You’ve probably seen ads for collagen supplements promoting improved skin, hair, wrinkles, gut health and healing. And while these are true health benefits of collagen, finding the right product for you can be confusing. You may see a type 1, 2, 3, or many other types of collagens claiming to be the most effective. So what is the truth?
Let’s First Explain What Collagen Is
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, especially type 1 collagen. It’s found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, the digestive system and tendons. This protein is what helps give our skin strength and elasticity, along with replacing dead skin cells. When it comes to our joints and tendons, in simplest terms, it’s the “glue” that helps hold the body together.
Collagen is actually referred to as a “complex protein.” The makeup of the amino acids within the family of collagen proteins is unique in its makeup. Nature's special formula of these amino acids is the reason it can build collagen when other proteins will not. Our body’s collagen production begins to slow down as we age. We all can see the decline in the firmness of our skin after age 40 and this is from the loss of our collagen. Lifestyle habits accelerate this process. Think excessive sun, poor diet, nutritional deficiencies, stress, chemical laden skin care products, and smoking.
The Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Studies using double blind placebo control showed that 5 grams of quality collagen used among women 35 to 55 once daily for eight weeks improved skin elasticity, moisture and skin roughness with no side effects. Collagen may help reduce cellulite and stretch marks. This happens because collagen is the molecule that holds our skin tight and firm.
Collagen is also responsible for aiding our tendons and ligaments within our skeletal system. This is one reason as we age we get the “tin man” syndrome where everything is creaky upon movement. Collagen can assist in helping joints move easier which can reduce pain.
Leaky gut is a condition where damage has occurred within the gut lining that may create a host of internal issues. Collagen is a powerful ally in offering nutrition for healing. This is why bone broth is always recommended for leaky gut due to the natural collagen found in bone broth.
Some other benefits claimed for collagen include strengthening nails, hair and teeth. It also improves liver function, protects the cardiovascular system and increases nitric oxide.
Speaking of skin elasticity and moisture, check out this article for the best non-toxic skincare recommendations!
How to Pick the Right Type for You
When deciding on a collagen supplement this is what you should consider. There are at least 16 different types of collagens when you look at the source and chemical makeup. But, Type 1 accounts for almost 90% of the body’s supply according to some findings. My advice is to always look for Type 1 as a primary ingredient. The other types of collagen such as Type 2, 3, 4, 5, and others may have specific uses such as blood vessels, endothelial function or bone formation. But for the majority of individuals, Type 1 will produce desired results.
The source of collagen varies from bovine (cow), chicken, or fish. Bovine, if sourced from clean ingredients, offers abundant levels of Type 1 and 3. Chicken collagen tends to favor Type 2. Fish collagen offers specific benefits to joints, skin, vital organs, blood vessels and bones. And eggshell collagen is also Type 1 and supplies glucosamine. Egg shell collagen also contains some Type 3, 4, and 10.
When looking for collagen products I prefer a brand that has certified it to be Non-GMO, grass fed only, Kosher, and with zero sugar.
Bone broth is always a choice if produced from animals raised without chemicals. Our ancestors consumed collagen often when they harvested an animal. Yet today, eating our pasture raised meats will not supply quality collagen so supplementation may be the best option for the desired benefits that collagen offers.
We can up our body’s ability to produce its own collagen through supplementing Vitamin C and silica. Also, applying collagen to the skin may not offer benefits due to the large molecules that cannot pass into the skin.
Side effects from collagen are rare and occur only due to allergies to the source or over-consumption. I found that some of the collagen powders did trigger a slight anxiety feeling. In research, I found this is rare but can occur. This reaction is due to the collagen binding to a serotonin receptor site. But, liquid collagen does not seem to create this effect for me.
I encourage anyone desiring to “age gracefully” consider collagen supplementation. Obvious results will occur within 8 weeks that will convince you of the benefit for most individuals.
Disclaimer. The information on this website and the topics discussed have not been evaluated by the FDA. Or, any one of the medical profession. And it is not aimed to replace any advice you may receive from your medical practitioner. Nutrition World assumes no responsibility or liability whatsoever on the behalf of any purchaser or reader of any of these materials. Nutrition World is not a doctor, nor does it claim to be. Please consult your physician before beginning any health regimen. If you are being treated for any medical illness, check with your medical professional before starting any protocol.