef.

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Hey guys, this is Dr. Ruscio with a huge favor I’d like to ask you. If you could take 15 to 20 seconds and fill out a survey that we’re running to help us better understand you, our audience, I would deeply, deeply appreciate it. If you’re on the go and you’re just listening to the podcast, the link to the survey is conveniently located in the description on your podcast player. It is also, of course, located in the transcript associated with this sphere if you’re reading this. The direct link to the survey is, it’s DrRuscio.com/survey. It’s super short. Five-ish questions will take you 15 to 20 seconds, but it’s very helpful in allowing me to better understand our audience and better serve you guys. So if you would please take just a moment, it will be very helpful for me and I would really appreciate it.

Again, the link is in the podcast description on your players. It’s also embedded on the website with the transcript post, and it’s directly accessible through DrRuscio.com/survey. Okay. Thanks.

Collagen Research: Skin, Joint & Gut Health

As you can see here, collagen shows benefits to the skin. And these benefits are fairly well established, including human trials showing an anti-aging effect, improving skin elasticity and moisture in three different trials (1, 2, 3). There is also evidence showing that collagen gives your joints and muscles support. There have been a randomized control trial for both osteoarthritis and another for just generalized joint pain, both showing improvement in joint pain and function.

Are you taking your marine collagen? As evidenced by the highest level of research, marine collagen can benefit your skin, joints, and muscle strength. Preliminary research says it’s great for the gut too! Click To Tweet

Remember, randomized controlled trials are one of the highest levels of scientific evidence. Also, a human interventional trial showing benefits for muscle strength.

Continuing here, regarding gut health, there are preliminary data—they are animal data, so we have to be a little bit cautious with how much we extract from this—but we can infer from these results (4, 5) that collagen is beneficial for the gut. There’s one particular study I want to show you (in addition to animal data). I think the most compelling data comes from a human cellular study. So this would be a Petri dish or a cell line study where they found that collagen significantly decreased dysfunction in the intestinal barrier.

We have some good evidence here showing that collagen can support various tissues of the body. I wish there was a bit more evidence showing support for the gut. But certainly, we have some preliminary data there. When combined with the fact that we see—in the studies that have been done—benefits for skin, joints, and muscles, it seems a reasonable inference that collagen could help.

How to Get Enough Collagen in Your Diet

Also, when considering this is essentially a food supplement, I think it’s fairly easy to make a case for at least trialing a supplemental collagen. Especially when we consider, are you getting enough collagen in your diet? Now, the main BundleElementalHealCollagensource of collagen in the diet can really be found in bone broth and/or from gelatin. If you’re making a lot of soups that will essentially cook out collagen and gelatin from the bone and connective tissue, then you’re probably getting a good amount of collagen in your diet. But if you’re like most people, you may not be eating enough of these foods. This is where a simple collagen supplement can really help fill in that gap, when you’re not getting quite enough in dietarily. Again, consider adding collagen to your supplement protocol to help improve gut health, skin health, joint health, and muscle health.

I should mention that collagen can be added to our Elemental Heal powder. For those who are looking to give their gut a break or reset and use our Elemental Heal hypoallergenic meal replacement shake, if you add some of our marine collagen to this, it actually helps give a bit of a creamy consistency to the shake. It’s quite a nice pairing, and it can be safely added.

Now, studies have not tested the FODMAP content of collagen, so we don’t know if it’s low-FODMAP for sure, but it’s most likely going to be low-FODMAP. There certainly seem to be a number of people who are using collagen, who have sensitive digestion, who really benefit from supplementing with it, at least from an anecdotal perspective.

Sponsored Resources

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Why Marine Collagen Over Bovine Collagen?

Another question that may arise here is, why fish-based collagen over beef? This is a great question and something we should definitely expound upon. Up here on the screen, I want to share a very important and impactful study with you from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This is a worldwide assessment of hunter-gatherer diets by Cordain and colleagues, and to quote, “plant food markedly decreases with increasing latitude.” So we know as hunter-gatherers moved away from the equator, they were able to eat fewer plants. Fewer plants would naturally Plant animalsubsistenceratiosandmacronutrientenergyestimationsinworldwidehunter gathererdietsgrow the colder it gets, the farther away from the equator. So “plant food markedly decreases with increasing latitude.” This is the key phrase: “the reduction in plant-food subsistence is replaced by increased subsistence on fished animal foods.” The main food in the diet that increased as our hunter-gatherer ancestors moved away from the equator, north and south to the poles (where it was colder and less plant life was available), was fish.

I fear that many in the ancestral or paleo community are over-consuming beef, grass-fed beef, butter, beef byproducts, beef collagen. It’s not to say beef is bad. I think that’s a conflation on the other end of the spectrum that’s incorrect. Lumping meat in—red meat, beef—with things like processed foods and added sugar and then proclaiming, “Aha, the beef is what’s causing the increased obesity or cancer,” that I disagree with, and that, certainly, I think is an unfair and incorrect conflation. However, it doesn’t change the fact that it seems that many in the community are over-consuming beef-based foods and would do well to MarineCollagenconsider bringing more fish-based foods into their diet, as this study by Cordain so eloquently points out.

And what about mercury? Well, essentially, if you eat the appropriate kind of fish (avoiding fish that are known to be high in mercury like tuna, swordfish, and shark), then the selenium naturally occurring in the fish tends to buffer the effect. Our collagen product is tested to ensure it is devoid of mercury, so there’s no concern with mercury in using this product.

I invite you to try our fish-based Marine Collagen to improve your gut health, skin health, joint health, and muscle health.

What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.

Discussion

I care about answering your questions and sharing my knowledge with you. Leave a comment or connect with me on social media asking any health question you may have and I just might incorporate it into our next listener questions podcast episode just for you!