What Is A Collagen Supplement And How Does It Work?
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In this article, we will dive deep to answer what is a collagen supplement and explain how it might benefit you.
These are surprising facts…
On September 30, 2019, the CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements reported the highest usage of dietary supplements in 20 years at a whopping 77%.
Of the 77% of U.S. adults (men and women) who consume supplements, 79% are females and 79% are adults 55+ (81% of adults 34-54).
Obviously, dietary supplements are mainstream in our culture and people want to enjoy the health benefits of them.
Let's move on to explain what is a supplement, what is collagen and how consuming a collagen supplement might help with your anti-aging efforts.
What is a dietary supplement?
According to the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), the accepted definition of a dietary supplement, as defined by Congress, is a product (other than tobacco) that:
In the United States, dietary supplements are regulated by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as food.
Also, supplements can have ingredients that are derived from animals. A perfect example of this as there are different forms of collagen derived primarily from cows/cattle (bovine collagen), chicken or fish.
What is the purpose of collagen?
Collagen is often referred to as the ‘glue’ or ‘scaffolding’ that holds and supports every part of your body’s structure (animals also have collagen in their bodies).
At a high level, collagen is primarily made from three amino acids (glycine, alanine, proline and a modified version of proline, hydroxyproline specifically) and synthesized by vitamin C, zinc and copper. The end result is a protein that is known as collagen.
It’s best to get collagen and amino acids from natural sources, like healthy and natural foods.
However, your diet might not always be ‘perfect’ and you may have participated at least a time or two in collagen-killing activities such lack of sleep, too much sun, stress and smoking.
Collagen is the most abundant protein and shows up in all these areas in your body:
Why should I take collagen?
As you approach the end of your 20s, your body doesn’t make as much new collagen which causes a collagen deficit.
Not only that, but also today's society doesn't tend to use all parts of an animal like beef or chicken which helped our ancestors to get enough collagen and amino acids in their diets.
For example, your grandmother might have made bone broth which is a superfood that uses parts of animals to draw out the amino acids and collagen that is good for your body.
Admittedly, more research is needed to determine if collagen supplements are as beneficial as we think.
How much collagen should I take per day?
According to Dr. Kellyann, a well-known health and wellness expert, a minimum of 5 grams of collagen per day will help to increase the lycine and proline (amino acids in collagen) in your bloodstream.
She goes on to suggest that if you’re experiencing inflammation (like most people are), a higher dosage like 10-15 grams daily might be better.
If you suffer from one or more specific conditions, then she suggests going up to 30 grams daily.
What are the benefits of collagen for women?
During the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in Park City Utah, it was reported guests were served collagen-infused cocktails. If it’s good enough for the rich and famous, it might be worth looking into, don’t you think?
Here are some potential benefits of more collagen in your body:
Other than supplements, there is a lot of excitement in other health areas for the potential of collagen.
As a matter of fact, the medical and research-grade collagen market is on an upward trend, predicting to grow to $883M by 2027.
Other areas that collagen is an exciting development are vascular grafts, tissue scaffolds, cartilage repair, wound care and bone grafts.
How long does it take for collagen peptides to work?
Like with any nutritional supplement, consistency is key.
Here are studies that will give you an idea of how long it might take to see improvements:
In the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, participants noticed a 16% increase in skin hydration after 4 weeks and up to 28% in 8 weeks.
Another study showed women who took a collagen peptide for 8 weeks realized a 20% reduction in wrinkles.
Nutritional Reports International featured a study where subjects in the study took collagen for 62 days. They found the thickness and strength of the subjects’ hair increased significantly.
In 2017, a study showed excellent improvement in the nails of 25 participants who took specific collagen peptides once a week for 24 weeks.
Furthermore, researchers saw an increase of 12% in nail growth and 64% saw an improvement in their brittle nails.
An exciting study showed women aged 40-70 saw a 32% decrease in joint pain and a 44% improvement in joint stiffness after taking a daily collagen peptide dose for a period of 6 months.
When is the best time to take collagen?
Overall, there’s not a specific time of the day that is recommended to take collagen.
For example, some say to take it in the morning (adding it to your morning coffee is a great way to boost your collagen intake for the day) to help keep you feeling full so you eat less.
If you feel too full when taking a collagen supplement in the morning, you may want to take it at night so it enters your body while you sleep.
Either way, when starting any new supplement, it’s best to start at a low dosage and work your way up to the recommended dosage.
If you run into any side effects, there are things can you can do to help minimize them or you can try a vegan collagen-boosting supplement.
Also, if you’re taking any prescription medications, you’ll want to consult with your healthcare provider before starting something new.
Know this before buying a collagen supplement
With anything you’re taking into your body, you’ll want it to be as pure and clean as possible. We recommend to always look at a supplement’s label to better understand the ingredients.
For collagen supplements, you’ll want to look for these clues on the label:
- Sourcing:'Grass-fed', 'pasture-raised' and 'wild-caught' are the descriptions you want to see.
- Sugar/Carbs: If your lifestyle includes low-carb foods or you follow a low-carb diet like keto, then you'll definitely want to pay attention to this.
- Color: If you choose collagen powder, it should be clear and odorless when mixed with water.
- Third-party testing: A nice feature for a vote of confidence on the quality.
Collagen supplements are an effective, easy and inexpensive way to add proteins and amino acids that make proteins, to your body.
What is a collagen supplement though and how does it work?
A collagen supplement helps to maintain or encourage your body to make new collagen to enjoy the anti-aging benefits.
Obviously, a collagen supplement isn’t going to turn back the hands of time when you were 20 years old!
However, adding a collagen supplement each day may hold back those effects of aging, help you look younger and maintain your vitality for a longer period of time.