Collagen Supplementation and Health – Making the Connection

Collagen is a protein that plays a crucial role in the structure and health of our skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues. As we age, our body’s natural collagen production decreases, which can lead to various signs of aging and joint stiffness.

Taking collagen supplements has gained popularity in recent years, as people seek to improve the health and appearance of their skin, hair, and nails, as well as support joint health. While there is anecdotal evidence and some studies suggesting potential benefits, the scientific research on the effectiveness of collagen supplementation is still limited, and more rigorous studies are needed to draw definitive conclusions. Additionally, focusing on a balanced diet that includes foods rich in vitamin C, zinc, and protein can support your body’s natural collagen production. Examples of such foods include citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and lean meats.

That being said, collagen supplements are generally considered safe for most people to consume. They are usually derived from animal sources, such as bovine or marine collagen, but there are also vegan options available. Collagen supplements come in various forms, and their differences lie in their sources, processing methods, and additional ingredients. Here are some common types of collagen supplements and their distinctions:

  1. Collagen Peptides: Collagen peptides, also known as hydrolyzed collagen, are the most common form of collagen supplements. They are derived from animal sources like bovine (cows), porcine (pigs), or marine (fish) collagen. These supplements undergo a process called hydrolysis, which breaks down the collagen into smaller peptides, making it easier for the body to absorb.
  2. Type I, II, or III Collagen: Collagen is categorized into different types, with type I, II, and III being the most prevalent in the human body. Type I collagen is found in the skin, tendons, bones, and ligaments, while type II collagen is primarily present in cartilage. Type III collagen provides structural support in muscles, organs, and blood vessels. Some collagen supplements specifically target one type, while others may contain a combination.
  3. Source: Collagen supplements can be derived from various sources, as mentioned earlier. Bovine collagen is extracted from cows, porcine collagen comes from pigs, and marine collagen is sourced from fish, usually the skin or scales. Each source may have slight differences in amino acid composition and bioavailability.
  4. Additional Ingredients: Some collagen supplements include additional ingredients to enhance their benefits. These can include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, or other substances that promote skin health, joint support, or overall wellness. It’s important to check the ingredients list to ensure compatibility with any specific dietary needs or allergies.
  5. Form: Collagen supplements are available in various forms such as powders, capsules, tablets, gummies, and liquids. Powdered collagen is versatile and can be easily mixed into beverages or added to recipes, while capsules and tablets provide convenience for those who prefer a quick and straightforward intake.

It’s worth noting that the efficacy and benefits of collagen supplements are still a subject of ongoing research. While collagen supplements may have potential benefits, they are not a magical solution for all health concerns. Leading a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and proper skincare is essential for overall well-being and maintaining healthy skin, hair, and joints.

If you are considering taking collagen supplements, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian who can provide personalized advice based on your specific health needs and goals.




How to Start (and Stick with) A New Habit!

Today is the first day of summer, which means it’s the prime time to start a new habit! If you are planning to start a new habit or physical activity, here are some tips from the dietitians at Banister Nutrition to keep in mind:

From Lauren:
1. Find something you enjoy – you are more likely to stick to something and look forward to something you enjoy (rather than dread).
2. Find a partner – this can help with making it more enjoyable, make the time fly by and help with accountability.

From Cassie:
1. Viewing exercise as an “opportunity” rather than a “requirement”. Making sure it feels GOOD and is FUN! — forcing yourself to do something you dread will never be sustainable.
2. Reconnect with your “inner child” to move your body. Everyone likes to do things they are good at and feel confident in. Example: if you were a ballet dancer through younger years, maybe something similar style like barre or yoga would be a good idea.

From Autumn:
1. Consider writing out your activity or nutrition goals using the SMART framework to make sure setting yourself up for success
2. Explore known barriers and consider coming up with plan B (ex: if regular routine is outside or using specific equipment – plan ahead for routine that can be done when bad weather hits or having to travel and equipment not available)

From Carol:
1. Consider playing as moving, sweating and laughing – allow yourself the freedom to engage in physical play more frequently. If we engaged in physical play more often with family members and friends we would label it as fun creating a desire to engage in this fun activity again.
2. Schedule your time to be physically active as you would any appointment and keep your appointment. Do not allow yourself to start a yes/no mental debate as to whether you will or won’t follow through. Whenever you start a yes/no mental debate it is only to talk yourself out of participating in the physical activity.
3. Focus on the feelings of accomplishment, empowerment, once you have finished your physical activity.
4. Start with small increments of time opposed to thinking you must max out the first week. Consider 15 min, 3x/wk and increase this weekly vs thinking you “should” engage in an hour 5x/wk or it won’t do any good.

