Table of Contents
- 1 What is Collagen?
- 2 What is collagen powder?
- 3 What are the main benefits of collagen powder supplements?
- 4 What is the best form of collagen to take?
- 5 How often should you use collagen powder?
- 6 Is it safe to use collagen powder every day?
- 7 How much collagen should you take daily?
- 8 Can you take collagen with coffee, tea, and smoothies?
- 9 Can you take collagen with other vitamins?
- 10 What are the symptoms of a lack of collagen?
- 11 How long does it take to benefit from collagen supplements?
- 12 Who should not take collagen powder?
What is Collagen?
Starting as we mean to go on, we’ll begin today by looking at precisely what collagen is.
Collagen is a form of protein found in a variety of different food sources, usually in their ligaments or joints. Unlike other forms of protein such as whey protein powder however, collagen isn’t designed to build muscle and increase strength and power. Instead, it assists with keeping the skin, hair, and joints nice and healthy.
Collagen is the most abundant form of protein found within living creatures. It is described as being a structural protein which makes up the structural framework of a person’s tissues and cells.
Within people, this is no different as the protein accounts for as much as 30% the body’s total protein. It is the key building block for the body’s connective tissues, skin, bones, joints, ligaments, and hair.
Protein is of course made up of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein molecules and this is truer than ever when it comes to collagen. The most abundant amino acids in collagen include hydroxyproline, glycine, and proline.
In order to form collagen sufficiently however, you will need to ensure that you are getting enough zinc, copper, manganese, and vitamin C. Again, this shows why a healthy and balanced diet is so important for optimal health.
What is collagen powder?
Unlike protein supplements such as whey protein and casein protein, collagen powder supplements are aimed primarily at wellness, rather than physical fitness and athletic performance. Collagen powder is basically a supplement version of the collagen found naturally within the human body.
Just to make matters even more complicated however, there are 28 types of collagen that we are currently aware of. The collagen that is found within the body however, is mainly made up of the following five ones:
- Type I collagen
- Type II collagen
- Type III collagen
- Type IV collagen
- Type V collagen
From these five, within the body you will primarily find Type I and Type III collagen. Each type of collagen refers to its primary functions and what it does in the body. They are also derived from different sources as well.
Collagen powder supplements are basically made up of a combination of different types of collagen which come from different sources. With these supplements, you simply add a scoop of powder to your liquid of choice (though we recommend water), and you will no longer need to worry about being deficient in collagen protein.
Sometimes known as collagen peptides, powdered collagen is the most common, though you will also find collagen in pill form. As for where it is derived from, the most common sources of collagen supplements are derived from beef (bovine collagen) and fish (marine collagen). Though rarer, you’ll also find liquid collagen, which is obtained via animal connective tissue.
What are the main benefits of collagen powder supplements?
Now that we’ve taken a look at collagen peptides and collagen powder in more detail, let us now take a look at some of the main benefits associated with using collagen powder supplements.
Key advantages include the following:
Increased muscle mass
One reason why people choose to supplement with collagen powder is down to how collagen can help increase muscle mass.
Collagen is a form of protein that is found partially within our muscle tissue. As much as 10% of human muscle tissue is in fact made up of collagen. Collagen helps to strengthen the muscles and keep them working as they should.
Not only that, but collagen has also shown promise when it comes to the synthesis of other muscle proteins. Collagen can aid in recovery and muscle performance which is why so many athletes now supplement with it.
Healthy skin, hair, and nails
Another benefit of collagen powder supplements is the fact that they’re so beneficial for our hair, skin, and our nails.
Collagen not only helps to prevent the formation of wrinkles by plumping out the skin and improving skin elasticity, it can also help promote hair and nail growth, and give the hair a healthy shine.
People that suffer with joint pain and discomfort, such as arthritis for example, often supplement with collagen powders on a daily basis, and reap the rewards.
The tissue responsible for protecting our joints is made up primarily of collagen, so the more we have, the healthier our joints will be as a result. Studies have shown that collagen supplementation can assist with the formation of cartilage, making collagen fantastic for people with joint issues, or at risk of joint issues.
Collagen supplements have also been found to show great potential when it comes to general heart health.
Collagen has been shown to reduce the risk of numerous heart-related health conditions. The main reason for this is down to the fact that collagen helps to strengthen the arteries and help maintain their structure.
Weak arteries not only result in poor circulation, but more seriously, it can result in an increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and many more cardiovascular issues which could potentially be fatal.
It isn’t just the joints that can benefit from collagen supplements, it turns out that they’re also great for the bones.
