Is Collagen good for Kids?
Collagen is not only good for kids, but it’s good for everyone. But, let’s first try to delineate collagen vs collagen supplement first.
When many people think of collagen, they think of supplements and simply the plastic container filled with powder that sits in their pantry. These supplement containers are filled with collagen, no doubt. However, parents should start thinking of collagen as the most abundant protein in our bodies that will help kids flourish as their entire bodies grow. For those new to collagen, I’d recommend starting with what is collagen?
Collagen should be thought of and looked at as food.
Collagen is so important that NY Times bestseller, Dr. Cate, M.D., suggests collagen is a missing food group in her groundbreaking book, Deep Nutrition.
Here’s the point I’m trying to make here. Collagen is good for kids because it’s a critical protein with compounds found nowhere else in the edible world. Everyone (including kids) needs collagen for the body to function, grow, and repair. And you can feed your body collagen with food (more on this below) and supplements.
Can a child take Collagen?
Most children can eat collagen found in collagen-rich foods because collagen is simply amino acids — the building blocks of proteins. Guess what protein makes up 1/3 of the overall protein in the human body? Collagen. It is everywhere, already, in our bodies — a key reason why you can take collagen at any age.
Remember, collagen is food. Guess what’s in Grandma’s homemade chicken noodle soup she makes when little Danny is sick? If homemade with stock from chicken bones (not the cheap-out-of-the-can soup), it’ll be collagen protein!
So instead of “Can a kid take collagen?”, let’s re-phrase the question to:
Can a child take collagen supplements?
Now we’re getting to the core of this topic. Let’s dig in.
Why Kids need Collagen Supplements
Kids don’t eat like they use to.
Instead of homemade bone stock, many kids now are fed hot dogs, cereal, mac and cheese, and French fries — which are completely void of collagen. Don’t feel guilty here parents, our society doesn’t teach our parents (even doctors!) about nutrition.
If you want to nourish your kids with more collagen, you’ll, unfortunately, need to choose less popular food that will
probably certainly be met with resistance. Has your kid ever sipped on bone broth? How about taking a bite of organ meat? The list doesn’t get any more appetizing, there are only 4 foods that contain collagen.
How about encouraging them to sip on a cup of collagen and coffee? Probably not. If your kids are anything like mine (read my collagen testimonial), you don’t want to give them even more energy because they exhaust me every day already — in a good way, of course.
We, adults, know a scoop of multi collagen powder makes coffee into a powerhouse beverage that delivers 8 grams of high-quality protein. But alas, children don’t drink coffee. And I’m guessing they also don’t like tripe (the 3rd stomach of a cow) or eat the skin off a cooked chicken breast (but I’m sure they’ll crush those chicken fingers!)
This can be a losing battle for parents.
So, how do we get toddlers, kids, and teenagers to enjoy the health benefits of collagen? Cue collagen peptide supplements!
Are Collagen Supplements Safe for Kids?
Now that you know kids need collagen and it’s challenging for them to get collagen from real food, this is absolutely the next logical question. Can a child take a collagen supplement?
Dr. Cate thinks it’s a no-brainer.
Is giving kids collagen safe? Is it safe NOT TO is really the question we should be asking.Dr. Cate, M.D.
But, let’s explore this further. Of the concerned parents that reach out to discuss safety and collagen supplements, their questions are typically around an allergy and/or intolerance.
Allergies & Intolerances
Collagen protein is amino acids — the basic building blocks of proteins. If your kids eat anything with protein, they’re getting most of these amino acids found in a collagen protein supplement.
“If kids are allergic to a basic building block, they’re in trouble. It’s like being allergic to oxygen!”, mentions Dr. Cate.
The key here is severe allergies. If your kid has a life-threatening allergy to beef, chicken, fish, or eggshell membrane (see all the ingredients of multi collagen protein), you’ll want to err on the side of caution. More reading: Can I take your Multi Collagen if Allergic to Chicken or Eggs?
