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A Nutritionist’s Insight On Collagen & Gut Health

Why does collagen play an important role in a happy and healthy gut?

I call our gut the first brain because it impacts our entire body beyond just digesting delicious food! Our gut sends signals to our other brain (the one in our head) allowing us to process information and emotions in addition to regulating our hormones, physical energy, skin health and overall wellbeing.

Consider collagen brain food for your gut!

Our body tissues are made up of mostly protein, with collagen being the most abundant. In particular, collagen is a key component of your intestinal lining and supports our Thyroid and Vagus Nerve to facilitate digestive functions, including metabolism, muscle contraction in the digestive tract and even body composition.

Collagen rich foods and supplements serve as a fantastic lean protein source to support a healthy metabolism and feelings of satiety. As well, intake of a quality dietary collagen plays an integral role in rebuilding and strengthening the lining of our digestive tract as it contains amino acids, particularly glycine and glutamine, that serve as the gut’s building blocks.

When you have a strong, collagen-rich gut barrier you are better able to get energy and nutrients from your food and are more protected from harmful pathogens and allergens. A compromised, unsupported gut barrier can leak endotoxins that would ordinarily be processed and eliminated from the body into the bloodstream, triggering our immune system and leaving you feeling chronically fatigued and more susceptible to diseases, infection and inflammation which can prevent your body from functioning at its optimal levels. Thankfully collagen comes in to support us, helping us thrive not just survive from the inside out.

What are some other foods for a healthy gut?

While hydrolysed collagen and collagen containing products like bone broth are a number one for building a strong, healthy gut, my next gut-loving food suggestion would be to eat a colourful variety fruits and vegetables.

Food diversity is key for good gut health. The trillions of microorganisms in our gut that help you utilise nutrients in food and regulate our hormones and mood thrive on a varied, colourful mostly plant-based diet. Each strain of microbe has a different diet, and if we continuously eat the same things and lack variety we can end up over and under feeding certain species. This can lead to a gut microbiome imbalance that can negatively affect our metabolism, immune system and energy. This imbalance can even result in inconvenient and sometimes life-altering symptoms like bloating, gas, indigestion, skin issues, poor bowel movements, stomach pain and unwanted weight gain or loss.

Studies show the best way to feed our little microbes and support our gut health is by enjoying 30 different plant foods per week. Veggies, herbs, fruits, nuts, seeds and legumes serve as fuel or prebiotics that feed our gut microbiome so that each species can do its job to help us thrive!

This can easily done even in one day.

Example Day:  

Breakfast: Collagen smoothie made with chia seeds, a 3 berry mix, mango, spinach and frozen zucchini (you won’t taste this and its makes it sooo creamy!)

Morning Tea: Cup of green tea, apple slices with almond butter and cinnamon

Lunch: Mixed greens salad with a 3 bean mix beans, roasted sweet potato, salmon or tofu and avocado

Afternoon Snack: Cut veggies and rice crackers with hummus dip

Dinner: Thai curry made with 6 different veggies, edamame, topped with fresh herbs and chopped cashews- use bone broth in this for even more gut supporting nutrition!

How collagen helped me during illness

Collagen was my number one helper when I was dealing with my own personal gut, skin and health concerns. In 2019 I moved from the USA to Australia and with that came unique stresses, pressures and an altered diet. Not long after my move, I began to experience allergic reactions leading to extreme bouts of eczema and chronic rashes covering majority of my body from scalp to legs. I was suffering from extreme IBS-like symptoms and could barely eat anything without an adverse reaction.

After many tests, trials, specialist visits and a bland diet I could no longer stomach, I was diagnosed with leaky gut and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) – this was all linked to these stresses and new environmental factors. It was one of the most challenging and darkest times in my life. I felt trapped in a body that did not look or feel like my own and was so happy to finally get a diagnosis so I could begin to treat and heal my gut.

I began following a gut healing protocol and nutrition plan with a quality collagen powder as my go to. Having it 1-2 times a day over the course of 3 months assisted in building up and protecting my gut barrier while I was eliminating high levels of bad bacteria and re-populating with healthy levels.

I can also thank collagen for helping sooth and repair my damaged skin and aiding in my hair regrowth after subsequent hair loss. I went from looking like I was healing from burns to having glowing, hydrated skin; from dry, broken hair and bald patches to getting my locks back to their original wavy, long thickness. It was an overwhelming and emotional journey. Collagen is still a part of my daily routine and I am so grateful to have been able to heal and maintain my health even since.


When and how should you take collagen?

Collagen is best absorbed when it’s not competing with other proteins, so I take my collagen separate from other protein-rich meals and snacks.

For example, on a typical day I will have a collagen-based smoothie for breakfast after a morning walk or gym session. Next, I will often enjoy a tablespoon of collagen in my morning coffee.

Some days if I did not have my collagen earlier, I will add a bone broth concentrate to a mug of hot water and sip like a soup, or into main meal recipes like in pasta sauces or curries.

Lately I have been loving adding collagen into my homemade bliss balls for a protein-rich, healthier, sweet treat. Collagen is very versatile to use at any time of day, making it easy to get the right amount for your unique needs.

Collagen Glow Smoothie Bowl recipe

This is my morning or post workout go-to! It’s refreshing, satisfying and gets me through my busy days in a healthy, delicious gut loving way. It’s also a simple way to get in collagen as your lean protein source, healthy fats and those important colourful variety of fruits and veggies in one meal. You won’t even taste the veggies – trust me. The frozen zucchini is a nutritionist secret to getting in more vegetables and makes any smoothie or bowl recipe extra creamy!

Serves: 1

Smoothie bowl topped with coconut flakes, fruit, muesli and chia seeds on a wooden board


  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 medium frozen zucchini
  • 2 cubes of frozen spinach
  • 1 15-20g scoop of collagen peptides- unflavoured or your favourite fruity flavour
  • 2 Tb rolled oats
  • 1 Tb nut or seed butter
  • 1/4-1/3 cup of coconut water or plant milk
  • Ice (as needed to thicken)


  • Sprinkle of mixed berries or chopped fruit- fresh or frozen
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tb shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup natural lower sugar granola or muesli


  1. Add all of your ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth
  2. Add any additional ice to thicken or liquid to thin until reaching your desired consistency- this should be thicker than your average smoothie you drink with a straw
  3. After blending, use a spatula to help you spoon your smoothie into a bowl Decorate with your delicious toppings in a design that makes you smile- dig in!

Keen to learn more?

Book a free discovery call with me to chat all things gut health and to find a path that works for you at

Charity King | Nutritionist and Lifestyle Coach at Freshwater Nutrition

At Freshwater Nutrition I help my clients find their own unique balance between healthy and happy as we work towards goals, foster healthy relationships with food and gain the knowledge and tools along the way to easily maintain results longterm.

While I work with a variety of individuals and households, my main areas of expertise are digestive health and gut healing, sports nutrition as well as curating healthy habits for individuals and households.

Everyone is welcome at Freshwater Nutrition and I support my diverse range of clients online and in-person through nutrition consultations and individually tailored programs.



  1. Natalie Hide

    Hi there, a few times in your post you say a good quality collagen powder or supliment. There are so many on the market, what should one look forto know its good quality, or which would you recomend

    • Lauren Paterson

      Hi Natalie, there are lots of great options but we love the Nutraorganics ones which taste good and are great quality too.


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