There are hundreds of collagen supplements on the market, in powders, capsules and drinks, usually obtained from bovine and marine sources, however there is differing advice on when and how to take collagen supplements. It is not surprising that people get confused so below is a low-down on how to take collagen supplements. But what is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. It is found in skin, muscles, blood vessels and other tissues and structures and its main role is to impart strength to these systems. Collagen production declines as we age and since adequate collagen is required to maintain our joints and skin, many consumers choose to introduce a collagen supplement into their regimen. There are different schools of thought on collagen supplementation and below are my recommendations:
Collagen on an empty stomach?
If you have decided on introducing a collagen supplement, when should you take it? There has been a great myth circulating around that collagen supplements should be taken on an empty stomach. The theory was that the peptides within collagen were possibly denatured by the stomach acid when taken with or immediately after a meal.
Collagen supplements can be taken at any time of the day with or without food. If anything, collagen needs to be broken down by the stomach acids into amino acids, which are then subsequently used by the body to build its collagen network.
Morning or night?
There is no evidence to suggest that taking collagen at a certain time of the day makes any difference whatsoever. However, since the body’s repair processes, including skin, are at their greatest during the early hours of the morning, it would not harm to take collagen at night but if this proves to be difficult then don’t worry and simply take it whenever you can.
Collagen with vitamin C?
You often hear that collagen should be taken with vitamin C to maximise its benefits and this is true to an extent. Vitamin C is most definitely required by the body in order to manufacture collagen. Most of us consider that we are getting sufficient vitamin C within our diet, but studies indicate otherwise simply because vitamin C is involved in numerous processes within our body and is readily excreted resulting in sub-optimal levels within the bloodstream.
My recommendation is to take vitamin C whether you choose to take a collagen supplement or not. If you do decide to take a collagen supplement, the vitamin C supplement does not need to be taken at the same time to get the full benefits of collagen. There are many vitamin C supplements on the market and the one of choice is Liposomal Vitamin C.
Fish collagen or bovine collagen?
There are several types of collagen each composed of different peptides or amino acids extracted from bovine or fish sources. Ensure you are purchasing hydrolysed collagen because in this form the amino acid chains have been broken down into smaller chains which makes it easier for the body to absorb and use.
Both bovine and fish collagen contain Type 1 Collagen, proline and glycine but unlike bovine collagen, fish collagen peptides are much smaller making them easier to digest and absorb, thereby flooding skin and joints with this skin and bone-building nutrient. One particular study showed that participants taking fish collagen combined with antioxidants for two months showed marked improvements in skin elasticity and moisture.
Ultimate Collagen + contains hydrolysed fish collagen together with the powerful skin protecting benefits of astaxanthin and the skin-plumping benefits of hyaluronic acid. Astaxanthin is a potent carotenoid antioxidant which may protect skin against UV-induced damage – this is the most potent skin-ageing accelerator known to us. Most of us are familiar with hyaluronic acid’s multiple benefits including hydrating and plumping skin.
Is it worth taking collagen supplements?
From around the age of 25, the collagen content within our body is depleted at a rate of about 1.5% so that by the time we reach our mid-40’s, collagen levels will have decreased by an astonishing 30%. Scientists have been researching collagen since the early ’70s. Some studies have indicated that certain types of collagen peptides work effectively for joints and help many sufferers of inflammatory bowel concerns. There is still great debate surrounding their skin benefits.
If you intend to take collagen, at least make sure it is marine or fish collagen due to its smaller molecular structure and also ensure that the collagen is hydrolysed which ensures utilisation by the body.