If you haven’t tried a collagen supplement yet, you probably know someone who has. That’s because the health benefits associated with collagen have taken over the headlines in the last few years, particularly when it comes to our skin.
Your dermis, or the middle layer of your skin, is mostly collagen. Collagen is a strong, flexible protein that gives your skin firmness, elasticity and structure, making it look youthful and healthy. As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, leading to sagging skin and wrinkles.
But, as the most abundant protein in our bodies, collagen is also used in all sorts of ways in other parts of the body. It gives structure to everything from skin and bones to tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth. It’s safe to say that without collagen, we wouldn’t have functioning bodies at all.
Our bodies make collagen from the food we eat, particularly the right kinds of protein. Collagen supplements help make sure your body has the right nutrients available to make all the collagen it needs to keep you healthy. So, a supplement is a good way to give you peace of mind that you’re giving your body what it needs.
Because there are so many collagen supplements out there, it can be difficult to choose one that’s right for you. Here are some things to consider.
5 tips for choosing your collagen supplement
1. Keep it simple
Look for a supplement that features collagen as the main ingredient. That way, you’ll be getting in as much of what you’re paying for as possible. In South Africa, our labelling laws require companies to list ingredients in order of weight, so if your collagen supplement doesn’t have collagen listed as the first ingredient, that’s not a good sign. Look for a collagen protein isolate, for example, collagen peptides, collagen hydrolysate or hydrolysed collagen.
2. Ditch the additives
Food additives can do more harm than good, especially when it comes to taking health supplements. These additives include artificial sweeteners, colourants and flavourings that are often used to make the taste and look of a product more appealing. Stevia is a natural sugar alternative, so if you’d like a tastier supplement, choose a product that contains it.
3. Look for hydrolysed collagen
Hydrolysed collagen, or collagen peptides, have a smaller molecular size. Collagen molecules are too big to be absorbed by the body, so this is essential for an effective supplement. Hydrolysis makes the molecules small enough to pass through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream, stimulating your body to produce collagen.
4. Know the different sources of collagen
Collagen supplements require a source from which the nutrient is derived. This includes bovine collagen (which comes from cows), which is beneficial to bones, joints, skin and gut. Marine collagen (which comes from fish) is known for its benefits for the skin. Porcine collagen (which comes from pigs) is high in glycine which also benefits your skin.
The collagen source affects the cost of your supplement, and different sources contain different amounts of Type I, II or III collagen. Types I and III collagen are the main collagen types located in the skin, so if you’re looking for beauty benefits, find a supplement that’s high in these types.
5. Do your research
Don’t settle for a supplement based on fancy packaging or the price tag. You want a product that has the science and certification necessary to back its claims. Avoid fly-by-night brands you’ve never heard of and rather rely on trusted wellness brands with a proven track record.
When it comes down to it, you need to be 100% sure about the products that you are putting into your body while ensuring that they offer the most benefit to your health and wellbeing. After all, what you put into your body is reflected on the outside, so make it count.
This piece is courtesy of Herbalife.