I believe that most of us are experiencing the effects of malnourished skin. I also believe our skin is over-impacted by pollutants. It’s a constant battle—one that we’re losing. But we don’t have to.
The truth of the matter is that collagen benefits our skin in so many ways—something I learned 15 years ago in my travels to South Asia, where I noticed two things: 1) the women there radiated beauty from the inside-out; 2) they consumed large amounts of collagen!
When I returned stateside, I dove into the research on collagen benefits for women in hopes of finding the answer to one question: What is it about collagen that makes it a beauty powerhouse?
I became fascinated with all things collagen and eventually realized that collagen benefits not only our skin but also our hair, nails, joints, brain, and even digestive system! But there’s more: When it’s combined with elastin, that’s where the real benefits kick in!
Want to learn more about collagen, including why we need it in our diet, the top health benefits, and why you should prioritize a collagen supplement that also includes elastin? Keep reading to get the insider information you’ve always wanted to know about this popular supplement.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a long-chain amino acid and the most abundant protein in your body, making up about 30 percent of your body’s protein. Found throughout your body, it’s the glue that makes your skin strong yet elastic—and what makes you feel vibrant and youthful when you look in the mirror.
Now, collagen is composed of three main amino acids: glycine, proline, and glutamine. It’s naturally found in the muscles, tendons, bones, blood vessels, digestive system, and, of course, skin in both animals and humans. You can think of it as the “glue” that holds your body together.
Your body contains 16 different kinds of collagen, with types 1, 2, and 3 being most prevalent and play important roles in skin elasticity. These types also play roles in the health of our joints, tendons, ligaments, bones, and digestion.
Why We Need Dietary Collagen
Beginning in your early 20s, your collagen naturally decreases about 1 percent each year. While this process happens naturally, research has shown that there are three major lifestyle-dictated threats to collagen: smoking, refined carbs/sugar intake, and exposure to toxins. Engaging in or exposure to these threats can more rapidly deplete your collagen stores, leaving you at risk of experiencing the signs of premature aging along with joint aches, reduced bone integrity, and even digestive difficulties.
If you consider our modern world and our resulting constant exposure to environmental toxins, that’s a great reason to consider the need for more dietary collagen. And if that wasn’t enough, we are often deficient in collagen simply because our culture prefers eating muscle meats of animals instead of the whole animal, which includes the skin, bones, and tendons—the places where collagen is most abundant. This is called nose-to-tail eating and if you haven’t considered this before, I definitely encourage you to rethink your animal protein game!
And it’s important to note that different animals provide different types of collagen, too. For example, fish and beef collagen are high in type 1, while chicken collagen is rich in type 2, which can mean lots of nose-to-tail eating!
Alternatively, other ways of enjoying collagen allow you to indulge in your own family’s rituals. Think about your grandmother’s chicken soup, which was likely made from real bones. You can make your own bone broth soup easily by using the bones from your fish, chicken, or beef.
Now, most people don’t have the time to make these soups regularly, leaving us with a few questions: What’s the best way to increase dietary collagen? And should I take collagen every day?
Personally, I’ve found that taking dietary collagen in supplement form is the easiest, best, and most consistent way to consume collagen. And I recommend consuming it each and every day to help fight the premature signs of aging and support your internal structure. But before we dive into the details on collagen supplements, let’s take a closer look at the top health-focused collagen benefits you should know about!
Top 5 Collagen Benefits For Your Health
So, what is collagen good for, exactly? Collagen benefits your health in a variety of ways, literally from head to toe! Here are some of the top benefits of collagen.
1. Supports healthy skin
Collagen is foundational to skin health, largely because it’s part of your skin’s make-up and holds water—and hydration is absolutely critical for healthy, youthful-looking skin.
When collagen in the skin is low, you might notice more wrinkles and less plumpness. Working hand-in-hand with elastin, collagen benefits for skin include helping it to withstand stretching, making it a great supplement to help preserve skin integrity. In fact, research shows that collagen supplementation has the potential to improve both the appearance and structure of skin as well as your elastin production in as little as eight weeks!
2. Supports healthy hair and nails
In the same way that collagen benefits skin, it also helps to provide the structure and framework for your hair and nails. Many of the collagen benefits for hair are due to the fact that it’s known to help support the health of your scalp. As a result, collagen supplementation is believed to be one way to support hair and nail health throughout life.
3. Supports bone and joint health
Another one of the great health benefits of collagen is its ability to support the health of the skeletal system. Remember, collagen works to help the body withstand stretching, making it the most important protein for tendons and ligaments.
