Collagen in Intermittent Fasting: What About It?
Intermittent fasting is a diet plan where an individual follows a strict schedule of switching between fasting and eating. Intermittent fasting is followed by many in order to lose weight or improve their health and lifestyle as it is proven to have positive metabolic effects on the body.
Collagen has become a controversial topic when it comes to intermittent fasting. Unfortunately, experts say that, technically, yes, it does break a fast because it is worth 20-30 calories and intaking calories is believed to break a fast. However, despite that, it does have its benefits.
In this article, collagen’s properties, where it’s from, and how it’s used will be discussed and probed. How it affects intermittent fasting will also be tackled.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It can be found all over the body including the bones, muscles, tendons, skin, and even blood vessels as it is a major building block. They provide support and structure in the body.
Studies show that collagen improves skin, joint, and heart health. It is even used by bodybuilders for building muscle mass. Collagen is also used for cosmetic surgery, reconstructive surgery, and other scientific research involving cell structure.
Types of Collagen in The Body
There are about 16 types of collagen in the human body with 80-90% consisting of types I, II, and III with type IV forming a two-dimensional reticulum. These collagen fibers help withstand stretch.
- Type I is made up of densely packed fibers and have great tensile strength. This type is found in skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth. They can be stretched without being broken and studies say that type I is stronger than steel.
- Type II is the major collagen in cartilage. They are found in between joints and are made of loosely packed fibers that absorb shock.
- Type III is found to provide structure in muscles, organs, and arteries.
- Type IV helps with filtration found in the layers of your skin.
Collagen as Supplements
As we age the quantity of collagen produced in the body decreases. That is why, recently, collagen has become a nutritional supplement and ingredient in shampoos, lotions, and other body care products.
Collagen supplements are not vegan as they are sourced from animals such as pigs, cows, and fish. They undergo hydrolysis which means collagen is broken down into peptides. As peptides, they are easier for the body to absorb and use.
Collagen supplements can either come as tablets, capsules, or powder. There are also three main forms of collagen which are:
- Hydrolyzed collagen
This is also known as collagen peptides and in this form they have already been broken down to become small protein fragments called amino acids. Hydrolyzed collagen is the most easily absorbed form of collagen by the body.
Gelatin is the degraded form of collagen. In comparison, they contain the same amount of amino acids. However, gelatin only dissolves in hot liquid and is usually used for cooking.
This is the undenatured form of collagen.
What is in a Collagen Supplement?
As we have learned earlier, collagen is the most abundant protein in the body which is made up of amino acids. It specifically contains Glycine, Proline, Hydroxyproline and Arginine.
Glycine is the main amino acid in collagen. It is used to create protein which is needed for the growth of tissues and for the production of hormones and antioxidants.
Proline is involved in the process of protein synthesis and metabolism. They are very important elements in the life cycle.
This is a derivative of proline. Hydroxyproline is the metabolite of proline. It plays a key role in the stability of collagen compound and in the production of glycine, pyruvate, and glucose.
Also known as L-arginine, this amino acid is essential for wound healing, maintaining immune and hormone functions, and helps dilate the arteries. Arginine also helps the kidney remove waste products from the body.
Benefits of Collagen
There are multiple types of collagen with different roles in the body. Listed below are the benefits of adding collagen to your diet:
- Collagen improves the skin’s health as it increases elasticity resulting in better skin appearance.
- Collagen aids in joint pain as it improves joint lubrication and strengthens bones.
- Collagen improves muscle mass build up during working out as it is a protein and a muscle building block.
- Collagen is also shown to reduce risks of heart diseases as it strengthens your blood vessels.
Collagen in Fasting
Collagen is very controversial in relation to intermittent fasting. Technically, it does break your fast. Strict intermittent fasting does not allow an individual to take in calories no matter how little.
Listed below are the effects of collagen in the following intermittent fasting benefits:
- Intermittent fasting for weight loss benefits
Collagen powder mixed in coffee has about 30 calories only. Comparing that amount of calories to the amount of calories you will intake when eating breakfast, be it a bagel or a full on meal, you are still winning.
Replacing a 600-1000 calories worth of breakfast with a 30 calorie worth of drink will still result in weight loss in the long run. Having coffee with collagen powder in the morning will even help you suppress appetite more.
- Intermittent fasting for digestive health or gut rest
Collagen has great benefits for gut health and even though gut rest will be halted when you intake collagen powder in the morning, its benefits will most likely outweigh the benefits of gut rest. This is unless full gut rest is required for strict diets such as during treatment for gut related disorders.
- Intermittent fasting for autophagy
Autophagy is the body’s natural process of removing damaged cells and replacing it with newer, healthier ones. This process occurs during fasting. The effects of collagen in autophagy is still unknown. There are still no studies that can tell whether collagen can stop autophagy.
As long as your collagen intake does not spike up your blood glucose level, there is no need to worry about it breaking your fast. Eating the last meal of the day at 8:00 PM and having coffee with collagen at 8:00 AM the next day already allows an individual to fast for 12 hours. That alone already gives the benefits of intermittent fasting.
Collagen supplements have long term benefits as well and, with that, an individual should be able to take it whenever they want to. If weight loss is the reason behind intermittent fasting, the diet should be all about how much calorie you take in during the eating phase and how much calorie you burn throughout the day. With that being said, the benefits of collagen outweighs the benefits of fasting in weight loss.