There’s a very good reason why people say to ‘trust your gut’.
Maintaining a gut that is healthy is extremely important, and when gut health is off, it’s a key signal that your overall wellness might also be askew.
Our gut is an epicentre for microorganisms that are fundamental in ensuring we remain healthy. Together, these microbes function as an ‘extra organ’ in the body.
Our gut’s health has wide ranging implications for our overall well being. Gut health isn’t simply about how we digest food. It's essential for overall wellness, and studies suggest a healthy gut microbiome has benefits from immune support to improved mental health.
While our gut naturally works to maintain a balanced microbiome, there are many ways we can support gut health. Adding collagen supplements into your diet can help play an essential role in helping to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and improve your overall wellness too.
What is gut health?
The human body is home to 100 trillion (1) types of microbiomes, or microorganisms. Scientifically, microbiomes are “collective genomes of microorganisms in a particular environment, and microbiota is the community of micro-organisms themselves” (2). These are a type of bacterium, virus, or fungus that lives within the body, and plays a crucial role in influencing day to day health.
Studies have estimated that there are over 2,172 species (3) of microbiomes that exist within the human body. The highest density of our body's bacteria population is located within our gastrointestinal tract, which includes organs like the mouth, pharynx, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus.
These trillions of microbiomes that live within the gastronomical tract, are referred to collectively as gut microbiota. Gut microbiota itself, is made up of complex and dynamic (3) populations that include both beneficial, and harmful (pathogenic) bacteria. Bacteria belonging to microbiota have the potential to become pathogenic, and compromise the immune system when their growth rate rises above other types of bacteria within the gut (4).
As such, “beneficial” and “pathogenic” bacteria live in symbiosis within our guts. A healthy gut centres around ensuring that this delicate balance of microbiome remains in check.
Why is gut health important?
Despite its microscopic size, our gut microbiome plays a hugely important role in overall health. Gut microbiota helps ferment what is known as “non-digestible substrates” - including dietary fibres and intestinal mucus (4). This in turn “supports the growth of specialist microbes that produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and gases” (4). It’s these short chain fatty acids that then go on to impact other organs within the body and can affect your wellness; a healthy gut microbiome helps improve our wellness, while poor gut health can have negative effects.
Some of the most important roles of gut microbes are in maintaining the integrity of what is known as the “mucosal barrier” (or gut lining), providing the body with necessary vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins, or simply to keep us healthy and protect against pathogens (3). For example, Acetate, a type of SCFA, has been found to influence “cholesterol metabolism and lipogenesis”, which helps to regulate appetite (2).
When gut bacteria become out of balance, pathogens can thrive. At the most extreme, this can cause a host of chronic diseases, ranging from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), type 2 diabetes (T2D), cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancers (5). Low bacterial diversity within the gut has also been linked to issues like:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Eczema (5)
- Anxiety and depression (6)
- Immunity issues (7)
What causes poor gut health?
Scientists agree that the most common causes of gut bacteria imbalance can be linked to an individual’s dietary, environmental, and lifestyle habits. The most common triggers of poor gut health can include:
- Diets lacking in leafy greens
- Diets lacking in fibre (think whole grains and brown carbs)
- Eating too many processed foods such as fast foods
- Taking medications such as antibiotics
- Not getting enough sleep
- Being regularly stressed
- The ageing process
- Other lifestyle factors such as smoking or taking drugs.
What are the symptoms of poor gut health?
Because gut health impacts so many facets of our body, the symptoms of poor gut health can be wide ranging, and differ from individual to individual. Some of the most common symptoms could include:
- An upset stomach including issues like gas, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, and bloating
- Unexpected weight gain or weight loss
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Autoimmune issues such as thyroid problems
- Skin rashes and allergies
- Changes in mood such as feeling depressed or anxious.
How does collagen benefit gut health?