Research has found evidence to suggest that collagen can help to strengthen bone mass and help prevent conditions such as arthritis. When you consider the fact that the majority of your bones are made up of collagen, it makes perfect sense.
What is the best form of collagen to take?
So, we’ve established that collagen powder is loaded full of natural goodness and we’ve looked at what it is that makes it so beneficial. What we’ve yet to do however, is look at which are the best forms of collagen powder to take.
Here’s a look at a couple of the most popular collagen powder supplements currently on the market.
Bovine collagen is derived from cows. The powder is made by taking the bones of cattle and heating them at extreme temperatures in water, and boiling them for a prolonged period of time.
Once the collagen has been fully extracted, it is then taken and dried, processed, and powdered where it can then be used as a supplement.
Bovine collagen has been found to enhance collagen type I and type III. This is interesting because most of the collagen that is naturally found in the skin, hair, and nails is type I and III. Because of this, bovine collagen is marketed primarily for aesthetic purposes, rather than health purposes, although it does still provide a number of health benefits.
Marine collagen is another hugely beneficial form of collagen powder that is derived from fish. It has a higher concentration of collagen than bovine, and is used primarily for health purposes.
Marine collagen comes from the bones, skin, and scales of fish. In some instances you will also find hydrolyzed marine collagen. Hydrolyzed marine collagen peptides have molecular chains that are broken down and shortened, making the collagen even easier for the body to absorb.
Marine collagen is rich in type I, making it beneficial for the skin, hair, nails, bones, and joints. It also contains more type II collagen than bovine.
Finally, we have liquid collagen.
Liquid collagen blends can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and can be made from different ingredients.
Typically, liquid collagen is made up of type I and type II collagen, and contains more type II than marine. Type II is usually derived from poultry.
Lately we've seen multi collagen liquid supplements hit the markets, containing a variety of different types of collagen, from different sources. Like a multivitamin, this supp covers all bases so you needn’t worry about being deficient in a specific type of collagen.
How often should you use collagen powder?
Collagen is a supplement that should be used daily in order for you to get the most from it.
Some people consume it once a day whereas others divide their doses up and consume it over the course of the day.
How often you consume it, and how, depends on why you’re using it in the first place. If you’re using collagen for arthritis for example, you’ll consume it in different doses, at different intervals, compared with somebody using collagen to make their hair shiny or to help combat wrinkles.
Is it safe to use collagen powder every day?
Yes, it is absolutely safe to use collagen powder every day, providing you do not exceed the recommended dosage.
How much collagen should you take daily?
As mentioned previously, the amount of collagen you should consume daily will depend on why you’re using collagen powder supplements in the first place.
Studies have found that consuming larger amounts each day will be beneficial for people trying to bulk up, gain weight, and increase their strength, whereas those treating arthritis, the joints, hair, and skin would be better with a smaller daily dose.
For lower doses, between 2.5g and 10g per day is recommended. For larger doses however, a daily intake of 10g – 20g is recommended.
Can you take collagen with coffee, tea, and smoothies?
There is absolutely nothing stopping you from dissolving collagen powder in your morning cup of tea or coffee, or blending it in with your smoothie.
While there is no evidence to suggest that heat can damage or denature the proteins found in collagen, some people are still wary of dissolving it in hot liquids. If this applies to you, it goes very well with a cold smoothie.
Can you take collagen with other vitamins?
There is no reason why you shouldn’t consume collagen supplements with other vitamin supplements, as long as you’re taking them as instructed. In fact, consuming them together may even enhance their efficacy and make them more effective.
What are the symptoms of a lack of collagen?
If you’re concerned you may be lacking in collagen, see if you have any/all of the following common symptoms of a collagen deficiency:
- Poor circulation
- Severe wrinkles and sagging skin
- Brittle, lifeless hair
- Brittle nails
- Joint pain
- Loss of muscle mass
- Leaky gut
- Digestive issues
- Poor bone density
- Low blood pressure
How long does it take to benefit from collagen supplements?
While collagen supplements get to work right away, don’t expect to take them and suddenly look better, feel better, and be a great deal healthier because that is not the case.
Collagen supplements can take weeks to make their presence known, with most people experiencing the benefits anywhere from 4 weeks to 12 weeks with regular everyday use.
Who should not take collagen powder?
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before using collagen supplements and seek medical guidance.
As some forms of collagen contain eggs or shellfish, those with a shellfish and/or egg allergy should avoid using collagen powders.
If you experience any adverse side effects or reactions after using collagen, you should stop using it immediately.