However, since collagen peptides are made through hydrolysis, this process breaks down the proteins already (similar to how your digestive system works). The protein structure, which is what triggers the allergy, is obliterated by hydrolysis. Theoretically, an allergic reaction is not even possible. Could there be a very small chance that components of the collagen protein are not fully hydrolyzed during the manufacturing process and someone reacts to those non-broken down full protein bits? Possibly. “One in a million, maybe”, suggests Dr. Cate.
Rather than allergy concerns, it’s more likely there’s an intolerance issue with a collagen supplement such as histamine intolerance. Certain amino acids can trigger histamine intolerances, and any protein-rich food (like a collagen supplement) will contain some of these amino acids.
5 Tips to choosing a kid-safe collagen supplement
First and foremost, if you have safety concerns, always consult with your pediatrician first.
What to look for in a collagen that’s safe for your kids:
- Quality Ingredients. (e.g. Grass-fed Beef, Wild Caught Fish, etc.)
- GMP Certified. (manufactured using Good Manufacturing Practice enforced by the FDA)
- Testing & Third-party Certification. Choose a collagen supplement that’s been tested for heavy metals and has third-party certification (our multi collagen is NSF certified).
- Free of Additives (just collagen!) We do not include vitamin C to our multi collagen nor do we add the essential amino acid Tryptophan to our multi collagen.
- Powder over pills. Stick with collagen powder vs collagen pills. Unless your kid LOVES to swallow pills?
Now, let’s get into the benefits of collagen for kids.
7 potential Benefits of Collagen for Kids we’ll explore:
- Connective Tissue Health (the most important benefit!)
- Bone Health
- Cardiovascular Health
- Sleep (cause who doesn’t want their kids to sleep more!)
- Digestive Health
- Good Oral Hygiene
- Skin & Wound Healing
Let’s start with connective tissue.
1. Connective Tissue Health
If we had to choose the most important benefit of giving your kid collagen, this would be it.
Connective Tissue Health. Healthy connective tissue keeps their joints healthy.
This is where the conversation turns desperate. U.S. pediatricians continually report increases in ACL tears in children and teens. Tommy John injuries, a torn ligament inside of the elbow typically seen within throwing sports, are also on the rise in teenagers. By 2011, more than half of Tommy John surgeries were done on kids ages 15 to 19 (per WebMD).
For a child to have bad connective tissue is beyond tragic.
Dr. Cate, M.D.
The key difference between kids and adults, as it relates to connective tissue, is that kids’ connective tissue is still in formation. Once humans hit puberty, our elastin (elasticity to skin, ligaments, tendons, etc.) production is settled. That elastin determines if you’re going to get degenerative joint disease and the key to feeling young.
Collagen is the missing food group here to give your kids the nutrition they need (and deserve!) to have healthy connective tissue.
2. Bone Health
Fun fact: Bone is mineralized collagen. It’s the foundation of our bones.
It is the web that holds everything in the bones like calcium and phosphate in place. Think of the foundation, walls and roof of your house. Collagen is the structural matrix of our bones that allows minerals to fill in the web of collagen.
Children are in constant ‘growth’ mode, and collagen consumption from food provides the body all the tools it needs to manufacture strong bones for a growing body.
Collagen definitely doesn’t just help maintain bone health, but it helps build PROPER bone health.Dr. Cate, M.D.
When a kid consumes a collagen supplement, it’s just one more factor telling their body to “GROW BONE!”
3. May boost Cardiovascular Health
The main protein in connective tissue is collagen. Connective tissue takes part on the structure of most organs, including the heart and blood vessels. As kids gain more size and their bodies get bigger and stronger, it is vital their cardiovascular system delivers blood efficiently. Collagen is a building block for strong blood vessels, which are highways of transportation delivering oxygen and nutrients all over the body of a growing child.
Speaking of a growing child, and in case you were wondering, yes, collagen is safe during pregnancy!
Collagen is extremely rich in the amino acid glycine, which has been linked to improved sleep and recovery.
Studies have shown that the glycine from collagen has decreased the time it takes to fall asleep and help one reach ‘deep’ sleep. It is vital for children to get enough sleep as most of their growth and development, especially in the brain, happens when in slumber. See: Collagen and Brain Health.
Another note, glycine is found in higher doses in marine collagen than beef and chicken collagen. CB Supplements is a multi-collagen and sources collagen from beef, chicken, eggs and fish, so expect a healthy dose of glycine per serving.
