The Benefits of Collagen Powder
Is Collagen as Beneficial as People Claim?
If you stay up-to-date with health and wellness trends, you’ve most likely heard someone, somewhere, go on about the “miracle” benefits of collagen. You may have been surprised when one of the regulars at the gym credited collagen for his bulging quads. Or maybe your cosmetologist hinted to you in a not-so-subtle way at your last appointment that collagen could be the answer to your current skin health woes.
If you’re wondering what the big deal is about collagen and you’re doubting whether it’s as beneficial as people claim, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Collagen is the supplement you never knew you needed, and you’re going to find out why in a minute.
What Is Collagen?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what collagen supplements can do for you, let’s start with the basics. What is collagen, anyway? If you get gross visions of cows’ hoofs when you think of collagen, you’re only partially correct.
Collagen powders are derived from a variety of sources. There’s bovine collagen (which is just a fancy term for cow-derived collagen), marine collagen, chicken collagen, and vegan collagen (made from genetically modified bacteria and yeast). You can even get collagen from eggshell membranes and bone broth.
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the human body, and it’s one of the body’s primary building blocks. Without it, our muscles, bones, tendons, and skin wouldn’t be nearly as cohesive and well-structured as it is when our collagen levels are robust.
Collagen has many amino acids that help improve skin elasticity, promote joint health, and assist with a wide variety of bodily functions. Naturally occurring collagen molecules contain more than 1,000 amino acids. For this reason, it’s hard for the body to break them down. That’s why you don’t want to take collagen supplements that haven’t broken down collagen molecules.
Fortunately, most collagen powders have been processed to break down the collagen molecules so they’re more bioavailable to the body. Collagen that has been broken down for improved absorption is called hydrolyzed collagen. This is the type of collagen you’ll see on most supplement labels because companies that know what they’re doing understand that it’s the best type of collagen to use.
Why Our Bodies Need Collagen
The human body produces its own collagen during a process called collagen synthesis. In fact, when we’re young, the collagen content in our bodies makes up approximately a third of the total protein in our bodies. But if that’s true, why would we need to take supplemental collagen? Because our bodies start to slow down the production of collagen sometime between our late 30s and 40s.
Once collagen production starts to decline, it continues to decline year after year. Each year, your body will produce about 1% less collagen. You may not notice any changes at first because they’re quite subtle, but once your collagen levels dip low enough, you’ll start to notice some unpleasant symptoms that primarily impact your connective tissues.
As collagen production slows down, obvious signs of aging start to creep in. These often include fine lines due to decreased skin elasticity, more joint pain, poor skin health, and other problems related to declining collagen in our bodies. Even though these changes are natural, they definitely aren’t fun to experience.
Fortunately, we don’t have to take all these problems lying down. We can fight back by consuming collagen powder or other forms of collagen dietary supplements. Collagen powder not only infuses the body with the collagen it needs to function optimally, but it can also stimulate your own body to pump out more collagen. Though it isn’t a fountain of youth, it can help you hold onto your youthful appearance as long as possible.
Quick tip of the day: if you want to maximize the benefits of your collagen peptide powder consumption, take it along with a hyaluronic acid supplement. Hyaluronic acid may sound scary (who wants to consume acid, right?), but it’s very safe when used appropriately. When taken with collagen peptide powder, hyaluronic acid can help bind elastin with collagen, which can improve the health and elasticity of the skin even more than either of these components alone.
Forms of Collagen Supplements
If you’ve ever searched online for collagen supplements, you’re probably already aware that they come in several different forms. You can choose from collagen powder, collagen capsules, collagen tablets, and collagen drinks.
Collagen capsules and tablets are pretty straightforward and easy for many people to take. But some people dislike taking pills because they can’t swallow them very well. For this reason, many people prefer collagen powders because there’s no risk of them getting stuck in the throat. They’re also easily absorbed by the body and can be quickly added to smoothies, shakes, milk, or just plain water.
Collagen powder is made by extracting collagen from the hides or connective tissues of animals. In the case of bovine collagen, the collagen is extracted from cows. In the case of marine collagen, the collagen is extracted from fish, etc.
