What is collagen and why is it important?
It’s one of the top building blocks in your body. Collagen proteins form a major part of every connective tissue – that’s your bones, tendons, muscles, ligaments, hair and skin. We manufacture it ourselves from protein-rich food, but as we get older the body produces less. Hence, the demand for a supplement that the body can easily absorb.
If my body already produces collagen, why should I take a supplement? Can’t I just eat more protein?
You could eat protein, but there’s no guarantee that it will produce more collagen for your body. With a good supplement, the manufacturer will have done the work for you, breaking down the amino acids so they will be used.
Why is collagen on-trend now?Collagen supplements have been available for some time – mainly for athletes who wanted to protect their joints. However, studies and anecdotal evidence have emerged in the past five years, indicating that collagen could be good for your skin’s elasticity. A 2014 trial looking at the effect of collagen peptides found a significant difference in the skin’s elasticity after two months on the supplement, whilst this 2015 study showed women who took the nutritional collagen drink had fewer wrinkles than the control group (who had a placebo). As most of us prefer smooth skin, the beauty industry sat up and took notice. Interest has been growing since then.
How do I take collagen supplements?
The best way is in powder form, from a reputable company that pays attention to its manufacturing process and sources. Unfortunately, the collagen supplements are not a regulated industry, so you do have to do your research properly. Read more here.
Do I need to do anything else?
Take a good multivitamin as vitamins A and C helps in collagen absorption, along with trace copper and red plant pigmentation (so tuck into blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or rhubarb). Unless its already included in your Collagen supplement.
What can I expect when taking collagen supplement?
Allow at least two months for the results to show up. Whilst it will vary from face to face, look for suppleness, elasticity, hydration and less noticeable wrinkles.
What are the other benefits of collagen?
In addition to better skin, you may notice longer hair and nails and more supple joints. If you are following any strength programme in your fitness regime, you may also notice a quicker recovery from exercise and a gradual increase in muscle mass
There’s also some indication of longer-term health benefits. Collagen supplements can guard against bone density loss (osteoporosis) and boost your heart health, although more research is needed.
Are there any side effects of taking collagen supplements?
If you are allergic to eggs or shellfish, be aware that some collagen supplements use these sources. Always check the label or ask your supplier where it’s from! Beyond that, some people report heartburn or an odd taste after drinking different brands.
Is there anything else I should know?
If you are in it for the beauty, give your collagen a head-start by reducing the environmental impact on your skin. Stress, sun damage and sleep deprivation all contribute to us looking older and they can easily be corrected. So, our deeply unfashionable advice is to drink more water, head to bed earlier and use sunscreen, alongside your skin-boosting supplements.