The Truth About Collagen Supplements

The Truth About Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplements are all the rage right now. Celebrities, bloggers and probably your co-workers are stirring collagen powder into their green smoothies and bulletproof coffee, touting it as an anti-aging miracle. It makes sense, since collagen is a protein found prominently in our bodies. It keeps our muscles, tendons, and skin strong and elastic, features that fade as we age and our collagen production decreases…hello, sagging skin and wrinkles. So giving your body more collagen to work with means wrinkles and achy joints aren’t coming your way, right?

Well, maybe. But let’s not all gulp down a collagen slurry so fast – the research is still a little cloudy.

What are Collagen Supplements?

Collagen is a fibrous protein found all throughout our bodies. It makes up our connective tissue, gives our skin strength and elasticity, and is the main building block of tendons, cartilage, hair, nails, bones, and joints. Collagen is made primarily of two amino acids, proline and glycine, which are the non-essential type (meaning our body produces them naturally, rather than requiring that you consume them through food). The idea behind collagen supplements is that they provide “extra” of these amino acids, hydrolyzed for better absorption, so that your body can use them to produce more collagen.

Collagen supplements are made from parts of animals that contain a lot of connective tissue, and therefore plenty of collagen. Most collagen supplements are made from the bones, hides, and cartilage of cows, although fish, egg, and chicken collagen supplements are on the market, too.

Benefits of Collagen Supplements

There’s some good research showing that collagen supplementation has beneficial effects on joint pain and stiffness in athletes and osteoarthritis patients. There’s also been statistically significant evidence that collagen supplementation can improve skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles in women (yay!).  Some popular collagen supplements claims that it improves bone density as well, and studies are looking favorable for that claim, especially since there’s little safety risk in taking collagen supplements (no severe side effects have been noted).

Should You Supplement with Collagen?

While there is evidence out there that collagen supplementation can be beneficial in several ways, several studies have come up short, not finding any significant effects from collagen supplementation or suggesting that we wait for more conclusive research before calling collagen a miracle.

Let’s remember that our bodies are pretty complex, just like eating fat doesn’t directly translate to body fat, eating collagen doesn’t directly translate to more collagen in your skin and bones. Collagen supplements may provide the building blocks of collagen, but those amino acids don’t come with a sticky note saying “send me right to the wrinkles and joint pain, please!” Collagen is digested and absorbed as individual amino acids, and those amino acids can be used for numerous body processes, not just skin health. As long as your diet contains enough essential amino acids to carry out its normal functions, it can produce as much glycine and proline (and therefore collagen) as it needs. Vitamin C is also a necessary factor in your body’s natural production of collagen, and it’s another nutrient you can get pretty easily with a healthy diet.

What’s the Final Word?

If you’re looking for a boost in collagen production, collagen supplements have some scientific backing, but they likely aren’t doing more than a well-balanced diet would do. Eating a variety of protein sources along with sufficient fruit and veggies will provides you all the vitamin C and amino acids you need to produce adequate amounts of collagen.

That being said, if you like to put protein powder in your smoothie, I don’t think a high quality collagen powder can hurt — and it just might help!


Idaho Potato Tour Recap

This post is sponsored by Idaho Potatoes, but all opinions are mine! Photos are courtesy of @jpollackphoto of J. Pollack Photography.

Last month I had the pleasure of joining the 2016 Idaho Potatoes Harvest Tour. I had never been to Idaho and was looking forward to the tour for months! The folks at the Idaho Potato commission are such wonderful people and the trip was so great, I can’t wait to share my experience with you. I learned so much about how potatoes are processed. The tour took us through all the stages of the potato harvest. From the farm, to the factory, to the plate!

potato donut holes with boysenberry sauce

At the end of the tour I even got to try potato donut holes, which let me tell you are pretty amazing! But let’s start with the harvest and our visit to Hoff farm.


The Hoff Family Farm was our first stop on the tour, which makes sense since this is where the potatoes are grown.


After digging up some spuds in the field, we were treated to a home-cooked meal in the hangar area.

Danielle on the plane

Yes, this is a farm with planes. And a hangar. And guess who got to take a ride in one of those planes? I tied for the biggest potato to get unearthed that day and the prize was a ride on the plane that James Hoff actually built himself. It was scary, but super fun.


Our next stop on the tour was at the Wada Farms fresh potato packing facility, where we witnessed tons of Idaho potatoes being washed, sorted, inspected and packed. It was quite a production!


I’ve ever seen this many potatoes in one place at one time. There are roughly 13 billion pounds of potatoes harvested in Idaho each year — that’s A LOT of potatoes, folks! I loved learning that high school kids are let out of school during potato season to help with the harvest.


We also toured two processing plants — Lamb Weston and Idahoan Foods.


Lamb Weston is a frozen potato processing plant. This is the factory that produces McDonald’s french fries and Alexia Frozen Potatoes. We got to test taste, of course.


The Idahoan plant is a dehydrated potatoes facility where we had to get suited up in safety gear to get inside. Although I’m not a fan of dehydrated potatoes generally, it was fascinating to learn how they are made. No pictures were allowed, but I wish you could see the paper thin strips of dehydrated potatoes coming off the machines…you would never guess that is how boxed mashed potatoes were made!


Our final stop before heading to the Tetons was the the Idaho Potato Museum to learn some history of the famous Idaho spud. It was pretty cool to visit a museum dedicated to all things potato!

Along the way we saw some pretty beautiful Idaho landscapes.



Our last night was spent at the breathtakingly beautiful Teton Springs and Linn Canyon Ranch for some rest and relaxation before heading home. This is where I had my first encounter with those delicious potato donut holes.


