Collagen is the newest buzzword in the beauty industry, touted as an all-natural anti-aging ingredient – but what exactly is it? Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. Overall protein makes up 30% of the body, and about 90% of those stores is collagen.
As the building block for a variety of functions in the body, collagen gives structure to the body’s bones, joints, and particularly, the epidermal layer. High amounts of collagen maintain skin, hair, and nail health. Many people with joint stiffness find that consuming more collagen decreases such symptoms.
Collagen is not directly available in natural foods. The body actually synthesizes its own collagen with the help of essential amino acids from food like bone broth, meats, fish, legumes, and other protein-rich sources like eggs. Taking in more fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C also quickens the collagen-creation process.
There are as many as 16 types of collagen. Out of these, there are four main types: Type I, Type II, Type III, and Type IV. Each type provides specific functions. Type I supports skin health, Type II is for bones, joints, and cartilage, Type III maintains elasticity, and Type IV supports other connective tissue structures. About 80-90% of the body’s collagen stores call into one of the first three types.
Over time, collagen production decreases, leaving the skin vulnerable to sun damage, fine lines, and sagginess. Fortunately, collagen supplements exist to make up for this issue, prevent aging effects and optimizing overall health. Here are some of the best collagen supplements to try for anti-aging and beauty.
18 Amazing Collagen Supplements You Should Try this Year
The 19 Best Collagen Supplements
Is it safe to take collagen supplements?
Because there are no known risks, some may experience unpleasant side effects in terms of digestion, like heartburn, a heavy feeling the stomach, and sometimes even diarrhea. These symptoms are not dangerous, however, and may depend on the person and the type of supplement. Many collagen companies try to improve the absorption of their supplements to reduce digestive discomfort. Some people may be allergic to marine-derived collagen, so it’s important to be aware of all the ingredients.
What is the best collagen supplement?
The best collagen supplement is subjective; it depends on your goals, preferred flavor, dietary restrictions, and how you like to take your collagen.
Although all of the collagen supplements are on this list for good reason, Vital Proteins is one of the best collagen supplements out there. As a renowned health and fitness company, Vital Proteins does provide high-grade collagen peptides. One reason this product is so effective is because it packs quite a high amount of collagen: 20,000 mg. Many people enjoy Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides for its role in muscle recovery and the ease in which they can incorporate it into meals or drinks.
Other honorable mentions from this list include NeoCell Beauty Infusion, Ancient Nutrition KetoCOLLAGEN, and Skinade. NeoCell is organic and has an effective mixture of vitamins. Ancient Nutrition is a renowned ketogenic product that is creative in its flavors and the use of superfoods. Skinade is a UK-lab tested product with the results of much research showing the efficacy of its ingredients.
Before purchasing any collagen supplement, doing research on the brand's ingredient sources, type of collagen used, and the amount of collagen is important in finding the best supplement for your needs.
What are the benefits of taking collagen supplements?
Collagen supplements have several beneficial effects on the body. Because collagen provides support to many structures like the dermal layer, the joints between bones, tendons, and ligaments, taking collage can improve these functions. Many people may notice less cramping or stiffness when bending a limb, for example. Collagen is great for reducing the risk of osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weak and brittle over time.
Collagen can also slow down the impact of aging, reducing fine lines, dry skin, brittle nails, and thinning hair. The elasticity of the skin is improved, due to collagen holding skin cells together more tightly. Some evidence suggests that since collagen is a type of protein, it may help with increasing muscle mass, combined with a healthy diet and regular workout plan.
How much collagen should I take daily?
To figure out your recommended daily intake of collagen, it’s best to talk to your doctor first. Usually, each supplement gives a serving size recommendation that should be followed. The amount of collagen to take for specific benefits depends. Some sources say a minimum of 5,000 mg of collagen to see general results. For reducing bone or joint pain, at least 8,000-12,000 mg of collagen can make a difference. It really depends on many factors, like body weight, type of collagen, and other ingredients involved.
Can collagen make you gain weight?
No, the chance of collagen increasing one’s weight is unlikely. Most collagen products tend to be low calorie, like many in this list of best collagen supplements. In some cases, collagen can help maintain weight, due to its satiating effect. Collagen is a protein, so it increases fulling and satisfaction. Some collagen comes in tasty low-sugar drinks which can quell a craving.
Many of the best collagen supplements can also fight inflammation with its included antioxidants. Inflammation is one of the main causes of weight gain, so collagen then can prevent weight gain. While the digestive effects of collage supplements differ from person to person, collagen does have a positive impact on gut bacteria. This optimizes the digestive system.
When should I start taking collagen?
Your twenties are the peak of collagen production in the body. After around the age of 25, the natural production of collagen begins to slow down gradually. Less and less collagen is produced as one approaches 50 years of age. Anytime in this range would be appropriate to start taking collagen.
One’s age does not affect the effectiveness of taking a collagen supplement. You can take collagen at any time, no matter how old you are. However, it is unnecessary to do so during the years in which your body is already making the most collagen it can possibly product.
How can I rebuild collagen in my face?
In addition to taking one of the best collagen supplements, you can also stimulate collagen in your face. There are facial massages that can tighten up facial skin, making it supple and improve blood circulation. Some skincare provides collagen, but collagen works better from the inside out. It can’t be absorbed through the skin. Other procedures like lasers and fillers can trigger more collagen production in the face directly. Using sunscreen regularly can also protect the existing collagen.
What is the best time to take collagen?
If taken with food, there is a risk that stomach acid could break down the collagen. For the most efficient absorption, it's best to take a collagen supplement about 2-3 hours after eating. That way, it can have a smooth passage through the intestines. Many people choose to taken it in the morning but ingesting collagen at night before bed is recommended. The natural repair process of sleep helps collagen become fully absorbed and implemented into the body. Depending on the supplement, you could see the full results of collagen anywhere from 1-4 months.