The Health Benefit of Collagen Supplements
Innovative skin care products are everywhere, aren't they? Everywhere we look, there's a product promising to improve skin and turn back the clock.
When looking for skin care products that protect against the common signs of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles, one of the most commonly-seen words you are likely to encounter is 'collagen'. This is because collagen levels in the body play a vital role in helping to maintain skin elasticity and structural integrity. Collagen is naturally found in the skin as well as the joints. It's a protein, and like all proteins, is made up of long chains of amino acids.
However, while many people are aware of the basic link between collagen in the body and younger-looking skin, few have a deeper understanding of the precise role it plays in the ageing process and the ways in which supplements, pills and capsules can help to boost collagen levels and improve the appearance of skin.
In this article, we take a closer look at the role that collagen plays and explain how you can boost your levels with collagen supplementation. Moreover, we will outline some of the ingredients to look out for when trying to stimulate collagen production for skin care purposes, and point out some of the ingredients that are best to stay away from. Here's the lowdown on how taking collagen supplements may help to improve skin health.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein. In fact, collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It's present in our tendons, cartilage, bones, blood vessels and all connective tissues and organs, as well as our skin. There are around 30 different types of collagen all in all, but collagen type I and collagen type III are the most significant when it comes to the skin.
In terms of the skin, it forms a type of "biological scaffold" that the skin sits on, helping to keep it lifted and plump. As we age, our natural collagen collagen, and our ability to manufacture it as efficiently.
Surprisingly, this begins to happen from around the age of 25.
As our body produces less collagen, the scaffold begins to weaken, and the skin above begins to droop down into the gaps. Over time, this then leads to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and drooping, sagging skin.
What Are the Benefits of Collagen for Skin Health?
The benefits of collagen are numerous. It's the substance which provides skin with its elasticity and it connects tissues to each other and to the skeleton. There are also a variety of hair and nail benefits associated with this abundant protein too, but all of these benefits subside over time, as we age and as our ability to make collagen reduces.
In fact, this reduction in the amount of collagen produced by the human body occurs at a rate equivalent to around one percent each year, typically beginning in our 20s, although it can start even earlier than that. As this loss accumulates, skin starts to sag, wrinkle and show other signs of ageing.
What Are the Benefits of Collagen for Joint Health?
Since collagen is present in the connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) as well as the skin and joints, it’s crucial for keeping the body supple and moving well. It acts as a shock absorber in our joints. Collagen is springy and rubbery in nature, and its presence helps to stop the bones in our joints rubbing together, causing pain and inflammation.
As we get older, and our body doesn't regulate collagen production as well, our joints can become stiff and painful. This can also lead to osteoarthritis, a painful bone condition characterised by brittle, painful bones that are susceptible to fractures and breaks.
For these reasons, many people choose to take a collagen supplement or to consume foods rich in collagen to help top up their levels.
The Benefits of Taking Collagen Powder
While ageing is a natural process, its visible symptoms can be unwanted or even distressing. For this reason, many people opt to take supplements and these come in drink, pill, capsule and powder form.
Generally, taking oral collagen as a dietary supplement has more noticeable and immediate results than topical collagen treatments that are designed to be applied directly to the skin.
Are There Other Sources of Collagen?
Although there are collagen creams and topical treatments, which can be effective, many people find that the benefits are more immediately noticeable when using collagen supplements that come in pill or capsule form. Indeed, various scientific research on collagen suggest that collagen supplements can reduce wrinkles in a matter of weeks.
However, there are a huge number of supplements on the market, all with different ingredients lists and all proclaiming to be the best option available, so it can be difficult to know which ones are reliable. But, the decision over which supplements to buy can be made easier with some basic knowledge of ingredients to look out for.
Although collagen is an abundant protein in your body, when it comes to taking it in supplement form, collagen is naturally too large on a molecular levels for the body to absorb. For this reason, manufacturers have developed a form of collagen called hydrolysed collagen, that's been broken down into smaller molecules called collagen peptides.
Collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen supplements contain highly bioavailable collagen that the body can readily absorb.
Supplementing Your Diet: The Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Since our connective tissues and joints, plus our skin, benefits from the presence of collagen, there is now evidence that taking collagen supplements has benefits for many areas of the body.
So before we discuss the different forms of collagen that can help the skin, let's take a quick look at how oral collagen supplements can help support our joints as they lose support from collagen as we age.
