A couple of years ago I tried one of those subscription collagen services where you get a month’s supply of dinky, individually-wrapped sachets.
Firstly, I didn’t like that it was flavored and contained sweetener.
That combined with the price put me off, along with the fact that back then the science was pretty shaky around whether collagen taken orally could be absorbed by the body and actually reach our skin not to mention our cartilage and bones.
But a couple of more recent studies convinced me to take a second look and now I take a daily collagen powder that is both well evidenced and cost effective.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body and is used to make connective tissue which is why it’s so important to the strength of our bones, skin, muscles and cartilage.
But like so many things, our bodies gradually make less and less collagen as we age.
Now it appears through recent studies that hydrolyzed collagen, a group of extracted peptides of a lower molecular weight, is better absorbed by our bodies and therefore has better potential to replace some of what we lose.
A Korean study published last year demonstrated that after 12 weeks of supplementation with collagen peptides of lower molecular weight, with half of participants told to take just 1 gram of collagen peptides daily alongside a placebo group, when photos of the skin around the participants eyes was put through 3D imaging and analysed it was found that those taking the supplements had markedly reduced wrinkling.
We also have a review paper evaluating the results of 19 eligible randomized, double-blind, and controlled trials exploring oral supplementation with hydrolyzed collagen as an intervention to tackle signs of ageing including wrinkles, hydration, elasticity, and firmness.
There were a total of 1,125 participants, mainly women aged between 20 and 70 years.
The sources of the collagen differed between marine and animal collagen and with doses between around two to five grams over 8 to 12 weeks but the analysis showed overall favorable results with hydrolyzed collagen supplementation compared with placebo in terms of skin hydration, elasticity, and wrinkles.
And of course if hydrolyzed collagen is getting past our digestive system and reaching our skin, then that suggests we could expect to see benefits elsewhere including our hair and nails and even our cartilage and bones.
Some studies suggest that collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis, and reduce overall joint pain.
It could also help prevent bone density loss with an encouraging 12-month study among post-menopausal women who took either a calcium and vitamin D supplement with 5 grams of collagen or a calcium and vitamin D supplement with no collagen daily.
At the end of the study, those taking the calcium, vitamin D, and collagen supplement had significantly lower blood levels of proteins that contribute to bone breakdown than those who took only the calcium and vitamin D. The collagen group also had lower loss of bone mineral density.
All this is enough to more than convince me to take hydrolyzed collagen peptides daily and the really good news is we don’t seem to have to take it in large quantities to get the benefits.
There is not yet the same evidence for vegan collagen supplements but watch this space.
MY PRODUCT PICKS
I take approx 4g of hydrolyzed collagen powder daily, either stirred into my coffee or my breakfast.
Two I alternate between are Codeage (bovine, poultry and marine) which I buy on Amazon, £34 for 252g, and Do Not Age bovine hydrolyzed collagen peptides.
You can get 10% off DoNotAge supplements including these Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides using code HONEST £18 for 300g
If you prefer capsules my mum swears by Dietapplements marine hydrolyzed collagen supplement. £14.99 for 60 capsules.