What Is Collagen and Should You Be Taking It?
What is Collagen & What Does it Do?
Collagen is protein. In fact, collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, making up 30% of the body’s proteins. Its responsibility is to literally hold everything together, and is found in the bones, muscles, tendons, skin, hair and nails. It provides structural support and elasticity and is vital for cell renewal, cartilage and bones.
So, why do we care about it so much? In layman’s terms? It’ll keep you looking young on the outside, and feeling young on the inside. We like the sound of that! Collagen is the key to smooth, young-looking skin and healthy joints.
How many types of Collagen are there?
You may not have known this, but there are 3 types of collagen: Types 1, 2 and 3. A lot of people ask us, “Which types do you take together? Can you take all 3 at the same time? What does each type do?” Great questions!
Types 1 + 3 Collagen
Types 1 + 3 can be taken together (and are often times packaged together in one bottle, as they serve the same purpose and are effective when taken together), and are good for your skin, bones, hair and nails. Types 1 and 3 make up 90% of the collagen in your body, can minimize wrinkles, improve skin elasticity, support bones, correct damaged nail beds, thicken fine hair and improve your body’s circulation. Typically, when you see collagen supplements, what you’ll see is types 1+3.
Type 2 Collagen
Type 2 Collagen is a protein that supports your joint/cartilage health and function and is to be taken separately from Types 1 + 3 for optimal absorption. Taking them together is not going to harm you, but it might negate the effects of the supplements. Type 2 benefits the fluids and functions in your cartilage and joints. It helps reduce popping knees, and helps support your jaw, back, and joints. A lot of people don’t realize that joint pain, popping knees, and weakened cartilage is a result of lacking type 2 collagen, and assume it is an unavoidable part of the aging process. Well, it isn’t, and you can fight back with a Type 2 Collagen supplement!
What Causes Collagen Production To Slow Down?
Even though collagen is naturally occurring in the human body, it’s essential to supplement it as we age because collagen production slows down significantly as we get older. Actually, after age 30, collagen production begins to significantly decline. By age 45, collagen production decreases 25%, and by age 60 it decreases by more than 50%. As our body’s collagen production slows down, we begin to notice saggy, aging skin, fine lines and wrinkles, and weakened joint cartilage.
Aging is the #1 cause of diminished collagen production. Even though you can’t stop the aging process altogether, there ARE things that damage your level of collagen production that you’re totally able to control! Avoiding the following things will keep your collagen production levels higher:
- Eating too much sugar
- Overexposure to sunlight (say NO to the tanning bed!).
- Poor Diet
- Poor gut health
Can I Boost My Collagen Production?
Yes, there IS a bright side! You can stimulate your body’s natural collagen production to help keep these aging side effects at bay. There are nutritional, procedural, and supplemental methods to promote collagen production.
As we always say at Get Healthy U: Nutrition before supplements! There are certain nutrients (that you may not know much about yet) found in common, delicious foods that promote collagen production.
- Proline (an amino acid found in meat, cheese, soy, cabbage, and eggs)
- Copper (found in shellfish, red meat, water, nuts)
- Vitamin A (found in meat and beta-carotenes)
- Vitamin C (found in oranges, broccoli, peppers, strawberries)
- Anthocyanidins (found in blackberries, cherries, raspberries)
There are also external things you can do to control your collagen production! There are both procedures and products (typically prescribed by a dermatologist) that can help, too.
- Laser Therapy- Laser treatments are a great, non-surgical way to stimulate collagen production and use laser and light energy to reduce the appearance of fine lines and skin elasticity.
- Retinoic Acid (Vitamin A)- This member of the retinoid family helps kick cells into gear and promote cell production in the skin and stimulates both collagen and elastin production.
- Skin Fillers- Collagen injections are a common cosmetic procedure that helps remove fine lines and wrinkles from the face and can help with scarring from acne.
- Collagen Drinks: For a long time, collagen drinks have existed, and promised to make your skin, hair and nails look better than ever, but experts have doubted this claim because they thought it was unlikely that the body would actually absorb the collagen. Recently, however, the results have been considerably more promising. Many studies have cited women who consumed collagen drinks showed significant improvement in the thickness and elasticity of their skin!
- Collagen Supplements: Collagen supplements have been around forever. Now you don’t just see them in the aisles of specialty vitamin stores, but in your local drugstores! But do they work? There was a large study in early 2014 conducted by the University of Kiel’s Department of Dermatology that showed 65% of women having significantly elevated levels of collagen and reduction in wrinkles after 8 weeks of taking a collagen supplement.
1. Lotions & Creams With Collagen Help Wrinkles
Do these work? Unfortunately, probably not. Leading dermatologists say that it’s nearly impossible for the skin to absorb collagen topically, and that any results seen from these products is likely because of their moisturizing qualities, not their ability to rebuild the collagen proteins in your skin. You’re better off consciously increasing your water intake and purchasing a great, all-natural moisturizer and beginning a religious moisturizing routine!
2. You Cannot Restore Your Own Body’s Collagen
This is not true! Your body never stops producing collagen, but its production is decreased dramatically as we age. The production probably can’t be impacted by topical application of creams and lotions (though those may help to fill and fix fine lines and wrinkles), but rather can only be impacted by active ingredients (in foods and supplements).
3. Pills & Potions Don’t Work
We’re the first ones to say that pills and potions aren’t the best way to fix any problem. But this time, we think they’re worth your time. Studies have shown (and our own personal experiences!) that collagen supplements and a diet rich in nutrients that support collagen production DO benefit the health of your skin, nails, hair, joints, and bones!
Our Suggestions About Collagen:
Founder and CEO of Get Healthy U, Chris Freytag, is a daily collagen supplement-taker:
“In my mid 40’s my skin started changing and I had no idea what was going on. My current skin care regime wouldn’t help. I was getting white pustules and bumps on my skin. I read about taking Collagen type 1 + 3 and thought – why not? I started and literally my skin cleared over night. I started with the recommended 6 pills a day and after 6 months went down to 3 pills a day . I also take the Hylauronic acid with it – it’s an accelerator and has worked for me. I take the Type 2 collagen for my joints also.” -Chris Freytag
She takes the NeoCell collagen supplement in pill form, but also loves their collagen in powder form! Some people find the pills a bit too big to take, so we suggest getting a pill cutter or scoop some of the powder into your morning smoothie!
Another tip from Chris is get yourself some Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic Acid is an accelerator and helps hasten the effects of any supplement you may be taking. Chris takes her NeoCell supplement alongside Hyaluronic Acid and has seen great results! Give it a try and let us know about your experience!
Below are the supplements Chris takes and highly recommends! First, a Collagen powder supplement, the Collagen Types 1 + 3 pill supplement, the Hylauronic Acid pill supplement and a Collagen Type 2 pill supplement!
Meet Your New Best Friend: Collagen Smoothies
Want an easy way to get your daily collagen? Add it to your morning smoothie! Try this matcha green smoothie or click the download below to get all our healthy smoothie recipes featuring collagen and other anti-aging ingredients.