Everthing you need to know about collagen supplements

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I know there's a buzz about collagen supplements just now and for some they can be a bit controversial.  

I've been trying collagen supplements for years after a nutritionist got me on them and some have been good, some have been a waste of money.

A lot of my clients are now taking the collagen supplements I sell……Kollo, which was founded by my beautiful client Jenni Falconer, and I basically bullied her into letting me stock them! Until recently it wasn’t something the company did (sell trade).

Like any supplement, you need to remember, that it's a marathon, not a sprint. That may be a cliché but it's the truth. Don’t just solely rely on supplements for your health. Be patient and consistent and try to make other positive changes to your lifestyle. Over time, you will experience the benefits of increased collagen levels and your quality of life will improve. But if you expect extreme changes that happen very quickly, you will be disappointed.

Because I sell and use Kollo, I am going to base this brand on answering the most popular questions…..

Kollo Collagen packaging and pouch

How does taking collagen supplements affect levels in the skin?

The theory is that the supplements stimulate and fuel collagen production throughout the body. Without taking skin biopsies, there is no way to determine the precise levels of collagen in a person's skin. But many studies and reviews with people taking collagen supplements have seen improvements in:

• The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

• A reduction in sagging skin

• Skin hydration

• Skin conditions like eczema

This is a strong indication that the use of high-quality collagen supplements boosts collagen levels in skin.

Can I not just get the collagen and vitamins I need from my diet?

Yes! But can you guarantee you eat absolutely everything you need to.... every day to keep your levels up? You would need to eat a rigorously controlled diet to ensure a consistent daily dosage of the right nutrients are in your system.  Taking a supplement ensures you get the same high dosage of the amino acids your body needs to produce collagen. And you get it every single day this way.

How long before I see results?

Each brand differs and the time it takes to see results depends on the quality of the supplement and the results you want. Kollo has 10g of high-quality collagen, so you should start seeing results in your skin after around 6-8 weeks. For joints, the benefits start to show around the 3-6 month mark. For bones, it usually takes 6-12 months to notice tangible results.

Some people notice the difference in as little as 2 weeks to their skin!

Do I NEED to take collagen supplements?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, its in our bones, skin, muscles and tendons and as we get older the body finds it harder to produce, so for me it makes sense to build on what we have.

I think if we are doing things TOPICALLY to stimulate collagen then it’s a no brainer to work on the INTERNAL building blocks too.  

I still try my best to follow a healthy diet, but I do know that im not getting a good balance of the nutrients I need.

How do you take it?

It comes in little sachets and i personally just take it neat.  But you can add it to water and it tastes great!

Whats in the sachets?

Each Kollo sachet contains 10,000mg of clinically tested marine collagen and Vitamins B1, B12, B5, B6 and Vitamin C.

How much of the supplement is absorbed by the body?

There is a lot of talk about stomach acid breaking down collagen peptides, but the digestive system actually breaksdown everything you put into it - that's what it does! Collagen peptides break down into amino acids that your body uses for many things including collagen production. So, by providing a high, consistent dose of the specific amino acids in collagen, you ramp up your own collagen synthesis.

Studies with high-quality collagen peptides show 90-95% of the nutrients enter the bloodstream.

Is there any scientific research to back up the claims?

The research is ongoing but yes, the science is there. Do a little digging and you will uncover dozens of studies and reviews into the effects of collagen supplements. They show very positive results for skin, joints, bones and even things like gut and arterial health. There are also countless stories from real people who have used collagen supplements and swear by them.

Can I just use skincare with collagen in it?

There really is no comparison. Collagen supplements supply the body with an abundance of the fuel it needs to produce collagen. That fuel enters the bloodstream where it becomes available for every cell that produces collagen.

With topical skincare, the collagen nutrients never even get inside the body. This is because collagen molecules are too large to penetrate the skin. Even broken down into collagen peptides, those molecules are far too large. Basically, the collagen content of topical skincare just sits on the surface of the skin. Some other nutrients can penetrate and help with skin health, but not collagen.

What is important to look for when buying a collagen supplement? Number of grams? Molecular weight of the collagen? Multiple types of collagen?

Number of grams is important to ensure you are getting a sufficient dosage. You want to have no less than 10g per day to experience the full range of benefits. Molecular weight is less important - as long as the collagen is broken down into peptides, your body can absorb it. More important is the method of breaking it down - the hydrolysis. Look for products created using enzymatic hydrolysis rather than chemical processing. Multiple types of collagen is also not particularly important, since they are all broken down into amino acids anyway.

The bioavailability of collagen is important. Marine collagen is generally considered the most bioavailable. Also look for other ingredients. Sugar can impede the absorption of nutrients. Complementary nutrients can be helpful so look for things like vitamin C, B vitamins, hyaluronic acid and l-lysine.

How is a collagen supplement best taken?

A liquid supplement taken neat or mixed with water is usually best. Kollo strongly believe that a liquid form of supplement is best since your body does not need to break anything down. The nutrients are immediately available.

It should be sugar free, so the disadvantage of mixing in smoothies and yoghurts is that they contain sugar. Sugar and refined carbohydrates can reduce the rate at which those good nutrients are absorbed.

Is there anything that might make them less or more effective?

You can enhance the effectiveness of your pro-collagen efforts by combining your supplement with a few lifestyle changes. The pro-collagen diet is helpful, as are regular exercise and getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night. It's also good to drink plenty of water.

As mentioned, too much sugar can inhibit their effectiveness. The same is true of smoking, excessive drinking, too much sunlight exposure and high levels of stress. These things are all damaging to collagen, so they will make your supplement less effective.

Can taking any other supplements amplify the effects of them?

Adding in other nutrients that are known to be good for skin, joints and bones can be helpful. Things like hyaluronic acid, glucosamine sulphate, calcium and vitamin D can help enhance the benefits further. You can also boost your body's collagen production more with supplements containing the vitamins and minerals listed earlier. However, Kollo strongly recommend getting as many of these additional nutrients as possible through diet.

“Marine”, “Bovine” or “Vegan” collagen – is one better than the others? If choosing animal-based collagen, how can you check that it’s ethically sourced?

The research all indicates that marine collagen is the most bioavailable. This means it is the easiest for your body to absorb. It is also the least likely to be contaminated with toxins because the methods of farming fish involve fewer chemicals than those for cows and pigs. Vegan collagen contains no actual collagen so the nutrients it contains could all be received through your diet.

Brands should be very transparent about the type of collagen they use. If they are not, avoid using them. If they are, take some time to look into the methods of extraction, hydrolysis and storage used for that collagen. Generally speaking, collagen is very sustainable since it is a by-product of the meat industry.

**Thank you to Natasha from Kollo for helping me write this blog**

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