The Healing Glue: Collagen, A Super-nutrient With Restorative Powers
As someone who’s been slapped with a series of health issues and imbalances over the last five years, I’m always on the lookout for safe, non-invasive treatments and supplementations to incorporate into my wellness program. Collagen peptides hydrolysate has made it into my protocol given its myriad healing powers, most notably for me: gut rebuilding and better sleep, as I’ve battled with intestinal permeability, gut dysbiosis and chronic insomnia for many years. But collagen peptides, which are short chain amino acids derived from pasture-raised, grass-fed collagen protein, has an impressive array of therapeutic properties.
Collagen is the lynchpin protein in the body and in all connective tissue; it’s everywhere – in our bones, joints, cartilage and of course skin and nails. Our skin and bones are predominantly comprised of cartilage, which declines as we age, which is why we see collagen peptides or gelatin integrated into comprehensive anti-aging programs. It is also incorporated in muscle healing and repair regimens because it promotes a healthy response to inflammation that is triggered by overexertion or even help with gradually overcoming muscle atrophy.
I’ve predominantly resorted to collagen peptides due to its gut healing capacities. The 18 amino acids in collagen help increase gastric acid secretion, which aids with digestion, especially for someone like me with gut dysbiosis and dealing with low hydrochloric acid secretion. Hydrolyzed collagen is additionally easily digestible, helps with the breakdown of both protein and carbs and helps protect the gut lining by virtue of the copious amounts of the amino acids glycine, lysine and proline.
Glycine, moreover, is also amazing because it promotes more restful sleep, which is why consuming collagen a few hours before bedtime – when digestion slows down even further – will be a smart move so as to deal with both issues. This is especially the case if you have adrenal fatigue, which is aggravated by restless sleeping patterns, and which is usually closely tied to a leaky gut. Meanwhile, the glutamine in collagen is widely used to help rebuild the intestinal wall for people with intestinal permeability and autoimmune diseases, hence collagen peptides are now being heavily prescribed by functional nutritionists and nutritional therapy practitioners, many of whom swear by it for both healthy thyroid function and balanced hormones.
Below I share my recipe for quality protein rich, healing collagen balls, made with Vital Proteins collagen peptides, which are sourced from pasture-raised, grass-fed bovine hides. These allergen friendly paleo mouthfuls are free from grains, dairy and nuts. For the macronutrient counters, there are around six grams of protein in a tablespoon of collagen peptides.
Pumpkin collagen balls
- Nine tablespoons pumpkin (or sunflower) butter*
- Four tablespoons coconut butter
- One quarter cup coconut shreds
- One quarter cup white mulberries
- One and half scoops of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
- Two teaspoons Lucuma powder or Palmyra nectar powder
- One teaspoon vanilla extract
- Beetroot powder, carob powder and coconut shreds for coating
- In a stainless steel bowl, mix all ingredients together, stirring until you have a homogenous mixture.
- Roll the mixture into small balls.
- The mixture should render 14 balls. Coat them in beetroot powder, carob powder, coconut shreds or coating of choice.
- Store in the fridge.
*To make one cup of pumpkin or sunflower butter, toast one and half cups of raw pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for 10 to 12 minutes, at 150 degrees Celsius. When the seeds have slightly cooled, grind them to flour in your food processor. Then add six tablespoons of melted coconut oil and pulse until the mixture butters.