I'M HERE to share what I know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
What exactly is a collagen peptide? Does consuming collagen benefit your skin?
As someone who researches all-things-joint-and-skin related, I’m familiar with all of the popular myths about collagen-infused products. I’ve heard it before: collagen plays a role in our body beyond our skin, so adding an extra serving to your diet supposedly has all sorts of health benefits.
Here’s the truth: even though there is minimal scientific proof thus far about the effects on its claims, collagen supplements are a go-to dietary supplement for many. And for good reason. I, as a joint inflammation sufferer, can personally vouch for the healing benefits of taking good quality collagen powder. I can feel and see the results.
WHAT IS COLLAGEN?
COLLAGEN IS THE MOST abundant protein in the body. It makes up your connective tissues that support your joints and gives our skin its strength and elasticity. It also plays an important role in your hair, nails, bones, and intestinal lining.
Collagen isn’t considered a complete protein since it doesn’t contain all nine essential amino acids. However, it’s a unique type of protein that gets the majority of its structure from two amino acids our bodies produce: glycine and proline.
WHY SUPPLEMENT WITH COLLAGEN
IN RECENT YEARS, collagen has exploded as a popular ingredient to supplement. Here’s why many people choose to supplement with collagen.
As we age, collagen production slows. This gradual loss of collagen starts in the late 20s and early 30s. It’s one of the major contributors to the aging process. The most noticeable sign is skin looking less pump, which brings with it fine lines and wrinkles.
Aside from age, many lifestyle factors play a role in diminishing collagen in the body. Here are a few lifestyle factors that can impact collagen production:
Exposure to sun
Refined sugar intake
So if you want to support your skin as you age, or simply to combat the negative side effects of sun, sugar, and alcohol, collagen supplements may be for you.
Most of the research on collagen focuses on skin, joint, and bone health.
FOR YOUR SKIN
SINCE COLLAGEN DEGRADES and production slows as we age, the skin starts to show fine lines and wrinkles.
FOR YOUR JOINTS
ANOTHER PART of the aging process includes stiff joints. Since collagen makes up part of the cartilage in our joints, this padding in our joints starts to wear as we age.
HOW TO GET COLLAGEN BENEFITS IN YOUR DIET
THE BEST SOURCE of collagen come from eating animal proteins (sorry my vegetarians and vegans) such as:
Bone broth is another source of collagen you can easily incorporate into your diet by using it in cooking or sipping it as a warm, savoury drink. The question is, is consuming food enough to make a significant difference?
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENT
For a more concentrated form of collagen, you can take a daily collagen supplement.
Not all collagen is created equally. Since collagen is an animal product, it’s important to choose collagen from a reputable source. Look for collagen that comes from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals aka bovine collagen, or wild-caught fish aka marine collagen.
Then, choose something that works for you. Consistency is key for seeing results. If you are considering the benefits from an extra helping of collagen, that you don’t get from your food source, I have an excellent source for free-range pasture-fed Bovine Collagen from Brazil which I am currently consuming in my coffee once a day. After 3 years of testing various collagen supplements, I am loving this one as it's 100% pure collagen with no added fillers or hidden nasties!
VEGAN COLLAGEN SUPPORT
SINCE COLLAGEN is found in animals, there aren’t any vegan sources of collagen. However, there are nutrients that help support collagen production.
Here are vegan-friendly micronutrients you can supplement to support your body’s natural collagen production:
THE GOOD NEWS is collagen is generally safe and well-tolerated. Many individuals find that consuming collagen is easier on the digestive system than other protein powders.
Just remember collagen isn’t a complete source of protein, so it shouldn’t be used as the main source of protein in your diet.
It’s also important to understand that the body breaks down all types of protein and collagen into amino acids. The collagen you take just helps to ensure you’re not missing any of the building blocks needed for collagen production.
Be sure to practice sun safety with a high SPF to help protect your skin from UV damage, which can lead to collagen loss and signs of premature aging. (as if you need another incentive to wear your sunblock every day.)
COLLAGEN ON THE SKIN
COMMON SENSE SAYS It might be more beneficial to try to stimulate collagen production through topicals. BUT don’t be fooled by products offering collagen as an ingredient. Topical collagen isn’t an effective skincare ingredient. Collagen molecules in skincare products are far too large to be absorbed into the skin. This means that topical collagen products are likely of no benefit except perhaps as a placebo effect.
Instead, seek out skincare products featuring vitamin C and collagen-stimulating ingredients. Here's how they work.
VITAMIN C treats firmness and wrinkles by acting as a shield against aging. Vitamin C also promotes collagen growth, fights wrinkles, and helps clean up the damage from UV rays. I use an organic mask with vitamin C once a week to get the antioxidant benefits my skin craves. It has exfoliating properties as well which helps my skin absorb my other products.
SKINCARE PRODUCTS offering ingredients that will help your skin to produce its own collagen is what you need to be on the lookout for. Ingredients such as Gotu Kola, Equisetum, Uva Ursi, to name a few.
We have recently launched our vegan plant-based Awaken Collection specifically formulated for slow aging, and each plant-powered ingredient has been chosen to invigorate the skin's elasticity and collagen receptors. They are filled with Collagen boosting antioxidants and adaptogens, which all help to protect the body from free radicals and stimulate and strengthen the aging skin cells to awaken and plump up with the youthfulness of collagen.
So here you have what I know so far about collagen peptides. And I have always lived by the mantra of “personal experience trumps all external opinions”. Why not give it a try and see for yourself what the hype of youth is all about. You can mix collagen powder into whatever you’re already drinking — or eating! (Collagen peptide coffee, anyone?)