Collagen Supplements: Learn What They’re All About
What is the difference between a 55-year-old hard-working career woman who’s looking young and a 45-year-old tireless housewife who’s looking old? It is not the loss of that vivacious outlook in life. It is not even fatigue. The thing that separates the 2 ladies is as simple as you think: it is collagen. Aaah, collagen! If there is an essential ingredient to that elusive elixir of life, I’m gonna bet a million dollars that it contains collagen! It has been known to reverse any significant signs of aging as it boosts the firmness and elasticity of the skin. No wonder a lot of people take collagen supplements because surely no one wants to age and look old. Pointedly foolish, you may say. But it can surprise you how collagen can make you look young even while you're aging.
Collagen is a kind of protein that our body produces a sufficient amount of. It can be found in our tendons, bones, muscles, and most importantly in our skin. But it is not like the other proteins that we know of. This is a fibrous structural protein that possesses amazing tensile strength and is known to play significant roles in the human body. Based on research, it is the most fibrous, most insoluble, and the most abundant kind of protein ever recorded. Given its versatility, it is no wonder why collagen is studied immensely to better explore its role in the field of medical development.
But enough talking about collagen’s academic viewpoints, eh? Let’s talk about reality. And the reality is, we just can’t get enough of collagen! The famous Dolly Parton even quips how she’ll never graduate from it. We all shouldn’t! Everything depletes. This includes money, beauty, fame… even collagen-- especially when we age. Once people reach the late mid-30s, the human body will naturally slow down in producing collagen. This is the exact reason why we all need a collagen supplement.
The need for collagen supplementation
Fact: As we age, our natural collagen slowly bids us goodbye. Although there are no known medical tests that would prove that the level of collagen in our body slowly decreases with age, anyone who has reached the age of 30 years or more can already feel it. Sagging skin, wrinkles, or sunken eyes- among others. These are all classic signs of aging!
Ask anyone who has reached a certain age and they would say that their skin isn’t as good as it was before. It’s true. The more we age, the more changes our skin would undergo. Depending on your lifestyle, eating habits, or genetics, some people tend to age faster than others.
Of course, we couldn’t just stop ourselves from aging. That is how nature works. But we can do something about it. This is where collagen comes in. Collagen has been called the body’s scaffolding- and for a good reason. Dr. Whitnew Bowe, New York dermatologist and the author of the book The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking and Feeling Radiant from the Inside Out, says that collagen is the glue that keeps the body in check. It provides volume for our skin making it look plumper and wrinkle-free. Moreover, it contains proline and glycine which helps repair and maintain the condition of our joints and bones.
As we grow older, our bodies break down this kind of protein more than it could replace. And with the gradual loss of collagen in our body comes the common signs of aging. Collagen supplements are meant to bridge that nutritional gap which gets wider as we age. As I said, aging is inevitable; but we don’t have to show it with the help of these supplements.
How do collagen supplementations work?
With the innovation in medicine and technology, it is possible to manufacture collagen naturally or synthetically. Most of these supplements undergo hydrolyzation processes where collagen is broken down into peptides so they may be better absorbed by the body. Collagen supplements may take in the form of pills or capsules, tablets, or powder.
Collagen has been known for a myriad of health benefits. Finding the right supplement will practically give you the same health benefit that you enjoy from natural-producing collagens in your body. The following are proven benefits of collagen while some may require more research aside from initial studies conducted, which are proven to have shown positive results:
It boosts skin elasticity.
The reason why most people take this supplement is that they want their skin to be healthy. Based on a study, collagen supplements help in slowing down the aging process by maintaining the elasticity of the skin. It also reduces wrinkles while maintaining that healthy level of moisture in the skin. Furthermore, another study has proven that some women who drink collagen supplements, in a hydrolyzed form, noticed great improvements in their skin in terms of elasticity and hydration.
It helps in reducing cellulite.
Cellulite is one of those typical bums in your house who don’t even share in paying rent but practically causes you unnecessary worry and stress. You’d be glad to know that your collagen supplement is that court order that will help you evict that freeloader! It’s quite harsh of a reference, I know. But, cellulite can be as stubborn as your permanent house guest!
A study has also been conducted wherein women who have a considerable amount of cellulite revealed to have a significant decrease of cellulite degree in their body. This includes the huge reduction of skin waviness on their thighs which is a clear manifestation of cellulite. As a summary of the study, it was proven that such supplements provide positive results especially among average to overweight women.
It helps strengthen the bones.
Collagen is not only found in our skin, it is also found in our bones. So the more we age, the more likely our bones would get weaker because of the decrease of collagen production in it. With the help of this supplement, it can help in improving our bone density. Thus, it would help reduce the likelihood of getting osteoporosis.
It helps in improving digestive health
Surprisingly but yes, one of the benefits of collagen is that it can promote gut health. Research shows that those people suffering from IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome were found out to have lower levels of collagen which helps connective tissues to better perform their function in the body’s intestinal lining.