Is Your Thyroid Making You Fat?

Is Your Thyroid Making you Fat?

“I have zero metabolism.”

“The older I get the more my metabolism slows down.”

“Regardless of how little I eat I can’t lose weight,  I know it’s my thyroid.”


An improperly functioning thyroid can cause weight instability and change your basal metabolic rate (BMR).  Hyperthyroidism can lead to weight loss, while hypothyroidism can lead to weight gain.

Overall health status, nutritional intake, body weight and total energy expenditure can impact the effectiveness of thyroid hormone secretion.

Thyroid hormones can affect your:

  • Weight
  • Body composition
  • Body mass index (BMI)

But, Don’t Be Too Quick to Blame Your Thyroid

Many who are overweight believe a malfunctioning thyroid (hypothyroidism) is the reason for their excess body fat.  However research suggests only 2-3% of the population have hypothyroidism. The American Thyroid Association  states “Hypothyroidism can cause a mild weight gain of 5-20 pounds, but does not cause obesity.” If you have gained considerable weight, seek help to determine the real cause of your weight gain, and don’t assume it is thyroid related. 

Although common perception is that hypothyroidism can cause a person to be overweight or obese, the reverse is often true: Obesity is often associated with causing hypothyroidism, possibly due to the inflammatory nature of obesity. This kind of inflammation that affects internal body systems is referred to as “chronic inflammation,” which contributes to the development of many health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer’s Disease, and –yes, thyroid disease.

The gold standard for diagnosing hyper and hypothyroidism is checking thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and free T4 levels. If you are found to have low TSH you may be treated with oral medication. It should be noted, though, research indicates normalization of thyroid hormone does NOT guarantee weight loss.

The effective functioning of your thyroid gland is impacted by several factors including your:

  • Nutritional intake
  • Weight
  • Total energy expenditure
  • Overall health status

Nutrition and Thyroid Disease

Several micronutrients are necessary to keep your thyroid gland functioning normally. Insufficient intake of the following micronutrients can lead to a poorly operating thyroid gland:

  • Copper –shell fish,  fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, chocolate
  • Iron- Fortified breakfast cereals, oysters, white beans, beef liver, lentils, spinach, dark chocolate ,  kidney beans, canned tomatoes, potatoes
  • Iodine – iodized salt , seafood, enriched bread, cod, Greek yogurt,  enriched pasta, egg,
  • Selenium – Brazil nuts, yellowfin tuna, halibut, ham, shrimp, enriched macaroni, beef steak, turkey, cottage cheese, egg
  • Zinc- Oysters, fortified breakfast cereals, oats, pork chop, cheddar cheese, turkey breast, shrimp, lentils, Greek yogurt


Your thyroid gland serves as a vitamin D receptor site, so it’s not uncommon for individuals with thyroid dysfunction to have some level of vitamin D deficiency.  


Many products falsely claim to increase metabolism and promote weight loss. These claims are appealing to individuals who believe they have gained weight because of a poorly functioning thyroid gland.


A positive connection exists between probiotic intake and normal thyroid function. Research suggests that a flourishing gut microbiota impacts how well the thyroid gland absorbs and uses the above mentioned micronutrients. The probiotic strains Lactobacillaceae  and Bifidobacterium  are commonly studied strains, but further research is needed before conclusive evidence can be determined.


If you believe your thyroid gland is not functioning at it’s optimum level , consult with a licensed/registered dietitian to determine if you have deficiencies of the necessary micronutrients for thyroid functioning. Your dietitian can provide a specific treatment plan tailored for you. Developing a broader understanding of how your weight and metabolic dysfunction impact one another is an important step in treating thyroid dysfunction. Your dietitian can also support you with weight loss which will a have positive influence on decreasing chronic internal inflammation, thus preventing many health conditions associated with internal inflammation.


Why electrolytes are Important When Exercising Regularly

Why are electrolytes so important when exercising regularly? 

Electrolyte balance is essential for optimal physical performance and overall health. This is especially true during exercise. Electrolytes are charged ions that are present in the body’s fluids. They play a vital role in regulating various bodily functions, including hydration, nerve and muscle function, and maintaining the body’s pH balance.

