The hype around supplementing with collagen, is it worth it?

Now lets actually get an understanding on what collagen is... we hear so much talk about it through social media and the beauty industry but what actually is it and how can it benefit our health?

Collagen is a highly abundant protein found in the human body and it's mainly present in various fibrous tissues such as the skin, bones, blood vessels, tendons, muscles and ligaments.

Collagen peptides (also referred to as hydrolyzed collagen) found in supplements are different. They’re made of the same amino acids as collagen but are more easily absorbed by our bodies. That’s because they are much shorter chains of amino acids than collagen, making them more easily absorbed into our bloodstream.

There are many different types of collagen but the most talked about are type I, II, and III. Type I and III are usually grouped together because they are the most abundant and have similar body functions. Both of these can be sourced from bovine collagen, which is usually derived from cows. Where as type II can be sourced from marine collagen.

Please note that vegan collagen supplements have very little research and are not worth your time.

Now the natural process of ageing reduces the production of collagen and elastin fibres which leads to skin sagging, wrinkles and lines. Sun exposure, smoking and diets low in protein can also significantly reduce natural collagen production.

This has then lead to the industry promoting collagen supplementation.

Although the research is still forming around supplementation of collagen, there is defiantly some good evidence thats supports its claims around increasing skin elasticity, reducing wrinkles, reducing joint pain and improving cartilage connective tissue.

A study showed oral consumption of hydrolyzed collagen, as a supplement, improved individuals skin elasticity compared to the placebo group. Other studies also described the absorption and distribution of collagen peptides in the body to successfully reach skin, cartilage, bones and muscles.

The biggest thing we need to remember is there is no miracle food or supplement that will fix all your problems, but collectively eating a whole food diet, exercising regularly and reducing stress in ones life, will all contribute to great health (in this case hair, skin and nails).

If you are wanting to improve your skin, hair and nails supplementing with collagen can be beneficial, however you want to make sure you are also supporting your diet with the correct nutrients that will help as well.

These include:

  • Healthy fats such as omega 3's (olive oil, avocado, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, oily fish).

  • Healthy sources of animal protein (hormone free chicken, eggs, grass fed beef and lamb and sustainably caught fish),

  • Or vegetable sources of protein include, (lentils, chickpeas, organic tofu, raw nuts and seeds).

  • Diet rich in antioxidants (berries, lots of different coloured vegetables) to name a few.

Lastly there are so many different brands on the market, I recommend looking for collagen peptides as this is better absorbed compared to whole collagen protein.

I have personally started using Kissed Earth which I am really loving and is available online.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC23949208/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531717311508

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