Collagen has been a hot topic in the supplement industry lately with benefits of aiding in bone, joint, and gut health. Collagen has especially been targeted for women to improve the health of their hair, skin, and nails. But what’s the real deal with collagen? Could adding collagen to my routine help increase my chances of conceiving?
In this post we’ll be discussing what collagen is and how it can impact fertility, if it’s safe for you to take collagen while trying to conceive, and some of the benefits of collagen for fertility in both men and women.
Let’s start off with establishing the basics surrounding collagen.
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What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the human body. In fact, collagen makes up approximately 30% of the total proteins found in your body! These proteins play structural roles and contribute to the organization, function, and growth of tissues in the body. Different types of collagen proteins in the body provide unique functions. Some aid in skin formation and elasticity, while others play important roles in growth of tissues and the maintenance of bone health.
There are 28 different types of collagen that are known and not all collagen proteins are created equal. That is why it’s always important to discuss with your healthcare provider before implementing a new supplement into your routine, especially if you and your partner are trying to conceive.
How does collagen affect fertility when trying to conceive?
Collagen is an important component in the growth and management of tissues in the body. The role of collagen is very complex and extensive, but we’ll be focusing on the main things you need to know about its role in fertility and pregnancy.
Collagen is expressed at the uterine level and is directly involved in conception. During the establishment of a successful pregnancy, the endometrium (the innermost lining layer of the uterus) undergoes a series of changes that involves collagen proteins. The cycling of the endometrium requires extensive tissue remodeling in order to prepare the embryo for implantation, and this is where collagen comes into play! In fact, collagen is a vital component not only in the preparation of a successful pregnancy, but also in the development and growth of the fetal environment.
Again, collagen’s basic function is to maintain the structure of tissues and organs. It plays a critical role in organ development, tissue repair, and also can impact the synthesis of hormones that aid in maintaining a normal pregnancy. One review found that at the maternal fetal interface, which is simply a term to describe the mucous membrane that makes up a pregnant uterus, the normal expression and metabolism of collagen is essential for successful development.
Can you take collagen while trying to conceive?
YES! In fact we recommend it (under the supervision of your healthcare provider). Supplementing with collagen while trying to conceive has many benefits. We’ll discuss some of the most important benefits of supplementing with collagen while trying to conceive next. Just read on!
**DISCLAIMER: it is always good to check with your established healthcare provider before implementing any new supplements into your routine. Especially, when trying to conceive or pregnant.**
Benefits of collagen for fertility
As we established earlier, collagen plays an integral role in preparing the uterus for implantation and is necessary for the development of a successful and healthy pregnancy. But what are some notable benefits of taking collagen for fertility?
The biggest takeaway from this blog post is that, say it with me, collagen is involved in the growth and management of tissues, which makes up the entire body!
Collagen helps in maintaining a strong digestive tract and aids in maintaining a healthy stomach lining. In fact collagen is very good for preventing a condition known as “leaky gut”. Leaky gut can occur when there are damages in the barrier lining of your digestive system. This condition can lead to inflammation in the body which can get in the way of your fertility.
Collagen is beneficial to gut health because it contains large amounts of the amino acids glycine, glutamine, and proline which can be beneficial to the intestinal tract as well as the stomach.
Any inflammation in the body can get in the way of your fertility journey. Addressing symptoms such as bloating, gas, stomach cramps, and more to promote a healthier digestive system can help reduce the overall inflammation in the body and more energy can be put towards promoting fertility.
Provides protein, in particular, glycine
As we mentioned above, collagen provides sources of amino acids, glycine, glutamine, and proline.
Proteins are involved in regulatory mechanisms in the body. They’re essential for maintaining metabolism and regulating cell production. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Glycine is one of the more important amino acids and is a major component in collagen. Again collagen makes up most of the proteins in our bodies and therefore our bodies need a sufficient supply of glycine.
Glycine is also one of the 3 amino acids that form glutathione, which is widely distributed in the body. Glutathione, made up of glycine, cysteine, and glutamine, acts as an antioxidant. The body will produce glutathione when needed, however glutathione can be reduced by:
In females, glutathione shields eggs from damage caused by oxidative stress. In other words, egg quality is dependent on this important protein. A deficiency in glutathione may lead to premature ovarian aging. A study also found that for women undergoing IVF, higher levels of glutathione in a woman’s follicle was related to increased fertilization rates. With all these known benefits of glutathione you might be wondering how you can increase glutathione production and absorption.
We now know that glycine is a component of glutathione and that collagen provides an abundance of glycine. Which means that supplementing with collagen could aid in boosting the amount of glycine in the body and when there is enough glycine, glutathione can work efficiently. Not only could an increased intake of collagen aid in glutathione absorption, it also can support egg maturity and development.