I have always been a fan of potatoes. In fact, French fries lead the list of my all-time favorite foods. I’m so grateful I’m able go on these harvest tours and learn how the food we eat is grown and processed. It makes such a huge difference in how you feel about the food you’re eating after speaking and learning from the people who are actually producing it.

Thank you to the Idaho Potato Commission for this wonderful experience! And now, for some potato making inspiration, check out a few of my favorite recipes:

[Tweet “Love potatoes? Me too! Check out this photo tour of #Idahopotatoes + some cooking inspiration!]

Healthy Italian Skillet Potatoes


Roasted Herb Potatoes

Roasted Potatoes with Fresh Herbs

Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Salad

Roasted Cauliflower and Potato Salad

Zesty Asian Style Potato Salad

Zesty Potato Salad

Creamy Potato Corn Chowder

potato and corn chowder

Enjoy this fun Holiday Gift guide for all your shopping needs from @danielleomar

Holiday Gift Guide 2015

This Holiday Gift Guide was so fun to put together. My picks include affiliate links and direct links for easy shopping. I hope you find something special for someone you love! 

Holiday Gift Guide


alex and ani expandable rings

These expandable wire bangle charm rings from Alex and Ani are the perfect gift for the jewelry lover in your life. The charms are crafted beautifully and there are so many fun options to choose from. I have the Om and the Laughing Buddha rings and I love to hear them jingle as I move through my day. Mix up the charms to create a fun and unique gift. Each charm is expandable from 2” to 3.5” in diameter.   Buy from Alex and Ani here: // Charm Rings



soapbox holiday soap bundle

Soap = hope is this company’s mission. Buy this lovely holiday gift set and your purchase keeps on giving: once to your friend and again when SoapBox donates 9 bars of soap to communities in need. Check the HopeCodes from the back of your products to see exactly where your donations are going!  This gift set includes 2 Tea & Ginger Bars, 2 Hibiscus Bars, 2 Tea & Ginger Hand Soaps, 2 Hibiscus Body Washes and 1 Bonus Black Bar. Buy from here: // Soapbox Holiday Set



peppermin-lip-duo (1)

Introduce a gal pal to the Beauty Counter line this holiday season. I can’t get enough of this line. It’s toxin-free skin care and makeup that is safe to use. I love this lip care collection. Many lip formulas contain unhealthy ingredients, including BHA, parabens, and undisclosed “fragrances.” Some lip balms also contain petrolatum, which may be contaminated with toxic chemicals like PAHs, which are endocrine disruptors. BC Lip Conditioners do not contain any of the dangerous, unregulated ingredients.   Buy this lip collection or check out the other Holiday collections here: //Beauty Counter




I’m a huge fan of the French press. Once you start your mornings off with a rich french pressed roast, it’s difficult to ever go back to drip. It’s eco-friendly because there are no filters involved and the grinds serve a dual purpose: creating a delicious cup of coffee and fertilizing your garden (or house plants). Buy this Bodum Chambord 8 cup French Press on Amazon here: // Bodum French Press



presecco glasses

Nothing is more fun than being a newlywed. Life is good, optimism is high, and fun is always high on the agenda. Toast your favorite newlyweds this holiday season with these unique prosecco glasses. I love the shape and versatility of this unique gift. Buy from Food52 here: // Prosecco Glass (Set of 2)




The Passion Planner is perfect for the person who still enjoys seeing their goals on paper. It’s more than just a planner. It’s a compass; teaching you not only to think about your goals, but to actually take action towards reaching them in your daily life. Perfect for the recent graduate, student, or anyone who loves a written planner. Buy the Passion Planner for 2016 here: // Passion Planner 



spire wearable tech

Tracking your steps is so 2015. Next year start tracking your mood! SPIRE is a stress monitor that measures your mood and tracks not only your activity, but your breathing patterns. How often are you calm, tense, active, or focused? Discover which of these realms you live in most often and what is causing it. If Spire thinks you’re stressing out, it sends a notification to your phone so you can take a deep breath and try to calm down. Wearing this device should help to induce a more Zen-like state and increase mindfulness exactly when you need it most. Pretty freaking cool, right? This one is on my own gift list for a certain someone who needs it. Buy it here: // SPIRE 



cookbook and spiralizer

Any clean eater will love this Cookbook and Spiralizer combo. I mean who wouldn’t want to turn veggies into healthy, creative, and satisfying meals? I know I sure do. Ali Mafucci, the author of Inspiralized is the Queen of spiralized vegetable dishes and her cookbook will keep the clean eater on your list busy spiralizing for years to come. Buy both the cookbook and the spiralizer on Amazon here:  Spiralizer // Cookbook



diffuser & essential oil Holiday gift set

Transform a friend, colleague or loved one’s space into a spa-like atmosphere with Young Living’s Dewdrop Diffuser. It functions as a humidifier, atomizer, and aroma diffuser in one. I use my diffuser every day in my office and can attest to the effects: it’s relaxing, calming, and just makes me happy.

Right now get a free Northern Lights Black Spruce with any diffuser purchase. Buy this Essential Oils Diffuser at YL here: Dew Drop Home Diffuser



workout tees

We are a huge fan of Andrea’s tee shirts at our house. They’re workout clothes fit real people with real bodies. They’re also soft, easy to throw on, and not overpriced. Choose a special message for a friend who needs a little motivation to keep working at her fitness goals. My “Beast Coast” tee always get a laugh! I love what this company stands for: fitness looks different on everyone, and that every body is capable of achieving it. Shop for all types of teeshirts here: // Thick to Thin

Happy Holidays and happy shopping!



Enjoy this fun Holiday Gift guide for all your shopping needs from @danielleomar