It can improve heart conditions.
Have you ever heard of atherosclerosis? Quite a savvy name for a disease that is characterized by plaque build-up in the arteries, eh? Who would think that collagen could help reduce the stiffness in the arteries and also help reduce bad cholesterol? There is a study made through a trial of the application of collagen tripeptide on atherosclerosis cases and the results have indeed reduced arterial stiffness and bad cholesterol.
It develops muscle mass.
Yes, you can blame it on aging when you feel like your muscles are also losing. It could be that or a condition called sarcopenia which is characterized by a significant loss of muscle and strength. Either way, collagen is the solution. There is a study done among older men suffering from sarcopenia where each was given 15 grams of collagen throughout the 12-week program. The results are stunning as they all gained more muscles as compared to those who are exercising.
It promotes better mental health.
While this may require further research, a study was conducted and was found that a certain kind of collagen, V1, helps fight Alzheimer’s Disease by protecting the brain cells from a harmful protein linked to such disease known as the amyloid-beta protein. It was also further found through another study that glycine is known to improve sleep and symptoms brought about by psychiatric conditions. Glycine is a major component of collagen.
The risks of taking collagen
Understanding the risks of taking collagen may cover the scope of side effects one may experience uncomfortably. Such side effects may range from very light symptoms to acute ones which would allow you to assess if collagen is worth taking in your case.
When it comes to risks, the most common ones you might deal with are the following side effects:
Allergic reaction to collagen
One may experience sensitivity or allergic reactions to certain collagen supplements. If you experience itching, swelling, wheezing, abdominal pain, or lightheadedness, then you are probably allergic to collagen supplements especially if they are sourced from shellfish, bovine, or eggs- which are all common triggers to an allergic reaction.
It is important that before taking your supplements for collagen for the first time, a skin test must be performed to determine if one is allergic to collagen or not.
Speaking of collagen’s role in promoting gut health, one of its functions is to ensure that there is enough acid in the gut so it can digest properly. Collagen does this by regulating the gastric juice secretion. As an effect, it prevents gastric juices from being in excess causing the environment in our gut to be more acidic. This can lead to heartburn.
Feeling full most of the time
Let’s not forget that collagen is a protein after all. And like all proteins, it helps us feel full even if we’ve only eaten less. Proteins, when digested, become peptides which are notorious for blocking the nerve vessel in our body that is responsible for enticing our brain to eat more. And the brain always falls into this trap because it always tells our body to eat. Peptides are like the tempting Eves to the gullible Adams. And who is there to punish the digestive “Eve”? Yes, it’s the collagen.
Hhhm, as an afterthought, I don’t think this is entirely a disadvantage at all. This may be great for people who like to lose weight by curbing their appetite. Nice job, collagen!
It has that residual taste in the mouth.
For something that is odorless or tasteless, it can be quite startling that some people report having experienced that lingering taste in the mouth. However, this isn’t that much of an alarming concern as it should subside within 60 minutes tops.
How long does it take for collagen supplementations to work?
Unfortunately, there is no single absolute answer to this question.
It is relative as it would depend on a lot of variables. Aside from the level of efficacy of the collagen supplement itself, the following factors in the environment may contribute to how fast the body can experience the benefits of collagen:
- Poor skincare hygiene
- Taking cigarettes or alcohol
- Lack of enough sleep
- Not drinking enough water
- Poor diet
- Prone to sunlight and other harsh
There are also intrinsic factors such as the following:
- The ability of your body’s skin to retain moisture
- The ability of your skin cells to regenerate quickly
- How fast collagen is being broken down to be absorbed by the body
- How fast our skin recovers from any form of skin damage
However, consider all things neutral, collagen peptides are highly bioavailable so it may easily be absorbed by our bloodstream. In about an hour, our body would be able to use the collagen supplement to rebuild its natural production of collagen. One should only consistently use it regularly to experience actual results.
What is the best way to take collagen?
So you think that by just taking collagen, you would expect healthier skin and bones, right?
Unfortunately, you are not even that close.
Just because you are taking them doesn’t mean you are already guaranteed the health benefits that it promises. Know that not all collagen supplements are created equal so it’s best to find the one that is the most effective and suits you.
Collagen, in itself, is hard to ingest in the body. This isn’t something that our human bodies can easily be digested. That is why it has to undergo the process of hydrolization where it is broken down into easily digested smaller bits that our bodies can take. So, every time you see a collagen supplement, it is not collagen in its pure form but hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides.
Now, finding the best way to take it can come in many forms. You can do so by taking them in pill form, powder or liquid is entirely up to your discretion.
In a more traditional method, collagen supplementation is taken in gelatin form. Gelatin is collagen that is broken down. However, the downside to it is that gelatin has a far more different chemical structure than collagen. While gelatine still has the protein from collagens, gelatin supplements do not have the same health benefits offered by collagen.
