By Andene Thomson @healthygirl_with_a_sweetooth

Collagen supplements are receiving a lot of buzz these days!

You’ve probably seen it popping up all over social media and a growing number of different products are hitting shelves worldwide – everything from bars, beverages, cosmetics, supplements, powders and pills.

It’s pretty safe to say that this is definitely a wellness trend that won’t be disappearing any time soon. But are collagen supplements really all they’re hyped up to be? Let’s investigate!

Wait, what’s collagen?

Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the human body, gorgeous! It is a complex protein which makes up 30% of the body’s protein and contains 19 different amino acids. As some of you will know, amino acids play a very important role in our health as they are the primary building blocks for our bodies.

Collagen acts as the “glue” that holds everything together and it can be found in our bones, blood, digestive tract, muscles, tendons, skin, hair and nails. From an aesthetic point of view, collagen helps to give our skin strength and elasticity.

Types of collagen

There are at least 28 different types of collagen. The most common are types 1 – 5, with type 1 (bovine) the most plentiful of them all, accounting for 90% of our body’s total collagen.

Type 1 collagen is made of densely packed fibres which help to provide structure for your skin, bones, cartilage and connective tissues.

What depletes our body’s collagen?

Our bodies naturally produce collagen but this process begins to slow down as we get older. This causes noticeable signs of ageing, such as visible wrinkles and joint pain, to name a few.

Other circumstances that can deplete collagen include lifestyle and health factors, like nutritional deficiencies, digestive problems, or genetic or chronic diseases, among others.

Studies also indicate that eating sugar in excess, smoking and overexposure to the sun can negatively affect collagen production.

This is where paying attention to our lifestyles, eating foods rich in collagen and taking collagen-enriched supplements can be very beneficial!

What studies say about collagen supplements

While existing research seems promising, it is important to note that more in-depth studies are still needed due to the fact that collagen supplementation is still fairly new on the market.

What we know if that research indicates that collagen supplements can assist with:

  • Skin elasticity and hydration.
  • Reducing joint pain.
  • Increasing muscle mass.
  • Reducing the appearance of cellulite.

Supplementing safely and choosing the right product

Negative side effects associated with collagen supplements seem to be fairly uncommon, except in cases of allergies or when someone exceeds the recommended dosage or suggested serving.

Some additional tips to consider before buying a collagen supplement:

  • Always check with your doctor if you are unsure.
  • Stick to the daily intake recommendations as per the product label.
  • For any possible allergies, be sure to read the ingredients list! FYI: Where collagen types have been listed, types 1 and 3 can be bovine (beef), fish or egg whites and type 2 collagen is usually chicken.
  • Quality is king.
  • Opt for collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen.

Bonus tip: Some say that they do not enjoy the aftertaste of plain collagen powder. If that’s you, simply add it to your smoothie, porridge or even in a cup of coffee and your problem is solved.

The collagen supplement I’m currently loving

Youthful Living’s Whey Rejuv Collagen Protein is so much more than just a protein powder. It goes above and beyond with added Hydrolyzed Type 1 (Bovine – cow/beef derived) Collagen, delivering 5g per serving.

Hydrolyzed means that the collagen has undergone a process called hydrolyzation, which basically means that the collagen has been broken down into individualised collagen peptides for optimal absorption by the body.

The product also contains added digestive enzymes, Resveratrol and antioxidants – there’s so much goodness all in one scoop! I’m totally obsessed with the Double Chocolate Delight flavour – it’s like having a chocolate milkshake. Try it and you will see what I mean. There is also a Vanilla Soft Serve flavour, which is just as delicious!

If a protein shake isn’t your thing, then Youthful Living also has an awesome ProDrink with added Collagen. It has 10.5g of collagen per serving, just 0.1g of sugar, plus added MSM, glucosamine and co-enzyme Q10 for loads of goodness in just one scoop. You can choose from unflavored, raspberry, naartjie and blueberry options.

Think positively. Exercise daily. Eat healthily. Work hard. Worry less. And take your collagen!