During exercise, the body loses electrolytes through sweat, particularly sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. The loss of these electrolytes can greatly affect performance. For instance, sodium and potassium ions are essential for muscle contractions and nerve impulses, and a lack of these ions can lead to muscle cramps, weakness, and fatigue. Meanwhile, magnesium is necessary for maintaining proper muscle function and energy production, and calcium is vital for muscle contraction, bone health, and blood clotting.

In order to maintain a proper balance of electrolytes during exercise and prevent dehydration and the issues mentioned above, it is recommended to consume fluids and foods that contain electrolytes. This will replenish your body’s stores and prevent electrolyte imbalances!


Sources of electrolytes include: 

  • Sports drinks (Pedialyte Sport, Gatorade, and BodyArmor)
  • Bananas
  • Pickle juice 
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries


What a sigh of relief to know that you already have lunch prepared and ready to grab tomorrow morning on your way out the door! Meal prepping is time and cost efficient, but what if you are short on time before starting your week or don’t quite feel confident in your own cooking skills? Fortunately, there is a local option where you can get all the meal-prep goodies you need. 


PREP’D is located in Yukon, Oklahoma, and has an array of delicious options, whether you are in the mood for protein pancakes in the morning, honey-teriyaki salmon for lunch, or chicken tacos for dinner. Walk in during business hours and you’ll see several large refrigerators stocked with meals. They also have the option to order ahead of time online or in-store for customization. They can deliver too! 


We love that PREP’D is determined to deliver quality, well-balanced meals that contain lean proteins, complex starches, and vegetables. On the side of each container, you’ll find nutrition information including total calories as well as protein, carb, and fat grams. By ordering ahead, you can choose your portion size and modify your selections to meet your nutritional needs. If you have an allergy or specific dietary needs, PREP’D can work with you to find the right option for you. 


Give PREP’D a shot and let us know what you think! 




Holiday Tips

This time a year, it is common to gather around food. Your Dietitians at Banister Nutrition wanted to give you their favorite tips and tricks for the season.

  • Look over ALL of the food on a buffet before starting through the line. Identify those foods that are special, homemade, or only appear during the holidays because they are unique holiday gifts for you to enjoy.
  • Christmas is no longer just one day in December – it goes on all month long! Enjoy the spirit of the season every day of the month, though not necessarily an abundance of food daily.
  • Enjoy the seasonal favorites. Savor the flavors of the season including peppermint, cinnamon, gingerbread, and eggnog, but realize that complete immersion into these flavors will likely decrease your enjoyment of them.
  • If you don’t love it, if it’s not awesome, or if it came from Sam’s or the grocery store, then it’s not that special. Pass it up, be selective, and hold out for a real treasure of awesomeness!
  • Honor your hunger and your fullness! Consuming Christmas treats when you are not hungry or continuing to graze when you are full robs you of pleasure and just might create guilt and shame! UGH!
  • Find a plate! It’s difficult to be aware of how much you’re eating when you nibble without a plate. Putting meals and snacks on a plate decreases mindless grazing. (This includes the cookie dough you’re tasting).
  • Thinking about skipping a meal so you can eat more at the party? This never pays off! If you want to create the perfect “out-of-control” storm, arrive at the party hungry and tired, then add a cocktail! Prolonged food deprivation makes it difficult to listen to your hunger and fullness cues, which leads to mindless or ravenous eating. Instead, enjoy a small balanced plate of lean protein, fruit, and raw veggies prior to your party so you can enjoy the treats while staying in control.
  • Hydrate-Hydrate-Hydrate—don’t neglect water! Aim for two quarts daily.
  • Delete the food police from your life as an incredible gift to yourself. The food police in your head judge food as “good” or “bad.” Then you follow that with judging yourself as good or bad, leading to guilt, shame and feeling chaotic — all of which are burdens, not gifts.
  • During the holidays we make time to cook. We cook with our families and share home-made potluck dinners. Cooking from scratch can be a healthy activity during the holidays reminding us of how gratifying and valuable preparing food can be. Hopefully it may inspire a new joy of cooking as a healthy gift for your family year round.
  • Holiday food traditions evoke memories, unite family and friends, and make us smile. We want your holiday food experiences to be enjoyed without guilt or shame. Find the time to STOP, PAUSE, and CHECK-IN to be certain your choices are reflecting your authentic desires for your self-care!

