Collagen Supplements have become one of the most buzz worthy trends to come along in the war on wrinkles in recent years. Consumers are used to collagen being used in anti-aging cosmetics and creams, but what is getting people excited these days is the stimulatory effect of collagen production within the body after taking an oral supplement. Daily use of a dietary collagen can help improve the elasticity and firmness of aging skin as well as to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
What is Collagen?
It is the most abundant protein in our body and it is what helps to hold all of the connective tissue in our skin together. It is what makes your skin firm and supple, it keeps your hair and nails strong and it helps to regenerate new cells. As you age your collagen levels naturally decrease causing your skin to lose firmness and to form wrinkles.
Benefits of Collagen Supplements
The natural aging process leaves us with wrinkled, sagging, dull skin. While collagen can be beneficial to the entire body, it has the biggest effect on the skin.
Some of the reported benefits for the skin of taking collagen supplements include:
- Reduction of wrinkles
- Improved skin texture and firmness
- Can help fade or prevent stretch marks
- Helps new cells to grow
- Improved circulation
- Reduce appearance of cellulite:
- Promotes healthier, stronger hair and nails
- Reduction in appearance of age spots
- Improved skin moisture and hydration
What Exactly Should you be Looking for in a Collagen Supplement for Anti-Aging
The best type of collagen if you are looking to help with skin is Type I. It is what makes up to 90% of skin, hair, nails, organs, bone, and ligaments and when you ingest Type I collagen the results can be seen in the skin.
You should be clear on the source of the collagen you are purchasing. Collagen comes from Piscine (fish), Bovine (cow), Porcine (pig), Fowl(chicken) and recently you can get vegan/vegetarian options that are plant based. For the skin the best sources are Piscine (fish), Bovine (cow), and Porcine (pig), as they are all considered good sources for raising type 1 collagen in the body. Chicken collagen peptides are known to be most effective for supporting cartilage in the body, so avoid supplements type II supplements since they are usually derived from chicken.
Make sure that any claims regarding the efficacy of a supplement are backed by science. Many companies list their clinical trials on their websites. It is worth taking a look at results of the trials just to ensure you are buying a quality brand.
You should also consider what supporting nutrients are in the supplement. Some experts believe that while taking collagen on its own can be effective, it becomes more effective when combined with other key anti-aging ingredients that can either help with absorption of the collagen or that have their own anti-aging benefits. Some ingredients to look for include vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), coenzyme CoQ10, ceramide, and chondroitin sulfate.
The Best Collagen Brands for Skin
If you are looking specifically for collagen that will be beneficial to your skin check out the following products. These are some of the most popular and best quality brands on the market if you are looking for anti-aging results.
1. Neocell Super Collagen +C Type 1
Super Collagen +C is one of the most popular supplements in the U.S and you can find it in places like Whole Foods and GNC. It contains type 1 and 3 collagen so it is beneficial for tendons, ligaments, hair, skin, nails, and lean muscle. It is also rich in hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, which are two key amino acids that are helpful for collagen production. It comes from pharmaceutical food grade bovine collagen and claims to have a 90% absorption rate into the blood stream. If you choose the pill form the recommended dosage is a whopping 6 large tablets a day (2 tablets 3 times daily), but you can also get it in powder and liquid form as well.
Type: I and III
Supporting Nutrients: Vitamin C
2. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
Vital Proteins Peptides is an extremely popular unflavored powder option. The standout feature of Vital Proteins is that it comes from pasture-raised, grass-fed bovine hides from Brazil. So it is marketed as being from a high quality sustainable source. It claims help with attaining more youthful looking skin, healthier hair, and stronger nails, as well as bone and joint health. It also reportedly can help with the immune, digestive, and central nervous systems. One of the things that users love about this product is that it is digestible and soluble in cold water because of the natural peptides.
Supporting Nutrients: –
3. Elavonne Amino Collagen C
Elavonne Amino Collagen C is a type 1 fish peptide (powder) that works well for anti-aging as well as strengthening hair. It has a few clinical studies backing up the anti-aging claims of the product that you can see here. This powder mixes easily in water and liquids. It contains no fillers, no flavors, is a sugar free powder, has no preservatives, no hormones, no arginine, no maltodextrin and is made in the USA.
Supporting Nutrients: Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C
4. Reserveage Plant Based Support Collagen Builder
If you are vegan or vegetarian and are interested in trying collagen supplements you will know that you are very limited because almost all collagen comes either cow, chicken, pork or fish sources. This special vegan formula is a newer product that was introduced in 2015. It is a plant-derived alternative to help create collagen synthesis within the body. The primary incregient is Ceramosides™ which works along with other nuitrients to supply amino acids that help collagen production. It is gluten-free and made with non-GMO ingredients.
Supporting Nutrients: Amino Acid Blend, White Tea Extract, Ceramosides™ Ceramide Wheat Extract
Do they work?
The main argument that skeptics make against the effectiveness of ingesting collagen is that these products must be ineffective, since any collagen that is consumed orally will be broken down in the stomach and intestines and will never reach the skin itself. This is such a strongly held belief by some dermatologists that they dismiss the numerous clinical trials that have been conducted in the last few years that are showing that there does seem to be a benefit to the skin when taking some types of hydrolyzed collagen peptides. The results from some of the clinical trials indicate that by taking an oral collagen supplement you are activating your body’s own physiological process that produces more collagen.
