Collagen has many benefits for muscle building, endurance, injury prevention, and healing – making it a fabulous supplement for athletes. But can kids take collagen? Is it safe for children to supplement with collagen, and is it actually beneficial for them?
When people ask if kids can take collagen, they’re usually asking two questions:
- Is collagen safe for kids as part of their exercise routine?
- Can kids take collagen to give them a performance edge?
The answer is YES to all of the above. Kids can take collagen, and it will contribute to their overall health and nutrition. Today we will discuss why collagen is beneficial for kids, how much collagen they can take safely, and what type of collagen to look for in your child’s supplement.
To understand why kids can take collagen, it’s important to understand what collagen is and what it does in our bodies.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein that is already present in all mammals – young and old. Our bodies, especially when we’re growing, need protein because it gives structure, strength, and rigidity. Where is collagen found in our bodies? Basically everywhere!
Collagen is used by the body to keep muscles and joints strong and resilient, but collagen protein also strengthens organs, blood vessels, and skin. Without collagen, our bodies just wouldn’t function. It’s an essential nutrient.
Collagen is also the most abundant protein in the body, so keeping up a healthy stock of collagen is important for us all; including young athletes who are growing fast.
Again, the answer to can kids take collagen is a resounding yes. Now, let’s zoom in to see why.
What does collagen do in our bodies?
Collagen has a fiber-like structure, and it’s used to make connective tissue. Connective tissue, as the name implies, connects different parts of the body together. Tissue needs to be strong and resilient to withstand the body's day-to-day movements, let alone athletic moves on the gamefield.
So we have collagen to thank (with its ability to withstand strong forces, swift direction changes, and deep stretching) that young athletes are able to perform well in their sport.
Collagen not only makes connective tissues stronger and more flexible, it also helps to rebuild damaged tissues. In fact, collagen is necessary for proper wound healing. As such, collagen is an extremely important protein for all people, and especially athletes.
So, how should your child go about getting more collagen from their diet?
How do we get collagen protein?
We normally get protein from our diet, so can kids take collagen from what they eat? And can kids take collagen from just one source?
These questions don’t have any easy answers. In general, it isn’t recommended to get collagen from just one source in your diet. Like any nutrient, it’s most effective when you get it from a variety of sources as part of a balanced diet. In addition, kids might not get as much collagen as they need through food alone.
So is it better to look at diet or collagen supplementation? Or perhaps can kids take collagen from a mix of these sources for optimal results? Let’s take a look at the different ways kids can take collagen.
Collagen in our diets
Kids can get collagen from their diets, but they are doing so less and less. As tastes have evolved over the generations, food that’s particularly rich in collagen has fallen out of favor; particularly with children.
Yes, a quantity of collagen is present in great staple foods like chicken, egg whites, fish, and shellfish, but it’s most accessible in foods like bone broth, liver, and gristle. (And you’d have a hard time finding adults to eat those, let alone children.)
Our grandparents may be ready to talk about how eating foods like liver is good for you (and they’re right!), but food that gets left on a child’s plate can’t do anything for their health.
So can kids take collagen in a different way? Yes, supplements offer a solution. Knowing that kids can take collagen without an argument at the dinner table should be music to your ears.
Is collagen safe for kids in supplement form?
Is collagen safe for kids as a supplement? Absolutely! But it’s important to keep in mind that most supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, so you want to make sure you’re getting collagen for kids from a trusted source.
Check the label of collagen supplements to ensure there are no harmful additives or excess sugars, and read reviews carefully before making a purchase.
Once you’ve found a high-quality collagen supplement, it will provide a healthy serving of collagen for your child.
Allergies are a legitimate concern each time you add something new to your child’s diets, but as long as there aren’t any additives in your child’s collagen supplement, it shouldn’t be an issue.
The amino acids in collagen are fundamental to human development, and already present in your child’s body and diet, so kids can take collagen without the worry of an allergic reaction.
Further, collagen supplements may be even more allergy-proof than collagen found in our diets. Why? When it is manufactured, some collagen supplements go through a process called hydrolysis. What is hydrolyzed collagen? This process uses water to break down the size of the protein to make it more easily digestible.
But there’s also an additional benefit. An allergy isn’t always triggered by amino acids themselves, but by their composition. When collagen supplements are hydrolyzed, the protein structure is broken down and may no longer present a threat. This is just another reason to choose hydrolyzed collagen for your child.
So now you know that kids can take collagen safely, but what exactly are the benefits of this supplement? Let’s launch into some reasons why collagen is beneficial for kids.
6 great reasons for kids to take collagen
Now you have the answer to the question: “Can kids take collagen?” But why should they take collagen? Here are just some of the potential benefits:
1. Collagen can build resilience in joints
One of the top reasons young athletes benefit from collagen supplements is injury prevention.