Though processed foods are often looked down on as unhealthy, there are some ingredients that are better after they’re processed. The best collagen powder supplements go through a process called hydrolysis, which is when the collagen molecules are broken down into hydrolyzed peptides that the body can easily absorb and use. We’re all for processing that makes it easier for our bodies to fully enjoy the benefits of the collagen we consume!
In addition to the various forms of collagen supplements you can buy, there are also different collagen types you should know about. Most commercial collagen supplements contain types I or II collagen, but it’s still good to know about all the types and how they differ from each other.
- Type I: Most oral collagen supplements contain this type of collagen. It’s most useful for preventing wrinkles and promoting healthy skin, but it may also help heal wounds.
- Type II: This type of collagen plays a key role in boosting bone health and reducing joint pain. It also helps strengthen the skeletal system overall and is a major structural component of cartilage.
- Type III: You’ll find this type of collagen in the hollow organs (think blood vessels, bowels, and uterus). It helps give structure to these organs.
- Type IV: This is the type of collagen that is found in different layers of the skin. Like type I collagen, it may also help the body heal wounds.
- Type V: Parts of your skin and hair contain this type of collagen, which is fiber-like in structure. This is an essential type of collagen for optimal neonatal development and placental tissue.
When shopping for the right collagen product, you probably won’t find these “types” listed on supplement labels. Instead, the collagen on supplement labels is more likely to be listed by source (such as bovine, marine, etc.) Still, it is nice to be familiar with the various collagen types and how they support different processes in our bodies.
Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Bovine collagen and other forms of collagen have so many benefits to offer. If you’re currently lamenting recent changes to your skin elasticity or the declining health and vibrance of your hair, collagen supplementation is probably just what you need!
Here are some of the most commonly known benefits of collagen supplementation.
- Improved bone health: Studies show that collagen supplements are associated with favorable changes in bone markers. The changes indicate that collagen peptides powder may reduce the rate of bone degradation while increasing bone formation.
- Decreased joint pain: Collagen protein helps stimulate the body’s production of collagen. There is some evidence that this increase in collagen can help reduce joint pain and stiffness.
- Improved body composition: Many of us are constantly on the lookout for supplements or ingredients that can help us in our weight loss efforts. Research shows that collagen products, when taken in combination with resistance training, could lead to reduced fat mass while preserving lean muscle mass.
- Improved skin health: Hydrolyzed collagen helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while improving skin hydration and elasticity. If healthy skin is your goal, you can’t go wrong with adding collagen peptide powder to your daily diet.
- Healthy hair growth: Healthy hair needs collagen, keratin, and minerals to grow. One of the amino acids found in type II collagen protein is lysine. Lysine helps reduce 5-alpha reductase, which is one of the major drivers of male pattern baldness. No wonder people who regularly consume collagen hydrolysate and other collagen types often have beautiful, full heads of hair!
- Heart health: Limited research shows a connection between regular collagen peptide consumption (over the course of six months) and improved cholesterol levels.
This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the things collagen protein powder can do for you. But the benefits you can see here are pretty impressive, aren’t they? You can probably understand now why people who care about their skin, hair, and connective tissues tend to take collagen products pretty consistently.
If you’re ready to claim some of these awesome benefits for yourself, the next step is to find the right collagen product for your needs. There are a lot of such products out there, but many people are drawn to the delicious natural flavors and simplistic ingredients list Hercollagen offers.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a collagen product that tastes as good or has as few ingredients as Hercollagen. Here’s the full list of ingredients: collagen, soluble fiber, cane sugar, natural flavors, stevia leaf extract. That’s it, we promise!
In addition to its impressively simple list of ingredients, Hercollagen also contains 19 grams of protein that comes directly from the collagen peptides in the product. The formula is non-GMO and comes from hormone-free, grass-fed cows. It’s also sourced cruelty-free.
Recommended Doses and Possible Side Effects
Collagen is generally pretty safe (our bodies make it naturally, after all), but you still want to make sure you don’t consume too much. The general recommendation is to take as much as 19 grams daily.
