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A current superstar on the wellness scene, collagen is touted by basically everyone, their favorite celebrity, and their doctor for it’s glow-inducing and gut-health improving properties. Need another reason to pull the trigger on reordering a Dirty Lemon six-pack?Well, according to functional medicine guru Frank Lipman, MD, taking the protein is a super-effective means for staying healthy during the winter.

“Collagen is also a type of protein that’s helpful in maintaining the health of our digestive systems.” —Dr. Frank Lipman

At this point, the importance of gut health is not only well known, but, according to many experts, it’s one of the most important indicators of general health. And whether you’re taking collagen in the AM or the PM, according to Dr. Lipman, “It’s also a type of protein that’s helpful in maintaining the health of our digestive systems” which he refers to as “your immune system’s ground zero.”

During the winter and the holiday season, when you’re likely stressed (all of that shopping, eating, flying, and family time can be draining), Dr. Lipman says that your collagen supplement can help keep you feeling healthy.

First of all, “it’s helping to heal your digestive lining, and preventing further gut permeability,” which ultimately helps to banish inflammation. Second, collagen “aids water absorption in the digestive tract,” meaning healthier and more comfortable bowel movements could be coming your way.

So the next time you’re feeling a winter sickness coming on, add a spoonful of your collagen powder to your soothing tea (rather than sugar to your medicine).

You can also boost your immune system this season with a DIY ginger shot or an apple-cider vinegar concoction