“This is one of these positive feedback loops. If you consume collagen to help you sleep, well, sleep also helps you put that collagen to use”, says Dr. Cate.
For those with toddlers and sleep-deprived (we’ve all been there), this just may be the magic potion you’re seeking to get your OWN quality sleep!
5. Maintain Digestive Health
The walls of our intestinal lining are made up of microscopic folds called ‘villi’ that are actually made of collagen. Processed food, sugar, toxic vegetable/seed oils (canola, cottonseed, corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower) and refined carbohydrates all may create inflammation and may cause the lining of our gut to literally open up, thus allowing toxins from our food direct access to our bloodstream.
These toxins can create inflammation all over the body in the form of headaches, body aches, acne, diarrhea, depression and even poor behavior. If poor digestive health happens and if not fixed early in life, an autoimmune disease can develop, where the immune system attacks our own body.
The amino acids in collagen may seal the leaks by promoting tissue growth and cellular prosperity. It is of vital importance to aide children however possible with quality nutrition so they flourish later in life.
Collagen supplementation may provide some immediate digestive health improvements for kids, but it is a long term play as well.
See our Collagen Recipes for ideas!
6. Good Oral Hygiene
Due to an increased sugar consumption, younger children are suffering from poor oral hygiene. This can be in a number of forms including soft molars, receding gums and generally small teeth.
Studies have shown that collagen supplementation maintain gum healing and strengthen teeth, leading to better oral health:
New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Head & Face Medicine demonstrates that a novel method using bovine collagen is able to enhance gum healing. This resulted in thicker margins around the tooth and, in over half the cases, complete coverage of exposed roots.ScienceDaily
According to the Mayo Clinic, the oral health of an individual is a window of overall health. Invest in the oral health of your kids and see great health as they grow and flourish.
7. Skin & Wound Healing
Collagen maintains strong, healthy and elastic skin; it is the building block of our layers of skin.
A study by Karger — a globally active medical and scientific publishing company — shows that collagen supplementation can aide in the building of healthy skin in just 4 weeks.
Kids are notorious for coming home with a new scrape, bruise, blister or wound everyday. Collagen may help heal wounds faster by supplying the body with the necessary nutrients to recover.
Tips on giving Collagen to Kids
Here’s our first pro tip.
Most kids resist changes in their diet. So, we fully understand the challenges of introducing something new to the table. However, most collagen supplements will have flavorless/odorless and should mix very well with liquids — especially hot liquids. Collagen can be heated without losing its benefits, so dilute away!
Try getting 7-8 grams of collagen per day (1 scoop!) into your kids’ diets.
Easy ways to give kids collagen peptide powder
- Juice. Once the collagen powder is diluted in hot water, mix with any kid-friendly beverage such as orange juice or apple juice. No soda though, ever.
- Milk. Add in a scoop of chocolate collagen powder to milk and BOOM!, healthiest chocolate milk on the planet!
- Baked Goods. Muffins, bread, cookies, or pancakes! Many quality brands sell complete mixes like Simple Mills, Bob’s Red Mill, and King Arthur. Simply add a few scoops to the mix!
- Smoothies. See all our collagen smoothie & shake recipes.
- Pasta & Soups. Can you say collagen-infused mac & cheese? Simply drop in 2-3 scoops to the water/soup when cooking.
- More collagen protein recipes for kids
As you can see, there are many ways to take collagen powder. Sneaking collagen powder into your child’s existing food is smart, practical, and easy.
Is collagen worth the investment for kids?
Many kids will experience immediate positive impacts from collagen supplementation.
But what you’re doing as a parent by choosing to supplement your kid’s diet with multi-collagen is investing in their future. All of the positive gains in health that come with collagen supplementation possess more long-term benefits than short-term. This sets up your kid for a stronger and healthier life — well into the adolescent years and even into adulthood.
We at CB Supplements look forward to the day where our children realize they have strong joints and bones, an efficient digestive system, and healthy skin because of the choices we’ve made as parents when they were younger. We can’t wait for that “thank you” — those are the real moments we live for.