You have questions about collagen, and boy do we love answering them. Read on for answers to where to find collagen in your diet, what age you should start taking collagen, and whether it’s a no-no to mix your collagen in hot coffee. Plus, we’ll clear up any confusion (once and for all!) about whether collagen actually gets absorbed by your body.
QUESTION 1: If collagen is naturally occurring, why do we need to supplement with it?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. Collagen is found in hair, skin, nails, ligaments, cartilage, tendons, bones and within blood vessel walls—all what’s known as “connective tissue” in the body. Beginning in our 20s, however, our bodies start producing less collagen, making it important to add it as a supplement.
QUESTION 2: What is the best way to increase collagen through my diet? Is bone broth a good option?
Bone broth can be a great source of collagen, but there are two things to consider if we want to maximize its benefit. First, we want to make sure we’re taking bone broth on a consistent basis. Second, we want to make sure it has consistent amounts of the amino acids that have been shown to be markers of collagen in the body. For that reason, we recommend that you take a collagen supplement because you can get a standardized amount that’s proven to provide benefit, and it’s easy to take every day.
QUESTION 3: What about bone broth supplements?
Several studies have shown that commercially available bone broth powders show huge variability in collagen precursor amino acid content. Research shows that bone broth lacks consistency in the amounts of amino acids that are markers of collagen content (hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine) and those necessary for collagen production (glycine, lysine, proline, and leucine). Unless a product is “spiked” with extra leucine, bone broth does not provide enough leucine for collagen production.
QUESTION 4: What age should someone start taking a collagen supplement?
Since our bodies begin to produce less collagen in our 20s, we’d recommend starting to take a collagen supplement during that time. Many young adult athletes choose collagen for sports recovery, and others use collagen because of the research demonstrating anti-inflammatory properties and improved mental outlook.
QUESTION 5: Can my pets use a collagen supplement?
There are some collagen/gelatin products on the market for pets. Ultimately, we recommend that you seek guidance from your veterinary expert for the use of collagen in pets, and remember that serving sizes can differ with your smaller, furry friend.
QUESTION 6: Are collagen supplements best absorbed when taken with calcium?
We could find no research showing that calcium improves collagen or collagen peptide absorption. On the other hand, several animal studies show that hydrolyzed collagen can increase calcium absorption from the GI tract.
QUESTION 7: OK, once and for all, do hydrolyzed collagen peptides make it through the digestive acids of the stomach in order to benefit the skin at all?
Many dermatologists say it doesn't but I suspect they just want to sell you botox rather than the much cheaper collagen peptides!
This has been a hotly debated topic, but researchers have found that the key peptides within collagen are indeed absorbed intact from the GI tract and are delivered to target tissue such as the skin. Studies in humans have found that the peptides in collagen peak in the blood after 2 hours, but remain significantly elevated even after 4 hours. These small peptide units from oral collagen supplementation then provide the raw materials for human collagen production—for skin benefits like increased hydration, reduced visible signs of aging, and more.
QUESTION 8: What helps better collagen absorption?
The MOST important factor in collagen absorption is that the collagen is hydrolyzed (aka collagen peptides)! This form of collagen is “predigested” in order to be better absorbed and assimilated by the body. In studies evaluating the benefits of collagen, this is the form that is most effective.
QUESTION 9: Is it true that your body cannot use ingested collagen to renew your collagen?
No, this is untrue! Recent human research has shown that ingesting collagen peptides can provide several benefits to the body, from supporting healthy joints, to improving skin hydration and even bone mineral density.
QUESTION 10: I am 54 year old female with osteoarthritis. How much collagen do I need per day? I take turmeric, cal-mag & glucosamine sulfate.
It sounds like you’re doing lots to support optimal joint health! Research suggests that collagen intake can contribute to joint health by boosting cellular repair and stimulating the growth of new joint cartilage. When we formulated clean collagen, we looked at the research on its benefits. 5-10 grams per day was the dose that provided the most benefits. We’d also recommend that you check out our fast arthritis pain relief+ or fast joint care+ with fermented turmeric, which are both shown to reduce pain and repair and nourish joints, for relief in 5 days.
QUESTION 11: I’ve heard that you should only mix collagen powder with cooler liquids (i.e. not hot coffee).
This is false. Hot water is one of the best known—and healthiest—ways to extract collagen peptides from their source. For example, when fish scales are heated in distilled water at 70 degrees, the collagen yield is only 6%… but when fish scales are heated to 100 degrees, the yield is 30%. So keep on mixing your collagen in your hot liquid of choice (including soups)!
QUESTION 12: Does collagen help get rid of wrinkles? What is the best collagen for deep wrinkles around the eyes? Or should I bother?
Collagen accounts for roughly 90% of the dry weight making up the middle layer of skin called the dermis. The dermal layer of the skin provides the scaffolding for the tissue, which is why when the dermis is dehydrated, repeatedly overexposed to sunlight or damaged in any way, the appearance of the skin is impacted. Supplementing with collagen has been shown to improve skin hydration, texture and visible signs of aging—why not add collagen to your regime?
QUESTION 13: Do collagen supplements really work, or do the collagen creams work better?
Despite the rationale for its use in skincare products, collagen is too big of a molecule to pass through the epidermis (the outer most layer of skin), let alone reach its target dermal layer. This is why most “anti-aging” topical creams are made with the individual components of collagen, like glycosaminoglycans (or GAGs) and hyaluronic acid, and not collagen.
QUESTION 14: What’s the best source of collagen?
The most important factor when choosing collagen is its absorbability. For optimal absorption, look for hydrolyzed collagen (also known as collagen peptides) in a dose that’s 7-10 grams (most of the studies on collagen’s benefits have been in the 5-10 gram serving range). Finally, look for a collagen that mixes well and is easy to take (because compliance is key—it’s important to take collagen every day to see the benefits!).
Clean Collagen by Genuine Health is available in bovine or marine sources and provides 10 grams of hydrolyzed collagen per scoop. Genuine Health makes it easy to get your daily dose of collagen: clean collagen is available in unflavoured and lightly-flavoured water enhancers. NEW clean collagen bars provide 7 grams of collagen per bar and are available in two delicious flavours: Chocolate Raspberry and Chocolate Chip Banana.
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