The Science Behind Collagen Supplements

A question that we get asked a lot at Vita-sol, is how do collagen supplements work? So, let’s take a look at the science.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and whilst we may instantly think of skin when we think of collagen, it is also an integral component in bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and connective tissue.

The decline of collagen production can start as early as our thirties, and progressively worsen due to general aging and diminished nutrient absorption.

Collagen and elastin fibres within our bodies also begin to reduce flexibility over time and can become glycated or stiffer. The acceleration of this glycation can be influenced by factors such as poor diet, stress, high blood sugar and excess alcohol.

Do collagen supplements put collagen back in the skin?

Contrary to popular belief, collagen, once ingested does not get magically transported to the skin and attach to existing collagen. It is a lot more complex than that. Collagen is a large molecule, approximately 300k Daltons in size meaning that the collagen molecule is too large to be absorbed via the gut and must first be broken down via digestion. This is how collagen is processed when we consume it within food, such as from bone broth and gelatin, in the same way that any protein from food is digested. These absorbed amino acids are then used by the body as required to build structural proteins.

Why not just eat a healthy diet?

In an ideal world if we are getting adequate nutrients via the diet, we would not need to take any supplements. At Vita-sol we believe first and foremost in getting the foundations of a healthy diet right. Collagen does however contain hydroxy proline, an amino acid unique to collagen and this may be one of the reasons why studies have shown improvements particularly in joint health when consuming native or unhydrolyzed collagen.  Our bodies rely on getting the correct amino acids via the diet in order to be able to efficiently make hydroxy proline.  If the diet is low in the nutrients and amino acids required for healthy collagen production, our collagen quality may be compromised. When it comes to the collagen supplements recommended for skin health, most use fully hydrolysed collagen - meaning that the molecular size of the collagen is much smaller than that of native collagen and therefore it is bioactive or easily absorbed.

What are collagen peptides and how do they work?

Collagen peptides are a hydrolysed form of collagen, unique oligopeptides supplying the necessary amino acids for the development of collagen in connective tissue and skin. Collagen peptides have a molecular size of 2 – 6 k Daltons (thousands of times smaller than native collagen) and studies have shown collagen peptides can be absorbed via the PEPT 1 transporter in the gut. These peptides work as signalling molecules, mimicking the fibroblast like growth factor that signals the fibroblast cell to produce type 1 and 3 collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid.  Both bovine and marine collagen peptides show promising results in clinical studies and randomised control studies however marine collagen is thought by many to be the gold standard for skin health as it has shown superior results in studies when it comes to improved skin hydration and skin elasticity.

Studies have shown collagen supplements can significantly increase skin hydration and improve elasticity and collagen density however the amount of daily collagen required to see results varies in studies from 5g – 15g depending on the type of collagen used, what else it is mixed with and the age, activity levels and wound healing requirements of the patient.

According to a study by the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology collagen peptides reduced wrinkles by over 30% after 3 months. Visible improvements in the skin can be seen between 6 – 12 weeks with some people reporting anecdotal improvements in skin hydration after just 2 weeks.

What is different about Vita-sol Collagen Boost?

At Vita-sol we use 100% pure marine collagen peptides, with no fillers, artificial additives, flavours or synthetic vitamins. We use the purest collagen available in the world, which is sustainably sourced and wild caught from crystal clear Norwegian waters. We do not use any farmed fish such as Tilapia fish or jelly fish, which are popular collagen sources used by many companies due to their lower manufacturing cost. Our collagen is sourced from wild caught cod skin. The Vita-sol marine collagen peptides have been clinically tested to show improvements in skin hydration, skin elasticity and collagen density.

What is the best way to take Vita-sol Collagen Boost?

Our Collagen Boost is flavourless so you can add it to coffee, tea, smoothies, juice or your favourite liquid of choice. We find most people prefer to add it in their morning coffee. Our tip is to add the collagen first, then the liquid and stir well until dissolved. Drink and enjoy a more hydrated, radiant skin.

For best results we recommend taking 2 heaped teaspoons of Collagen Boost daily for 1 – 3 months then go to a maintenance dose of 2 flat teaspoons. Results may be seen after 8 – 10 weeks.  More mature skin or people that exercise a lot may benefit from 2 heaped teaspoons whereas a younger skin may only need 2 flat teaspoons. We recommend speaking to your dermal clinician to determine the exact amount for you.

Did you see our Founder Fiona Tuck talking all things Collagen on Channel 9?

Click below to watch the video now.