The Collagen And Thyroid Health Connection
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Thyroid disease is not rare. In fact, there are an estimated 20 million Americans who suffer from thyroid disease. On top of that, 60 percent of them are not aware they have it. Furthermore, women are 5-8 times more likely to have thyroid problems and one in 8 will develop a thyroid disorder in her life. Is there a connection between collagen and thyroid health?
Let's examine that question in more detail...
We recommend consulting with your healthcare professional before starting any supplement--especially if you are experiencing thyroid problems.
What body system is the thyroid in?
Your thyroid, located in the front of your neck, resides in the endocrine body system and is a mighty powerhouse that drives vital bodily functions.
Actually, the thyroid controls your body's metabolism and hormone levels.. For example, it controls how fast you burn calories and the rate of your heartbeat.
In addition to controlling the metabolism and hormone levels in your body, the thyroid also regulates these functions:
Interestingly, the causes of thyroid problems are generally not known.
How does the thyroid work?
In general, the thyroid gland uses iodine from food to produce two main hormones:
- Triiodothyronine (T3)
- Thyroxine (T4)
There are two other glands in the brain, the hypothalamus and pituitary, that maintain the optimal T3 and T4 balance.
When an imbalance between T3 and T4 occurs, that's when symptoms start to appear:
- Hyperthroidism: Too much T3 or T4, symptoms include anxiety, irritability, nervousness, hyperactivity, hair loss or light or missed periods.
- Graves' disease: type of hyperthyroidism, a genetic autoimmune disorder, affects approximately 1 percent of the population
- Hypothroidism: Too little T3 or T4, symptoms include trouble sleeping, fatigue, dry skin and hair, depression, frequent and heavy periods or joint and muscle pain.
- Hashimoto’s: Where the thyroid gland is attacked by the own body's immune system
The Benefits of Collagen
Now that we have a good understanding of the thyroid gland, let's switch our focus over to collagen and thyroid health.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and appears pretty much everywhere in the body including the skin, hair, nails, cartilage between joints, gut, muscles, blood vessels, bone and eyes to name a few.
The normal fact of life is once you approach your late 20s, your body doesn't make as much new collagen. That leads to a collagen deficiency.
A collagen deficiency requires the body to work harder and leads to symptoms such as wrinkles, joint pain, small muscles, weak bones, poor wound healing and gut challenges.
Often, we're not getting the amount of collagen we need on daily basis from our food sources. Could that be harmful to thyroid health?
Benefits of collagen supplements
In the past 10 years, collagen supplements have exploded onto the anti-aging and health and wellness scenes. That's because there are studies that provide the link between using a collagen supplement and health benefits.
For example, collagen peptides can help aid the body in healing from the inside out, regulate sugar levels, boost metabolism and support weight loss.
It's known as an anti-inflammatory and has gut-healing properties. Collagen supplements can also encourage better sleep and improved mood.
In fact, hydrolyzed collagen powder can allow you to enjoy a protein-rich diet without doing harm to your thyroid.
5 Ways Collagen and Thyroid Health are Related
Here are 5 ways that collagen and thyroid health are connected:
1. Collagen supplements help regulate other proteins
If you rely on getting protein from eating meat, you'll want to know meat and poultry are high in the amino acids tryptophan and cysteine. These amino acids have the ability to affect other hormones that actually may hurt thyroid health.
The good news is that collagen protein powder doesn't contain tryptophan (which makes it an incomplete protein) and is naturally low in cysteine.
By using a collagen supplement to your daily routine, you'll get the benefits of collagen and thyroid health without taking in too much tryptophan and cysteine.
2. Supports a reduction in cortisol
Speaking of amino acids, collagen protein is high in the amino acid glycine. Glycine is known to help reduce the body-harming effects of the stress-producing hormone known as cortisol.
Among other negative effects, cortisol can block your liver from effectively converting T4 into T3 that your cells require.
Therefore, supplementing your diet with hydrolyzed protein supplements can boost your liver's ability to lower cortisol in your blood and better convert T4 into T3.
