Mark’s said it before: He advocates for collagen to become the fourth macronutrient. Collagen supports collagen-based structures in the body, such as fascia, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, skin, nails, and hair, and most of us just don’t get enough of it from meat, dairy, eggs, or plant proteins. Learn more about the important role glycine, the primary amino acid found in collagen protein, and check out our creative culinary ways to include more collagen in your diet.
Reasons to Include Collagen in Your Diet
Most people regard amino acids in one of two ways: essential, meaning our bodies can’t synthesize them, or inessential, meaning our bodies can. There’s also a third category of amino acids: conditionally essential, which become essential in times of illness and heightened stress. One such conditionally essential amino acid is glycine.
A research review published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity found that glycine plays a crucial role in controlling epigenetics as well as anti-inflammatory, cryoprotective, and immunomodulatory functions. Researchers found that oral supplementation of glycine in the proper dose can successfully decrease metabolic disorders in those with cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, diabetes, cancers, and obesity.
Glycine, the primary amino acid in collagen, is synthesized from the amino acid serine. Foods that contain glycine include meat, fish, eggs, and dairy—abundant in the Primal diet, depending on whether you can tolerate eggs and dairy. A typical daily diet synthesizes about 2–3 grams of glycine. But that’s not nearly enough; the human body requires at least 10 grams per day for basic metabolic processes.
An easy way to get more glycine each day is to supplement with collagen. Get a good collagen supplement (Primal Kitchen happens to make a few) and mix it into water, coffee, or tea, and down the hatch it goes. Or, you could get more creative and add collagen to smoothies, stir it into chia pudding or plain yogurt, use it in savory applications such as sauce or soup, or add it to the occasional Primal treat.
Ever the experimental guinea pig, Mark devised a way to include more magnesium in his coffee after reading that ancestral drinking water may have been enriched with the mineral. Test it out for yourself in this toast-worthy version of magnesium-enriched water (boosted with collagen and coffee).
This one is borderline treat but if you’re celebrating a special occasion (Mother’s Day, Sunday brunch with the grown-ups, your birthday… or even just the fact that you’ve quit your daily habit of buying the “regular” versions of this recipe at your local coffee shop), this keto caramel macchiato will knock your socks off.
With two scoops of collagen plus cocoa powder and coconut milk (sub regular milk if you prefer), this chocolate collagen pudding satisfies even the most discerning chocolate lover without all the sugar and additives many puddings (especially boxed powders or pre-made varieties have).
This tempting keto fudge is just as creamy as you remember it, but with only five grams of carbs and a boost of collagen as well as healthy fats. And it only takes 15 minutes to prepare (not including cooling time in the fridge).
Sweet, adorable, and moist with toothsome toppings that contrast the gooey interior, truffles appear on holiday cookie plates, fancy tea time trays, and often as petite fours for all of these reasons. This keto-friendly version combines dark chocolate, chocolate collagen, and hazelnut butter.
Mexican hot chocolate is a rich mug of velvety chocolate, wintry spices, and a hint of heat from cayenne pepper or chili powder. It’s the perfect way to thaw after coming inside from a blustery snow storm, a day on the slopes, or to relish an evening cozied close to a sputtering fireplace.
This pretty-in-pink smoothie bowl gets its striking magenta hue from pitaya (a.k.a. dragon fruit) and strawberries, and gets bursting sweetness from pomegranate seeds. Collagen and a tablespoon of sunflower butter adds protein and fat; add grain-free granola for crackly contrast.
Similar to the consistency of frozen custard or a diner milkshake, this smoothie is made thick with chia seeds and deeply chocolate with cacao powder and chocolate collagen. Crumble peanut butter protein bars on top for a cookie-like topping.
The author of Rachel’s Good Eats created an addicting collagen balls recipe flavored with vanilla, coconut, and cinnamon. Made with two types of nuts plus flax and chia seeds, these make easy post-workout snacks.
A touch of pineapple and mango flavors give a tropical twist to dairy-free Primal and paleo balls. Made with macadamia nuts, hemp seeds, cashew butter, plus collagen, there’s a lot of healthy fats and protein packed into these two-bite balls.
Strawberries offer antioxidant power in their own right, helping reduce inflammation and fight free radicals. The addition of collagen peptides “seals and heals” your gut lining, repairs damaged cell walls and offers essential with amino acids. All this in handheld, frozen form!
This Primal-friendly creamer combines five simple ingredients to make your coffee or tea sweeter and more creamy without dairy. All it takes is some overnight soak time, a high-speed blender, and a mason jar.
This glorious pie celebrates sun-ripened strawberries picked at the height of their season, and mashed with cream cheese, heavy cream, and vanilla. This vanilla collagen-spiked half-cheesecake, half berry pie will have you swooning for summer no matter what time of year you make it.
Chewy, unctuous, a touch savory and sweet, this tahini fudge can be boosted with collagen peptides to make a more substantial treat. These bite-sized pieces of fudge taste a little like chocolate chip cookie dough dusted with flaky sea salt.
This shortcut, ready-in-minutes pan sauce creates a rich and meaty sauce. Fortify store-bought stock with a few scoops of collagen peptides, some sautéed shallots and a couple pats of butter and you have a restaurant-worthy sauce to spoon over meat and veggies.
Chaffles are a Primal, paleo, and keto way to eat waffles. The basic recipe is simple: one egg, shredded cheese, one tablespoon almond flour, and one scoop of collagen peptides. This savory version works great as “bread” for a sandwich or burger. Our video includes some sweeter chaffle recipe suggestions as well.
This protein-rich, thick sweet potato soup is just the thing to soothe if you’re feeling under the weather. This soup comes together easily when you use frozen butternut squash cubes. Blend the soup with collagen peptides, and garnish with cooked ground turkey or beef (not your average herb garnish!).