Collagen has quickly risen to the top of must-have supplements, and it’s no wonder! With its benefits for gut, joint, and even skin health, collagen makes a great addition to any wellness routine. But along with the popularity of collagen, comes some long-lasting collagen myths. Find out if taking collagen on its own is effective or not, if topical collagen creams will give your skin a youthful glow, and if vegan collagen really belongs in your supplement toolkit.
Test your collagen IQ and learn a thing or two as we walk through what you need to know. Ready? Let’s dive in!
Are you really taking collagen – or collagen peptides?
When you purchase a collagen supplement, are you really buying pure collagen? The truth is… not quite. What you’re really getting is collagen peptides, or in other words, the compounds your body needs to actually make the collagen itself. Here’s a quick collagen debrief to clarify.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, with the highest concentrations found in your bones, muscles, skin, and tendons (add hair and nails to that list, too). The chief purpose of collagen is to act as a building block and to offer strength and structure, even covering essential organs in a protective layer. Skin-wise, collagen supports integrity and flexibility.
The collagen peptides that can be purchased in supplement form (be it in the form of liquid formula, powder, or capsules) provide glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine – important amino acids that make up collagen protein. It is then produced by various cells as endogenous collagen for the body to use.
Is collagen really all you need to take?
Can you load up on collagen and call it a day, or do you need other co-factors to facilitate collagen production? If you think co-factors are needed, you’re definitely right. Collagen itself isn’t as effective, as compared to additional supporting nutrients such as silicon and vitamin C. Together, these help to stimulate your body’s collagen production. Curious? Here’s why this is important.
Silicon helps with the synthesis of type 1 collagen and for activating the hydroxylation enzymes, supporting skin strength and elasticity. Forms of silicon are naturally found in foods like whole grain cereals, fruits, and veggies. Another essential nutrient for collagen synthesis is vitamin C – healthy collagen structure is dependent on it. Sufficient vitamin C helps stabilize collagen molecules as well as collagen production by cells. One of the best sources of vitamin C is tasty rosehip tea.
Can collagen creams be effective?
Collagen cream sounds like the best invention ever, right? If only it were so easy… The truth is that collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin. If you want to get the most skin benefits from your collagen, your best bet is to add a trusty collagen peptides supplement to your wellness routine along with necessary nutritional co-factors. Nurture healthy collagen production through your lifestyle, like by keeping stress levels down, loading up on antioxidants, and staying hydrated.
Can you take vegan collagen?
With increasing numbers of health conscious individuals looking to decrease animal product consumption and replace it with plant-based swaps. One does wonder: what about collagen? Is there such a thing as vegetarian or vegan collagen? If you’ve read this far, you probably know that there is no such thing as vegan collagen. Collagen is a protein chiefly found in bone, cartilage, and connective tissue. For vegetarians who wish to avoid meat products, marine collagen makes a wholesome alternative. For vegans, enhance collagen production by consuming lots of healthy plant foods naturally high in collagen-boosting nutrients, like mineral-rich grains and antioxidant-packed dark leafy greens.
Boost collagen naturally!
Whether you’re looking to support collagen production to enhance the appearance and feel of your skin, to nourish your gut and boost the health of your digestive mucosa, or to assist with joint health, there are lifestyle habits that work like a charm to naturally boost collagen. This includes: enjoying regular facial massages, quitting smoking, and adding antioxidant and anti-inflammatory spices and herbs to your diet (like the go-to golden spice, turmeric).
For the botanically inclined, beneficial herbs for all things collagen synthesis and production include mineral-rich nettle, silica-containing horsetail, and vitamin C powerhouse, delicious rosehips.
Of course, no discussion on collagen would be complete without mentioning the warm collagen tonic favourite: slow simmered bone broth. Homemade or store bought, choose local, grass-fed, and pasture raised for most benefits.