3. Helps lower endotoxins
Endotoxins are the result of an overabundance of bacterial overgrowth in your small intestine that can escape into other parts of your body.
We return back to the fact that collagen contains a high concentration of glycine. Glycine can help your liver fight the harmful effects of endotoxins, which, in turn, helps the thyroid regulate hormones more evenly and effectively.
4. Supports the regulation of blood sugar
To maintain a healthy thyroid, it's important to eat enough carbohydrates in your diet but not too much as they can cause wide swings in sugar levels.
In fact, it's these wide swings in sugar levels that can also cause weight gain and diabetes.
Glycine, heavily concentrated in collagen protein, helps your thyroid gland keep blood sugar steady. If you don't have enough glycine, your bloods sugar levels are more prone to wide fluctuations.
Adding collagen for thyroid health can help regulate the affects of carbohydrates on your blood sugar and your thyroid gland.
5. Helps your body use T3 more efficiently
Overall, it's not enough that your body produces the correct amounts of T3 and T4 hormones from your thyroid.
For example, in hypothyroidism, flooding of free fatty acids into the blood prevents your cells from using the thyroid hormone (T3) efficiently.
The good news is collagen has been shown to slow down or stop the release of these free fatty acids into your body.
Approximately 20 million Americans suffer from some form of thyroid disease and many don't even know they have a problem!
The thyroid gland, part of the endocrine system, sits in the lower part of the neck, regulates metabolism and sends out vital hormones to the rest of your body.
Because the average American diet doesn't contain enough collagen protein, there is evidence that adding a collagen protein supplement may help support your thyroid to function normally and optimally.
Today, it's easy to add collagen supplements and bone broth to your daily routine and keep your body operating at a high level.
What should I look for when choosing a collagen supplement?
First, you are not limited to taking collagen peptides in powder form. Although easy to add to liquids and foods, you may prefer a different way to take your collagen supplement.
You can also get high-quality collagen in pill form, liquid form, bone broth, coffee creamer, coffee and even in protein bars.
As we mentioned, collagen protein supplements can come from multiple sources. Actually, most common supplements are derived from bovine (cow/cattle), chicken and marine (fish) sources.
Each of these sources has different collagen type make-ups that target different areas of the body. For example, marine collagen is known for it's anti-aging, skin-enhancing abilities.
Get all sources of collagen protein in one convenient product--we have reviewed the best multi collagen peptides powders, so check out that article too.
Are there side effects of taking a collagen supplement?
In general, collagen supplements do not create negative or harmful side effects. Most people can tolerate collagen supplements and/or bone broth well.
If you are one of the few who might have side effects, you would probably experience:
- An uncomfortable bloated feeling
- A bad taste in the mouth
- An Allergic reaction to collagen source (fish, beef, chicken)
If you start to use hydrolyzed collagen powder and supplements and experience any of these symptoms, you can also look at vegan collagen-boosting supplements instead.
How else can I get more collagen into my diet?
In addition to powder, liquid or pill versions of collagen, you can also get collagen protein through these food sources:
- Homemade or store-bought broth (from gelatinous meats/bones)
- Pork Rinds (skins)
- Head Cheese
- Pig Feet
- Chicken Feet
- Gelatin Deserts (Jello)
- Veal (Osso Buco)
Can I take collagen supplements with thyroid medication?
If you are taking thyroid medication, you'll want to consult with your health care professional before starting any new supplement.
It should be noted you'll want to establish a routine that allows for maximum absorption of your thyroid medication.
In fact, your physician will probably advise you to take your thyroid pill on an empty stomach and wait at least one hour before eating or taking a supplement.
Finally, anyone will receive the maximum benefits of a collagen supplement consistently using it over the long term.
How can I help my thyroid with collagen if I'm vegan?
Instead of taking animal-derived collagen peptides, you can change your approach by using a supplement that provides what your body needs to boost your own collagen production.
By combining the amino acids that are prevalent in collagen, and adding in vitamin C and other minerals, this formula can help your body create its own protein.
Finally, you may also benefit from taking a glycine supplement.