You may have read that collagen supplements can help IBS symptoms.
It makes sense, right? Collagen is used by your body in many ways, one of which is in the gut lining.
So, if your gut isn’t working, it would find it responsible to take a supplement that you know has a direct role.
In this article I am going to outline what we know about collagen supplements and their role within IBS.
Table of Contents
Does Collagen Help IBS?
There is no research looking at collagen supplements and IBS. So, we have no idea if collagen would help or not.
You will likely be thinking now, ‘well why are people claiming that it does then?’
Where the claims come from is the idea that collagen can help with gut permeability.
Some people with IBS have a more permeable gut (leakier gut). However, there are no studies to see if collagen supplements would help this or not.
There has been 1 study looking at people with inflammatory bowel disease (an entirely different condition to IBS). The study showed that people with IBD had reduced serum levels of collagen (1).
But, before you go jumping the gun to take collagen based on this study, please note;
- IBD is entirely different to IBS
- Serum collagen levels may not relate to symptoms
- Taking collagen symptoms may not change levels or symptoms
Can Collagen Help Leaky Gut Syndrome?
You may have heard that collagen can help to improve leaky gut syndrome. The theory being that collagen helps to mend the lining of the gut wall.
Whilst collagen is crucial for connective tissue, this theory really is a fad.
Firstly, there is no such thing as leaky gut syndrome. Yes, your gut can become more or less leaky (permeable) but there is no ‘syndrome.’ Instead, having a leaky gut is more like a symptom.
Secondly, we can not dictate where our nutrition is used in the body. Just because you take more collagen, does not mean it will be used for that 1 purpose.
Lastly, there are again no studies in this area.
Whether collagen supplements help IBS or not remains unknown. So I would advise that you do not take them until we have some research in this area.
I know you will be thinking ‘but Kirsten we can not wait until everything is researched.’ And my explanation would be this – why then do you not go and stand on your head for 10 minutes daily? We also have no research on that either.
So, stick with products that have been researched so you do not end up confused and wasting time, money and energy in return for little to no IBS symptom relief.
Kirsten Jackson is a UK registered Consultant Gastroenterology Dietitian and founder of The Food Treatment Clinic. She has undergone many qualifications to get where she is today, including a UK BSc Honours Degree in Dietetics and Post-Graduate Certificate in Advanced Dietetics. In addition to this, she has FODMAP Training from Kings College London University. Kirsten set up The Food Treatment Clinic in 2015 after first experiencing digestive problems herself. She felt that the NHS was unable to provide the support individuals needed and went on to specialise in this area before opening a bespoke IBS service. Kirsten also participates in charity work as an Expert Advisor for the IBS Network. In addition, she can be seen in publications such as Cosmopolitan and The Telegraph discussing IBS as an Official Media Spokesperson to the IBS Network.