I had my second baby almost nine months ago. Sure, I healed well and fairly quickly, but everyone seemed to be more focused on baby and her development. Was she meeting the appropriate marks at her baby check ups? Was she scheduled for her appointments, immunizations. How is she sleeping? How much is she eating?
Nobody really asked me how I was feeling overall.
I do see a psychiatrist at the Women’s Hospital to kick postpartum depression in the butt, and take care of my mental health. But that is different.
Nobody really asked me if I was eating well, if I was getting enough sleep, if I was getting out to exercise.
I have spent the last few months feeling like I am on autopilot, and in turn, I was losing a ton of weight at a very rapid rate.
Nothing is wrong with me, tests tests and more tests prove that to be true, it is just a fact of being a busy mom on the go and breastfeeding Marlow on demand.
I thought that I was eating well and taking care of myself by continuing to take my prenatal vitamin through this time, I had no idea I could be doing more for myself and my body. I recently discovered Collagen.
I had heard about people taking it before in powder form, adding it to shakes, buying certain beauty products that say they enhance collagen, but I really had no idea what it was all about.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the main structural protein in our bodies. It can be found in our skin, hair, nails, muscles, gut, blood vessels, and connective tissues. Around 30% of the protein inside our bodies is actually collagen.
Our bodies make collagen, however, as we age this production slows down. This can and does lead to wrinkles, skin that sags, brittle hair and nails, hair loss, cellulite, digestion issue, and joint problems.
Lifestyle also affects your body’s ability to produce collagen on its own. If you are a heavy drinker, drug user, smoker, or eat an unhealthy diet, you may notice sags and wrinkles before you think you should. That is because what you choose to put in your body has a large effect on your ability to maintain healthy levels of many proteins essential for keeping your body in tip top shape.
What Does Collagen Do?
It is no secret to anyone that pregnancy and breastfeeding takes a toll on our bodies. That baby needs all the nutrients it can get and they get it straight from mama!
If we as moms do not keep our body filled with enough power foods and nutrients to satisfy our daily needs as well as our growing baby, our bodies will automatically start pulling from our own stores in the bones to give to baby. This can lead to major health issues such as osteoporosis.
It is said that it takes about three years for the female body to recover build up all of the nutritional stores that the body uses during pregnancy and the postpartum period. See article here.
Now I had my babies nine years apart, but many of my friends have them much much closer together than that.
This is why I feel that we need to support our bodies and give them a little extra help during this time. Taking your prenatal vitamin not only during pregnancy, but for the year or two (or three) after. Adding a collagen supplement is also a great idea.
I briefly went in to a few of the benefits of taking a collagen supplement at the beginning of the article. I just want to explain a few of the benefits in a little more depth because I think it will help emphasize how important maintaining collagen levels in your body really is.
During pregnancy I was a “slather-er.” I made my own concoction of body butter (see recipe here) and slathered that baby on like butter day and night. As great as it made my skin feel while it was stretching, I had no idea that stretch marks need to be dealt with from the inside as well.
Taking a collagen supplement will help create new skin cells in your body as well as help get rid of dead skin.
Hair, Skin, and Nails
That glowing complexion, strong nails, and super shiny thick hair that I developed during pregnancy disappeared overnight. I was finding that when I washed my hair, chunks were falling out. My nails wouldn’t grown and I had problem skin that was dull and dry.
Collagen has been essential in me not looking like a bald man.
Boosts Energy & Metabolism
Collagen has been shown to give you a boost of energy because it delivers energy straight to your body’s cells. Energy boost with no hangover? Sign me up!
It also speeds up your metabolism. This is great if you are looking to get back in to the gym or exercise in the postpartum period and shed that baby weight.
Taking collagen during pregnancy has been shown to help the liver detox the body from harmful substances. Pregnancy, childbirth, and healing postpartum is very hard on the body and especially the liver. Taking collagen daily can help support the liver making this a little easier for it.
As a busy mom always on the go, I need all the help I can get. The last thing I need is to pull a muscle or hurt myself in some way that will inhibit me from taking care of my family and home. Because as we all know…
Moms don’t get sick days…
Collagen and Breastfeeding
It is important to know where the collagen you are taking is sourced from. Generally speaking, yes, collagen is safe to ingest during pregnancy as well as breastfeeding.
It is important to choose your products wisely. Your product is only as good as the sources that it comes from.
Do your research, I have a few of my favourite products that I have tried and really enjoy here:
To be honest, after trying these three different mixes – I WAY prefer the unflavoured version compared to the two flavours that I have tried. It makes it so much easier to take each day because I can put it in whatever I want.
Types of Collagen
The first way I would suggest to get more collagen in to your diet is to eat foods that boost collagen production. This is probably the easiest way, as they are probably foods you eat anyways. Here are a few of my favourites:
- Red Peppers
- Sweet Potato
- Bone Broth
Eggs and egg shell membranes are also a great food to eat when wanting to boost collagen production, I just am not a fan of eggs in general so they don’t make my bulleted list.
If you are still wanting to supplement your collagen intake with a powder or pill, there are a few different types to consider.
My recommendation is a Collagen Powder.
Collagen powder is the easiest way to enhance your intake. It doesn’t involve taking any pills, and you can add it to smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal, cookies, yogurt, and pretty much any drink.
Again, my three favourite collagen supplements are:
I am privy to the Marine Collagen. I do drink bone broth, so I get my intake of animal based collagen from that. When I take my supplements I like to change it up and get it from the sea. This is just my personal preference.
Marine Collagen is also great for those that do not eat meat.
Final Thoughts About Collagen
One thing I will note right away is that this is not an overnight fix. It is suggested that you will start to notice results around six to eight weeks of ingesting regularly.
I suggest talking to your doctor before starting any type of supplement if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, just to be on the safe side. I spoke with mine and got the OK as long as I stick within the daily recommended dosage. You will not get faster results by upping your intake. You will actually probably make yourself very sick.
Always store your collagen powder in a cool dark place with the lid done up tightly. This will keep it fresh for longer.
I am interested to know if any of you take collagen on a regular basis. Have you seen results? Share your experience below!