It took us a while, but finally we now understand that what we put in our body, not just on, has a huge impact on the appearance of our skin. Even when our skincare contains the latest and greatest in nanotechnology or high-performing ingredients, this will not erase the damage of poor diet or lack of nutrients (despite the claims of the cosmetics companies). As a result, a lot of beauty companies have capitalised on the opportunity (and science) and created a supplement line. Beauty supplements reached record highs in 2020, with more female consumers using beauty supplements as part of their daily routines than ever before. And this trend continues to rise.
One such supplement is collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It helps build and maintain connective tissues and bone. Connective tissue forms the matrix of our skin and is what gives it structure. Unfortunately, as we age, collagen production diminishes, and consequently, our skin begins to sag! Supplementing our diet with Collagen definitely helps. It can help reduce the signs of aging by diminishing wrinkles, prevent skin dryness and may also support bone health and relieve joint pain.
Here are 5 science-backed health benefits of taking a collagen supplement:
1. Collagen Improves Skin Health
Since collagen is the main component of our skin, it stands to reason it plays a significant role in strengthening skin. It can also help with skin elasticity and hydration, as studies have shown. In one study, women who took a supplement containing 2.5–5 grams of collagen for 8 weeks experienced less skin dryness and an increase in skin elasticity compared with those who didn’t take the supplement.
Another study found that women who drank a beverage mixed with a collagen supplement daily for 12 weeks experienced increased skin hydration and a significant reduction in wrinkle depth compared with the control group.
The wrinkle-reducing effects of collagen supplements have been attributed to their ability to stimulate our body to produce collagen on its own. In addition, it may promote the production of other proteins that help with skin structure, including elastin and fibrillin.
2. Relieves Joint Pain
Collagen helps maintain the integrity of our cartilage, which is the rubber-like tissue that protects our joints, or the shock-absorbers as I call it. Some studies have shown that taking collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce joint pain overall. In one study, 73 athletes who consumed 10 grams of collagen daily for 24 weeks experienced a significant decrease in joint pain while walking and at rest, compared with the group who didn’t take it. It is thought that supplemental collagen may accumulate in cartilage and stimulate our tissues to make collagen, thus reducing inflammation and joint pain.
3. Could Prevent Bone Loss
While the jury is still out on this one, we do know collagen is a large component of our bones. There have been some studies showing bone density has improved by 7% with both collagen and calcium supplementation. What we do know, collagen supplementation does help stimulate our own collagen production, which can only be positive for bone and joint health.
4. Improve Muscle Mass
Between 1–10% of muscle tissue is composed of collagen and yes, ageing doesn’t bode well for muscle regeneration either. Studies suggest that collagen supplements help boost muscle mass in people with sarcopenia (muscle atrophy due to age). In one study, 27 frail men took 15 grams of collagen while participating in a daily exercise program for 12 weeks. Compared with men who exercised but did not take collagen, they gained significantly more muscle mass and strength. Researchers suggest that taking collagen may promote the synthesis of muscle proteins like creatine, as well as stimulate muscle growth after exercise. Keeping in mind, our heart is a muscle, so there is evidence showing collagen supplements are good for the heart too!
5. Improves Hair & Nail Health
Showcasing luscious locks and strong nails is also less-likely as we age. However, taking collagen may increase the strength of your nails by preventing brittleness. Additionally, it may stimulate our hair and nails to grow longer according to some studies.
There is mounting research proving the benefits for taking a collagen supplement, and no known associated risks. The only real drama is if you have an allergy to fish. Since a lot of the high quality collagen supplements use marine collagen sourced from fish and fish scales. There are alternatives, such as bovine collagen or vegan options. Be sure to check the label to understand the source of the collagen.
Clinical test have shown results around improvement in skin firmness, elasticity and radiance with as little a 5g of collagen taken daily for 4-8 weeks.
Source: No Ugly.
We are now across the benefits of a collagen supplementation, but what are the best ones to take. Below is a full comparative table of the main collagen supplements available in Australia and New Zealand. But before you jump to that, it’s good to understand the difference between the various types of collagen used in the various supplements.
Marine vs Bovine Collagen
Bovine collagen is a Type I and Type III collagen, and is sourced from cowhide and hooves (ewww). It can aid with an improvement of joint health, and to a lesser degree skin, hair and nails. Marine collagen is Type I collagen and sourced from fish and has all the benefits outlined above.
Some studies have suggested that Type I collagen, or marine collagen, maybe 1½ times more bioavailable than bovine collagen. This is because marine collagen has smaller protein particles and can be easily digested. A lot of the beauty supplements use marine collagen. Also, Type I collagen is what is found in our skin, hair, and gut.
If you are vegan, there are collagen supplements available and they are generally sourced from the proteins from genetically modified bacteria and/or yeast. At the moment there isn’t a lot of research on how beneficial these are, and are still relatively hard to get your hands on. However, if you do have allergies, or follow a vegan diet, there are collagen supplement options. And depending on your intake preference, collagen supplements usually comes in a powder, liquid shot or capsule.
This is a new-comer to the Australian market and I have to say, I love. Not only does the company behind the brand have an amazing philosophy of no ugly (or nasty ingredients), they also cater to the market of people who don’t enjoy taking supplements even when they know they would benefit from them. They came up with the genius idea of putting all their supplements in a delicious beverage. No Ugly Skin has one of the highest amounts of sustainable sourced French marine collagen (10 g per serve), 88% of your Vitamin C RDI (according to their latest testing) which helps your body produce its own as well Enzogenol® a New Zealand pine bark extract (one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants), vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.
Gorgeous in, means gorgeous out. That’s why we carefully formulate all our products to ensure they contain only the most gorgeous ingredients ~ No Ugly
As we understand more about our skin and what it takes to keep it strong and elastic, we are beginning to realise good skincare can only do so much. I am absolutely taking a leaf out of the Book of Beauty by the Japanese (who have been taking collagen for centuries) and boosting my beauty with a collagen supplement.
Disclaimer: Always speak with your doctor before adding new supplements to your diet, especially if you take other supplements or prescription medications.
Research source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen-benefits
No Ugly: No Ugly Skin
Vida Glow: Original Marine Collagen
Vida Glow: Collagen Elixer Lemon Myrtle & Manuka Honey
Nature’s Way: Nature’s Way Beauty Collagen Liquid
The Beauty Chef: The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost
By Kris Abbey.