Category Archives for Gut Health

Collagen – 7 Benefits That You Must Know About

Collagen is my new favorite thing. I’m totally stoked on it. Wanna know why?!

 

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It can be found in bones, muscles, skin and tendons. You can think of it like the “glue” that holds everything together. It gives skin it’s elasticity and repairs damaged tissues.

 

When collagen production starts to decline, you notice wrinkles, saggy skin and weak cartilage. Aging is a process that contributes to collagen breakdown but other things like sugar consumption, excessive sun exposure and smoking cigarettes can also cause collagen to break down at a faster rate. This is why it’s not only important to consider adding collagen into your body but also to consider the lifestyle factors which may be reducing your collagen levels.
 

Is Collagen The Same As Gelatin?

 
Collagen and gelatin are often used interchangeably. Gelatin is actually derived from collagen. When collagen breaks down it becomes gelatin. You might know about my intense love for bone broth. I just love the stuff. I may be a bit of a broth pusher. Bones contain loads of collagen and when you cook broth, that collagen turns to gelatin. You know that jiggly stuff that look like jello? That’s gelatin. You may think it’s gross but I think it’s beautiful.
 

Why Should You Care About Collagen?

 
Collagen is packed full of amino acids like arginine, glutamine, glycine and proline. These are “nonessential” amino acids which means your body makes them on its own but when you are sick, stressed or unhealthy, your body becomes less efficient at producing these important amino acids.

 

These “nonessential” amino acids are critical to having a healthy body. Without them things don’t run smoothly. For example, proline helps release fat build up in the blood stream. This is crucial for keeping arteries clean maintaining heart health.

 

Glutamine plays a decisive role in keeping the acid-alkaline balance in the body. It is also needed for muscle recovery and keeping the skin firm.

 

Glycine makes sure the cells function properly and builds healthy DNA strands. It also helps create creatinine which boosts muscle production and sustains healthy energy levels

 

Collagen is important stuff. Without it you would be a saggy, floppy, weak, exhausted sorry excuse for a human being. And that’s not sexy!
 

Top 7 Collagen Benefits

 

1. Healthy Skin & Nails

 
I don’t mean to alarm you but as you read this your collagen production is slowly declining! That means you are slowly getting looser skin and more wrinkles. Ark! Taking collagen can help slow this process and keep your skin looking smoother, tighter and more radiant. It can also keep your hair strong and healthy. Extra collagen can enhance cell renewal and repair which means quicker wound and scar healing.
 

2. Joint Repair

 
If you have noticed your body getting stiffer as you age, collagen deficiency may be your problem. Too little collagen can also lead to swollen joints that prevent you from doing all those awesome activities that you love.

 

Ingesting extra collagen can reduce your risk of joint deterioration, bring down joint pain and help your joints glide more easily. There is research that shows that collagen can also help with osteoarthritis.
 

3. Healing Leaky Gut

 
Leaky gut is a condition where the gut is broken down and inflamed. Food, toxins and pathogens can easily move into the bloodstream. The result is ongoing immune reactions that can lead to chronic inflammation, allergies and so many other symptoms.

 

If you suffer from this syndrome, collagen can be super helpful. It is fantastic at repairing and generating gut cells which can heal the damaged lining of the gut and prevent particles from leaking into the blood.

 

Collagen also helps your gut absorb more water which can keep things moving and help you produce that perfect morning poop (you know, the one that is so fabulous that you want to take a picture of it and show it to your friends!
 

4. Boosting Metabolism & Energy Levels

 
You can boost your metabolism by adding extra collagen into your diet. Glycine, a component of collagen, can help move sugar out of the cells to increases energy levels. Glycine also plays a role in muscle development. More collagens equals more muscles! Da beach is dat way!
 

5. Strengthens Nails & Teeth

 
Do you have weak nails that split and peel easily? You may be lacking collagen. Do you have unhealthy teeth that are dull and susceptible to cavities? Again, it could be collagen! Supplementing with collagen can keep your teeth healthy and keep your nails strong.
 

6. Detoxification

 
Detoxification is a process that your body is continually doing. Sometimes the liver absorbs foreign substances that can be damaging. The glycine component of collagen can help minimize damage to your liver. If you’re looking to detox, collagen is extremely helpful. That’s because glycine helps minimize damage to your liver. Since we are constantly being exposed to toxins, no matter where we live in the world, having a well functioning liver is important for overall health and avoiding chronic disease.
 