Collagen is a type of structural protein found within the body, and is made up of amino acids. This protein’s main role is to ensure strong and healthy connective tissues in hair, skin, nails, bones, ligaments, cartilage, and more. While collagen supplements are a popular remedy against fighting signs of ageing in skin, adding collagen powder, beef gelatin or bone broth to your diet can also have positive impacts on gut health.
Collagen can help repair gut lining and ease symptoms of leaky gut
When gut microbiota become unbalanced, mucosal lining can be damaged in the process. This leaves us vulnerable to pathogenic bacteria potentially leaking into our bloodstream, known as leaky gut syndrome. Correlations have been made (8) between those who suffer from a leaky gut, to a decreased level of collagen production. Collagen consumption can help strengthen and repair gut lining, helping to protect from potential pathogens infecting the body.
Collagen can help improve digestion
Recent studies conducted have suggested that ingestion of collagen protein may improve mild gut complaints such as bloating and digestive symptoms (9). Because collagen is a hydrophilic molecule, it can move through the GI tract and help breakdown foods. It does this by attaching itself to water and stomach acid, helping food move through more smoothly.
Glutamine found in Collagen supports gut health
The amino acids which are the building blocks of protein such as glutamate, arginine, cysteine, and threonine have been correlated with supporting intestinal health and gut related diseases. Glutamine in particular has been found to support gut health by ensuring a healthy balance of gut microbiomes, increasing the integrity of the intestinal lining, and minimising inflammation in situations of gut mucosal irritation (10).
What are the best collagen supplements for gut health?
When choosing the best collagen supplement for gut health, going with a product that contains the key amino acids associated with gut health is vital. Gelpro’s Collagen Gut Health Powder has been formulated especially to target gut health, relieving issues like abdominal bloating, whilst supporting your gastro system and mucosal membrane health. One of the key ingredients in Gelpro’s Collagen Gut Health Powder is the amino acid glutamine, which has been scientifically proven to aid in reducing the symptoms of abdominal discomfort.
Our Collagen Gut Health Powder was formulated out of need, following one of our founders struggles with leaky gut. After months of collaboration with doctors and naturopaths, Nagib uncovered a formula that not only helped him with his gut lining but also relieved his symptoms associated with an upset gut such as bloating & gas.
At Gelpro, we offer a wide range of sustainably and ethically sourced collagen, wholefood and superfood supplements, such as the Organic Mushroom Superblend, to support your wellness journey. Discover the benefits of our ancestrally inspired daily wellness essentials and shop our products at Gelpro Australia.
- E. Rinninella et al., “What is the Healthy Gut Microbiota Composition? A Changing Ecosystem across Age, Environment, Diet, and Diseases,” Microorganisms, vol. 7, no. 1, 2019.
- A. M Valdes et al., “Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health”, BMJ, vol. 361, 2018.
- Thursby, E. and N. Juge, “Introduction to the human gut microbiota” Biochemical Journal, vol. 474, no. 11, 2017.
- Ribet, D. and P. Cossart, “How bacterial pathogens colonize their hosts and invade deeper tissues,” Microbes and infection, vol. 16, no. 3, 2015.
- R. D. Hills et al., “Gut Microbiome: Profound Implications for Diet and Disease,” Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 7, 2019.
- S. Carpenter, “That Gut Feeling,” Monitor on Psychology, vol. 43, no. 8, 2012.
- Belkaid, Y. and T. W. Hand, “Role of the Microbiota in Immunity and Inflammation,” Review, vol 157, no. 1, 2014.
- I. E. Koutroubakis et al., “Serum laminin and collagen IV in inflammatory bowel disease,” Journal of Clinical Pathology, vol. 56, no. 11, 2003.
- M. Abrahams et al., “Effect of a Daily Collagen Peptide Supplement on Digestive Symptoms in Healthy Women: 2-Phase Mixed Methods Study” JMIR Form Res, vol. 6, no. 5, 2022.
- B. Deters and M. Saleem, “The role of glutamine in supporting gut health and neuropsychiatric factors,” Food Science and Human Wellness, vol. 10, no. 2, 2021.