Everyone looks for ways to live longer lives and feel better while doing it. We’ll give anyone at least five minutes of our time if they claim they have the secret to feeling 21 again; it’s why supplements and global wellness are such a rapidly growing market.
While the fountain of youth may be a myth, there’s definitely some serious science behind some supplements which should send them to the top of your list when searching for the miracle youth elixir. One such supplement is collagen.
You’ve probably heard of collagen injections, or collagen-infused coffee, but if you’re ready to enter the collagen big leagues, supplements are definitely the way to go.
Let’s dive in and talk about what collagen is (and why you need it), how it helps keep you feeling and looking more youthful, and how much you should take per day when using supplements.
COLLAGEN 101: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Collagen is the basic building block of many of your body’s tissues. It’s a protein that makes up ligaments, tendons, bones, muscles, and skin, and it is comprised of the essential amino acids proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. Collagen exists in both humans and animals.
Not all collagen is the same, either. In fact, researchers have identified just under 30 different types of collagen. In the human body, four main types of collagen are most abundant.
Type I. This is the most abundant form of collagen in your body. It supports connective tissues like muscles, bones, tendons, cartilage, and your skin.
Type II. This type of collagen is what makes up tissue like the cartilage that supports and cushions your joints. It’s also what you find in your ears and the tip of your nose.
Type III. This is the collagen that supports muscles, including the heart, and also gives structure to your arteries.
Type IV. This collagen is found in the layers of your skin and helps support your skin by assisting in filtering out toxins.
Of these types of collagen, Type I is most predominant. It’s essentially what keeps our joints and muscles young, healthy, and mobile. This type of collagen is also what keeps the skin on our face looking firm and youthful.
WHAT HAPPENS TO COLLAGEN?
Your body is a collagen-making machine when you’re young. As you age, collagen production slows. As you approach age 40, the production of collagen is markedly decreased yearly.
What happens when collagen production slows?
Skin begins to thin causing it to sag, forming fine lines and deep wrinkles, and look hollow.
Joints begin to ache.
In addition to joint pain, mobility decreases; you may begin to feel stiff and muscles may feel tight. You may experience a decrease in muscle mass
Hair and nails become dry, brittle, and thin. You may even experience hair loss.
When the collagen factory starts operating with a skeleton crew, the major issues of your body begin to break down, leaving you feeling (and looking) weaker and less flexible.
Collagen is necessary for skin hydration and anti-aging (just ask any dermatologist), wound healing, joint function, gut health, and myriad other functions in your body. Collagen protein supplements aren't a miracle cure to life's ills, but they do help support necessary building blocks for your overall health.
WHAT DAMAGES YOUR COLLAGEN?
Besides the fact that you begin to lose collagen as you age, there are other external stressors that can damage your collagen production. These types of stressors are called free radicals.
Free radicals are unbalanced molecules that search for balanced molecules to latch onto. When they find them, they damage the healthy, balanced molecule, and the cell where the molecule lives.
Free radicals are produced by ultraviolet sun rays, cigarette smoke, pollution, and even some household cleaning chemicals.
Overall, free radicals damage collagen-producing cells causing redness and swelling, loss of skin elasticity, and premature aging.
Collagen can also be damaged by vitamin C deficiency and smoking.
COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTS — DO THEY ACTUALLY WORK?
It seems like the perfect solution; you make less collagen, you take vitamins to “fix” it, but does supplemental collagen really work, and if so, how much collagen should you take per day?
The good news is, collagen is a supplement that is easily absorbed by your body, so yes, taking a collagen supplement is definitely a good idea. However, if you search for a “collagen supplement,” you’ll quickly realize there are several different kinds of supplements available. How do you know which is best?
Two different forms of collagen are most popular in supplements:
Gelatin. Gelatin is collagen that has been removed from animal bones, ligaments, and tendons through a heating process, like boiling. In fact, your favorite jiggly dessert from childhood is made from the same ingredients.
