Collagen supplements are all the rage right now. Hailed as edible protection against wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin. But what is it and is it really as good as it's cracked up to be? We asked the experts…
What is collagen?
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body. It forms the connective tissue throughout the body, from skin to bones, muscles, tendons, and the digestive system. You can think of collagen as the “glue” that’s holds the structure of these tissues together. Without, adequate collagen, these tissues can weaken over time, and accelerate the ageing & degenerating processes both internally and externally.1
Unfortunately, we are not provided with an endless supply of this supportive protein. In fact, as we age, our body’s production and synthesis of collagen naturally declines. This can lead to wrinkles, dullness, and lack of elasticity in the skin. With collagen supplements, we can support our bodies production of collagen and diminish accelerated signs of ageing and slow down this process.
What does collagen do?
There is a number of different forms of collagen proteins, but there are three main types that play important roles in the body.
Type 1 Collagen
This type makes up majority of the collagen within the body. It is a dense type of collagen that provides structure to our teeth, skin, bone, and cartilage.2
Type 2 Collagen
This type is more elastic and stretchier and less densely packed than Type 1. It is typically found providing cushioning to the joints, making it most useful for those who experience bone and joint discomfort.2
Type 3 Collagen
This type helps to provide structure to our arteries, intestines, and muscles. It is often combined with Type 1 to enhance hair, skin, and nail health.2
What is collagen good for?
There is a lot of growing evidence that supports the claims of collagen’s countless health and wellness benefits. It is important to do your research and determine which supplement is right for you, based on your specific needs.
Improved Skin, Hair & Nail Health
Collagen influences your skin’s elasticity and benefits in the hydration of the skin, which contributes to well-maintained skin. Clinical research has shown that collagen supplements can improve skin elasticity after 4 weeks and by the 8-week mark, it has shown to increase skin elasticity up to 30%.3 Another study found after 9 weeks women who drank a collagen supplement containing hydrolysed collagen, reported a reduction in the depth of facial wrinkles and significant improvements in their skin's hydration and elasticity.4
Improved Joint & Mobility
Collagen is absorbed through the digestive tract. It then accumulates in the cartilage and stimulates the production of type II collagen, the main protein of joint cartilage. This can help with osteoarthritis symptoms, improve joint function, and reduce post-exercise joint pain. A study found that collagen supplements improved joint pain in athletes after 24 weeks.5
Studies have also shown that daily collagen supplements can help make your bones denser, slowing the aging process that makes them brittle and helping your body to produce new bone.
Improved Digestive Function
Collagen is vital for the structure and integrity of the gut lining. Although there is no scientific evidence to support its beneficial role in gut health. Due to its structural role, it can play a role in preventing/treating conditions such as leaky gut, irritable bowel disease and diverticulitis.
Increased Muscle Growth & Repair
Protein is an important part of the diet and out of all the macronutrients provides the most satiety – meaning it keeps you full longer. Adding collagen supplements to your daily routine can also help with muscle growth by providing necessary amino acids for muscle growth and repair following exercise.
How long does it take for collagen supplements to work?
Once you start taking the recommended daily dose, you may be wondering how long it will take to start working and to see results. Research suggests you should start to see some results after 4 weeks of daily supplementation. The benefits of collagen supplements vary from person to person, so it is important to note you may not see results straight away. Collagen is like any other dietary supplement; you must find which one works best for you.
Best collagen supplements
Seeing as though collagen is like a one-stop shop for a head-to-toe rejuvenation, it’s no surprise the market is flooded with collagen supplements. That’s why we have rounded up 6 of the best collagen supplements you can add to your daily routine for an all-over health boost.
Formulated with bioactive peptides called Verisol®, which specifically targets the skin and research has proven its efficacy in reducing wrinkles and smooth fine lines, increasing skin hydration, and improving skin elasticity and the structural integrity of the skin. The formula also contains an array of wholefood sources of Vitamin C and zinc, which support the structure and function of connective tissue, promote healing and further supports collagen production. Collagen Beauty is the one you should pick if your priorities are glowing, hydrated, silky smooth skin, lush hair and strengthened nails.
The Shoalhaven Marine Collagen range are highly bio-available and easily absorbed, containing sustainably sourced marine collagen, derived from Norwegian, deep-sea fish. Contains types I and III collagen, which mean it helps to promote glowing skin, healthy hair, and beautiful nails from within. Add one teaspoon to any cold beverage for a delicious, sugar-free drink that is pure, natural, and great for you!
Made with 100% bioactive hydrolysed bovine collagen types I and III. This formula contains 18 essential and non-essential amino acids to promote healthy collagen production from within the skin cell's fibroblast to help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Crafted with 100% pure hydrolysed bovine collagen peptides, providing collagen Types I and II. Add a scoop to a glass of water every morning for healthier hair, skin, and nails; to boost joint, bone and tendon health; and to improve skin elasticity.
Collagen Body is a natural formulation for anyone living an active lifestyle, or anyone concerned with their bone health. It helps you feel strong inside with bioactive collagen peptides FORTIBONE®, Vitamin D and Calcium to support bone strength and structure. Every 18g serve contains 5g of Fortibone® Collagen Peptides, as that is the dose that has been found to be effective in clinical trials.
As naturally occurring collagen comes from animals, there is no vegan collagen supplements available. However, the Edible Beauty is our top pick for those following a vegan lifestyle. Formulated with 100% vegan ingredients including Australian Natives and antioxidant-rich fruits. These ingredients support healthy collagen production and help to protect the skin against youth depleting free radical damage.