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How can collagen supplements support beauty from within?

How can collagen supplements support beauty from within?

Natural Support for Collagen

Collagen supplements are having a moment in the wellness zeitgeist. Although collagen plays a role in many areas of health, it’s perhaps best known for supporting skin, hair, and nails, with some calling collagen supplements the secret to cultivating beauty from within.


What is collagen?

Before we touch on supplements, let’s recap briefly: What exactly is collagen? Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. Chemically speaking, collagen is generally made up of three amino acids – glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline – which are bound tightly together in a rope formation (1).

Collagen’s scaffolding-like structure provides the main building blocks of skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues (2). Blood vessels, bones, the cornea, the blood-brain barrier, and the intestinal wall also comprise collagen.

All this is to say that collagen is a vital component of the entire human body. It’s the ‘glue’ that holds us together.


What happens to collagen as we age?

Babies, children, and teenagers produce a healthy amount of collagen (which is why their skin remains plump and line-free). But from your mid-20s, the body naturally produces less collagen each year. Environmental stressors, such as pollution, cigarette smoke, and UV exposure, can damage collagen even further.

The gradual decline in collagen is associated with the visible signs of skin ageing, including wrinkles, sagging, and hyperpigmentation.


What are the different types of collagen?

Scientists have discovered 28 types of collagen, but they often only reference the following five.

• Type 1 is found in skin, hair, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments, gums, teeth, blood vessels and bones. It’s the main structural component of skin, so it’s often associated with skin health.
• Type 2 is found in cartilage, the connective tissue between bones and joints.
• Type 3 is found in arteries, muscles, and organs.
• Type 4 is found in the layers of skin.
• Type 5 is found in some layers of the skin, hair, and cornea of the eyes.


What’s in collagen supplements?

Getting older is a fact of life. And while collagen supplements can’t reverse the ageing process, they may help preserve and protect the collagen you still have.

Most collagen supplements contain collagen derived from cows (bovine), pigs (porcine), or fish (marine). Once extracted from the bones and skin, the collagen is broken down into short chains called peptides in a process called hydrolysation, which makes it easier for the body to absorb and use.

You may see the terms ‘hydrolysed collagen’ or ‘collagen peptides’ on collagen supplements. But these labels are used interchangeably.

Collagen supplements may also contain additional nutrients to support skin, hair and nails, like zinc, biotin, and vitamin C.


What collagen supplement is the best for you?

Thanks to the recent hype, you can now find collagen supplements in all forms: liquid collagen, collagen short, collagen gummies, collagen powder, and collagen capsules. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preference.

Our high-strength collagen product, Collagen Beauty, is derived from porcine collagen and provides bioactive collagen peptides with biotin, vitamin C, and silica in capsule form. We’ve specifically optimised our formula to stimulate skin metabolism and counteract the loss of collagen from the inside out.

And if you’re vegan, don’t worry. A combination of amino acids and anthocyanidins – most commonly found in dark-skinned fruit like blueberries – may also support and repair collagen structures in the body.

Our product, Colladeen Visage®, is 100% vegan and contains impressive levels of anthocyanidins.


What does the science say about collagen supplements?

There has been extensive research into collagen supplements in the last decade. And in the context of helping you glow from within, the findings are promising.


Skin Health

Many people regularly take collagen supplements to support skin health and appearance. A study on 69 women aged between 35 and 55 reported that supplementing with bioactive collagen peptides for four weeks significantly increased skin elasticity compared to the placebo treatment (3).

Another study on more than 100 women aged between 45 and 65 found that oral administration of collagen peptides reduced wrinkle depth after four weeks (4).

In addition, a double-blind placebo-controlled study on 105 women aged between 24 and 50 years revealed a daily supplement of bioactive collagen peptides decreased the cellulite score after three months in those with a BMI of <25 (5).


Nail Health

Nail health is another area collagen supplements may support. A 2017 study on a small group of women aged 26 and 50 reported bioactive collagen peptides decreased cracked and chipped nails by 42% after six months (6).


Hair Health

Aside from skin and nails, collagen supplements may also play a role in hair health. In a randomised, placebo-controlled study on 44 women aged between 39 and 75 years, researchers found those taking bioactive collagen peptides saw an increase in hair thickness after 16 weeks (7).


When should I start taking collagen supplements?

As mentioned, collagen production starts to decline in your mid-20s, so it may be an idea to consider supplementing around then. That said, you can take supplemental collagen at any age to support your complexion and overall appearance.


Are there any other considerations when taking collagen supplements?

It’s worth mentioning that you should still practice healthy lifestyle behaviours to protect and preserve collagen while taking supplements. Prioritising sleep hygiene, avoiding smoking, reducing stress, and looking after your skin in the sun will also help support your collagen reserves.


Find out more

If you found this piece on collagen supplements useful, you can find similar guidance on our dedicated health blog. Alternatively, please get in touch with our team of expert Nutrition Advisors, who are on hand to provide free, confidential advice via email, phone, and Live Chat.


References

(1) Wu, M. and Crane, J.S. (2019). Biochemistry, Collagen Synthesis. [online] Nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507709/.
(2) Nezwek, T.A. and Varacallo, M. (2019). Physiology, Connective Tissue. [online] Nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK542226/.
(3) Proksch et al. (2014) Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides has Beneficial Effects on Human Skin Physiology: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol, 27:47-55.
(4) Proksch et al. (2014). Oral Intake of Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides Reduces Skin Wrinkles and Increases Dermal Matrix Synthesis. Skin Pharmacol Physiol, 27:113-119.
(5) Schunck et al. (2015). Dietary Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides has a Body Mass Index-Dependent Beneficial Effect on Cellulite Morphology. J Med Food, 18:1340–1348.
(6) Hexsel et al. (2017). Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails. J Cosmet Dermatol, (16)1-7.
(7) Oesser (2020). The oral intake of specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides has a positive effect on hair thickness. Nutrafoods, 1:134-138.

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