There’s a pretty big buzz around collagen supplements and gelatin in the nutrition industry these days. Collagen is touted as beneficial for hair, skin and nails, excellent for digestion and its gut healing properties.

Collagen supplements can also be vital in maintaining optimal performance ability for athletes. Over time our bodies naturally begin to lose collagen, we begin to have aches and pains in places we are constantly putting pressure on, no matter how careful we are or how perfect our form is. Shoulder, knee and joint pain can become all to familiar for many athletes.

I became an avid proponent of collagen supplementation because joint pain started to hit home directly.

My husband is one of those people who is just good at every sport or athletic event he attempts. He can just “do” sports. Its both amazing and slightly infuriating, as my personal athletic capabilities are…lacking. He has been a runner for as long as he can remember, and that’s his thing – he needs to run. I mean that in the sense that he loves it, but also he has to pass a PT test with a timed run every year for his job. He literally needs to run. After years of pounding pavement, his knees were on their way to being shot to sh*t.

About 5 years ago, we did some research and came across the benefits of collagen hydrolysate as a natural, traditionally used supplement to relieve joint pain. After a few weeks of consistent use, the pain he felt in his knees had diminished significantly and he was able to discontinue the other over the counter supplements he was taking to manage discomfort. We both felt better, had better skin, stronger nails and thicker hair. All around, a winner!

Collagen hydrolysate has a unique amino acid makeup that is extremely valuable for the body’s ability to replace synovial fluid found within joints to help rebuild and strengthen the cartilage. Three amino acids in particular (glycine, lysine and proline) are what makes collagen hydrolysate an ideal supplement, as they build connective tissue that promote cell growth within joints. Glycine is also a beneficial amino acid for athletes who are looking to maximize muscle growth. Glycine promotes the production of creatine and human growth hormone, helping to prevent deterioration of muscles. After all the hard work that goes into building that muscle in the first place, these benefits are key!

​Which collagen supplement to choose??

There are many types of collagen supplements on the market. We have used Great Lakes brand Collagen Hydrolysate and Gelatin for years. We’ve been very pleased with both the quality and consistency of their products. Collagen hydrolysate comes in a powder form and can be dissolved into both hot and cold substances. This type of collagen dissolves completely and has no flavor or any effect of the consistency of your food. It is perfect for mixing into coffee, tea, smoothies, oatmeal, soups, sauces, pancake and waffle batter – you get the idea! It really is super versatile and easy to fit into your daily nutrition regimen, has a 90% absorption rate and is fully absorbed into the body within 30 minutes.

​Gelatin is formed when collagen has been broken down and differs in that it needs to be dissolved in a hot liquid and gels when cooled. You know, Jello-O.  Gelatin provides the same benefits, but it is not as easily digested. Remember, everybody and every BODY is different. It is not very common for people to have problems digesting gelatin, but if you are prone to digestive issues, just be aware.

I listed many suggestions for using Collagen Hydrolysate above and I’ll leave you with one of our favorite gelatin recipes for Bulletproof Coffee Gummies. Each tablespoon of gelatin has about 11 g of protein making these an easy post-workout refuel or afternoon boost. Enjoy!

Bulletproof Coffee Gummies
6 oz. freshly brewed organic coffee (I recommend Mayorga brand)
1 tbsp. grassfed butter (like Kerrygold)
1/2 tbsp organic coconut oil or MCT oil
OPTIONAL ADD-INS: 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. tumeric, 1-2 tsp. raw honey for sweetness, if desired
3-4 tbsp (depending on preferred consistency) Great Lakes Brand Gelatin* (the red can!)

1. Add all ingredients to high speed blender, except gelatin, and blend until frothy.
2. Add gelatin and blend until fully incorporated
3. Pour immediately into molds and refrigerate for 20-30 mins until solid

If you have any questions about collagen supplements or using it effectively, feel free to email me!

Leah Harvey is an Air Force wife and mother of 2 girls. She is a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant, completing her certification at American College of Healthcare Sciences in 2015. Shoot her an email at  and give her some love on Instagram (@lealoves3).


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