Interestingly, research has shown that taking collagen powder benefits bone health, especially in menopausal women by supporting the increase of bone mineral density. Meanwhile, other studies have shown that collagen benefits joint health in both athletes and those who have age-related joint discomfort.
4. Supports gut health
Because collagen contains the amino acid glutamine, which is important to the health of the enterocytes (the cells that line the digestive system), it’s known to support gut health. Additionally, because collagen is a hydrophilic molecule (meaning it helps to hold water), it supports healthy digestion as well.
5. Supports brain health
Finally, collagen benefits extend to the brain as well, largely due to the amino acid glycine. Known as a calming amino acid, glycine helps to calm the nervous system by slowing the rate at which certain neurons fire, thereby hindering overstimulation in the brain and the resulting anxiety.
Common Questions About Collagen
Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions about collagen to answer any lingering questions you may have.
Q: Are all collagen products the same?
A: No; in fact, a high-quality collagen supplement is hard to find. Look for purity in processing and manufacturing. Not all collagen is created equal so be selective in your purchasing. I recommend collagen peptides that are supported by gold-standard, double-blind, placebo-controlled research performed in humans. All NAOMI collagen products use verisol-branded collagen at the precise dose used in clinicals to deliver the highest quality and efficacious form.
Q: How much collagen do I need to take?
A: Research has shown that the body only needs 2,500 mg of collagen powder each day to be effective for skin health.
Q: Is it good to take collagen every day?
A: Yes, in order to reap the most benefits of collagen, it’s best to take it daily.
Q: Does collagen work best with a specific diet?
A: While collagen supplementation can be effective regardless of your dietary preferences, I’ve personally found that collagen works well hand-in-hand with a high fiber keto diet to support metabolic health along with healthy blood sugar levels and hormone balance.
Products Featuring Collagen
There are many products featuring collagen these days. And while your local beauty aisle may be filled with shampoos and lotions with labels promoting the collagen inside, don’t be fooled.
My scientist friends in Germany explained that the only form of collagen we should be using is hydrolyzed collagen. Hydrolyzed means that the collagen peptides are small enough to be easily digested and absorbed, and hydrolyzed collagen has been put through a special process to optimize it for skin benefits in accordance with studies and human-based clinical trials.
Speaking of collagen peptides, people often wonder the difference between collagen powder, collagen peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, and collagen protein. You’ll hear all of these words used, but they all basically mean the same thing: a powdered, supplemental protein that primarily contains collagen.
It's also worth noting that high-quality collagen should be odorless, tasteless, and dissolve easily in room temperature water or a little juice. Personally, I enjoy collagen in my morning tea, smoothies, and even mix it with food or sprinkle it on a salad. Just keep in mind that collagen is best absorbed with vitamin C, so enjoying it with fresh vegetables and fruits are a wonderful way to take it.
Collagen supplements mainly come from cows or marine sources such as fish. Both bovine and marine collagen primarily contain types 1 and 3 collagen and yield all of the benefits discussed above for skin, hair, nails, bones, joints, and digestion. Additionally, it’s worth considering the use of collagen blends, which contain collagen protein along with other high-quality nutrients, as they can be wonderful supplements to target specific results.
Some of my favorite collagen-based products include:
NAOMI Collagen Beauty Peptides: Along with 2,500 mg of collagen (the amount is shown scientifically to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles), this option contains 2,500 mcg of biotin plus 60 mg of vitamin C and 100 mg of hyaluronic acid, all of which are essential for skin health.
NAOMI Collagen Renewal Matrix: One of my absolute favorite collagen supplements, the Collagen Renewal Matrix features collagen along with what I consider to be the missing link for truly beautiful skin: elastin. This powerful combination was designed to support each and every layer of skin.
How to Choose a Collagen Supplement
Now that you know about your options, let’s review how to pick the best collagen supplement for you. Remember, when choosing a collagen supplement, consider the quality along with your personal goals. If you need more guidance, begin with the 3 “Ps”:
Purity: For powdered collagen specifically, look for a Verisol brand collagen peptides, manufactured in Germany, for the highest quality products on the market. Choose a product that is both odorless and tasteless.
Potency: Research has shown that the body only needs 2,500 mg of Versisol to be effective, so you don’t have to take more than necessary.
Proven: Hydrolyzed collagen, or collagen peptides, that is specially optimized for beauty is the only form of collagen you should be using. Always verify that your product of choice is formulated based on certifiable science and clinical studies.