You may have seen #collagen trending on Instagram and TikTok and wondered, should I be taking it!? We’re here with collagen 101 to help you make the decision.
First, what exactly is collagen?
Collagen is one of the most abundant types of protein found in your body (there are 28+ kinds!). Its fiber-like structure is used to make connective tissue. Like the name implies, this type of tissue connects other tissues and is a major component of bone, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. It helps to make tissues strong and resilient, able to withstand stretching. As we grow older, the body produces less and less collagen naturally, causing changes like decreased hydration and elasticity.
How do you take it?
Some dermatologists say taking collagen orally as pills, powders, and certain foods is a better option for effective absorption by the body. There are plenty of products to consider: collagen gummies, powder, shakes, pills, and everything in between. In a Women’s Health interview, Jennifer Aniston even said she drinks a collagen-boosted coffee as part of her morning routine!
What are the benefits?
Though the research is still developing, some of the impressive list of benefits from taking collagen supplements include joint pain relief, bone loss prevention, and boosted muscle mass. Brain health, improved sleep, shinier hair, and improved skin elasticity are also on the pros list.
Our own co-founder, Gabriela Schonbach, says: “If you choose to try a collagen supplement, stick with it. It’s true that it can take a few months before you notice any physical results—for me, that’s when I noticed things like stronger nails!”
As we see it, continuing to support our collagen production and intake is a big win for women at every age.
Does it work?
The reviews on collagen are mixed with some experts being hesitant to recommend collagen supplements to patients. “The jury is still out as to whether or not they truly have any benefits,” says Nava Greenfield, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC, adding, “there’s a lack of consistency in quality and efficacy among the product and manufacturers.”
Other experts say yes to supplements as a natural support to health and skin care routines. Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD, FAACS, a board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York says: “I recommend collagen supplements to individuals with noticeable signs of skin aging, those with joint pain related to osteoarthritis, and those who are unable to get sufficient collagen from their diet.”
As always, discuss with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.
“If you choose to try a collagen supplement, stick with it. It’s true that it can take a few months before you notice any physical results—for me, that’s when I noticed things like stronger nails!” – Gabriela Schonbach
Your next step?
A simple change you can make to add more collagen to your life is through intentional food choices. Many of our everyday meals can contain this beneficial protein, like meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and bone broth. Julia Zumpano, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition, told National Geographic that vitamin C, copper, zinc, and the amino acids proline and glycine also support natural collagen production in the body.
If you’re looking to explore the world of collagen supplements and feel more confident navigating the wellness aisle at your local Whole Foods, here are five recommended products to consider.
1. Best overall: Vital Protein Collagen Peptides Powder
This collagen powder has no artificial sweeteners and is easy for the body to absorb!
2. Best for budget: Orgain Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides Powder
An option that won’t break the bank and can easily be added to a hot or cold drink.
3. Best on-the-go: Hum Collagen Love Skin Capsule
Easy to take in its capsule form, this option includes other beneficial antioxidants but with a relatively low dose of collagen.
4. Best marine collagen: Vida Glow Marine Collagen Powder
A non-bovine collagen option coming in fun individual serving packets in different fruity flavors.
5. Best vegan option: Goli Nutritional Superfruits Gummies
The best gummy, though it does contain added sugar and no active collagen, rather bamboo extract and vitamin c known to encourage natural collagen production.
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