From beauty products to beverages, you don't have to listen hard to hear the buzz around collagen supplements (which we called as a rising trend in 2017, just sayin'). But if you're still scratching your head over what it actually does and how to get it in your diet, we got you.
In a nutshell, collagen is the popular protein that's touted for its benefits for everything from your hair and nails to your gut health. But that begs the question of the hour: Do you really need a collagen supplement, or can you just get it through your diet?
According to Nick Bitz, ND, chief scientific officer at Youtheory®, your once-a-week bone-broth splurge isn't going to cut it.
The question of the hour: Do you really need a collagen supplement, or can you just get it through your diet?
"Food-derived collagen is much too large to be absorbed effectively by the intestine," Dr. Bitz explains. "Although bone broth soups and bone-in, skin-on meats are excellent sources of collagen protein, they provide very little usable collagen, most of which never reaches the bloodstream."
"[Supplements] supply a unique type of collagen that has undergone hydrolysis (a gentle enzymatic process that breaks the protein into smaller, more uniform peptide fragments)," Dr. Bitz says. "Studies show that over 90 percent of hydrolyzed collagen is able to cross the intestinal barrier and reach the bloodstream. So if you want results, I’d highly recommend collagen supplements over foods."
Intrigued? Keep reading for the science-backed info on how to take collagen supplements for max results.
Collagen itself isn't new—it's been around as long as humans have because it's an essential part of our skin and joints—but supplementing with the fibrous protein has spiked over the past five years. "Collagen was one of the biggest wellness trends of 2018," Dr. Bitz says. "The ingredient has been around for decades, particularly in Asian countries, but is just now finding its stride in the U.S."
The reason? Dr. Bitz attributes it to a convergence of trends (such as natural beauty products, bone broth, and paleo foods) that center around holistic wellness. And as people have started searching for products that can boost their overall health, they've started looking at collagen as more than just something celebrities get injected into their lips.
There are three key benefits of collagen supplements, according to Dr. Bitz. First, collagen is a clean, paleo-friendly protein source that supplies 18 amino acids, including one that isn't found in any other dietary protein: hydroxyproline. "Hydroxyproline is what makes collagen so important and so magical," Dr. Bitz says. Your body uses the amino acid to produce more new collagen on its own—so you get some serious payoff for your supplement habit.
Second, collagen is beloved for its skin benefits for good reason. "Studies have shown that ingestible collagen is able to integrate directly into the fabric of our skin," Dr. Bitz says. "Ingestible collagen improves skin hydration, elasticity, and plumpness, [and] helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles."
Third, collagen is literally what holds our bodies together, so taking care of that bond is obviously pretty beneficial. "Ingestible collagen can increase the density of this collagen matrix throughout the inner body, helping to reinforce and strengthen our muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments." That's good news for elevating your workouts, as well as generally supporting your mobility as your body ages.
How to use it
You can take collagen supplements in either powder or tablet form (Youtheory® offers both types), and the powder is easily stirrable into hot tea, coffee, oatmeal, or smoothies.
As for the dose, Dr. Bitz says it's safe to consume upwards of 30 grams of collagen per day (though no harm will come from having more), but 2.5 grams per day is his suggested starting point. The key is taking it consistently. "I find that the best results come from continuous dosing over the long term," he says. Consider this your permission to turn your collagen-boosted latte obsession into a habit.
In partnership with Youtheory®
Loading More Posts...