When you’re past the age of 20, your body slowly begins losing its collagen supply each year. According to Healthline, apart from the well-known benefit of having enough collagen in your body to provide your skin with structure and to strengthen your bones, this protein also helps relieve joint pain, boost muscle mass, prevent bone loss, and reduce the risk of heart-related conditions. Some studies also show that collagen supplements can possibly strengthen your hair and nails, improve gut health, and promote weight loss.
As more and more people turn to collagen supplements in hopes to reduce wrinkles, improve skin elasticity, and so on, it’s important to know just how effective collagen supplements are. Are they really worth taking? Here, are some points to consider.
#1 Products labeled as “plant-based collagen” don’t actually contain collagen.
Hence, they do not supplement collagen in the body. Instead, they aid the body in boosting its collagen production naturally through plant extracts that contribute to the production of procollagen molecules and plant-based antioxidants that enable the skin to produce its own collagen.
#2 There’s no way to target specific areas of your body.
So if your goal is to have firm and plump skin, taking collagen supplements won’t ensure that you’ll get exactly that. When collagen is broken down, it’s absorbed by the bloodstream and distributed to different parts of the body that need it. Your body won’t even recognize that it just ingested collagen.
#3 Be wary of what they contain.
Collagen supplements and powders are classified as a food, not a drug. Hence, they are not highly regulated and some may contain animal bones and fish scales that may be high in heavy metals.
#4 It’s easy to take the healthy and safe route through your diet.
Instead of supplements, you can opt for foods that won’t require much effort to include in your diet anyway. Bone broth contains a bioavailable form of collagen which your body can use right away, while fruits like oranges and berries and vegetables contain certain vitamins and minerals that help with collagen synthesis. There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to the healthiest and safest way to boost collagen production.
#5 Timing is everything.
The best time to start taking collagen is in your twenties, before your collagen levels start to dwindle and your joints and skin start showing signs of aging. As for the time of day, it’s all up to you, but if you’re one to workout, take collagen on your exercise days as the combination of its high bioavailability with its high amino acid content makes it an optimal post-exercise nutrition that can help repair and replenish proteins broken down during your workout.
Cover image: A view of the Vital Proteins Beauty Collagen products during the Vital Proteins Launches Feed Your Beauty Popup Store in Soho NYC. (Photograph by JP Yim / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)