In one of the most citied independent studies to show positive effects of taking collagen peptides that was conducted in 2015 found that oral collagen peptide supplementation noticeably increased skin hydration after only 8 weeks.
What is the difference between the types of Collagen I, II, and III?
Collagen I, II, and III are the 3 main types of dietary collagen that you can buy. Collagen supplement are often categorized by the type they contain. When you are choosing a product and are specifically looking for anti-aging benefits you should look for a supplement that contains type I and type III.
Type 1 and 3 make up more than 90% of the collagen that is found in the body and when you ingest this type it is believed that it can improve overall skin texture and firmness.
Type 1 has nineteen amino acids which are responsible for the health of skin and muscle. Type I is the most important, so make sure that any supplement you purchase is made up of mostly type I.
Type 2 has eighteen amino acids, which are responsible for the health of the joint cartilage. When you ingest type II it can help strengthen and improve joint and tendon flexibility and relieve pain associated with arthritis.
Type 3 is the second most abundant collagen in human tissue. When you are born your skin has a lot of type 3 and as you age the type 3 collagen gets replaced by the tougher type 1.
Generally you don’t want to purchase a supplement that says it has all three types because the two different types of amino acid profiles will bind together and become a complete protein, so the body won’t be able to recognize it as collagen and you won’t get the benefits.
Look for a supplement that contains type I and type III because they are the most abundant types of collagen in the skin.
What is the difference between Hydrolyzed Collagen and Collagen Peptides?
Often the terms are used interchangeably, but they are two slightly different types of supplements that stimulate collagen growth for skin. Hydrolyzed collagen is created by breaking down the molecular bonds from animal by-products (skin, bones, and connective tissue) between individual collagen strands by using either physical, chemical or biological means. While collagen peptides are extracted in boiling water from the skin of the animal. In both cases what makes this collagen different from the collagen in something like gelatin or a bone broth is that the protein’s amino acids have been broken down into low-molecular-weight fragments, so they are much more easily absorbed by the body.
There aren’t many side effects that have been linked to ingesting collagen supplement. Some of the minor reported side effects can include:
- A slight lingering unpleasant taste that usually subsides within 60 minutes. (usually from collagen from marine sources)
- In rare cases high levels of calcium or hypercalcemia can occur in the body if excessive doses are taken
- Collagen supplements that contain shellfish and other marine sources may cause allergic reactions.
- Decreased appetite
What are the different forms it comes in?
The two most popular forms of ingestible collagen are pill and powder. You can also ingest it as a drink, a gummy, a chewable, chocolate, a bar, and in Japan it has even been added to beer.
If you aren’t big on taking pills it is worth buying a power form. Most of the powder forms are tasteless and odorless, so you can just put them into your favorite beverage and not even notice them.
Where do you buy these types of supplements?
These days you can find them in drug stores, super markets, and health food stores. The better quality products are found in health food stores and places like GNC and Whole Foods. You can also order online.
When Can I Expect to See Results?
Results can vary quite a bit between each individual. Age and diet can play a significant part in the length of time that it takes to see results. Generally most people will begin to see a change in the strength and growth of their nails after about 2-3 weeks of intake. To see results in your skin will take about 6-8 weeks. After that time you should see an improvement in your skin’s firmness and suppleness.
How much Collagen do you need each day?
Depending on your age, weight and what your needs are, experts generally recommend 5000mg to 7,000mg a day in order to see worthwhile results. If you are looking for dramatic results around the face and eyes, some individuals go up to 10,000mg per day. Read the product description to ensure you are taking the correct dosage.
How long do the results last?
If you use the supplement on an ongoing, consistent basis, the results will continue as long as you take it. Some studies have shown that if you stop taking the supplement the results can last up to 4 weeks.
What does bioavailability mean?
The bioavailability of a supplement just means the percentage of the substance that is actually digested and absorbed into your body when ingested. The better the bioavailability the more effective the nutrient will be.
Vegan and Vegetarian options
Obviously almost all of the ingestible collagen options are derived from animal sources, making them off limits for vegans and vegetarians. There are, however, a couple of vegan options available:
OZ Naturals Collagen Type 1 & 3 + Vitamin C Supplement – Has been around for a little while now, it gets its collagen from lemons, oranges, soy products, red fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
The other option that seems very promising is much newer and is put out by one of the bigger names in the industry Reserveage. Reserveage Plant Based Support Collagen Builder uses ceramides to provide the collagen. In Europe and Japan oral ceramides have been a popular supplement for skin care.
Be aware there are some supplements that say they are veg, veggie or vegetarian capsules, this just means that the capsule casing is vegetarian, not the collagen itself.
The Bottom Line
The idea that you can get rid of wrinkles by popping a pill or taking a powder that will help your body regenerate collagen from within is very appealing. Clinical trials seem to show that there is something to this idea, but if you are looking for anti-aging benefits you must make sure you buy the right type of supplement. Not only should you look for a type I collagen, but you must make sure that it comes from a clean reliable source, and has good supplemental ingredients to help with the absorption.