The Benefits of Collagen with
Dr. Tiffany Lester
It seems as if collagen is showing up everywhere, finding its way into products that now line wellness, supplement and beauty retail shelves. The science shows that the benefits of collagen supplementation include improved skin elasticity and hair, nail and bone strength. But there’s more. I was surprised to learn that Vital Proteins was actually developed to support the joint health of its Founder, Kurt Seidensticker, an avid runner, and not to support healthy skin and hair, which I assumed. Recently, I was having tea with Dr. Tiffany Lester, Medical Director of Parsley Health in San Francisco, and I was curious about her perspective about the benefits of collagen. When I asked her if she took collagen supplements or recommended them to her patients, she responded by pulling out a Vital Proteins collagen packet from her purse, and I got my answer. She explained, “The benefits of collagen protein have been shown to repair intestinal permeability and reduce anxiety, both common conditions I treat in my medical practice. It is also an excellent substitute for my patients that are super sensitive to plant-based protein powders on the market. I like Vital Proteins because they source from grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle and have a marine collagen option for pescatarians.”
If you are wondering how much collagen you need to take each day to experience results, the short answer is about 20 grams. The goal is to get 15 grams of glycine, the specific amino acid responsible for keeping skin and joints flexible, firm and in good health. Below is an except from my interview with Dr. Tiffany Lester on the benefits of collagen and why we should be incorporating collagen into our daily routine, and why she chooses Vital Proteins.
Who is a collagen supplement good for? What kinds of health benefits does an increase in collagen intake have on our overall wellness?
Collagen is literally the “glue” that holds our tissues together including our bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, and digestive system. And it is the most abundant protein in our bodies. Around age 35, our natural collagen stores begin to decrease which may lead to achy joints and poor digestion. In addition, genetics, smoking, a high sugar diet, excessive alcohol intake, and environmental factors can also speed the natural decline in collagen levels in our bodies.
Collagen can supplement an existing healthy diet to possibly reduce anxiety, boost metabolism, reduce joint pain, and heal leaky gut. Collagen is also rich in amino acids which are essential for most of our bodies metabolic processes.
How long have you been taking Vital Proteins, and why is it your preferred source of collagen?
I’ve personally been using Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides for the last two years on an almost daily basis. Despite the fact that Vital Proteins has expanded their product line, I’m sort of a purist so this one is a staple in my pantry. Any item that I choose to supplement my plant-based, whole foods diet with also needs to meet certain standards. Vital Proteins is transparent about their sourcing and easy to use. I also love that it comes in different forms and packaging to support different lifestyles.
How much collagen do you recommend your patients take per day, or per week?
It depends on what medical conditions I am are treating. I typically recommend 10-20 grams per day. However, it’s more about consistency and longevity. For example, if someone has severe joint pain, it may take 4 months for them to notice an improvement vs. taking for aging skin which may only take 1 month.
How consistently do we need to take collagen to get the benefits?
Ideally you are taking it at least 5 days a week or daily for 3-6 months to reap the full benefits of collagen.
What are your favorite ways to incorporate Vital Proteins into your lifestyle?
While I have a big jar at home that I use for my morning matcha latte, the single use packets are a travel staple of mine. I have a sensitive stomach and am predisposed towards gut dysfunction when I travel or get super stressed. One of the benefits of collagen is to support a healthy gut so it’s key to keeping my system balanced.