How To Take Collagen Supplements

How To Take Collagen Supplements

There are hundreds of collagen supplements on the market, in powders, capsules and drinks, usually obtained from bovine and marine sources, however there is differing advice on when and how to take collagen supplements. It is not surprising that people get confused so below is a low-down on how to take collagen supplements. 

What is collagen and should I be using it?

This is the most common question raised. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. It is found in skin, muscles, blood vessels and other tissues and structures and its main role is to impart strength to these systems. Collagen production declines as we age and since adequate collagen is required to maintain our joints and skin, many consumers choose to introduce a collagen supplement into their regimen.

Do collagen supplements promote skin elasticity?

In addition to losing collagen as a result of ageing, skin also starts to lose elastin which is a protein that enables skin to be stretched and to snap back to its original shape. This loss of elasticity results in saggy, crinkled or a more weathered looking skin.

One small study over a period of three months showed that taking collagen, more specifically collagen peptides, produced a significant improvement in skin elasticity and firmness starting from the fourth week. A separate study found that taking collagen alongside other ingredients such as hyaluronic acid significantly increased skin's elasticity, hydration and smoothness. 

How do you take collagen supplements?

There are different schools of thought on how to take collagen supplements and below are my recommendations:

Collagen on an empty stomach?

If you have decided on introducing a collagen supplement, when should you take it? Collagen supplements can be taken at any time of the day with or without food. It is definitely better to take collagen supplements on an empty stomach for best results since the stomach acid can denature collagen rendering some of it useless. We require the collagen to be protected from the stomach acid but to be broken down in the intestines by the protein digesting enzymes into smaller particles which can then be absorbed into the bloodstream. 

Take Collagen in the morning or night?

There is no evidence to suggest that taking collagen at a certain time of the day makes any difference whatsoever. However, since the body’s repair processes, including skin, are at their greatest during the early hours of the morning, it would not harm to take collagen at night but if this proves to be difficult then don’t worry and simply take it whenever you can.

Collagen with vitamin C?

You often hear that collagen should be taken with vitamin C to maximise its benefits and this is true to an extent. Vitamin C is most definitely required by the body in order to manufacture collagen. Most of us consider that we are getting sufficient vitamin C within our diet, but studies indicate otherwise simply because vitamin C is involved in numerous processes within our body and is readily excreted resulting in sub-optimal levels within the bloodstream.

My recommendation is to take vitamin C whether you choose to take a collagen supplement or not. If you do decide to take a collagen supplement, the vitamin C supplement does not need to be taken at the same time to get the full benefits of collagen. There are many vitamin C supplements on the market and the one of choice is Liposomal Vitamin C.

What is better, collagen or hyaluronic acid?

Collagen is a protein required for to hold our structures and glands whilst hyaluronic acid works alongside collagen to hydrate & provide flexibility of joints and within skin too. Therefore, I believe that both of these natural compounds are important and should be taken together.

Fish collagen or bovine collagen?

There are several types of collagen each composed of different peptides or amino acids extracted from bovine or fish sources. Ensure you are purchasing hydrolysed collagen because in this form the amino acid chains have been broken down into smaller chains which makes it easier for the body to absorb and use.

Both bovine and fish collagen contain Type 1 Collagen, proline and glycine but unlike bovine collagen, fish collagen peptides are much smaller making them easier to digest and absorb, thereby flooding skin and joints with this skin and bone-building nutrient. One particular study showed that participants taking fish collagen combined with antioxidants for two months showed marked improvements in skin elasticity and moisture.

Ultimate Collagen + contains marine collagen peptides which are a very specific size of 2000 Daltons; exactly the size that allows these peptides to be absorbed efficiently from the gut into the bloodstream where they can be used to manufacture collagen. 

Ultimate Collagen + also contains the powerful skin protecting benefits of astaxanthin and the skin-plumping benefits of hyaluronic acid. Astaxanthin is a potent carotenoid antioxidant which may protect skin against UV-induced damage – this is the most potent skin-ageing accelerator known to us. Most of us are familiar with hyaluronic acid’s multiple benefits including hydrating and plumping skin. For those looking for a vegan-friendly, collagen-boosting formula should try Ingenious Vegan. The formula uses Astrion™, a plant-derived extract that has been shown to boost collagen production in the dermal and epidermal layers of the skin.

Is it worth taking collagen supplements?

From around the age of 25, the collagen content within our body is depleted at a rate of about 1.5% so that by the time we reach our mid-40’s, collagen levels will have decreased by an astonishing 30%.  Scientists have been researching collagen since the early ’70s. Some studies have indicated that certain types of collagen peptides work effectively for joints and help many sufferers of inflammatory bowel concerns. Many people take collagen for skin & often report benefits but there is still great debate surrounding collagen supplements & their benefits for skin, joints & other structures.

If you intend to take collagen for skin or otherwise, at least make sure it is marine or fish collagen due to its smaller molecular structure and also ensure that the collagen is hydrolysed which ensures utilisation by the body.