As a dietitian, I’m educated and trained to be skeptical of food products and supplements that sound too good to be true. For good reason, as it is my mission to help others make safe and beneficial nutrition decisions! So, when I decided to personally try the Taut Collagen program, I made sure to do thorough research on the product first for myself, while keeping an open mind for what benefits (or honestly, lack thereof) I might experience, before sharing with others. But before I tell you all about my personal trial, let’s first review the basics of collagen for skin health.
Collagen is an abundant protein in our bodies that is responsible for giving our skin its strength, elasticity, and suppleness. It is also the key component of connective tissues in the body, such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments. It is also found in our circulatory system, bones, organs, muscle, and even hair. So yeah, collagen is kind of a big deal in the human body. Luckily our bodies can make collagen from the amino acids we consume in our daily diets, but over time the body’s ability to produce collagen decreases with age. And with this reduction, we begin to feel and see our age in the form of fine lines, wrinkles, and weakened or damaged joints.
So if the human body can’t produce as much collagen as it once could, it makes sense to supplement with collagen, right? Some health professionals are preliminarily saying “no” to this, but some emerging research is saying “yes”. In fact, research has been looking at various applications for collagen-based proteins over the last ten years, from developing effective topical treatments for severe burn wounds, to measuring improvements in protein status and lean body mass composition in the critically ill, and of course skin and joint anti-aging applications. The vast majority of this research is very positive for the use of collagen for these diverse needs, but the key component to the success of collagen is the quality, or type, of collagen used in the supplement. This is where hydrolyzed collagen has demonstrated clinical efficacy over just regular foods containing collagen (bone broth, for example).
For example, in a study published in 2014 in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology , 69 women aged 35-55 years old were randomly selected to receive 2.5g or 5.0g of a hydrolyzed collagen supplement (or placebo) daily for 8 weeks in this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. At the end of the trial, it was determined that the groups of women who received the hydrolyzed collagen supplement showed a statistically significant improvement in skin elasticity compared to the groups of women who received the placebo. While more studies like this one are needed, it is one of the first to show that an oral collagen supplement can indeed improve skin elasticity, without any reports of negative side effects. And overall, combined with the additional research on hydrolyzed collagen that I have reviewed over the years, I was ready to try out a collagen-based skin care supplement system for myself.
In March of this year, I met the great folks of Taut USA at an industry trade show, and was instantly intrigued with their liquid collagen supplement and masks. After talking with them at length, and further reviewing their products to ensure I had the best-in-class product to try, I began my own personal trial of the Taut products. First, I should preface that I am 35 years old, and I have mostly good skin that I think might be a genetic gift from both sides of my family (thanks, Mom & Dad!). However, I do have the beginnings of the dreaded “elevens”, or the frown lines/wrinkles between the eyebrows, technically known as glabellar frown lines. Also, I travel a lot for work and for fun, so I’m often on planes and sleep deprived, both of which are terrible for your skin. The times when travel is intense for me, my skin takes a hit, and can really use a pick me up. So, while I’m still fairly young, I’ll take all the help I can get to help prevent premature aging from my travel and work lifestyle.
In my trial, I began with 2 boxes of Taut Collagen and 5 Taut Collagen Masks . Since my intent was more for aging prevention and management of my travel lifestyle, I decided to drink one bottle every other day for the course of a month. I chose this particular month as I was barely home at all due to work, personal and family travel, and knew my skin would be in dire straits. I also used 1 collagen mask per week, with 2 masks on the roughest week of travel (roundtrip Orlando to Los Angeles, then roundtrip Orlando to Colorado, all within 7 days). After that type of travel, it should take at least a week of being at home, and overall TLC, for my skin to recover in terms of hydration, ridding the bags under my eyes, blotchiness, etc. However, I must say that after this trial month, my skin felt and looked better than ever! And the beginnings of my glabellar lines were practically invisible, which was amazing to me . And while not a touted benefit of these products, for once I did not break out with a new blemish each time I got on a new plane (the struggle is real) while using this program. This may have been coincidental, but I was happy about it!
If you’ve searched for anti-aging solutions at any point in the last few years, you’ve likely come across some sort of collagen product promising smoother, firmer skin. Like kale was the powerhouse health staple in the early 2000s, collagen is the new “it” ingredient—particularly in the skincare world. That’s because collagen is to skin like calcium is to your bones or vitamin C is for immunity. Why? A whopping 75% to 80% of our skin is made up of collagen , and it lays the groundwork for youthful, uplifted, firm and bouncy skin.
But here’s the thing—consuming any food source or supplement containing collagen won’t bestow the results you can see and feel. People are flocking toward bone broth and collagen powders without considering one crucial factor: the collagen’s ability to actually reach the skin and effect visible change once it’s consumed. You see, collagen molecules in their natural state are too large to be digested and absorbed—and they’re certainly not getting to the skin.
In simple terms, your body can’t deliver regular collagen to where it needs to be. What you need to look for is a very specific type of collagen with excellent bioavailability; in other words, you need collagen that actually enters your body’s circulation system so it can effectively work its magic.
Most of us take sleep for granted as sleeping is a basic human need, like breathing, eating, or drinking water. You've probably heard it a thousand times, from your mom to your doctor, why it's important to have quality sleep as it will affect the way you look, feel, and perform throughout the day.
Getting sufficient sleep is vital to your health and well-being, as the body works to repair and restore itself while you sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you secrete fewer hormones and slow down the body’s repair processes. Unfortunately, many of us lead busy, over scheduled lives and don't get the amount of sleep time we need each night. We probably won't even notice the difference until the signs of aging shows up on our skin, hair and body.
Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to cancer, diabetes, obesity,
immune deficiency and most recently, it has been scientifically proven that can also result in premature aging.
To understand how and why lack of sleep has such a significant impact on our body, it's important to understand what happens when we sleep.
I grew up just outside of San Francisco. We lived in a nice cul-de-sac of newly constructed homes. I remember being in 3rd grade moving away from our smaller, older home in the Sunset district known for its side-by-side houses and fog.
To me, the other families around us seemed to be normal and happy—young families creating lives together.
Two girls who went to the same elementary school as my brothers and I lived a few houses away with their parents. From the outside, their lives seemed perfectly happy. They went to school just like us. Their parents would wave to us as we drove by and would stop by if we were outside and talk with my parents.
Then it all changed. We would hear arguing once in a while. Then the arguing became more frequent and more intense. Eventually, we stopped seeing the father doing normal household chores like taking out the garbage or washing the cars. Word spread that the parents had separated and gotten divorced.
Overnight, their mother looked like she had aged 10 years. What was once jet black hair had gone gray. What was once a youthful glow in her skin became a shade of drab.
How did she age so quickly? How was this possible? This was one of my first memories seeing stress drain the youth out of someone’s appearance.
Now that we got that out of the way, what causes this rapid aging?