Collagen is an abundant protein in the body that helps in forming the connective tissue of skin, joints, bones and blood vessels. The word collagen comes from the Greek word and the meaning is glue. It is a suitable root because collagen, along with elastin and hyaluronic acid, constitutes the basic substance or “intracellular glue” that literally holds us together.
How are collagen formulations made?
Collagen supplements come from a variety of sources, including skin, bones, and connective tissue from cows, chickens, pigs, and fish. When denatured by heat, collagen forms gelatin, which has been used as a food source and traditional medicine for centuries.In other words, gelatin is the source of collagen peptides. In fact, there is evidence that gelatin offers similar benefits to collagen peptides. The advantage is that it is highly water soluble and has no gelling properties, making it convenient to formulate not only in powder mixes, but also in hot and cold liquid beverages.
What are the benefits of collagen supplements?
Skin, Hair & Nails are the parts of the body that get the maximum benefit from collagen or collagen supplements.
As we age, our body’s natural collagen production also slows down. Because 70% of the skin’s dry weight is made up of water-retaining collagen and related structures, the skin thins and ages due to loss of structure, making it appear weathered and wrinkled. Collagen peptides provide amino acids that are beneficial for healthy skin, hair, joints and connective tissue. They have been shown to help maintain skin elasticity and moisture, and can help minimise the appearance of ageing, especially when taken for six months or longer.
Collagen supplementation also promotes nail growth. A 24-week double-blind study showed that collagen peptides (2.5 g per day) increased nail growth by 12% and reduced nail breakage by 42%.
In joints, age-related loss of collagen can lead to osteoarthritis, and ligaments and tendons can also weaken.Bones are also rich in collagen. In fact, approximately 30-40% of bone is composed of collagen, which provides the structural matrix in which bone mineralization occurs.
In other words, collagen is structurally important to our bones. Decreased collagen content in bone is an important factor in low bone density, as the amount of collagen determines the number of “bone-mineral binding sites.” Low levels of collagen make bones brittle and dramatically increase the risk of fractures.
How can I make collagen supplements more effective?
Take multiple vitamin and mineral formulas
Providing all essential nutrients to nourish collagen-producing cells throughout the body is important. At least 16 key vitamins and minerals are required for the production of collagen and other connective tissue components. This is because a deficiency in any of the nutrients literally halts the use of collagen supplements and the accumulation of collagen in the body.
To get enough of these nutrients, take a powerful formula with multiple vitamins and minerals. This recommendation is especially important for skin health.
Millions of skin cells are shed every day. When shedding, new cells are born to take their place. All essential nutrients are required for proper formation of skin cells. Zinc in particular is very important in skin cell generation and wound healing. An important sign of low zinc is the presence of white lines on the fingernails. This indicates that the wound healing of the nail bed is inadequate even after minor trauma.
Consume MSM to Increase Sulphur Levels
Sulphur is also a very important nutrient for skin, hair and nails. This is to stabilise the supporting structures of these tissues, such as collagen and other components of the connective tissue matrix. MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane) is the primary form of sulphur in the human body. Collagen uses sulphur to form cohesive bonds with other neighbouring proteins. MSM is also important to prevent nails from becoming brittle and weak. Consume at least 1,000 mg of MSM daily to ensure optimal sulphur levels.
Taking Silica to Stimulate Collagen Synthesis
A special form of silica known as choline-stabilised orthosilicic acid or ChOSA (such as BioSil®) is a well-proven approach to increasing collagen production. Initial research focused on his ChOSA’s ability to increase levels of hydroxyproline, a key amino acid required for the production of collagen and elastin. Clinical trials of ChOSA have shown impressive results in women (ages 40-65) showing signs of sun damage and premature ageing. The person who took ChOSA 10 mg daily saw her 30% improvement in flat and fine lines, her 55% increase in skin elasticity, and a significant reduction in brittle nails and hair.
Age-related changes in skin collagen correspond to changes in bone collagen. Therefore, evidence of decreased skin collagen (such as many wrinkles) is a clear indication that bones are lacking collagen and are at risk of osteoporosis.ChOSA also increases collagen production. In a very large double-blind study in postmenopausal women with low bone density, ChOSA reduced bone collagen content within one year of use. 18 In contrast, collagen peptides (10 g per day) in postmenopausal women showed no beneficial effects on bone health. The recommended dose of ChOSA is 6-10 mg per day.
Take flavonoid-rich extracts to support collagen structure
Flavonoids are a group of plant pigments that have many beneficial effects in supporting healthy collagen. Anthocyanidins and PCO (short for proanthocyanidin oligomers), found in grape and blueberry as well as grape seed and pine bark extracts, are particularly beneficial for collagen structure. Anthocyanidins, PCOs, and other flavonoids affect collagen metabolism in different ways:
- They have the unique ability to actually cross-link collagen fibres, increasing the natural cross-linking of collagen.
- Inhibits the breakdown of collagen structure.
To get enough of these beneficial flavonoids, eat lighter-colored berries and other fruits. For general support, we also recommend supplementing your diet with a PCO extract such as grape seed or pine bark at a dose of 100-200 mg daily.
So, following the above recommendations, you can increase the efficacy of collagen supplements like anything.