As a new mom, you may have heard about the numerous benefits of collagen supplements for your skin, joints, and overall health.
But now that you’re breastfeeding, you may wonder if it’s safe to continue taking collagen.
In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between collagen and breastfeeding, addressing potential risks and offering guidance on making an informed decision!
What are Collagen Supplements?
Before we delve into the topic, let’s first understand what collagen supplements are and why they have gained popularity in recent years.
Collagen is a protein that is abundant in our bodies, providing structure and support to our skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
It is responsible for maintaining the elasticity and strength of our tissues.
However, as we age, our natural collagen production decreases, leading to visible signs of aging and joint discomfort.
Collagen supplements are marketed to replenish and enhance the body’s collagen levels.
These supplements come in various forms, such as powders, pills, and drinks, and claim to offer benefits like improved skin elasticity, joint health, and hair growth.
While some studies support these claims, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of collagen supplementation on specific health outcomes.
Breastfeeding and Collagen: Is It Safe?
Based on the current understanding of collagen supplements and their composition, experts suggest that collagen is likely safe to consume while breastfeeding.
Dr. Jessica Wu, a board-certified dermatologist, explains that there is no evidence to suggest that collagen supplements harm breastfeeding mothers or their babies.
Nevertheless, it’s essential to remember that collagen supplements, like other dietary supplements, are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety before they hit the market.
This lack of regulation means that manufacturers do not need to prove the safety or efficacy of their products.
Potential Risks of Collagen While Breastfeeding
Although collagen supplements are generally considered safe, it’s crucial to be aware of potential risks and exercise caution.
The primary concern regarding breastfeeding is the possibility of certain substances in the supplement passing into breast milk and affecting the baby’s health.
While no studies specifically examine the impact of collagen supplements on breast milk composition, it’s always prudent to approach new dietary additions with care.
One potential risk is the quality and purity of the collagen supplement. Since the FDA does not regulate collagen supplements, choosing a reputable brand that undergoes rigorous testing for contaminants, such as heavy metals or toxins, is essential.
Reading reviews, checking for third-party testing, and consulting with your healthcare provider can help ensure the safety of your chosen supplement.
The Benefits of Collagen for Breastfeeding Mothers
While the safety of collagen supplements during breastfeeding is a primary concern, it’s also important to consider the potential benefits they may offer breastfeeding mothers.
Here are some reasons why collagen supplementation may be advantageous:
Meeting Daily Protein Intake Requirements
Breastfeeding requires additional energy and nutrients to support your and your baby’s needs.
Protein, in particular, plays a crucial role in milk production and tissue repair.
According to a 2020 study, exclusively breastfeeding women should aim for protein intake ranging from 1.7 to 1.9 grams per kg of body weight daily.
This means a breastfeeding mother weighing 60 kg would need approximately 102 to 114 grams of protein daily.
Meeting high protein requirements can be challenging, especially for those following specific dietary restrictions or preferences.
Collagen supplements can be valuable as they are a complete protein source, containing essential amino acids necessary for optimal protein synthesis.
Incorporating collagen supplements into your diet can help ensure you meet your daily protein needs, supporting your health and breast milk quality.
Enhanced Wound Healing
The postpartum period is a time of recovery and healing for new mothers. Whether you’ve had a cesarean section or experienced tearing during vaginal delivery, collagen can play a crucial role in wound healing.
Collagen’s ability to support tissue repair and promote the synthesis of new collagen fibers can aid recovery.
By taking collagen supplements, you may experience faster healing of incisions or perineal tears, allowing you to focus on taking care of your baby.
However, it’s important to note that collagen supplementation should not replace proper care and medical advice.
Consult your healthcare provider for personalized guidance on wound healing or chest pain during breastfeeding.
Hair Loss Prevention
Postpartum hair loss is a common occurrence for many new mothers. During pregnancy, hormonal changes reduce hair shedding, resulting in fuller and thicker hair.
However, hormone levels shift after giving birth, leading to increased hair loss. While postpartum hair loss is temporary, it can be distressing for some women.
Collagen supplements may help counteract postpartum hair loss by providing essential building blocks for hair growth.
