I looked in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw.
Fine lines seemed to have appeared overnight. Either I had a really bad night’s sleep or the natural process of aging has just caught up with me. Naturally, I panicked. And then my sister told me, why don’t you try collagen pills to get healthier skin?
So it got me thinking. Do these collagen pills actually work?
First off, let’s talk about what collagen is exactly. Collagen makes up a large part of our skin, hair, and nails, so it’s not just a buzz word that got big in the beauty world. Collagen is a polypeptide, a mixture of amino acids like proline and glycine that are present in all connective tissue, cartilage, bone, and skin in our body. In other words, we already have it in our body.
Our body needs collagen, but it turns out, our bodies have the capability to produce it on our own without collagen supplements. So this brings us again to the question. If we have collagen anyway, then what is the use of taking collagen supplements?
Our body can’t fully absorb collagen supplements so it’s not entirely true when they say that taking a supplement can directly promote bone growth and skin or hair health. When our digestive system breaks collagen down into amino acids, the body uses that wherever in the body they’re needed. Meaning, it’s not a guarantee that collagen supplements would immediately give a direct effect on the skin.
And there are actually three types of collagen: type I collagen comprises 90 percent of skin, hair, nails, organs, bone, ligaments, making it the best for skin and beauty; type II collagen is associated with cartilage; while type III collagen applies to fibrous protein in bone, cartilage, dentin, tendon, and other connective tissues.
However, taking supplements is still good, because I’ve read that taking a collagen supplement can stimulate the body to produce more collagen. Experts claim that collagen helps bones and joints.
Collagen and skin
Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, there’s actually very limited proof that supports the benefits of ingestible or oral collagen at this time. There’s still no definitive study that 100% proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that these supplements actually have any meaningful benefit on the skin in women.
Collagen and hair health
The natural levels of collagen in the body decrease as we age which is why taking a supplement seems to make sense. According to research, collagen has been linked to an increase in the body’s hair building proteins, which can encourage hair growth, prevent hair loss, and reduce the appearance of gray hair by supporting the healthy structure of the hair follicle, where pigment is produced. Also, collagen supplements are known to be an effective remedy for dry brittle hair by increasing the hair moisture levels.
Collagen, diet, and lifestyle
This might be the bullet point that directly answers the title of this article. If you think just popping collagen pills is all it takes, well, it’s way more than that if you want to achieve healthier skin and hair. Experts believe that Vitamin C and collagen must be taken together. It is believed that not enough collagen can be produced if there’s just not enough Vitamin C in the body. Cabbage, red fruits, and carrots all naturally boost collagen production. Along with the body’s natural collagen production decreasing with age, lifestyle factors such as stress, poor diet, and gut health imbalances can all impact the body’s ability to naturally make collagen.
How you can get collagen
Collagen pills can have different strains of collagen along with vitamin C and up to one gram of collagen per pill . There is also collagen powder and liquid available in the market, which are more fitting for individuals who don’t want to take pills or have trouble swallowing them, but there is only limited research on these. There are also vegetarian- and vegan-friendly collagen supplements now in the market.
What types of collagen supplement to avoid
While vitamin C and hyaluronic acid are great for maximizing the benefits of a collagen supplement, there are some ingredients you should avoid in supplements like, CoQ10, glucosamine, and arginine, among them. They’re great on their own, but they offer low value to collagen supplements, and only add make the cost of your supplement higher. You should avoiding collagen supplements with fillers such as flavors or sugars, oils, maltodextrin, and artificial ingredients.
Are you taking collagen pills? How is your experience so far? Please share below!
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