Bovine Collagen for Gut Health
Bovine collagen has many benefits, including reduced skin aging, better bone health, and improved joint pain. But is it any good for gut health?
If you’re wondering how bovine collagen can impact your tummy symptoms, this article will guide you through the relationship between bovine collagen and gut health!
What is bovine collagen?
Bovine collagen is a protein derived from cows. Our bodies are naturally replete with collagen, which provides structural support to various tissues like the bone, blood vessels, hair, skin, intestines, and organs like the liver and heart.
You can think of collagen as the body’s cement — it holds together different structures, giving them strength and flexibility.
But as we age, the natural collagen in our bodies begins to dwindle down, and this has various manifestations such as skin wrinkles and painful joints.
Collagen from outside sources (such as bovine collagen) helps by counteracting this decrease in the body's natural collagen, treating associated symptoms and maintaining the overall health and structural integrity of various tissues.
Is bovine collagen good for gut health?
Yes, bovine collagen helps fight “leaky gut”, which is a relatively new term (so don’t get alarmed if your doctor doesn’t recognize the term).
How bovine collagen fights leaky gut
Your gut is a long tube that is lined by millions of cells. These cells are tightly connected to each other, which keeps unwanted substances from seeping in and entering the bloodstream. Part of what keeps the gut lining leak-proof is collagen, and when it gets disrupted, you get a leaky gut.
The cause behind a leaky gut is not fully understood. Some believe certain individuals are genetically predisposed to the condition, while others think the modern diet (which is low in fiber and high in fats) as well as increased alcohol consumption and stress are to blame. And both theories are likely to be partially correct.
But whatever the cause, a leaky gut has been shown to play a role in several gut conditions. Some of the well-known ones include inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and Celiac disease (also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy).
Other (less intuitive) conditions have also been associated with a leaky gut. These include arthritis, allergies, asthma, acne, diabetes, and mental illness. However, we’re not sure whether a leaky gut causes these conditions or is simply an association.
Nonetheless, by replacing the “cement” between cells, bovine collagen helps minimize the disruption that dietary and genetic factors might cause to the gut lining. This stops the development of a leaky gut and reduces the risk of the conditions associated with it.
Other gut benefits of bovine collagen
Other benefits of bovine collagen include an overall healing effect on the gut as well as supply of important amino acids.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and since collagen is a large protein, it’s a good source of amino acids for the gut. One of these is glycine, which helps the stomach produce acid. Stomach acid is not only necessary for effective digestion, but it also kills nasty bugs (like cholera) and saves you from infection.
Bovine and marine collagen — which is better for gut health?
Bovine collagen is better for gut health because it has a greater proportion of type III collagen compared to marine collagen.
Our bodies have four types of collagen. These are (aptly) named collagen type I, II, III, and IV. They vary slightly in their physical properties and different types are concentrated in different areas of the body. For example, bone is full of type I collagen while cartilage is mainly made of type II collagen.
And because the gut has a greater proportion of type III collagen, bovine collagen is the type that’s more beneficial for it. However, this doesn’t mean that marine collagen has no role in improving gut health — there’s considerable overlap between bovine and marine collagen and you can expect more or less the same benefits from each.
But you should know that bovine collagen is slightly cheaper than the other type. So if you’re on a budget (and want improved gut health), bovine collagen is the way to go.
Which type of bovine collagen is good for gut health?
Bovine collagen supplements come in two types — gelatin and hydrolyzed collagen.
Gelatin is basically the cooked form of the protein and causes liquids to gel. This property makes it useful in thickening up liquids, so it’s usually used in preparing gummies, custards, desserts, and soups.
Hydrolyzed collagen peptides (also known as hydrolysate) is collagen that has been broken down into smaller pieces, making it easier for the gut to absorb it. Hydrolyzed collagen is also easy to dissolve in liquids, which makes it a good option to add to your coffee (or other beverages).
Both gelatin and hydrolyzed collagen are equally beneficial for gut health. However, because hydrolyzed collagen is easier for your gut to absorb, this might be the better option if you’re suffering from digestive problems.
And because gelatin collagen causes liquid to gel, it might cause bloating in some people. If you have diseases like lactose intolerance or celiac disease — where you already suffer from significant bloating — gelatin collagen will not be suitable for you.
How to use bovine collagen for gut health?
How you can use bovine collagen for gut problems really depends on the form you’ve bought. Currently, there is no recommended dosage for the supplement, and it’s considered generally safe.
For example, if you’re using the hydrolyzed form, you can easily add it to a beverage. You can also use this form as a pill or add it as a powder to fruits, muffins, and guacamole.
On the other hand, if you want something sweeter, consider using the gelatin form to make a custard!
Now you know the benefits of bovine collagen for gut health!
Remember, collagen is a natural part of our gut, and bovine collagen just adds an extra layer of integrity to our intestines, reducing the chance of a leaky gut and all the problems that come with it.
Compared to marine collagen, bovine collagen is the better collagen supplement for gut health because it has a greater amount of type III collagen.
Finally, if you already have gut symptoms — such as bloating — consider using the hydrolyzed form of bovine collagen because gelatin can make your symptoms worse!
Casa de Sante's Low FODMAP Grass-fed Collagen Peptides for IBS & SIBO, Non-GMO, Keto & Paleo is an effective collagen supplement for digestive problems and leaky gut.
Medically Reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD PhD