Some people may experience unpleasant side effects after taking too much collagen, such as:
- Mild abdominal bloating
- Heavy or full feeling in the abdomen
If you experience any of these symptoms after consuming collagen supplements, you may be able to relieve them by simply cutting the recommended dose in half for a while until your body becomes accustomed to the product.
It’s also possible to experience more severe side effects from collagen supplements if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients. So if you have an allergy to seafood or eggs, don’t consume marine collagen or collagen from eggshell membranes.
You can mix collagen powders such as Hercollagen in milk or water to create a mildly-flavored drink that will serve the dual purpose of hydrating your body. Some people even like to turn Hercollagen into fruit smoothies or protein shakes by adding their favorite fruits or protein powders to a blender and mixing them up along with ice and a packet of Hercollagen.
Nutrients That Increase Collagen Production
In addition to taking hydrolyzed collagen powder, there are other nutrients you can add to your diet that can further boost your body’s natural collagen production. These nutrients include;
- Vitamin C: This important vitamin helps to form collagen molecules. You can get vitamin C from strawberries, bell peppers, citrus fruits, and vitamin C supplements.
- Copper: Many people are unaware that copper is essential for collagen production. You can easily increase your copper intake by consuming more leafy greens, sesame seeds, cashews, organ meats, cocoa powder, and lentils.
- Glycine: Glycine is the simplest stable amino acid. It also helps to increase the production of collagen in the body. Get more glycine in your diet by eating chicken skin, pork skin, gelatin, and other high-protein foods.
- Proline: Proline is another amino acid that gets converted into hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine to help form collagen. There are large amounts of proline in dairy products, mushrooms, egg whites, wheat germ, asparagus, and cabbage.
As important as it is to consume foods that can support your body’s natural production levels, it’s equally important to avoid damaging your collagen levels. Smoking reduces collagen production and can also cause wrinkles to form on your skin prematurely. Eating too many refined carbs and sugary foods can also interfere with the ability of your body’s collagen to repair itself.
Another common mistake people make that inadvertently damages the collagen in their bodies is spending too much time in direct sunlight. Ultraviolet radiation can wreak havoc on existing collagen and reduce your body’s production of it. Even if you love soaking up the sun on the beach or in the back of a boat, you need to do so in moderation if you want to preserve your healthy collagen levels.
There are a lot of great ways to protect the collagen in your skin and other connective tissues from excessive sun exposure. Try to keep as much of your skin covered with lightweight, flowing clothing so you can stay cool while still protecting your body from UV rays. You can also wear a sun hat to shade your body from at least some of the sunlight you encounter outdoors.
Cost of Collagen Supplements
The cost of collagen supplements can vary quite a bit, depending on the brand, the number of servings, and the type of collagen being offered. Most collagen products fall somewhere between $20 and $70 for just 10 ounces of product.
As with most products, the cheapest collagen supplements are usually not the most healthful options. Generally, lower-priced collagen contains lower-quality ingredients and may also include cheap fillers to help the company keep the cost of the product low. While it’s nice to save a few bucks here and there, you don’t want to do it at the expense of your health!
Cheap products are also more likely to be made with cheaply sourced collagen that may come from hormone-injected animals or animals that were not treated humanely. There’s no sense supporting those types of products when you can buy products that align more closely with your values and your health goals.
How To Choose the Highest-Quality Collagen Supplements
If you want to have confidence that you’re getting a quality collagen product, look for one that is reasonably priced and clearly lists where the collagen inside comes from. You should also try to stick with products that contain minimal ingredients and are as clean as possible.
“Non-GMO,” “hormone-free,” and “grass-fed” are also important attributes to look for on any quality collagen supplement label. Finally, don’t settle for a product unless it has rave reviews. You don’t want to waste your hard-earned money on a collagen supplement that you end up hating because it tastes terrible or the company that produces it doesn’t have good quality control. Reviews from happy users are generally pretty trustworthy and can confirm that you’ve found a keeper.
Hercollagen is one of the highest-quality collagen supplements on the market. It not only crosses all the “i”s and dots all the “t”s for responsibly sourced ingredients, but it also tastes delicious. Try it for the recommended period of at least four weeks, and take note of any positive changes you see and feel in your skin, hair, nails, and joints.