Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body which helps to regenerate and form new tissue.
As we age, collagen fibers break down and the rate of regeneration slows dramatically. This process can start at age 25.
By age 40, we would have decreased collagen production by 25 percent. By age 60, collagen production decreases more than 50 percent creating fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin as well as aching joints.
Consuming collagen supplements help to promote firmer and youthful skin and are one of the fastest growing anti aging product category.
Not all collagen supplements are created equal and therefore, it is important to know what to look for before buying one.
1. Types of collagen
There are many types of collagen in the body but Type 1 is the most abundant form.
Type 1 collagen makes up 80% of the skin which gives the skin its structure, firmness and also supports healthy, stronger hair and nails.
For optimal skin health look for a supplement that contains Type I collagen.
2. Hydrolyzed Collagen / Collagen Peptides
Collagen molecules are too large for the body to absorb effectively unless they have been hydrolyzed.
Hydrolyzed collagen is collagen that is broken into smaller collagen known as collagen peptides.
Collagen peptides are much smaller in size (less than 5000 Dalton) which is easier to be absorbed into the bloodstream.
If you want a true supplement that works for your skin, look for one that contains Hydrolyzed Collagen (collagen peptides)
3. Collagen Concentration
Check how much collagen is provided per serving
There are multiple clinical studies that consuming hydrolyzed collagen helps to increase skin elasticity and moisture.Skin elasticity was significantly higher in women who took 2.5 to 5 grams of collagen; skin moisture was also improved.
4. Collagen Source
There are 4 main sources of collagen peptides in supplements which are bovine (cow), porcine (pig), chicken, and marine (fish) collagen.
Collagen from cows, pigs and chickens are extracted from their skin, tendons and cartilage and are mainly Type II collagen.
Fish collagen or also known as marine collagen is extracted from either the meat or scales of the fish. Marine collagen has been shown to have better absorption compared to other source of collagen.
Marine collagen supplements are best due to a safer form and optimum size for maximum absorption. Marine collagen is considered the purest and safest form of collagen for supplements.
5. Collagen Supplement Form
Thanks to the popularity of collagen, there are a few choices available when it comes to deciding the best way to take collagen such as collagen powder, collagen pill and collagen liquid.
This is one of the most popular forms of collagen which can be in sachet or a tub. They dissolves in water and can be added to smoothies as well.
Collagen powder in sachet is a convenient way to carry around for those who are always on the go.
PROS: Cheaper than collagen liquid and easy to carry.
CONS: Need to mix and stir with water before consuming.
For those who prefer to chew, you can find collagen in pill form.
PROS: You won't have to stir and shake your collagen. Easy to carry.
CONS: Due to the amount of collagen needed, pills tend to be on the large side or you need to take a lot of pills at one time. This may not be suitable for those who struggle with taking pills.
Collagen is also available in liquid form. They come in ready to drink bottles.
PROS: It is ready to consume, so you can skip the mixing and pill swallowing routine.
CONS: Heaviest and costliest form of collagen.
6. Formulation - Supplementary Ingredients Used (BONUS)
Check other ingredients used in the collagen formulation which supports the effect of collagen.
For skin beauty, vitamin C is vital for the body's natural collagen synthesis. Antioxidants are also beneficial as it delays collagen from breaking down due to UV rays.
*Choose Type I Collagen for skin, hair and nail beauty while Type II Collagen for joint health.
*Choose hydrolyzed collagen / collagen peptides for better absorption.
*Ensure collagen per serving is sufficient for the result wanted (minimum 2.5 grams of collagen per serving for skin beauty)
*Choose marine collagen for safer and better absorption
*Choose collagen powder, collagen pill or collagen liquid depending on your budget and convenience.
*Check supplementary ingredients in the formulation which supports collagen.