A supplement that helps promote clear skin, reduce bloat and makes nails stronger? It sounds too good to be true right? I took collagen for 30 days and here’s what happened. After years of readers asking me my thoughts on collagen supplements, I finally decided to take the plunge and give it a go myself. That way, I could give an honest opinion. After discussing my experience with my nutrition student, Joslynn, we decided to dig a bit deeper and seriously lay down the facts. Here’s what you need to know about collagen.
First of all, what is collagen?
Simply put, collagen is a protein. It is an essential building block in our body that helps support our joints, skin and other important connective tissues. We naturally produce collagen in our body with the help of the protein we eat, along with other essential vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin C and zinc. If we are eating a healthy, balanced diet, filled with a variety of whole foods, our body will continue to produce the collagen we need for our day to day life. However, it’s important to note that collagen production naturally decreases as we age. Research shows us that by the age of 40, the body’s ability to produce collagen decreases by 25%. By age 60, it has decreased by over 50%.*
For more information, check out the links below:
Benefits of Collagen
Collagen supplementation, although not necessary, may be beneficial for maintaining skin, joint and gut integrity. Collagen supplementation is used by functional medical doctors, naturopathic doctors and recommended by nutritionists around the world. It is often used to help with athletic recovery, digestion and skin health. Many studies have demonstrated a correlation between collagen supplementation and an increase in bone density, joint health, as well as skin elasticity and hydration.
The most popular collagen supplements are made from bovine hide, fish scales & bones or chicken. There are different types of collagen, each one depending on where it is sourced from. There are many ways to add collagen to your diet or to boost your body’s ability to make it. Most supplement ingredients will say “collagen peptides” or “hydrolyzed collagen”, which essentially means it is the most bioavailable form and promotes new collagen production in the body. These forms are easier for your body to recognize, digest and utilize.
Making soup and meals using animal bones has been ingrained in cultures for centuries. When we cook down animal or fish bones, we are able to intake some of the collagen from the bones. This ritual has sadly been lost and we are now more likely to cook meat without the bones, leaving us without the nutrients that the bones can provide.
Where does collagen come from?
Our Top 3 Recommended Sources (In order)
- Make a homemade bone broth using quality organic free-range chicken or beef bones. You can simmer this broth for hours and receive plenty of benefits from it. Add in some gut-healing veggies like celery and mushrooms and sip on a bit of broth a few times a week.
- Enjoy foods high in Vitamin C like bell pepper, cabbage, oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes. Include these foods daily for a variety of health benefits. Vitamin C helps to promote collagen synthesis in the body. It’s important to include a diet rich in all vitamins and minerals to help support collagen production, including foods rich in Zinc like pumpkin seeds and chickpeas.
- Add a collagen supplement to your morning smoothie or coffee. Supplements are always my last choice, after eating whole foods, but they can be highly effective. Check out my recommendations below.
What is the best collagen supplement?
- Always choose a high-quality collagen supplement: look for organic, free-range or pasture-raised or wild-caught for fish collagen.
- For plant-based collagen supplements: look for keywords, such as non-GMO, vegan friendly and no added sweeteners.
The Top Collagen Products We Recommend
What’s my favourite collagen supplement?
- Organika Enhanced Collagen
- Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate
- WithinUs Marine Collagen
- Ancient Traditions Unflavoured Collagen
- Vital Proteins Unflavoured Marine Collagen
- Organika Plant-Based Collagen Booster
We contacted these companies and value their openness to share information around their sourcing and testing of their collagen products. If you’re curious to know more about each product, we recommend contacting the company for more information.
What I Noticed After 30 Days of Collagen Supplementation
I took a collagen supplement for 30 days and honestly was not prepared to see any changes in my health. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the almost immediate effect collagen had – I specifically noticed a huge improvement in the following:
- Decreased bloating: this was my most noticeable benefit. My digestive system felt significantly better at the end of each day that I consumed the collagen supplement.
- I noticed a difference in the texture of my skin: my face feels and looks more firm. This was something I also noticed within a week of taking the supplement.
- My hair grew insanely quickly to the point where I actually needed to pause taking the supplement regularly!
- It helped my nails recover quickly from a manicure-gone-wrong. This took about 3 weeks to work for me but now my nails are stronger than ever.
- It helped me physically recover from exercise/workouts quickly. Seriously – I rarely get sore from intense workouts anymore!
Please note this is not a study, but simply a personal review. Remember that many factors can play a role in how a supplement works for someone.
Sisley’s favourite ways to use a collagen supplement
Here are my favourite recipes for adding collagen!
Will I Keep Taking Collagen?
I added collagen powder to my morning hot beverage or smoothie every day for 30 days, consistently. I am pleasantly surprised and would recommend it to others. However, I don’t think it is necessary to take every day. I now take it occasionally and will continue to do so, along with whole food, plant-heavy diet and some homemade bone broth.
A combination of a healthy, whole foods diet, exercise, drinking enough water and reducing stress can be a wonderful equation for healthy skin. I think adding in a homemade bone broth or collagen supplement can be a good addition to a healthy diet, if you are looking for some extra support on your health journey.
Collagen supplementation, like most supplements, is a luxury product. This review is intended to inform you about all options – not just supplements – when it comes to collagen. I repeat – you do not need to take a collagen supplement to have healthy skin.
This post was written with the help of my lovely nutrition student, Joslynn Bay.