Blood sugar regulation
Another added fertility benefit of collagen is that it can help stabilize blood sugar levels due to its glycine content. Glycine positively impacts insulin secretion which can help bring blood sugar back to normal levels.
Maintaining your insulin and blood sugar levels is essential when experiencing infertility. Both directly impact the reproductive system and can hinder ovulation, an important part of a woman’s cycle when trying to conceive.
For more information on the relationship between collagen, glycine, and blood sugar regulation check out our bone broth for fertility blog post.
Collagen and male fertility
Remember that protein we mentioned earlier, glutathione? Well, a deficiency in glutathione affects fertility outcomes in both men and women. A deficiency in glutathione can lead to instability of sperm which can inevitably affect sperm motility. Sperm motility is essential in order for the sperm to reach and fertilize an egg. A decrease in sperm motility can reduce chances of implantation and pregnancy.
Collagen is beneficial for boosting both male and female fertility and overall may increase chances of a healthier reproductive system as a whole.
Two recipes to enjoy collagen while trying to conceive
We have a couple of recipes that we’ve shared in other blog posts containing collagen. Check out our 3 fertility smoothies blog post for some recipes to boost fertility and how you can incorporate collagen into your daily routine.
Collagen is a component in bone broth as well, check out our bone broth for fertility blog post to see some recipes on how you can incorporate collagen in a more savory way.
Check out our suggested tips for incorporating collagen into your fertility routine below.
Collagen Boosted Beverages
One great way to up your intake of collagen is by adding collagen to your drink mixes. You can mix collagen into your coffee drinks, matcha, hot chocolate, and others with little effect on the flavor or texture of the drink!
Check out our Matcha blog post for a step-by-step guide on how to make matcha. If you’re trying to boost your matcha with some added collagen protein, simply add the suggested serving of collagen to the hot water along with the matcha. Once added you can whisk away to make a frothy blend.
With the holiday season fast approaching and winter closing in, it’s hot chocolate season again! You can also add collagen to this warm chocolatey treat for some added protein. Natural cocoa (cacao) has many micronutrients that promote a healthy reproductive system. Some important micronutrients for fertility include:
These nutrients can aid in hormonal balance and maintaining the health of eggs and sperm, it can even increase sperm count! All of these benefits could supplement your fertility along with some added benefits of collagen proteins. Plus it’s a delicious treat for the holiday seasons that you don’t have to feel guilty about! It’s a win-win. Check out our most recent blog post Hot Chocolate in Pregnancy for a delicious recipe on making your own hot chocolate from scratch.
The Best Collagen Supplement while Trying to Conceive
When looking for a collagen supplement to add to your routine while trying to conceive, it’s important that the supplement meets strict quality standards to ensure its safety and effectiveness as a dietary supplement. The below recommended collagen supplements adhere to current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs) mandated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and are void of any added herbs.
Needed’s collagen protein is third party-tested for purity and quality. Not only is it ethically sourced from hides of grass-fed, pasture-raised, hormone-free bovines, they adhere to CGMPs too.
Designed specifically for women’s health, one serving provides 15 g of collagen peptides to support blood sugar balance, bone and joint health, pelvic floor health and more!
With being one of the first collagen peptides on the market, Vital Proteins is well known for meeting quality standards. NSF certified and ConsumerLab approved, it too is third party tested.
Not only does it contain 18g of protein per serving, but the added vitamin C and hyaluronic acid help boost collagen production and absorption too.
Bottom line: collagen and fertility, all you need to know
This is a good time for us to remind you that infertility is a global health problem and is one of the most stressful conditions a couple can endure. Everybody is unique and what works for one will not work for all. It’s very difficult to find an innate cause or reason to infertility, which can be very frustrating and draining. That’s why we’re here to try and help in any way possible and share our knowledge on things you can do to potentially boost your reproductive health.
With any supplement, it is possible to over consume, so it’s important to be mindful of when you’re incorporating a new supplement into your regimen and how much. We’d recommend speaking with your healthcare provider to find out the best approach for you. However on average, it’s recommended to take anywhere between 2.5 to 15 grams of collagen per day.
Collagen is an all around great supplement at any stage of life. It has so many benefits and is an essential protein in the human body. However, collagen can be especially beneficial for fertility in both men and women, and throughout your pregnancy journey. In fact, we recommend starting collagen supplementation while trying to conceive, continuing throughout your pregnancy, and even supplementing with collagen during postpartum. In fact, during the postpartum period, collagen supplementation can aid in skin regeneration and health, repair and healing of the pelvic floor tissues, and help in restoring any postpartum hair loss. For more information on taking collagen while breastfeeding, check out our blog post Collagen While Breastfeeding: All You Need to Know.