If you haven’t tried a collagen supplement yet, you probably know someone who has. This is because the health benefits associated with collagen have been in the headlines in recent years, especially when it comes to our skin.
Your dermis, or the middle layer of your skin, is mostly made up of collagen. Collagen is a strong and flexible protein that gives your skin firmness, elasticity and structure, giving it a young and healthy appearance. As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, which leads to sagging skin and wrinkles.
But, as the most abundant protein in our body, collagen is used in all kinds of ways in other parts of the body as well. It gives structure to everything from skin and bones to tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue and teeth. It is safe to say that without collagen we would not have functional bodies at all.
Our bodies make collagen from the foods we eat, especially the right types of protein. Collagen supplements help ensure that your body has the right nutrients available to produce all of the collagen it needs to stay healthy. So, a supplement is a good way to make sure that you are giving your body what it needs.
Because there are so many collagen supplements out there, it can be difficult to choose the right one for you. Here are some tips to consider.
5 tips for choosing your collagen supplement
1. Keep it simple
Look for a supplement that contains collagen as the main ingredient. This way you will get as much of what you pay for as possible. In South Africa, our labeling laws require companies to list ingredients in order of weight, so if your collagen supplement doesn’t have collagen listed as the first ingredient, that’s not a good sign. Look for a collagen protein isolate, for example collagen peptides, collagen hydrolyzate, or hydrolyzed collagen.
2. Ditch the additives
Food additives can do more harm than good, especially when it comes to taking dietary supplements. These additives include artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors which are often used to make the taste and appearance of a product more attractive. Stevia is a natural alternative to sugar, so if you want a tastier supplement, choose a product that contains it.
3. Look for hydrolyzed collagen
Hydrolyzed collagen, or collagen peptides, have a smaller molecular size. Collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed by the body, so it is essential for an effective supplement. Hydrolysis makes molecules small enough to pass through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream, thereby stimulating your body to produce collagen.
4. Know the different sources of collagen
Collagen supplements require a source from which the nutrient is derived. This includes bovine collagen (which comes from cows), which is beneficial for bones, joints, skin, and intestines. Marine collagen (which comes from fish) is known for its benefits for the skin. Porcine collagen (which comes from pigs) is high in glycine, which is also good for your skin.
The source of collagen affects the cost of your supplement, and different sources contain different amounts of type I, II, or III collagen. Types I and III collagens are the main types of collagen found in the skin, so if you are looking for beauty benefits, find a supplement that is high in these types.
5. Do your research
Don’t settle for a supplement based on fancy packaging or price. You want a product that has the science and certification to back up its claims. Avoid fleeting brands you’ve never heard of and instead rely on trusted, proven wellness brands.
Ultimately, you need to be 100% sure of the products you put into your body while making sure that they provide the most benefit for your health and well-being. After all, what you put inside your body is reflected on the outside, so make it count.