Collagen is rich in proline, a key component of keratin, the protein that makes up our hair.
An adequate supply of collagen can support healthy hair growth and potentially minimize the effects of postpartum hair loss.
Precautions for Breastfeeding Women Taking Collagen
While collagen supplements benefit breastfeeding mothers, taking certain precautions to ensure your safety and your baby’s well-being is essential.
Here are some guidelines to follow:
Consult Your Healthcare Provider
Before incorporating collagen supplements into your postpartum routine, it’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider.
They can provide personalized advice based on your specific needs and medical history.
Your healthcare provider can also help you assess the quality and safety of different collagen supplement brands and guide you in choosing the most suitable option.
Choose Quality Supplements
When selecting a collagen supplement, select reputable brands prioritizing quality and safety.
Look for products that undergo third-party testing to ensure purity and the absence of contaminants.
Additionally, consider supplements that are non-GMO, gluten-free, and free from artificial colors, sweeteners, and flavors.
Monitor Any Potential Side Effects
While collagen supplements are generally well-tolerated, paying attention to any potential side effects is essential.
Some individuals may experience digestive discomfort when starting collagen supplementation, such as bloating or diarrhea.
If you notice any adverse reactions, discontinue use and consult with your healthcare provider.
Prioritize a Balanced Diet
While collagen supplements can be a valuable addition to your postpartum routine, they should not replace a balanced diet.
The foundation of good health lies in consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
Focus on including whole foods rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support your overall well-being and the quality of your breast milk.
Collagen supplements should complement a healthy diet, not replace it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much collagen should I take a day while breastfeeding?
The recommended daily dosage of collagen peptides for breastfeeding mothers can range between 2.5 and 15 grams daily.
What supplements should I avoid while breastfeeding?
Some supplements to potentially avoid include high-dose vitamin A, certain herbal supplements, weight loss supplements, and those containing stimulants or excessive amounts of caffeine.
Can I take biotin and collagen while breastfeeding?
It is generally considered safe to take biotin and collagen while breastfeeding. However, it’s always advisable to consult your healthcare provider before starting new supplements.
Does collagen help postpartum hair loss?
Collagen is believed to have potential benefits for postpartum hair loss. It can help promote hair growth and texture and strengthen the hair shaft. However, it’s important to note that individual results may vary, and the effectiveness of collagen in addressing postpartum hair loss can depend on various factors.
What does collagen do for your breast?
Collagen plays a significant role in supporting the structure and elasticity of breast tissue. It helps maintain the firmness and shape of the breasts by providing structural support to the skin and connective tissues. Additionally, collagen can contribute to skin hydration and overall skin health, indirectly affecting the appearance and condition of the breast skin.
Wrapping it Up
In summary, collagen supplements are generally considered safe for breastfeeding mothers.
However, it’s important to exercise caution, choose reputable brands, and consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating collagen into your postpartum routine.
While collagen may offer benefits such as meeting protein requirements, supporting wound healing, and potentially minimizing postpartum hair loss, it’s crucial to prioritize a balanced diet and overall well-being.
Hope this helps!
The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you read in this article.
- Rasmussen, B., Ennis, M., Pencharz, P., Ball, R., Courtney-martin, G., & Elango, R. (2020). Protein Requirements of Healthy Lactating Women Are Higher Than the Current Recommendations. Current Developments in Nutrition, 4(Suppl 2), 653. https://doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzaa049_046
- Bagheri Miyab, K., Alipoor, E., Vaghardoost, R., Saberi Isfeedvajani, M., Yaseri, M., Djafarian, K., & Hosseinzadeh-Attar, M. J. (2020). The effect of a hydrolyzed collagen-based supplement on wound healing in patients with burn: A randomized, double-blind pilot clinical trial. Burns: Journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries, 46(1), 156–163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.burns.2019.02.015
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2023, March 6). Dietary Supplements. Retrieved July 6, 2023, from https://www.fda.gov/food/dietary-supplements
- Serrano, A. (2022, March 31). Can I Take Collagen While Pregnant? Retrieved July 6, 2023, from https://www.verywellfamily.com/can-i-take-collagen-while-pregnant-5212348