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The Benefits of Collagen Peptides for Expecting and Postpartum Mamas

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies-it’s found in our tendons, bones, muscles, skin, gut and even our blood vessels- making up 30 percent of the body’s protein. In fact, there are at least 16 different types of collagen found in the human body. Truthfully, collagen is the basic building block or “glue” that holds our body together. With that said, taking collagen has several beneficial side effects which happen to be even more important during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Is it safe to take collagen peptides while pregnant?
I would always recommend speaking with your doctor regarding your specific health needs while pregnant and nursing before supplementing with anything at all. I am not writing this article to convince you to take supplements, rather explaining the benefits collagen has on the body. With that said, normally, collagen is totally safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding, considering it's a natural protein that's already found in your body. To break it down a bit, it’s important to know that most collagen protein powders contain a concentrated source of the key amino acids that your body needs to build new collagen. These are primarily glycine and proline. Both glycine and proline are considered “conditional” amino acids, which mean if conditions are ideal, our bodies are able to create collagen peptides internally. More commonly, conditions are not ideal due to our fast paced, high stress and sleepless lifestyles, which one may notice more when pregnant. Getting enough collagen while pregnant could be critical because it provides essential proteins that promote optimal health for a growing baby. Here are a few benefits of collagen:
1. Help us heal. After birth, collagen and elastin undergo a rapid breakdown. Collagen can help to rebuild tissues in order for our pelvic floor, abdominal muscles, and uterus to heal. Quick side note: in addition to collagen supplements, getting enough zinc can help reduce the breakdown of collagen in the repairing tissue and therefore help support healing.
2. Help us sleep. Amino acids like glycine may contribute to improving the occasional sleepiness and fatigue and improve overall sleep quality.
3. Support Thyroid health. Thyroid health in women who are pregnant and postpartum is an important topic and is a common issue among moms. Collagen supports thyroid production, can boost your thyroid hormone conversion, and improves your ability to utilize T3, thanks mainly to the amino acids glycine and proline.
4. Support a healthy metabolism and regulate blood sugar. Not only does collagen support a healthy metabolism, it’s critical for a healthy metabolism and steady blood sugar levels.
5. Help heal tummy lining. The amino acids in collagen can help rebuild gut lining, essentially sealing off and repairing areas that are damaged. Since about 70% of our immune system in located in the gut, this will also boost your immune system function, too.
6. Help with joint pain. Many women who are pregnant and women postpartum, experience joint pain and collagen supplementation has been shown to help this.
7.Make your skin radiant (and help with stretch marks). Collagen has amazing benefits to the skin, as well as hair and nails. Collagen peptides are known to show an improvement in skin elasticity, improved appearance of wrinkles,  and helps oxidative stress that occurs with aging and can even reduce cellulite.
How do I start adding collagen into my diet?
The first way to get more collagen into your diet is to eat naturally collagen-rich foods with high protein such as chicken, fish, egg, bone broth and beef. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, eating foods like spirulina (rich in amino acids and nutrients), cucumber, tempeh, chives, beans, cabbage, pumpkin, spinach, kiwi, kale, cauliflower, banana, quinoa, and lentils is a great and effective way to add collagen to your diet.  Another way is to take collagen supplements such as powdered collagen peptides. The powder can come completely odorless and tasteless and it dissolves in pretty much anything. There are a few different types of powders, bovine, marine, chicken and spirulina (for our vegetarians and vegans!) Important note: If you are allergic to shellfish, I would steer clear of the marine collagen for the fact that traces of shellfish may be enclosed.  It is common to take it first thing in the morning, or at night before bed. One side effect to look out for as a woman who is pregnant would be heartburn. Many who are pregnant get heartburn already, so added heartburn is unwelcomed. So, in that case, I would start by taking my collagen in the morning. I stir it in with my tea, juice; add it to my pancakes, and so much more.
Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies produce less collagen due to toxins in our food, diet and what we consume and it leads to wrinkles, saggy skin, digestion issues, brittle hair and nails, cellulite,  and joint pain. Taking collagen supplements can have a number of positive side effects–it improves your skin’s appearance, reduces joint pain, helps break down proteins and soothes your stomach’s lining, increases your metabolism, strengthens teeth, nails and hair, helps your body detox and reduces the appearance of cellulite. Regardless if you feel comfortable or not taking collagen, eating an assortment of colorful fruits and veggies, as well as a healthy amount of proteins that contain collagen are great way to nourish your ever-changing body as well as the little one growing inside of you.

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