Collagen powder has been a hot trend in 2018. Many people taking collagen supplements swear by it for improving the look and feel of their skin and reducing joint pain. Collagen is the primary structural protein for skin, tendons, and ligaments. It plays an important role in maintaining the strength and elasticity of skin. Collagen is largely composed of the three amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. The chemical structure of these amino acids allow collagen to form its strong helix structure. In our bodies, collagen gets broken down and rebuilt on a regular basis. The rebuilding process, however, slows down as we age. Collagen synthesis is supported by Vitamin C–check out my blog post, Power of Nutrition, for more information on that!
Whether or not taking collagen supplements can lead to connective tissue benefits is still under debate. Like with any ingested protein, collagen is broken down into its amino acid building blocks before it is absorbed by the body. To be the full collagen protein again, the body must rebuild it and do so in the desired areas of the body to have the intended effect.
A moderately active person requires about one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight daily. Any ingested protein is used toward this requirement. The amino acids from a collagen supplement could, then, be used as a building block for other proteins. Another concern about collagen supplements is quality and safety. Supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration so it is important to purchase supplements from reputable companies. The collagen needs to be well preserved and undenatured, furthering the necessity to find a company that produces quality products.
There are five different kinds of collagen in the body. Supplements should contain type I and type II, the main types in skin and cartilage. More research is required, but there have been some promising studies supporting the supplement’s joint and skin health claims. Using topical products containing retinol and vitamin C can support collagen synthesis in the skin. Try my KD Vitamin C Serumand KD Diamond Line Refine! I also recommend obtaining collagen naturally in our diets. Bone broth is a great source of collagen. It can be made easily by boiling the bones of chicken or turkey. I love making soup after Thanksgiving using the bones from the turkey and veggies!