Do Collagen Supplements Really Work?

A lot of attention has been paid to collagen supplementation lately. A wonderful reader asked me for my input on the matter, so I have created this post to help out everyone considering taking collagen supplements! As always, I want to promote your education and empowerment with every nutrient that comes on the market. The more you know about your own body and how things work, the better you will be able to make great health decisions. Read ahead to get smart on this important protein!

What is Collagen?

Collagen is a complex protein that acts as a fundamental building block for your body. It helps increase the strength and elasticity of tissues in the body, including bones, ligaments, skin, joints, hair, and nails.

What Does It Do?

  • helps create cartilage (for joints)
  • helps keep skin youthful and plump
  • important component of healthy strong hair, nails, and bones
  • source of glycine, which is necessary for nervous system functioning, muscle tissue formation, and repairing damaged body tissues.

Can my body naturally make collagen, without supplementation?

Yes! Your body naturally makes collagen out of the amino acids (protein building blocks) glycine, arginine, and proline. Collagen levels can be boosted as well by vitamin C, silica, and biotin. After age 25, your natural levels of collagen will start to decrease. This is why much attention has been placed on collagen supplementation lately.

I think I’m going to try it. What should I look for?

To help you figure out if this is right for you, consider the following points:

  • Research Studies
    Most of the recent studies are on collagen hydrolysate, or hydrolyzed collagen. Here are two to take a look at:
    –  In 2013 a good study was done (double blind, placebo controlled) of 69 middle-aged women taking oral collagen supplements (2.5g, 5g, or placebo). At 4 weeks there was a statistically significant improvement in skin elasticity and moisture versus the placebo group.
    – in 2008 a study was conducted on athletes to examine the impact of collagen supplementation on joint pain. 10g of collagen was taken in a liquid oral dose, and was shown to be effective in reducing joint pain in athletes with osteoarthritis.
  • Sources of Collagen
    – most collagen supplements will be either from bovine sources (cow – hide) or marine (scales or skin of fish).
    – natural sources of collagen building blocks include Nettle (tea or tincture), horsetail (good source of silica), vitamin C (berries, hibiscus, camu camu berry, acai powder, etc), protein powders….
    – Have you heard of Cosmetic Acupuncture? It is a holistic alternative to cosmetic surgery! It stimulates collagen production in the face and décolletage. If you live in Toronto, check out pomhealth.ca to book an appointment for this unique treatment.
  • Brands
    New Nordic Collagen – contains marine collagen, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
    NeoCell powder or capsule – bovine source. Hydrolyzed, gluten-free, from grass-fed and hormone/antibiotic-free cows.
    – Active Collagen
    – Lorna Vanderhaeghe
    Collagen Support – Lorna Vanderhaeghe – collagen-free! Just silica and biotin.

There you have it! If you end up taking a collagen supplement, remember to read the label for proper dose and recommended timing (some say to take away from food). And if you’re getting it from animal sources, choose brands that take time to ensure you’re getting a clean product (i.e. from animals that are not tampered with).
Finally, here’s a recipe using collagen that looks pretty tasty! Chocolate Hazelnut Collagen Truffles.

❤ Emily

 

 

 

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