Collagen is being added to everything–from coffee to granola, to protein bars–these days. Why? Easy. Because it’s the one ‘secret’ (it’s not so secret anymore!) ingredient that’ll regenerate and rejuvenate you from the inside-out. Your skin will look dewy and fresh, your hair will be shiny and luscious, and your nails beautiful with a healthy pinkish tinge. With that many beauty benefits, it’s no surprise collagen has become a widely sought-after ingredient in recent years.
But, of course, as a discerning consumer, you’re likely to have many questions–like “Does collagen really work? How does it reverse the effects of ageing, exactly?” Well, you’ve come to the right place! This article answers all that, and a little more.
First things first, let’s talk collagen
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins naturally produced in your body. More specifically, it’s the main structural protein that forms the connective tissues throughout your body–from the skin to bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. You can think of it as the ‘glue’ that holds your body together.
While there are at least 28 different types of collagen, types I, II, and III, are responsible for 90% of what’s available in your body. Types I and III help support skin, muscles, bone health, hair, and nail growth. Type II, on the other hand, supports the healthy functioning of your cartilage and joints.
What does collagen have to do with aging?
It’s clear that collagen is crucial when it comes to helping you look ‘tight and taut.’ Not to mention, your body at optimal functioning. But here’s the problem: as you age, your body naturally starts reducing collagen production. Your body will, in time, not be able to replace the collagen you’re losing as quickly as it is breaking down.
Research shows that we begin losing roughly 1% of our collagen every year, starting from our 20s! This, unfortunately, leads to pesky aging signs–fine lines, lifeless hair, and brittle nails.
Collagen supplementation: the fountain of youth
Think about it: if your body’s natural production of collagen is slowing down, it’d make logical sense that providing the body with a nutritional source of bioavailable collagen (i.e. collagen supplementation) will reverse some of the effects of aging… Right? Of course. And the following findings are a testament to it.
Plump, glowing skin
Collagen is responsible for the plumpness and firmness of your skin. Hence, when your collagen levels start to deplete, the skin will gradually become more ‘saggy.’ Which translates into visible effects including wrinkles, fine lines, and even dry skin. Not pleasant.
Thankfully, several studies have shown that the collagen peptides (from collagen supplementation) can help stimulate fibroblasts–your collagen factories–in your skin to trick your collagen into becoming more active. Additionally, it appears that collagen supplementation may promote the production of other proteins that help provide structure to your skin, including elastin and fibrillin.
What does this all mean? Well, it means that taking collagen supplements can indeed help you achieve younger-looking skin. And research agrees. In a 2014 study, women who took a supplement containing 2.5 g to 5 g of collagen for 8 weeks experienced a significant increase in skin elasticity and less skin dryness compared to those who did not take the supplement.
Thick, luscious hair
With consistent collagen supplementation, having a lustrous mane of hair may no longer seem like a pipe-dream. To understand why, you first need to know of something called free radicals–compounds that develop in your body as a result of environmental and lifestyle factors (e.g. smoking, alcohol, stress, and air pollutants). Too many free radicals in the body are harmful to your cells, proteins, and DNA. And perhaps most relevant: hair follicles.
Because your body's defence against free radicals decreases with age, you'll become more susceptible to hair damage over time. Thus, explaining why your hair looks increasingly unruly and damaged over the years. This is where collagen supplementation comes in: collagen has been shown to exert powerful antioxidant activity, which can help neutralise the damaging effects of free radicals.
The beneficial effects collagen supplementation exerts on hair extends beyond damage protection, too. It appears that collagen can provide the main building blocks (in particular, the amino acid proline) of keratin–the protein that enables healthy, thick, and luscious hair.
Strong, healthy nails
Whether you’re the type of person who religiously goes for manicures as a form of self-care of someone who’s constantly picking and nibbling at their cuticles, one thing’s for sure: you yearn for strong, healthy nails. Not yellow, brittle ones that are so common as the years creep up on you. So, how does collagen supplementation help with this?
As it turns out, collagen, along with keratin, is one of the major proteins found in nail beds. More importantly, the collagen peptides from collagen supplementation contain the amino acid, arginine, which carries nitric oxide through the capillaries and into the nail bed. To put it simply, collagen supplementation improves the delivery of nutrients to the nail roots.
The result? Healthier, shinier nails. This is evident from a 2017 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, which showed that collagen supplementation over 4 weeks resulted in a 12% increase in nail growth rate and 42% decrease in the frequency of broken nails. That’s pretty impressive.
How to choose a collagen supplement
Here are the 2 things you need to keep an eye out for:
- Types of collagen– Type I, Type II, and Type III, are the most abundant types of collagen in the body. You want to make sure the collagen supplement you choose contains all 3 of these.
- Grams of collagen per serving – Studies investigating the benefits of collagen supplements have shown that 5 g seems to be the most efficacious dose. So, the collagen supplement you choose should deliver at least 5 g of each collagen type.
Psst: here’s a shortcut to choosing the best collagen supplement out there: choose The Collagen Co.
Our Premium Collagen Peptides delivers 3 grass-fed pasture-raised bio-active collagen peptides–at 5 g each–which specifically target the hair, skin, nails, joints, and tendons. Yes, that means it contains all 3 types of collagen you want (and at an affordable price-point, too!) Not to mention, it also contains 80 mg of vitamin C that’ll seriously ramp up your natural collagen production. Best of all? It's highly mixable and delicious. Mmm, what could be better?