According to the dietitians at Banister Nutrition: ALL foods are OK, ALL foods are to be enjoyed, ALL foods are to be managed!

🚩Red Flags for Disordered Eating to Look for in your Children

Parents are the most effective diagnosticians of disordered eating or eating disorders. Disordered eating and eating disorders are more likely to show up at home than in physical examinations or laboratory tests. 

Is your child at risk?

  • Does your son or daughter dread family gatherings or withdraw to their room when relatives and food arrive?
  • Does your child seem moody or irritable as meal times approach?
  • Does your child complain of a stomach ache or indicate they are just not hungry when it is time to eat?
  • Does your child insist on bringing their own food to gatherings, declaring what will be served is not healthy?
  • Does your child pick at foods, cut food into tiny pieces, or play with their food, moving it around on their plate?
  • Does he or she claim to have already eaten or does not have time to eat now and will eat later?
  • Does your child say eating in front of people makes them uncomfortable?
  • Does your child disappear into the bathroom during or just after meals?
  • Does your child believe he or she is fat even though their weight is normal or possibly underweight?
  • Does your child insist on daily exercise for an hour or more or get upset if they miss a day of exercise?

There is no better time than the holidays to observe a child who may be struggling with food and weight issues, as well as related emotional problems. The appearance of disordered eating patterns is an indicator that a child is struggling with emotional problems of self-esteem and self-control, as well as considerable misinformation about food and nutritional health. 

Eating disorders grow in strength and control each day they continue to exist. Seek help from a registered dietitian who has experience working with eating disorders.

Safe Physical Activity in the Heat

The summer can be a wonderful time to enjoy outdoor activities – swimming in particular is a favorite to stay cool! But with the increased heat and sun exposure, how can we safely enjoy other activities like walking, running, riding a bike or playing an outdoor sport?


  1. Getting outside before 10 am or waiting until after 6pm is ideal for limiting sun exposure. This is important to reduce skin cancer risk, but also to keep your core temperature in a safe range! 
  2. Eat before you get active. Being in the heat is known to reduce your appetite. Normally, this is okay and your appetite will recover once you are back in the AC. However, if your goal is a good workout, skipping food is not a good idea. Fuel yourself with carbohydrates that are easily digestible before leaving the house. 
  3. Get those electrolytes! Most of us know we lose salt in our sweat, so you can maintain your electrolyte balance with a sports drink (beware of those with lots of sugar) or a powdered drink additive. We enjoy Liquid I.V. and Nuun.
  4. Stay hydrated! On a normal day, most adults require 50-70 oz of water per day. Your body’s need for water goes up in the heat, but be sure you are balancing with electrolyte intake. Consuming too much water can lead to electrolyte deficiencies that are dangerous. 


The summer can be a great time to try new hobbies and stay active, so grab that water bottle, be safe, and enjoy! 

Build a Strong Offense in Your Kitchen

We’ve heard in sports and military combat that the best defense is a strong offense. This strategy can also apply to our health when it comes to being proactive in preventing acute inflammation and disease. Nutrition plays a vital role in building a strong immune system to fight off foreign invaders. We want our immune system to be prepared in advance to defend our healthy cells against invasion of harmful bacteria and viruses.

  • The first offensive weapon in our immune system playbook is pre-planning.  By pre-planning, we prevent mealtime stress and increase the chances of achieving our healthful eating goals. The next weapon is a varied diet.  Healthy eating involves variety because our bodies need different nutrients from different foods on a daily basis. We want to include an array of food groups including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, dairy products, and healthy fats. A third strategic weapon for achieving and maintaining good health is to have plentiful antioxidants every day. All three of these strategies work together: If you focus on planning your meals in advance to incorporate variety among these food groups, it will help ensure you are consuming adequate amounts of antioxidants which serve to protect your healthy cells from damage and disease.

Some foods are receiving attention for maybe boosting and building a strong immune system. We have listed some of these below. Consider incorporating them into your recipes and meals to increase variety in your diet, provide a source of antioxidants, and add other important nutrients and fiber. However, it’s important to remember that there isn’t one food that will magically build a strong immune system and prevent disease – the key is variety at each of your three meals every day.

