What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and makes up to 75% of our skin and is also found in our muscles, hair, nails, tendons, bones and joints. It is literally the glue that holds us together and as we age, collagen levels drop making skin appear ‘aged’, with lines, wrinkles and sagging.
Vanessa Chalmers from Healthista spoke with leading London dermatologist Dr Stefanie Williams, who uses collagen supplements at her clinic Eudelo Dermatology & Skin Wellbeing. Below, she explains how they work:
“A good collagen supplement can boost your own skin’s collagen production”, she says. “Natural collagen is too huge a molecule to reach your skin intact after swallowing,” she explains. “To be absorbed by the gut, it would have to be digested into smaller units. Collagen supplements contain small collagen fragments – peptides and amino acids – which are easily absorbed by the small intestine and distributed throughout the body via the bloodstream, where they remain for up to 14 days.”
“Because there are suddenly unusually high amounts of collagen building blocks floating around, your skin is tricked into thinking there must be some breakdown – a major injury, perhaps,” says Dr Williams. “Skin responds by increasing its own collagen production conveniently using these building blocks we’ve supplied.”
Vanessa Chalmers goes on to speak with GP and dermatologist Dr Anita Sturnham in her article for Healthista.com: “In order for collagen in a supplement form to be active in the deeper dermal layers of the skin, the collagen has to survive the acid digestion in our stomach and then cross the intestinal barrier in our gastrointestinal tract, before it can reach the bloodstream.”
Vanessa’s article goes on to discuss the difference between collagen tablets, pills and powders and the bioavailability (absorption rate), with powdered supplements having a higher bioavailability than other formats:
“By blending your sachet contents with your favourite smoothie or water, the collagen remains stable in liquid for approximately 30 minutes, which is why pre-formulated liquid collagen is unlikely to be bioactive”, says Dr Sturnham.
Vanessa writes: “Up until now, a drink supplement has most often come as fishy-flavoured granules thrown back as a shot. But Vitness now do berry and matcha flavours (£39.95) which are rather pleasant, especially added to nut milk for a sweet milkshake. What’s more, they are bursting with added vitamins and minerals such as astaxanthin, hyaluronic acid, acai berry, raspberry, maca, green coffee bean and vitamin C, which have been shown to promote healthy skin.”
Vanessa Chalmers, Healthisa.com, Food and Multimedia Journalist, “Could a collagen drink REALLY make you look younger?”, posted March 03, 2018