Top 5 Myths About Collagen Supplements

  • By RenewAlliance, Inc.
  • 25 Aug, 2017

Uncover the myths and misconceptions surrounding collagen supplements. 

Nearly everyone has heard of collagen and its importance for skin health, but few people know how to tell the difference between the many truths and falsehoods that abound regarding collagen supplements. Most people’s skin care knowledge lies somewhere between science and pure hype, and many misconceptions about collagen supplements are spread through word-of-mouth. 

Let’s expose the top 5 myths about collagen supplements, so you can ensure that you’re using proven treatments in a correct way while saving yourself time, money, and effort.

Myth 1 - Collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed into the bloodstream

Most doctors don’t believe that taking collagen supplements is effective because they claim that the collagen molecule is too large for the body to absorb. They’re right and wrong. Collagen is a building block of the body and the most abundant animal protein. In its native state, the collagen molecule is too large to be absorbed effectively by the intestine. In fact, collagen is often referred to as a “super molecule” because it is so large, with a molecular weight of 300,000 Daltons. Hydrolyzed collagen molecules, on the other hand, are tiny enough  (avg 5000 daltons) to be absorbed into the bloodstream, owing to the process of hydrolysis, which was a technology patented by the Japanese.

 The hydrolysis process breaks the collagen super molecule down into small, bioavailable components, similarly to how our bodies break down food during digestion. Hydrolyzed collagen is immediately available for absorption and utilization. During the hydrolysis process, the super collagen molecule is broken down into micro-sized fragments, called collagen peptides, which have an average molecular weight of 5000 Daltons. This makes them small enough to be readily absorbed through the intestine and then into the bloodstream. 

Clinical studies have shown an increase in the amount of collagen peptides in the blood after participants took hydrolyzed collagen.

Myth 2 - Hydrolyzed collagen is absorbed into the dermis of the skin and automatically becomes collagen

Your body naturally produces collagen in abundance during your youth, but once you reach the age of about 25, collagen production comes to a halt. By the time you are 30 years old, collagen levels start to decrease significantly. Collagen that makes up 75% of our skin is created by fibroblasts, which are specialized cells located in the dermis of your skin. Think of it like the collagen factory house.

Many people assume that if you take hydrolyzed collagen supplements, the hydrolyzed collagen you ingest is distributed to the dermis of the skin and then automatically becomes collagen. However, after hydrolyzed collagen enters your bloodstream, additional conditions have to happen before the synthesis of collagen fibers takes place.

When taken orally, hydrolyzed collagen reaches the small intestine, and then it is absorbed into the bloodstream in the form of free amino acids and small collagen peptides. Free amino acids and small collagen peptides are distributed throughout the body and to the dermis through the network of blood vessels. In the dermis, the presence of collagen peptides stimulate  fibroblasts to produce collagen and elastin by binding to the receptor sites on the fibroblast member. Acting much like a factory, the more concentrated collagen peptides are present, the more collagen gets produced. In addition, the presence of Vitamin C is also an important Co-Factor in collagen synthesis. Together they speed up the production of collagen.

According to clinical trials , taking 10,000mg of hydrolyzed collagen per day significantly increases collagen density in the dermis and decreases fragmentation of the dermal collagen network.

Myth 3 - All hydrolyzed collagen is created equal

Not all forms of hydrolyzed collagen are created equal. There are four different types of animal collagen that are used to make hydrolyzed collagen and collagen peptides: bovine, chicken, porcine, and marine (fish) collagen. Bovine, chicken, and porcine collagen consist of mainly type II collagen, which is good for your joints, whereas marine collagen consists primarily of type I collagen. If you are looking to improve joint health, it’s best to take a collagen supplement made with type II collagen. If you want to enhance skin health and reduce wrinkles, taking a supplement that consists of type I collagen is crucial since our skin is made of more than 80% type I collagen.

Bovine, chicken, and porcine collagen are found in many cosmetic products and supplements because they are cheaper to extract. However, marine collagen is a superior form of collagen because it is digested and absorbed by the body much more efficiently. Marine collagen extracted from the skin and scales of cold water fish has 1.5 times more bioavailability than bovine or porcine collagen. This means that it enters the bloodstream more quickly through the intestinal wall.

It is also more difficult to remove calcium and fat from bovine, chicken, and porcine collagen. Marine collagen has little to no calcium or fat, so people on a diet or who have high blood pressure can consume it without any concerns.

Myth 4 - Taking amino acids is the same as taking hydrolyzed collagen

There are many amino acid supplements on the market that are purported to build collagen since amino acids are the building blocks of all proteins.

Some people think that taking amino acid supplements can help them restore lost collagen, but it’s not the same thing as taking hydrolyzed collagen.

A collagen molecule is made up of 20 amino acids that are bound together in a helix chain. Collagen is composed of a triple helix, generally consisting of two identical chains and a third chain with a slightly different composition.  

Collagen is predominantly made up of the amino acids Glycine, Proline, and Hydroxyproline  , which together represent about 50% of total amino acid content.

You need up to 18 amino acids in the right quantities and ratios to construct a complete collagen molecule helix chain. Hydrolyzed collagen is more effective because it’s already a complete molecule chain that consists of fragments small enough to be absorbed and transferred to the dermis layer of the skin.

While taking amino acids has many powerful health benefits, taking a hydrolyzed collagen supplement  with hydrolyzed collagen will produce stronger and better results that address your health concerns.

Myth 5 – Taking or drinking collagen does not help to reduce wrinkles or increase elasticity

Collagen supplements have become the latest skincare must-have, but the more popular that collagen becomes, the louder the critics get. Despite the naysayers, collagen continues to be a buzzword among women. There is scientific proof that collagen supplements provide benefits for your skin. Multiple clinical studies have shown that taking a high concentration of hydrolyzed collagen for an extended period of time can reduce wrinkles and increase skin elasticity. Also the best evidence is testimonials from both women and men.

Improve Skin and Joint Health with the Right Collagen Supplement

If you’re looking for a way to increase collagen production in your body, simply applying collagen cream won’t cut it.Consuming a collagen supplement or drink made with hydrolyzed collagen on a regular basis can help to stimulate collagen production in your skin and result in reduced wrinkles, increased elasticity and a smoother complexion. 

If you're debating which collagen supplement works better for you, see our 7 Tips for Buying The Best Collagen Supplement.  

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