Healthful foods that might boost your immune system:

The foods listed below provide a variety of nutritious benefits including antioxidants such as resveratrol, lutein, avenanthramides, flavonoids, vitamins A, E, K, plus plant fibers and omega 3 fatty acids.

Oats: Use oats as an alternative to breadcrumbs to coat chicken or fish, or make overnight oats for breakfast.  Recipes abound for muffins, breads, cookies, pancakes, and waffles that incorporate oats.

Leafy greens:  Kale, spinach, swiss chard, arugula . . . Dark green is an important vegetable color. The darker the color, the more nutrients present. Incorporate greens into your salads, sauté them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, add them to soups during the last few minutes of cooking, use them as wraps in place of a tortilla, blend them into smoothies, or make a pesto sauce.

Broccoli: Add broccoli to soup, pasta sauce, pizza toppings, quinoa dishes, smoothies, slaw, stir-fry, and salads.

Red Peppers: All colors of peppers have nutritional benefits, but red peppers may be slightly higher in antioxidant and phytonutrient levels because they are riper than yellow or green peppers. Add peppers to salads, sandwiches, and stir-fry dishes.  You can make stuffed peppers, or use your blender or processer to add peppers to soups or dips.

Grapes: Mix grapes with vanilla yogurt and top with toasted pecans. Blend frozen grapes, milk, banana, and Greek yogurt for a breakfast smoothie. Sprinkle grapes into chicken or tuna salad, freeze them for a snack, or add them to salads or oatmeal.

Berries: Increase your intake of all berries. One cup daily would be great! Add berries to overnight oats, salads, and fruit parfaits. You can also dip fresh berries in yogurt and freeze for a snack.

Cinnamon:  Add cinnamon to roasted sweet potatoes, oatmeal, or baked apples.  You might also try cinnamon in granola, hot cocoa, or coffee.

Ginger:  Add a few pieces of fresh ginger in hot water to make tea, or you can add up to 1 teaspoon of ground ginger to your morning coffee. Add a bit of fresh ginger to your smoothie, choose ginger jam for your toast, or add fresh or dried ginger to homemade salad dressing.

Garlic:  Add garlic to pasta sauce, salsa, salad dressings, guacamole, soups, stews, sautéed vegetables, pizza, and mashed potatoes.

Fatty FishEnjoy some albacore or bluefin tuna, salmon, Atlantic herring, mussels, anchovies, swordfish, sardines, halibut, rainbow trout, or mackerel!

Walnuts and Almonds: Add crunch and protein to salads, oatmeal, yogurt, or any vegetable side dish with roasted or raw almonds. Incorporate them into muffins, breads, and cookies.

Chia Seeds: Try adding a couple of tablespoons to smoothies, or as a topping on yogurt, cereal, and salads. You can also use them in salad dressings, stir-fry, or as a crispy crumb coating for meat or fish. Bake them into cookies, breads, or muffins, or add them to soup, dips, or meat balls.


Consider incorporating more of these foods in your nutrition and health arsenal. Have fun!


Coping Skill Toolbox

How do you respond to stressful events or situations? 


Would you use the same tools when repairing a sink as you would to paint an old piece of furniture? No way! What might be useful for one project might not be useful for another. This is also true for stressful situations. It’s helpful to have a wide variety of coping tools within your “coping skill toolbox.” For instance, if your only form of coping is walking outside, this might not be possible when the weather is below freezing. 


When we don’t have a variety of coping skills to choose from, food oftentimes becomes a form of coping as a response to the stressful situation. This doesn’t become a problem until food is the only form of coping you have. Check out the coping skills below for some ideas to add to YOUR coping skill toolbox!

  • Read an interesting book
  • Listen to music
  • Call a friend or family member
  • Take a nap
  • Have a hot shower or bath
  • Declutter one space in your house
  • Take a ride in your car with the windows down
  • Walk or run outside in the fresh air
  • Check out an antique shop
  • Explore a new part of town
  • Start a new puzzle
  • Practice breathing techniques or meditation
  • Drink hot tea under a weighted blanket
  • Join a new club or sport
  • Volunteer at local organizations
  • Watch a movie or TV show
  • Play with your pet
  • Listen to a podcast or audiobook

If you do happen to choose food as a response to stress, that makes you 100% human. As babies, we were soothed with food when we were upset – it’s in our nature to continue this behavior into adulthood. It’s important to remember that food is not only fuel. Food is celebration, culture, and, on occasion, comfort when needed.