Collagen fortifies the connective tissue in tendons and ligaments, and ligaments like the ACL or MCL are all too easy to injure when competing. You don’t need us to tell you how injuries can ruin seasons, not just for the individual athlete but for the whole team they play for.
Athletes young and old alike need to take every precaution they can against injury. The best ways they can do this are by warming up/cooling down professionally and by taking collagen protein.
Being fueled with collagen is essential for the body to replenish and rebuild fibers that are worn down by physical exercise, and ample stores of collagen can keep your child’s joints and ligaments flexible and less accident-prone.
2. Collagen may support bone health
Our skeleton is the frame that keeps us together. Bones are an anchor for our muscles and are a strong foundation for strength and power.
Did you know collagen is present in bones? Bone is actually mineralized collagen - yes, we said that this protein really is found everywhere in your body.
A special consideration for young athletes is that their bodies are still growing. They’re getting bigger and stronger seemingly by the day. Collagen for kids is key to healthy bone growth and development, and considering it’s one of the main ingredients in bone (along with calcium and phosphate), it’s easy to see why!
3. Collagen can support digestive health
Kids can take collagen to reinforce more than just their joints and bones. Kids can take collagen to benefit their overall digestive health!
Collagen is present in the lining of our intestines. The intestinal wall needs collagen to do its job properly: to break down and safely eliminate toxins that can lead to illnesses.
There’s evidence that suggests collagen supplements are a difference-maker in improving digestion, from reducing bloating, to helping with IBS and other digestive issues.
4. Collagen may support cardiovascular health
Collagen is a leading component in our blood vessels. In fact, it lines the walls of our blood vessels to lend them tensile strength. This is so the vessels won’t break while blood is pumping around the body.
When your young athlete is competing, that’s when their heart rate will be at its highest. Oxygenated blood is pumped around their bodies quickly to muscle cells, providing ingredients for energy and movement.
Taking a collagen supplement regularly may help improve your child’s cardiovascular health both on and off the field.
5. Collagen can support healthy sleep patterns
When we put collagen protein under the microscope, we find that it is made up of a variety of amino acids. One of these amino acids is called glycine and it has some amazing properties.
Glycine is linked to improved sleep and recovery. Studies show how glycine from collagen can decrease the time needed for children to fall asleep. What’s more, it also helps us to reach deep sleep faster.
Healthy sleep patterns are the key to successful “awake” patterns. Children need healthy sleep patterns for proper growth, recovery, and development.
Taking collagen supplements actually sets up a win-win cycle in the body. Glycine in collagen helps the body to sleep better, and better sleep creates better conditions for the body to synthesize collagen and reinforce healthy growth while young athletes rest.
6. Collagen for wound healing and recovery
Another reason why collagen for kids gets the green light is its role in the healing process.
Grazes, cuts, and bruises happen during sports and difficult landings and stiff tackles are just part of what a young athlete endures.
If your child becomes injured during their sport, the body will be hard at work stitching the collagen tissues back together fiber by fiber. Collagen is so in demand for this process, so it’s important to ensure your child has enough collagen stores in their body to heal as quickly as possible.
Can kids take collagen to help them recover faster? Yes, they can. Collagen can accelerate the wound healing process, and even help muscles recover more quickly after a difficult workout.
So now you understand why kids can take collagen and should take collagen if they are serious athletes. But how do you find the right supplement for your young athlete?
How to choose quality collagen products
Understanding how kids can take collagen safely is important. Although as we’ve demonstrated, collagen is safe for kids, and collagen provides clear health, wellness, and performance benefits.
That being said, there are some added considerations to take if you want the best protein powder for kids. Here are some points to be aware of when choosing a collagen supplement for your child:
Pick a trusted source: so you know that your collagen comes from quality ingredients.
Choose additive-free supplements: since added sugars can negate the benefits of taking a collagen supplement, and additives like caffeine could be harmful for young children.
Look for hydrolyzed collagen: because it is easier to digest and absorb.
- Read reviews: to learn if the product has any side-effects, and if it is tasty enough to be kid-approved!
As long as you’ve covered all the points above, the collagen supplement should be safe for your child to take. Of course, then you need to consider what form you want your child’s supplement to be in.
Collagen comes in pill, powder, or liquid form. We usually recommend powder or liquid, since pills can be harder to digest and kids probably won’t want to swallow them.
Most people are familiar with protein powders they can mix into drinks, and there is a great selection of protein shakes for kids that are healthy and delicious.
But liquid collagen benefits from easier to take on the go. It comes in single-serve pouches that your child doesn’t need to mix with anything to take. They can simply pop their supplement in their gym bag or pocket and take it as needed during practice or games.
Frog Fuel is the top hydrolyzed collagen liquid shot that is made by athletes – for athletes. It is safe for children to take (just choose the supplement without the added caffeine), and is proven to achieve full digestion in 15 minutes or less – so your child can enjoy all the benefits of collagen for their sport.