 7. Reduced Cellulite

 
When skin loses its elasticity as a result of decreased collagen, it can make cellulite more visible. When you lack collagen, your skin becomes thinner and cellulite is more obvious. Taking collagen may be the most important thing for reducing cellulite. Of course, this also needs to be combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Collagen is no magic pill but it can be extremely helpful in ridding yourself of this annoying problem.
 

How To Take Collagen

 
Collagen was a huge component of ancestral diets. Since primitive people ate the whole animal including skin, tendon, ligaments and bones, they were constantly exposed to collagen. These days we stick to boneless muscle meats which means we don’t get nearly as much collagen as our ancestors did.

 

My favorite way to get more collagen is by consuming bone broth. I have an intimate relationship with bone broth. Click here to see my super awesome bone broth recipe. You can use bone broth for cooking or just drink it hot and salted in your favorite mug.

 

Anytime you cook a turkey or a chicken, keep the carcass and turn it into broth. You can also get bones inexpensively from your local butcher.

 

If you want to keep things simple, you can take collagen supplements. It’s important that you get collagen powder from grass-fed, naturally raised cows. Make sure they are free of antibiotics and hormones. Collagen powder is easy to take. It mixes into any liquid (hot or cold) and has no noticeable flavor. I drink collagen every morning in my tea or sometimes in a smoothie.

 

How to Make Nourishing Bone Broth

Bone broth is good stuff. Based on my research, I think bone broth may be the most important thing for optimal digestive function and overall health. Not only is it rich in nutrients and mineral but it’s super cheap and easy to make. You have no excuse not to include this stuff in your daily life!

 

Why is bone broth the shiznat?

 

Bone broth is nutrient dense, easy to digest and it also taste good. The stuff is super high in minerals like, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, silicon, sulphur, and much more. It also contains many healing components such as collagen, praline, glutamine, glucosamine and glycine.

 

The simmering of the bones in water allows these things, which make up the bone, to become infused in the water and bioavailable for you and me to eat. All the nutrients and minerals are amazing for healing the gut, rebuilding tissue, supporting growth and reducing inflammation. As far as I’m concerned, bone broth is an absolute super food.

 

There is no need to spend stupid amounts of money on expensive supplements when you can just have a cup of bone broth every single day.

 

Sally Fallon, founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation, believes the bone broth is not only necessary for adults, but it integral to the proper development of children and pregnant women.

 

The collagen and gelatin in bone broth are the source of the broth’s immune boosting properties. Collagen is a protein which is found in connective tissue. When the collagen is broken down, such as in the simmering of bones, you get gelatin.

 

What is gelatin good for? Dr. Francis Pottenger, a famous researcher, who did experiments with cats and the affects of modern foods on their health and development, found bone broth to be helpful with the following conditions;

• Helps reduce food allergies and intolerance
• Aids in the healing of irritable bowl syndrome, Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis
• Helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and gets rid of cellulite
• Heals leaky gut and gut inflammation
• Promotes tissue growth, especially in pregnant women and children
• Prevents bone loss

 

Bone broth is a staple in traditional diets. It was considered a scared food because our ancestors knew that without proper nutrition, they would not survive. These days, people throw the bones away, often choosing boneless cuts of meat for convenience. Now you know something other people don’t. The bones are the most important part of the animals and you need to get some. The good news is bones are cheap. Since no one else wants them, you can purchase them from the butcher without breaking the bank.

 

If you order your meat in bulk, request to get the bones as well. You can go to any butcher and ask if he/she has some bones you can buy. Keep the chicken carcass when you cook a whole chicken. Order a whole fish and save the bones. Try to have a little store of bones in your freezer at all times. This way you can always have some bone broth on the go.

 

I like to add in veggies when making my bone broth. My advice is to save all the odds and ends when you cut up any vegetables. I usually keep the ends of carrots, onion skins and whatever stuff I would normally throw in the compost. I keep these stuff in a container in the freezer to use when I make a batch. This way you don’t need to spend extra money buying veggies to put in your broth

 

Here is my recipe for delicious and nourishing bone broth.