Collagen Powder Benefits for Joint Pain
In terms of the body, collagen supplements can help to relieve joint pain and reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Athletes with joint pain through overuse injuries can also benefit from collagen supplements. Studies show that those who took the collagen supplements over a 24 week period can “reduce the pain that has a negative impact on athletic performance”.
The authors of another study say that collagen from supplements can accumulate in the cartilage of the joints to stimulate these tissues to manufacture more collagen. This leads to less inflammation and pain and better-supported joints.
Supplements sold as collagen peptides can therefore help if you're beginning to notice stiff, immobile, painful or swollen joints. Studies have found that collagen supplements work to support collagen production in the body, topping up the reserves that the body can't quite fulfill.
But what about the all important effects of taking collagen every day on our skin?
The Effects of Taking Collagen for Dry Skin
Case studies on the use of collagen supplements for the skin are also just as positive.
One study claims that collagen supplements for women when taken for eight weeks resulted in reduced skin dryness and a “significant increase in skin elasticity”. This is because collagen provides structure and the more collagen in your skin, the healthier it will appear.
Dryness and less elastic skin can cause the skin to appear older, so improving these two factors is great for looking more youthful.
Collagen May Help Reduce Wrinkles
Another study attributed increased skin hydration and a “significant reduction in wrinkle depth” to taking collagen supplements.
Plus, further research has found that taking collagen supplements can also help to promote the production of elastin and fibrillin, other proteins that help to keep the skin plump.
What are the Different Types of Collagen?
If you’re looking for collagen supplements, look for pills, powders or drinks that contain ‘hydrolysed’ collagen. This means that the collagen has already been partially broken down, meaning that it’s easier for the body to absorb and utilise.
What is the Best Type of Collagen Supplement?
Collagen supplements come in various different forms including pills, powders and drinks. They’re all designed to reach your bloodstream much more effectively than applying collagen creams to your skin.
So when it comes to collagen pills vs powder or choosing a collagen drink, the choice of which collagen supplement to try is down to personal choice.
What are Collagen Protein Supplements Made From?
On the other hand, it is important to note that most collagen powder and super collagen supplements make use of either animal or marine collagen, meaning they contain animal products. Vegans and vegetarians, look away now.
Bovine collagen is made using the bones of cows (sometimes yaks and bison) and marine collagen is made using the fins, scales and bones of fish. The animal parts are usually boiled up, and the oily collagen floats to the surface and is scraped off. It then goes through a drying process and a process of hydrolysation in order to then be made into supplements.
However, if you don't consume meat or fish, but you still want to add collagen in your diet, there are some vegan friendly options made using genetically modified microorganisms, so it's worth doing some research.
Recommended Collagen Supplements
For those who are seeking to boost their collagen production through supplements, it's important to choose wisely. In general, you should look for high-quality products, which are paleo friendly and gluten free, in order to reduce the chances of encountering unwanted side effects.
When choosing bovine collagen supplements, choose those made using the bones of grass fed organically reared cows. For marine collagen, choose those made from ethically sourced fish.
If you want to consume collagen, drinking bone broth is a great alternative to supplements. Or seek out recipes to make your own!
What are the Side Effects of Taking Collagen Supplements?
If you want to reap the potential health benefits of collagen, it's good to know that there are no know serious side effects of collagen supplements. Although collagen supplements are generally considered safe, when you first start taking them you might notice some stomach discomfort. So start on a low dose and gradually work your way up.
Does Silica Contain Collagen?
If the thought of collagen found in animal bones and made into human supplements puts you off, then you may want to consider a diet rich in the elements found in collagen instead. Consuming these collagen building blocks can help to stimulate your natural collagen production.
One such element, is silica. Silica aids the production of collagen and has the added benefit of calming irritated skin.
Another ingredient that can be useful when contained within collagen supplements is hyaluronic acid. This is a naturally occurring substance, which is found in our joints, skin and other tissues. One of its primary functions is to help skin to retain its moisture levels, so that it remains flexible, but it also helps to retain collagen too.
Silica Supplements to Stimulate Collagen Production
Sönd's Silica Supplements come in capsule form and contain silica, which stimulates collagen production in the body, counteracting the body's natural tendency to reduce collagen production with age. This, combined with calcium, magnesium and vitamin E, helps to nourish the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and helps to produce more collagen naturally.
Our supplements are suitable for those who follow a gluten-free diet, or those who adhere to a paleo diet, because they contain natural ingredients. Unlike most collagen supplements on the market, they are vegan-friendly too.
Another plus point is the ease of use, because all you have to do is take two capsules every morning with a glass of water. For best results, the supplements can also be combined with Sönd's range of alkaline skin care products.
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.