Chances are you have heard of Collagen and all of the magical things it does. If you haven’t, no worries, you are about to learn all about it!
What is Collagen?
If you follow any social media accounts related to beauty, health, or fitness, or if you read health and wellness articles and blogs you have probably read or heard of Collagen and maybe even some of the claimed benefits. But you still may be wondering what exactly is it and does it really possess all these magical benefits?
First, to keep it very simple Collagen is a structural protein found in our bones, skin, and other connective tissues of our bodies. It is a protein our bodies naturally make, which is AMAZING but guess what? As we age the less it makes and the more we can become depleted of it. This is why people are choosing to use Collagen Supplements.
Types of Collagen
When it comes to collagen there are different types. Depending where it is sourced. For example, our skin, bones, cartilage ect. They all have one simple thing in common though and that is that it’s a protein in our body plain and simple.
So you will see many different types of collagen on the market such as type 1, 2, or 3. Some may claim one is superior over the other but it really comes down to personal preference and what your goals are when using the supplement.
Sources of Collagen – Where is it coming from?
There are not only different types of Collagen supplements but the supplements can also be derived from different sources. If you have read or heard anything about collagen you will hear a lot about animal vs. marine collagen. Animal Collagen is when the collagen is pulled from chickens, cows, or pigs. Marine collagen is collagen pulled from fish.
But really what is the difference? When it comes to the source of collagen many believe marine has more benefits for your skin and collagen from chicken or beef may show more benefits for your joints. This article breaks down the types and sources here and even recommends some top supplements, on the market currently.
If you do any research on collagen you will find tons of opinions and resources out there.
However, let me give you a simple tip when choosing a good quality collagen supplement! One of the most important things to look for when deciding on a type and source is to make sure that you are getting a product that is COLLAGEN and very little to no fillers.
Is it safe to take Collagen supplements?
While I am not a doctor, oral collagen supplements are generally overall safe to take. It is an over the counter supplement, which means it is not regulated by the FDA. So it is hard to know exactly the potency of collagen you are getting. Some have reported slight breakouts when taking collagen in excess but as with many things it is important to follow the directions on the supplement and if you are especially worried it never hurts to run it by your doctor first.
Is Collagen supplementation worth it?
From first hand experience I am here to say YES, absolutely!
Let me give you a little bit of back story.
Rewind to a year and a half ago when I had two surprise knee surgeries and another skin removal surgery, that one was planned, all within two months of each other. I am a very active individual and enjoy all aspects of fitness. It is a huge part of my life. So with that said, I was researching anything and everything that could help heal and get back to working out as soon as possible!
Enter Collagen! I happened to be at my local health store one day and saw a sign stating “Cures joint pain, repairs skin to its youthful state, improves gut health”. Also, another side note, I have been a long time suffer of bloating and digestion issues. That day I went home and researched Collagen for about 4 hours and I was sold. I ordered some online that evening.
I started taking it daily and let me just tell you I couldn’t even begin to believe that I started seeing results within 14 days. That’s just two weeks!
So let me break it down for you.
What did I see/feel when taking a Collagen Supplement?
- Extreme decrease in Knee pain (I was taking no pain medication when I started Collagen and did not add any pain medication either).
- MAJOR skin improvement. What I mean by this is my 5 wrinkle lines on my forehead that had been there since my mid twenties, I’m in my 30’s now by the way, were diminishing! My dry skin, which I always struggled with, started to become more soft and smooth. I seriously added in no additional skin products!
- The next one which is something I had no idea was going to happen was my hair! My hair started thickening and growing. Yet another side note, I swear I turned 30 and my hair just changed. Like could not get it to grow to save my life. Insert collagen and my hair, skin, and even nails have reaped the benefits.
- LESS bloating! Hello healthy gut!
I seriously couldn’t believe the benefits and I even thought well maybe it was a little bit of a placebo effect.
So about 6 months ago I decided to do a little experiment and cut it out for two months straight.
From October to December I took no collagen. After about 3 weeks I started to experience more knee pain after my workouts, some nights so severe it would keep me awake. Mind you my workouts were/ are nothing crazy. Usually around 45 minutes to an hour with some weight lifting and a little light cardio.
Next I noticed my hair. Back to dry and brittle. Then went my skin, back to being dry and constantly having to use tons of moisturizer!
That was enough for me to KNOW that the collagen supplementation was absolutely working! I started it back mid December, taking daily and what do you know. Within 3 weeks things started coming back to life. I even had friends ask if I was using new skin products and what new routine I started. No new products or routine here, just adding Collagen to my smoothies and coffee daily!
One thing I noticed when starting collagen supplementation consistently each time is it took about 3 weeks to start really seeing noticeable benefits.
So is supplementing with collagen worth it? My answer is yes, yes, & yes!!!!
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Now how much and how do you take?
- When it comes to dosing. Look at the suggested dosage on the supplement of collagen you decide to buy. That is a good starting point.
- As with many supplement consistency is really key to see benefits. While I am no doctor and can only share my experience and those of who I personally know. Taking it at least once a day consistently is going to be ideal.
- When it comes to different brands there are so many to choose from. Especially more recently! Again, find one that does not have a lot of fillers and is simply what you are purchasing and that is collagen!
- On how to take it. I have tried different brands of Collagen and one thing they all seem to have in common is that dissolve best in warm to hot water. This makes sense because essentially Collagen acts kind of like gelatin and gelatin dissolves best in hot/warm water. So I find it works really well to just add it to my coffee or tea but if you want to drink it cold that’s great too! I find dissolving it in some warm water first then adding ice or my beverage of choice works pretty well. You can cook with it too! I have mixed it in sauces, muffins, and even sprinkled vanilla flavored on my fruit. It bakes well and because so many brands are unflavored you can’t even taste it in the sauces!
- After much research and testing this on myself, the time of day you take the collagen doesn’t really seem to have a superior benefit over the other. Again, find what works well for you! I now use it as my post workout protein so I will have a scoop of vanilla flavored immediately following my workout and then I will often add unflavored to my morning smoothies or sometimes I’ll have it in an afternoon cup of coffee or tea. To reap the benefits I find the most important thing is to simply get it in daily!
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What to know more about the different types of collagen?
Here is a link to one of my favorite videos explaining the different types by Dr. Eric Berg
Also, as I mentioned you can even cook with collagen! Check out this link for some of the recipes I have used!
Overall, is it worth it to add collagen to your supplement regimen? I say absolutely yes. It definitely is a unique supplement in the fact that it has so many varieties of benefits. When trying to find what is the best kinds ect….there are so many resources out there on collagen so try not to get overwhelmed. It’s never a bad idea to do plenty of research but also do not hesitate to ask the health professional at the place you are purchasing your collagen or if you are getting it online shoot the seller an email or if all else fails run it by your doctor or nutritionist.