Hydrolyzed Collagen. This type of collagen is also sourced from the bones, ligaments, and tendons of animals, but it has been broken down into smaller particles, or “peptides,” so that your body can better absorb it.
Because hydrolyzed collagen is better absorbed by the body, you’ll get better results if you use a hydrolyzed collagen supplement. So how much hydrolyzed collagen should you take per day? First, you must consider the source.
DO COLLAGEN SOURCES MATTER?
When you’re determining how much collagen you should take per day, you first need to determine the source of your hydrolyzed collagen. Not all collagen is the same, and not all types of collagen supplements are the same, either. Here’s what you should consider:
Collagen supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. That means you really need to become familiar with your supplement’s manufacturer, and don’t buy from a company that doesn’t have a good and clear standard of ethics.
Animal-sourced. All collagen supplements that are natural will have been taken from an animal source. Do your part to ensure they’ve been taken sustainably and in a cruelty-free manner, especially if you're purchasing bovine collagen peptides.
Vegan collagen. If you aren’t into animals, vegan collagen is available, but you should take note that vegan collagen is a chemically engineered material, which may not be acceptable to some users.
Both of these will be determining factors in how much collagen you’ll need per day for effective supplementation. This supplementation can come from scoops of collagen powder that you add to smoothies, sauces, and soups or in pill-based supplements with less risk of unpleasant taste or artificial flavoring.
Most collagen will come from cows or other land mammals, however, a new form of collagen, sourced from fish, has some standout benefits above land animal sources.
Marine collagen is sourced from ocean life and is an incredibly sustainable source of collagen protein.
Sustainability is crucial, and when you purchase marine collagen supplements from One Ocean Beauty you’re also helping restore and protect our oceans through our alliance with Oceana.
Marine collagen is hydrolyzed, and is also more bioavailable to the body, making it more easily absorbed. This increase in absorption means you’ll see results faster, and feel effects sooner.
HOW MUCH COLLAGEN SHOULD YOU TAKE PER DAY?
So how much collagen do you actually need for supplementation per day? Your ideal dosage depends on your goals. If you simply want a little boost in your skin elasticity and hair growth, you’ll likely need less than if your goal is to improve your joint health and overall mobility in a New York minute.
Here’s our quick guide to collagen intake:
FOR YOUR SKIN
One of the main reasons users start taking collagen is to improve their skin health. The skin responds the fastest to collagen supplementation, and to relatively low doses.
To increase skin’s elasticity, firmness, and texture, and help prevent fine lines and wrinkles, studies show that taking up to 2.5 grams is effective.
Here’s a caveat: most users will find that they need less than 2.5 grams of hydrolyzed collagen to see skin-benefiting results. Starting with a dose of 200mg per day is an ideal option to help improve your skin.
FOR STRONGER BONES
You might think calcium is the only way to build stronger bones, but collagen can help support bone health and help improve overall bone density. It’s also easily absorbed and maybe more easily absorbed than calcium.
For bone health support, an intake of 5 grams of hydrolyzed collagen is best.
FOR MUSCULAR HEALTH
No matter how many hours you spend at the gym, you can’t replace collagen by lifting weights. You can, however, improve your muscle flexibility by supplementing with collagen.
To help support your muscular health and help complement your workout routine, 15 grams of collagen per day is recommended.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Collagen is a well-respected supplement that is beneficial to your body. Collagen production slows as soon as age 18, so taking a supplement that helps you retain collagen is a smart idea. Loss of collagen can affect how your body moves and how your skin looks and feels.
Your body absorbs some types of collagen faster than others. Marine collagen is sourced sustainably from fish and offers collagen that is more readily absorbed by your body than some other forms of collagen.
Collagen supplements from One Ocean Beauty are not only sustainably sourced, food-grade, and natural, they also represent a larger, more important trend in sustainable beauty; giving back to the source.
When you purchase marine collagen from One Ocean Beauty, you’re contributing to the restoration and preservation of our oceans. That’s a pretty big deal for your skin and the environment.