Does the hottest new trend in skin care belong on your plate? It seems like every new health food on the market lately
contains collagen, because it is
everywhere. From soups to teas and even popcorn, you’ll find it in a variety
forms, flavored to your particular preferences. But why would you want to add extra
collagen to your diet?
If you want to look more youthful, collagen is a major
player. It's a protein that's naturally produced within our bodies and gives
skin its structure and elasticity, but unfortunately, as we get older, our
bodies make less of it. Like, dramatically less after our 20s, which leads to
wrinkles and thinning skin. Collagen is also part of what makes joints
flexible and bones strong, so it’s important to replenish what has been lost.
Meals rich in collagen may help your body replace what it's
lacking. Foods with high protein and connective tissue (read: meat) are the obvious
choices. Bone broth is best because it’s bioavailable and gets absorbed into
your body more quickly. Besides eating chicken and fish, foods that help your body boost collagen production include egg whites, citrus, berries, tropical
fruits, garlic, leafy greens, beans, cashews, tomatoes and bell peppers.
Some studies suggest that collagen peptides found in supplements
are even easier to digest and absorb, thus giving our bodies the building
blocks to produce more collagen. Further research is needed to see just how
effective they are, but there doesn’t seem to be a downside to collagen peptides
except to your wallet, so it may be worth it to try taking them to see how it
works for you personally.
There’s also the question of how much and how often you need
these supplements. Preliminary studies recommend taking 2.5 to 10 grams of collagen supplements daily for
four to eight weeks before you see results. You will need to take supplements
continuously to maintain any improvements, as your body will continue to lose
collagen once the peptides leave your system.
If you did want to dip your toes into collagen supplements,
these are some examples of the wide variety of products currently available.
One thing to note is that collagen supplements are rarely vegan and are most
commonly derived from bovine (cow) or porcine (pig) sources, so consider that
if you are not a red meat-eater (though marine-based powders are now on the
Here are some collagen-boosting options that may be right for you: