Collagen is the beauty supplement we should all be taking according to the experts, says Beauty Editor Michelle Nightingale
The latest beauty buzz could be the key to youthful, glowing skin and could even benefit your health, relieving joint pain and preventing bone loss, according to studies. “Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies,” explains Kathryn Danzey, co-founder of collagen brand Rejuvenated. “It’s the key building block for everything; from the connective tissue in our vital organs to giving structure to our hair, skin, nails, bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons.” Read on for our guide to this ultimate anti-ager.
You are what you eat
We all know that a healthy balanced diet is the secret of eternal youth. “As a protein you’ll find collagen in meat and fish, but the molecule is too large to be broken down and absorbed around the body,” explains Kathryn. “However, following a healthy diet is still really important as you need to provide your body with the required protein, vitamins and minerals to support collagen formation. Likewise, avoid the usual sugary and salty foods, which weaken and break down collagen.”
“Collagen makes up 75 per cent of our skin and 30 per cent of our total body protein, so it’s easy to see why collagen plays such an important part in the health of our skin,” explains Kathryn. “The name collagen comes from the Greek word ‘kolla’ which means glue, because collagen holds our body together.”
Ageing plays a part in how much collagen our body produces. “Collagen levels decline by as much as 1.5 per cent a year from our mid-20s,” says Kathryn.
“We start to lose more than we make and lines start to appear. “Oestrogen is also vital for healthy collagen levels, but as our oestrogen levels decline when we hit the menopause collagen loss becomes more dramatic, further affecting the condition of the skin.” Collagen as a molecule is too big to penetrate the skin’s dermis when applied topically, so can’t actually boost collagen levels as some skincare products would have you believe. That doesn’t mean you need to bin your beauty favourites though, collagen-boosting face creams and serums can still temporarily improve skin texture. Collagen supplements on the other hand, contain smaller collagen fragments meaning they’re absorbed more easily for our bodies to make use of.
The ultimate collagen hero - Rejuvenated Collagen Shots, £43.95/30 servings
With one of the highest collagen amounts per serving (10,000mg) compared to the other supplements we researched, Collagen Shots combines marine extract hydrolysed collagen plus antioxidant-rich acai berry, Vitamins B and C and hyaluronic acid making in an anti-ageing powerhouse. Add a scoop a day to a glass of water.
The time saver -**** LQ Liquid Health Skin, Hair & Nails, £29.99/10-day supply
Each of these handy ready-made drinks contain a decent amount of marine collagen per serving (7,000mg), as well as hydrating hyaluronic acid, nail-boosting biotin and potent anti-ager resveratrol.
The budget option - Bioglan Beauty Collagen Strawberry Gummies, £18.99/60 gummies (one-month supply)
With added biotin and selenium, these gummies are a great option for topping up your collagen on the go. Combined with Vitamin C they promise to improve the skin, hair and nails. The collagen dose per serving is lower than the other options, but they are cheaper.
Take a supplement for at least three months for the best results
Did you know?
For best results, choose what are known as ‘hydrolysed’ collagen supplements, as the hydrolysation process breaks down the proteins into smaller particles so they can be more easily absorbed. It’s also thought collagen supplements containing Vitamin C are more effective
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Zinc and copper are both required for helping our bodies form collagen. Good sources include red meat, shellfish (particular oysters), nuts, seeds and Shiitake mushrooms.
Vitamin C - rich foods are key for collagen production in our bodies. Good choices include sweet red peppers, broccoli, oranges and strawberries.
Lean protein is broken down to amino acids by our digestive system and this is then combined with Vitamin C, zinc and copper to produce collagen. Include plenty of chicken, turkey, white fish, eggs, nuts and seeds in your diet.
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