Collagen as a supplement. It’s not that this is a new idea but it has become more popular as of late. Kim Kardashian and Bella Hadid look so good, there’s no way they’re not taking it.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein structure consisting of amino acids. Amino acids are our bodies’ protein building blocks. Collagen is the second most abundant substance in our bodies (the first is wine—hah! I mean water! Definitely water.). It is present in our skin, bones, joints, cartilage, tendons and more. There are many different types of collagen, but the main ones are Type 1, 2 and 3.
Type 1 is the most abundant in our bodies and, together with Type 3, it makes up about 90% of our bodies’ collagen supply. Type 2 is more specialized and found mainly in our joints and cartilage. Our bodies actually produce collagen all on their own, so supplementation is not essential, but it may come in handy as we age and begin to produce less. Because with less collagen comes some health concerns.
As we age, we reach a point where we start to complain about muscle and joint pain, wrinkles, sagging skin, cellulite and lackluster hair. Is this where supplementation can help? Unfortunately, not really––or at least science doesn’t seem to think so. I personally have not jumped on the collagen bandwagon, but I know many who have and they swear that they’ve noticed improvements. This leads me to my next point:
What do collagen supplements do?
The (scientific) jury is still out, for the most part. Research does show that supplementation of Type 2 collagen may help improve joint function. But, when I looked at collagen’s benefits for skin, hair and nails, it was hard to find any evidence. What I did find was that Type 1 collagen taken as a supplement is broken down in the gut, meaning that it isn’t absorbed as a whole collagen molecule and shipped up to your forehead to plump up those wrinkles, as you had hoped. So, how does it help our skin, hair and nails? Unfortunately, that cannot be answered with certainty, yet. We do know that collagen contains our essential building blocks, so by taking a supplement we are introducing more of those building blocks into our body. At this point, though, we have no control over how our bodies put those building blocks to work. Talk about Murphy’s Law…
So, why is everyone jumping on the collagen bandwagon? Well, sometimes science takes time to catch up to ever-changing trends. Believe me, I have heard about so many wonderful results from friends and colleagues who are taking it that I wish they were scientifically true. But, if you are using collagen already or have always wanted to start, I say go for it. I would hate to hear five years down the road that collagen supplementation is the first choice for anti-aging. I do recommend, however, that you seek out supplements from a high–quality, reputable brand.
Then comes the choice between plant, animal or marine sources. Click here to find out more.