The Truth About Collagen Supplementation
Collagen is all over the place – in the convenience stores, big box stores, and health stores. It’s offered as tablets, as powders to mix in with our coffee, smoothies, or green juices – but what does it do? In this article, we will look at the benefits of collagen, the most effective collagen, and much more.
What Is Collagen?
It’s a naturally occurring protein that everyone has been supplementing recently. Why? Well, it’s a naturally occurring protein found in our bones, muscles, blood, tendons, and skin. It’s responsible for healthy joints and skin elasticity. There are some types of collagen strands that are stronger than steel.
Collagen breaks down as we age, as well as our ability to produce it on our own, which is why many are turning to supplements.
What Are the Benefits of Collagen?
Let’s start this off with some myth-busting: Skincare products boasting their collagen benefits is unlikely to do anything to improve your collagen stores. Collagen molecules are too big to be absorbed by the skin.
Here are the common benefits of supplementing collagen:
Healthier & Thicker Nails – Studies have shown that when collagen is taken daily significantly increases hair quantity, scalp coverage, and thickness. Since hair and nails are made up of the same protein, collagen tends to cause nails to grow faster and be less fragile.
Reduced Osteoarthritis Pain – Collagen can act as a mild pain reliever, but it takes about three to five months to see any effects.
Skin Elasticity & Hydration – This is why collagen is highly sought out. Collagen supplements have been proven to improve skin hydration and elasticity. And everyone’s favorite: Collagen improves the appearance of wrinkles.
What Damages Collagen?
While aging does affect our ability to produce our collagen, there are some things we can do to slow that process. Here are some things that damage collagen:
Smoking – This is a no-brainer since it’s been known forever that smoking can quickly age us. The chemicals in cigarettes damage collagen and elastin in our skin. Nicotine narrows blood vessels, reducing the number of nutrients and oxygen that our skin needs to thrive.
Sugar – A diet high in sugar damages proteins in our skin and can make collagen brittle and weak.
Sunlight – Make sure you apply sunscreen and reapply it through the day – rain or sun, winter or summer! The sun’s ultraviolet rays damages collagen, causing the skin to heal incorrectly and form wrinkles.
Marine Collagen vs. Bovine Collagen: Which Is Better?
Let’s start with some myth-busting: Skincare products boasting their collagen benefits is unlikely to do anything to improve your collagen stores. Collagen molecules are too big to be absorbed by the skin.
The most beneficial way to take collagen is orally through powders, liquids, or tablets. There are two sources of collagen on the market: bovine and marine. But which is better?
Bovine collagen is often made up of cowhides and bones due to being an ideal source of collagen. A 2014 study showed that 15% of women who took bovine collagen for sixty days showed fewer wrinkles, less sun damage, and more hydrated skin.
Marine collagen is created by extracting collagen from fish skin, bones, and scales. Marine collagen is more sustainable than other collagens for those with dietary restrictions or opt-out of eating meat for religious or environmental reasons. A similar study showed that marine collagen was just as effective as bovine collagen in improving wrinkles, sun damage, skin hydration, and firmness.
However, if you’re going to be spending money on a collagen supplement, choose marine collagen simply because the body absorbs it 1.5 times more efficiently than bovine collagen. This is due it the molecules being smaller and easily absorbed and distributed.
The Bottom Line
While the benefits of collagen go more than skin deep, if you’re looking to fend off signs of aging, it’s an excellent supplement to invest in. Try out marine collagen to get the best bang for your buck, or if you can splurge, go ahead and get both types of collagen and see what benefits it can bring you.