[yumprint-recipe id=’3′] 

 

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Leaky gut is a disgusting name for a very serious condition. Unfortunately, the medical community is just beginning to recognize it as an actual condition. Because of this, many people are left in the dark, wondering about whether or not they have it. Leaky gut is a common cause of many healthy problems that go beyond gut issues. Acne is one of the symptoms that can find its root in leaky gut syndrome.

 

What is leaky gut?

 

Leaky gut refers to increased intestinal permeability. Basically, the intestine is meant to be selectively permeable. So in the gut are cells called the tight junctions. Tight junctions are cells that act like gate keepers between the intestine and the blood stream. They open up to let certain things through (vitamins, minerals, nutrients) and block out other things (viruses, toxins, pathogens). Having well functioning tight junctions in important. We consume a lot of crap. If it all were to pass the tight junctions into the bloodstream, we would be in serious trouble.

 

Leaky gut syndrome means that the gut inflammed and the tight junctions have either degenerated or have began to malfunction, causing them to be open when they should be closed. Once the tight junctions so not work properly, anything and everything begins to leak into the blood.

 

When things begin to leak into the blood that don’t belong there, you get inflammation. The immune system starts to respond to what they perceive to be invaders.

 

While the immune system is an amazing thing, it is also a very aggressive thing. It takes things seriously. You don’t want the immune system responding more often than it should be. Think of the immune system like an army of warriers, after a battle, the battleground is a mess. The ground is torn up, there are bodies, blood and destruction.

 

Things start to really get nasty when the immune system starts to get over reactive. It gets so used to responding regularly that it starts to go a little haywire and reacts to every small thing.

 

There is a component of inflammation in every single chronic illness. While inflammation is crucial sometimes, it is not something we want to happen constantly. Acne is an inflammatory condition and inflammation in the gut, leads to inflammation on your face.

 

Additionally, most research finds a component of leaky gut in all autoimmune conditions. Autoimmunity refers to a condition when the immune system goes erratic and begins destroying the body’s tissues. Which tissues the immune system decides to attack depends on where your weakest link is and any genetic predispositions.

 

When you have toxins and other substances constantly leaking into the bloodstream, that are not supposed to be there, the immune system can get confused. For example, the protein in gluten resembles thyroid tissue. After the immune cells spend enough time attacking undigested gluten in the bloodstream, they start looking for other things that resemble it. They can start attacking the thyroid and you end up with Hasthimoto’s. This is called molecular mimicry and many believe it is a root cause of autoimmune conditions.

 

What are the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome?

  • Skin problems
  • Resistant weight loss
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Fatigue
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Brain fog
  • Mental illness
  • Heart Failure
  • Depression
  • Bloating
  • Constipation/Diarrhea

 

Because of the importance of the digestive system, symptoms can be wide ranging. It is very common for someone suffering from leaky gut to have no gut symptoms. Symptoms often manifest themselves in the brain as brain fog, depression and other mental illness.

 

What Causes Leaky Gut?

 

There are many theories as to what causes leaky gut, but the three I have consistently come across are gluten, stress, alcohol and food intolerances. All these things have the ability to damage the gut. Anything that damages or breaks down the gut lining can cause the failure of the tight junctions.

 

Gluten can influence leaky gut in a very interesting way. The tight junctions are controlled by the protein, zonulin. When zonulin is released, the tight junctions open. Research has shown that gluten stimulates the production of zonulin, causing tight junctions to open for 4-5 hours after ingesting gluten. This process may occur in all people, even those who are not technically gluten intolerant.

 

How to Treat Leaky Gut?

 

Once of the most important ways to reduce inflammation in the gut may be to reduce or completely remove gluten from the diet. If you decide to go gluten free, make sure to remove it for a minimum of 4 weeks before you decide whether or not it improves your health.

 

Other important factors are going to include reducing stress, avoiding alcohol and uncovering food intolerances.

 

Once you have removed the damaging substances, you can begin to think about healing the gut. The good news is that the cells of the intestine regenerate quickly.

 

Best Things for Healing the Gut

  • Bone broth
  • L-Glutamine
  • N-acetyl Cysteine
  • Colostrom
  • Fermented Foods
  • Fermentable Fibers (yams, yucca, sweet potato, etc.)

 

Gut healing isn’t easy. It can be a lengthy process of removing toxins, testing foods and discovering the underlying cause of inflammation. But it may also be the most significant thing for disease prevention and your future health.