Collagen is a fibrous protein that’s a vital part of your skin’s health, keeping it youthful, elastic, and resilient. But this protein, found throughout our bodies, has many more far-reaching benefits than simply helping to reverse the effects of ageing.
From your muscles and bones to your skin and tendons, collagen provides the strength and elasticity that allows you to function. In essence, collagen is the ‘glue’ that both holds you together and helps you move. We chatted to skin therapist, and owner of Heaven on Earth Skin, Body, Laser Studio, Rachel Rodriguez, who gave us the scoop on all thing’s collagen.
‘Your body naturally produces the collagen it needs when you’re young, but production starts to decline at about the age of 30, so it is worthwhile to invest in high-quality collagen products,’ she says. But, she added, while it might seem more convenient to pop a pill daily, the best way to take collagen is via a liquid supplement, that is, a collagen drink.
‘Sipping collagen, rather than applying it topically or injecting it, provides the entire body with the foundational and building blocks it needs to support the creation and repair of the body’s connective tissues. Providing your entire system with collagen can help kick start its developmental abilities again.’
It’s important to look for hydrolysed collagen – it’s a process whereby collagen is broken down into small peptide chains that make it more bioavailable – that means your body can use them more quickly and easily. They’re more effective at helping to repair muscles, improve skin elasticity, and keep joints healthy.
For the highest quality, choose collagen products made from organic and grass-fed cows, or sustainably sourced seafood. Pure collagen should be colourless when mixed with water and virtually tasteless – unless, obviously, you’re using a blend that includes flavours, extracts, or other ingredients. If it has a yellowish or brownish colour or an ‘off’ taste, it’s likely lower in quality.
To get the most out of your supplement without ingesting the evils of artificial sweeteners or sugar additives, the smartest choice would be to go for an unsweetened, sugar-free, and unflavoured form.
Benefits may – and often do – include the improvement of skin, hair, nail, gut, joint and muscle health and may aid in weight loss or management.
When is the best time to take collagen? Some recommend consuming collagen on an empty stomach before your stomach acid has the chance to break down the collagen peptides. Others believe it’s best to take collagen right before going to bed since your body replenishes your skin as you sleep. The truth is, collagen can be taken at any time of the day.
Add some collagen to your morning coffee or mix some into a smoothie. Over time, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what this little protein can do.