The collagen supplement debate is real. It’s one of the most asked about supplements I get from clients. I have been resistant to most collagen supplements. And when asked about them I struggle to explain why. So I did some more research and asked my peers about their thoughts and experiences with collagen supplements. If you have a minute to spare I will share what I have come away with.
The first and most important point is that collagen can not be “added” to your skin. The consumption of collagen does not guarantee the synthesis of collagen. Once collagen is digested it either passes through your body or is broken down into amino acids which will be used where most needed. This process is also dependent on factors such as your digestive health. Take into account leaky gut or the inability to break down animal protein and you will get very little benefits.
Another GREAT factor is the source of collagen and the ingredients. Most collagen is sourced from bone broth, hooves and fish scales. This is broken down and digested as stated above. This seems inefficient to me. The collagen must be bioavailable – recognized by our body and a match for our own collagen. Most are not.
So how does one support their collagen and stimulate collagen production? By eating whole foods, limiting sugar intake, getting plenty of vitamins A and C, SPF and AMINO ACIDS! Amino acids and the vitamins A and C are great supporters of collagen synthesis. The amino acids to look for in a collagen supplement are
L-Lysine, Glutamic, Glycine, Hydroxyproline, proline and Alanine. I have found 2 collagen supplements that meet the above criteria. Both happen to be vegan. One is Monat Collagen Supplement and the other is the Mary Ruth Collagen Supplement. I like that the formulation for both these have amino acid(s) that support and promote collagen synthesis. As a side note, I compared my amino acid workout supplement and realized it too had a few of the required amino acids, including L-Lysine. Bonus! L-Lysine is an essential amino acid for the body. It must be obtained through food. L-Lysine aids in wound healing and is required for collagen formation. A lack of Vitamin C and L-Lysine combined may result in poor quality collagen and even weakened arteries.
To be fair and balanced many of my peers attest to stronger hair, nails and better joint health after taking collagen supplements. But all of them said they could not state specifically that it had an impact on their skin health. I also saw this same experience reported when reading reviews. Very few said they saw an improvement in their skin. I noted that most of these supplements also contained Biotin, so this may be why they had great results in hair and nail health.
So my takeaway is this: be vigilant about ingredients, hyped marketing and managing expectations. I think there are some collagen supplements out there that may be beneficial in a supporting role for our collagen and with long term use will have accumulative, positive effects. I personally take a collagen supplement that has the right ingredients needed for collagen supplements.
I really hope this helps! I had fun putting it together for you. If you have more questions you know I love them!