Thus, in today’s recent trend, collagen is now best taken as hydrolyzed collagen rather than in gelatin form. Although gelatin collagen is still collagen that is broken down, hydrolyzed collagen is collagen that is broken down with the use of water. The process of hydrolyzation has made this kind of supplement more effective and bioavailable. What differs hydrolyzed collagen from gelatin is the fact that hydrolyzed collagen is further broken down than gelatin in such a manner that it easily dissolves in water, regardless of it being hot or cold. Thus, hydrolyzed collagen is more insoluble and readily absorbable for the body.
So, if you want to know how you prefer taking your collagen supplementation, you can take it in powder form, capsule, liquid, or even injections. However, one has to make sure that it is hydrolyzed collagen.
Should I have to take collagen on an empty stomach?
Have you heard the rumors circulating?
Accordingly, some people say that collagen should be taken on an empty stomach. This is because stomach acids help in digesting proteins (Remember collagens are proteins, right) which will help break down collagen much better. Thus, taking it on an empty stomach would mean that the collagen will be broken down easily by the stomach acids much better than taking it with other foods which would somehow compete for the stomach acids’ attention. By a simple analogy, they would think that stomach acids will be less effective, or less acidic, in breaking down collagen if it has already used up its acid in breaking down other foods taken with the collagen supplement.
If you think the same thing, then you are wrong. Let’s debunk the rumors, shall we?
First, let’s all stop thinking that our stomach is a big bubbling pool of acids, eh. It’s not. If it is, it is probably one that is depicted in cartoons and not in real life. The acids may only be activated in our body the moment it sees or even smells food. When the food enters the stomach, the stomach acids are stimulated and are ready to break down the food that you eat. So, how would it be possible for the collagen to be broken down if you don’t take any foods with it to stimulate acid secretion?
So, does this mean that I have to take collagen supplements on a full stomach?
Quite the contrary.
This is the second point. The thing is, collagen is not being broken down in the stomach. Even if the stomach produces more acid than it should, trust that the collagen will just survive in the stomach and it will just go through it as if nothing happened! Proteins break down far differently than food. Proteins are broken down not in the stomach but the small intestines. So it doesn’t matter if you take it on an empty stomach or not.
Should I take collagen before bed?
This is another one of those myths that need to be busted.
The truth is, there is no undesirable time for us to take it. We can take it in the morning or during your snack time. You can even take it after dinner and this doesn’t necessarily mean before bed.
So, what led most people to think this way?
Collagen contains an important component that has been linked to better sleep quality. It is glycine. Research showed that to experience improvement in sleep, 3 grams of glycine must be consumed one hour before bedtime. This will provide you a deeper sleep which leads to better sleep quality.
However, let’s face it: not all collagen supplements are created the same, so you may find out that some supplements are more superior to the other. It helps to check how much grams of glycine it has. If it contains below the recommended 3 grams, then it might not give you sleep improvement like you would expect.
How much collagen should l take a day?
Check the label. Every dietary supplement provides that required dietary intake to experience optimum results.
However, not all bodies react the same when taking supplements. If you don’t feel any improvements, then you may want to consider changing the dosage. The amount of collagen you may need would depend on your size, body mass, or your weight goal.
Say, if you want to lose weight or develop muscles, it may help to take 15 grams of collagen daily. But if you are just after general health maintenance, you can try taking around 12 grams of collagen daily. Observe and see how your body reacts. Generally, safe dosage of collagen would be between 2.5 grams to 15 grams daily. So, it’s best to base your dosage within this range.
What should I look for in a collagen supplementation?
Finding the right collagen supplement means finding a reputable and reliable company that provides no fillers or additives for their supplements for their brand. It should be backed by science rather than just focus on over-the-top advertisements that only appeal to fads and popularity.
Kolla Code Collagen
You’re probably wondering by now where can you ever get that kind of product. This is your answer. When it comes to supplements, the Kolla Code Collagen dietary supplement knows its area of expertise too well. The company that manufactures this brand is genius enough to incorporate science with nutrition. The best thing about this product, among others, is that it is specially formulated to maximize the benefits that you will receive from collagen. It even provides a 2:2:1 ratio of Type 1 Glycine Amino Acid, Vitamin C, and E. Remember how unequal collagen supplements are because some supplements lack the sufficient amount of glycine intended for sleep improvement. Lucky for you this product has it.
Build a healthy regimen with collagen!
Don’t you just hate when you wake up every day and see another fine line or wrinkle in your face or feel like your skin is slowly losing its luster? Rather than just sit and worry idly by letting aging get the best of you, fight back with the right collagen supplement. For all you know, you could be aging backward as your body revs up producing collagens needed for a more supple and youthful glow like before.
I’ll leave by saying growing old may be mandatory, but looking old is optional. Age gracefully everyone!