In short, yes, if they’re taken in powdered form without the addition of unnecessary fillers. But the evidence isn’t clear-cut just yet. While many studies do show that collagen supplements do work, group test sizes have been small and it’s not exactly clear what’s the recommended daily amount.
What is clear however, is that the health of our skin, bones and muscles can improve with conscious supplementation. So, what do we know about collagen right now and what’s the best way to boost our stores as we age?
What is Collagen?
Collagen is an important structural protein that forms the connective tissue in everything from our skin and bones to our muscles, ligaments and tendons. The most common types of collagen are:
- Type 1: found in our skin, bones, teeth and tendons
- Type 2: found in our cartilage and the vitreous humor in our eyes
- Type 3: found in our skin, muscles and blood vessels
Collagen is most known for its role in our skin. In the skin, it not only helps it to remain plump and supple, but also firm. However, as we age, the body finds it more difficult to produce and our stores decline. That means our joints can start to ache and our skin can get drier, lose radiance and start gaining some fine lines. We can’t avoid losing collagen – that’s an inevitable and natural part of life. However, we can slow it down.
Things like avoiding too much sun exposure, pollution and not smoking will help to make the most of your collagen stores and now many dermatologists and scientists are exploring the idea of collagen supplements to maintain optimum levels.
Several small clinical trials have already shown positive results when collagen is taken as a supplement, not only to boost skin health but also the health of our joints. In one US study, athletes with joint pain experienced a reduction in their symptoms after regularly taking 10g of collagen per day.
The science of superior supplementation
Here are a few things to consider:
- What’s your source? The best sources of collagen are whole foods like bone broth, as they are the most bioavailable and easiest for your body to digest. Depending on your diet, meat, fish and vegan sources are available. Our Founder has been taking marine collagen for years. Not only does this emit low levels of greenhouse gas but it is also available in a powder form that can be easily mixed into coffee, smoothies and soups.
- What’s your lifestyle? There’s little benefit in taking collagen supplements if you don’t have the nutrition and lifestyle habits in place to support optimum levels.
Topping up your vitamins – vitamin C and A are key in collagen support. Without vitamin C, collagen cannot form strong connective tissues, while vitamin A helps to reduce the breakdown of collagen and prevents sun damage. Include whole foods, such as broccoli and berries to top up your antioxidant levels.
You can also nourish your body from the outside-in. Our signature Face Oil contains rosehip oil, naturally rich in vitamin A, and marula oil, naturally rich in vitamin C to help promote skin regeneration.
Adding hyaluronic acid – this super-ingredient can help to boost collagen stores by strengthening the skin barrier, maintaining moisture levels and promoting healthy skin regeneration and can be found in foods rich in amino acids, including eggs, meat, cheese and white cabbage.
A varied diet – zinc and copper, found in nuts and red meat, are required for collagen synthesis, while sulphur-rich foods, like leeks and onion, also aid its formation. A healthy diet should include these trace elements and omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish and seeds, to boost collagen production and support the lipids that make up the skin barrier.
The Bottom Line
While we don’t yet have a lot of evidence to support the benefit of collagen supplementation, we know that it is safe and it can boost the health of our body, particularly as we age, and our collagen levels decline. But you don’t have to shoot for the supplements straight away. If you’re not sure, you can always opt for a collagen-rich diet which includes meant, fish, dairy, soy and lentils.
Collagens you can try, our Founder has used both the two marine collagen powders: