Everybody is talking about collagen these days. Every celebrity is endorsing their own version of a collagen supplement and now the debates are getting heated on whether it’s best taken as a liquid, powder or cream.
But, long before everybody was spouting off about how collagen is the new fountain of youth for reversing and slowing signs of aging…I was researching collagen for a very different reason.
I had started having signs and symptoms of what would eventually be diagnosed as two autoimmune diseases. One of the hallmarks of any AD is the chronic, roaming joint pain. It’s the worst gift that keeps on giving. One day it is in the shoulder, the next you have the cracking knees of an 80-year-old. If you’re very unlucky, you’ll just get it in all the joints every day all the time.
But What Does Collagen Have to Do With It?
I started researching supplements that helped with joint pain and kept seeing over and over that a big cause of it can be the decline in collagen production as we age. Collagen is like the lubricant, or the oil to our joints, that keeps them operating smoothly and without pain.
As collagen production declines, our joints become stiffer, don’t operate how they used to and it can really impact our athletic performance or even daily comfort. Muscles ache more and take longer to recover from activities, too.
Collagen is also a big reason why our skin looks so smooth and plump when we’re young. And, as we get older, we slowly start to get the face of skeletor. That loss of collagen causes the skin to start thinning out and collapsing – which appears as lines, wrinkles, loss of fullness, etc. According to Dr. Robert Rountree, “The number one cause of skin aging is loss of collagen.” (source)
And, collagen even impacts hair and nail health. Raise your hand if you’ve noticed the texture and look of your hair changing as you age and nails becoming more brittle and weak. That’s all collagen, boo.
Turns out, our bodies natural production of collagen starts rapidly declining in our late teens and early 20s to the tune of about 1% a year. So, in theory, supplementing that collagen should boost your bodies ability to lubricate those joints and keep plumping up that skin. Right? Well… kinda.
Also, affiliate links are used in this post, which just means that at no cost to you, I may receive a commission if you make a purchase through one of my links.
My Collagen Accident:
While other people started lathering on collagen creams to plump the face, I started drinking mine. I was taking collagen in a variety of ways, hoping for it to help with my chronic joint stiffness and pain.
I was drinking collagen shots, putting collagen powder in my bedtime tea, drinking liquid collagen and even tried collagen supplements.
For me, I very quickly noticed a difference with 2 particular brands of collagen, one of them a hydrolyzed collagen peptides sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine. Hydrolyzed just means it’s easily digested and absorbed by the body quickly for maximum benefits.
But after trying a variety of brands, I stuck with the one I use now because I felt and saw more results and the formula also packed in a few things I was really looking for in a collagen supplement:
- More Than Just Collagen – This particular collagen also has Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin C. We all know how great these are for health, healthy hair, healthy skin and nails, and healthy joints, ligaments and tendons.
- Clean Formula – Non-GMO, Paleo Friendly & Whole30 Approved. No added sugars or sweeteners. Gluten, cholesterol, heavy metals, and dairy free. Flavorless, odorless.
- 20g Collagen Powder per Serving – Yeah baby!
But, while I did start to notice a small decrease in chronic joint pain, there was something else happening that I wasn’t thinking of all….
Does Collagen Really Help With Wrinkles?
I can’t speak for everyone, but I will tell you this: I started taking collagen 7 years ago and it’s like my skin stopped aging at that point. I had younger skin anyway, thanks to using sunscreen everyday, using great skin care and avoiding obvious agers, like smoking, drugs and excessive sun exposure.
So, when aging slowed even more – due to what I can only assume was the collagen in my diet – it started to become particularly noticeable.
Now, I regularly have aestheticians and other people who stare at skin all day guess my age to be around 10 years younger than I actually am. Plus, my hairstylist says my hair grows unusually fast.
Honestly, if this were the ONLY benefit I was seeing from taking daily collagen supplements – I would take it by the mouthful.
And, if you’re thinking I’ve just been getting fillers all these years, the answer is no. I’ve never once done any injectables, although I have a landmark birthday coming up and I’m thinking of trying them for the very first time. After all, they say they work best before signs of aging have really settled in, right?
How To Increase Collage Production:
There are a few effective ways to increase your body’s production of collagen.
First, increasing collagen production with supplements is particularly easy. Whether you are taking liquid collagen or using a powdered form, it’s quick and painless to incorporate it into your daily diet.
Personally, I like this Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides best. And, a peek at the reviews will show you I’m not alone. You can put a scoop in tea and have it dissolve pretty easily with almost no aftertaste or you can put a scoop in something like smoothies. You can even drink their pre-mixed drinks, which I also really like.
And for all the haters who say, “No, collagen cannot be increased via supplementation. Sorry, Charlie…” Well, I would be happy to offer myself as Exhibit A for why it actually does work.
And, while some people prefer liquid forms, I would just say the best collagen supplement is the one that you will regularly take and that works for YOU!
Second, you can bolster your diet with collagen producing foods, such as bone broth or foods with high quantities of gelatin.
Third, avoid activities that contribute to collagen decline or increase signs of aging, such as smoking, exposure to UV light and excessive sugar intake.
Collagen is nothing new. We’ve all had it in our bodies since the day we were born. We are just continually learning new things about how our bodies change as we age and the natural decrease in collagen is something we can’t avoid, but it is pretty easy to fix. I don’t know about you, but I like quick wins.
Have you ever taken collagen? What did you think?
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Have a fabulous day,