From im­prov­ing joint health to fight­ing ag­ing, this su­per sup­ple­ment does it all. Here’s how to choose and use the best col­la­gen for your needs

Amazing Wellness - - CONTENTS - By Lisa Turner

Crazy for Col­la­gen This su­per­sup­ple­ment does it all. Here’s how to choose the best col­la­gen for your needs.

It’s show­ing up in ev­ery­thing from drink mixes to eye creams, promis­ing youth­ful skin, shiny hair, stronger nails, im­proved joint func­tion, and healthy di­ges­tion. Now, many stud­ies are show­ing the claims be­hind col­la­gen are true.

Col­la­gen, the most abun­dant pro­tein in the hu­man body, is re­spon­si­ble for re­gen­er­at­ing and form­ing new tis­sue, and is a crit­i­cal part of skin, hair, nails, joints, and bones. As we age, the skin’s col­la­gen ma­trix starts to de­cline; col­la­gen fibers break down and the rate of re­gen­er­a­tion slows dra­mat­i­cally. This process can start as early as age 25; by age 40, col­la­gen pro­duc­tion gen­er­ally de­creases by 25 per­cent. By age 60, it has de­creased by more than 50 per­cent. The re­sult: sag­ging skin, fine lines and wrin­kles, aching joints, and signs of arthri­tis.

Sup­ple­ment­ing with col­la­gen has been shown in sev­eral stud­ies to pro­tect against bone and joint de­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases and to fight skin ag­ing. Stud­ies show:

Peo­ple who took 3 grams of a col­la­gen ex­tract sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved their re­cov­ery af­ter ex­er­cise. Col­la­gen sup­ple­ments re­duced pain and de­creased in­flam­ma­tion in peo­ple with os­teoarthri­tis. Ath­letes who took 10 grams of col­la­gen a day sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved joint pain, mo­bil­ity, and in­flam­ma­tion. Skin elas­tic­ity was sig­nif­i­cantly higher in women who took 2.5 to 5 grams of col­la­gen; skin mois­ture was also im­proved. Sup­ple­ment­ing with 1 gram of a col­la­gen ex­tract led to a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion of skin dry­ness and scal­ing, a less­en­ing of lines and wrin­kles, en­hanced cir­cu­la­tion, and a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in col­la­gen lev­els in the skin. Col­la­gen sup­ple­men­ta­tion was found to stim­u­late tis­sue re­gen­er­a­tion, re­duce and pre­vent joint pain, slow bone den­sity loss, and lessen skin ag­ing.


The type of col­la­gen and the form in which it’s in­cluded in prod­ucts are crit­i­cal to its suc­cess. Up to 28 dif­fer­ent kinds of col­la­gen have been iden­ti­fied, but the vast ma­jor­ity fall into three cat­e­gories, known as types 1, 2, and 3. Type 1 is found pri­mar­ily in skin, bones, ten­dons, or­gans, and blood ves­sels; com­monly found along­side type 3 col­la­gen. To­gether, these two types make up about 90 per­cent of the body’s col­la­gen. Type 2 col­la­gen makes up about

60 per­cent of the pro­tein found in car­ti­lage.

When buy­ing sup­ple­ments, look for those that list what type of col­la­gen they con­tain, and tai­lor your sup­ple­ments to your needs. Type 1 and 3 col­la­gens are used to sup­port bones, im­prove nail strength, thicken hair and slow hair loss, min­i­mize lines and wrin­kles, and im­prove skin hy­dra­tion, sup­ple­ness and elas­tic­ity. Type 2 is used to sup­port joints,lower back func­tion, stiff knees, and tem­poro­mandibu­lar joint dis­or­der (TMJ).

Type 1 and 3 can be taken to­gether, but it’s best to take type 2 sep­a­rately; tak­ing them to­gether can di­min­ish their ef­fects. If you’re us­ing all three, space them out by sev­eral hours; for ex­am­ple, take type 2 in the morn­ing, and types 1 and 3, which can be com­bined, in the evening— ide­ally at bed­time, on an empty stom­ach. Also, be sure to get the right dosage: stud­ies sug­gest a range of 2 to 10 grams per day is ef­fec­tive, but higher doses aren’t harm­ful. Look for hy­drolyzed col­la­gen (also called col­la­gen hy­drolysate), a form that’s been bro­ken down to make it eas­ier to digest and ab­sorb. Hy­drolyzed col­la­gen also dis­solves eas­ily in cold wa­ter, mak­ing it more con­ve­nient to take. For the high­est qual­ity, choose col­la­gen prod­ucts made from or­ganic and/or grass-fed cows or sus­tain­ably sourced seafood. Pure col­la­gen should be col­or­less when mixed with wa­ter and vir­tu­ally taste­less, un­less you’re us­ing a blend that in­cludes fla­vors, ex­tracts, or other in­gre­di­ents. If it has a yel­low­ish or brown­ish color, or an “off” taste, it’s likely lower in qual­ity.

You’ll find col­la­gen in pow­ders, capsules, drink mixes, con­cen­trated elixirs, gum­mies, and chew­able tablets; choose the form that you think you’ll take most fre­quently. Some prod­ucts may also con­tain vi­ta­mins A, C, or E, which help the body’s own pro­duc­tion of col­la­gen, and hyaluronic acid, a lu­bri­cat­ing sub­stance nat­u­rally pro­duced by the body that helps re­tain col­la­gen in joints and skin. Some blends also con­tain bi­otin and sil­ica, which ben­e­fit hair and nails, or al­pha lipoic acid, an an­tiox­i­dant that also en­cour­ages col­la­gen pro­duc­tion.

Top­i­cal prod­ucts like lo­tions, creams, and serums also con­tain col­la­gen, usu­ally in com­bi­na­tion with in­gre­di­ents like jo­joba oil, aloe vera, green tea ex­tract, and other mois­tur­iz­ing and heal­ing in­gre­di­ents. While the col­la­gen mol­e­cule is too large to be ab­sorbed top­i­cally, it’s a good humec­tant, help­ing the skin to re­tain mois­ture. There’s also some ev­i­dence that the amino acids that make up col­la­gen can en­cour­age the body’s nat­u­ral pro­duc­tion of col­la­gen.

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