If you are thinking of taking collagen supplements to improve your skin – be aware that– all collagen supplements are not the same.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan wanting to improve your collagen levels, you will be pleased to know, you don’t have to consume animal collagen to improve your levels – In actual fact, you will be pleasantly surprised at all of the various ways to boost collagen via supplementation and foods in this article.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body found not only in the skin but also in the bones, muscles and tendons. It makes up 30% of your total body protein.
Collagen is the substance that holds the body together, it provides strength and structure. It is the key building block in human and animal connective tissue.
The dermis, or inner layer of the skin, is made up of mostly collagen, which gives the skin its resilience, strength, and texture. Ageing leads to the breakdown of collagen, causing wrinkles, sagging skin, dry skin and uneven texture.
By the time we reach 30 years of age, we stop producing collagen and our body loses collagen at a rate of 1-2% each year. This is why we also start suffering from aches and pains.
Besides taking collagen supplements to stimulate collagen growth – eating to enhance collagen growth is important because certain foods will break down your collagen levels.
The worst offenders for collagen breakdown are;
- Processed foods that contain fillers and numbers
- Fatty foods and fast foods
The latest fad is to take your dose of collagen powder in your coffee – if you want to do this – drink real coffee – not instant coffee – instant coffee will undo any of the goodness of the collagen powder because is full of chemicals thanks to the way they process it.
You will be pleased to know I am not here to tell you coffee is bad for collagen growth!
Whilst we are on supplementation – some of them will work for the skin and some won’t.
Collagen supplements are not all the same.
Dr Karl says that he does not believe collagen supplements work on enhancing skin quality because “the type of collagen in the skin is different to the type of collagen in cartilage”.
The best collagen supplement for you can depend on what you are trying to achieve – because there are 28 different types of collagen (identified so far).
So which collagen supplement is the correct one for you to choose?
First – let us get back to what Dr Karl says.
“Can ingested collagen get into your bloodstream to youngify your skin?”
Collagen is made up of 1000 amino acids – these are what make up the proteins in the body.
He says “before proteins can get into the bloodstream they have to enter the cells lining the gut.”
“Now these cells only allow proteins of fewer than 3 amino acids in, so there is no way a massive collagen protein will fit”
“Therefore, the collagen you ingest gets broken down into individual amino acids and there is no way they will automatically regroup to form collagen- because they cannot remember what they used to be”
“Even worse, all of the collagen selling companies get their collagen from cartilage bones. The type of collagen in the skin is different to the type of collagen in cartilage”
Leaving Dr Karl for a few moments – because many companies know this, many of them are using collagen which is hydrolysed or peptides (same thing – different name).
But does this mean that these collagen supplements will work better?
I will explain a little more about the 5 different types of collagen ;
All 5 types are essential to the optimal functioning of the body – so even if your collagen supplement is of no use to your skin – the collagen supplements may help with other areas of your body
What is Type I collagen? Without a doubt, type I collagen is the most abundant protein found in humans (and in all vertebrates). Type I helps to form our skin, bones, tendons, corneas, blood vessel walls and other connective tissues.
Type I is the strongest type of collagen, it’s literally a building block of the skin.
Type I collagen generally features certain amino acids, including proline, glycine and hydroxyproline which is needed for skin function.
Fish or marine collagen is believed to be easily absorbable by the body. Egg collagen, which is located in the whites and shells of eggs, contains mostly type I collagen but also can feature other types of collagen, including collagen type X.
What is collagen type ll? Type II is the major collagen found in cartilage. Cartilage is the connective tissue that protects the ends of long bones at the joints. It’s also a structural component of the ear, the nose, the bronchial tubes, the rib cage and more.
Since type ll collagen helps to form the cartilage that protects our joints, it’s why this variety of collagen is often known for supporting healthy joints.
Supplements featuring chicken collagen, feature type II collagen. Chicken collagen also inherently features chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate, which are both popular for supporting healthy joints.
Type III is fibrillar collagen and is a major component of our skin and organs. In the body, type III collagen is often found in the same locations as type l.
Type V and Type X
Type V collagen is one of the minor collagen components, forming interstitial collagen fibres — along with type I collagen — and plays a significant role in regulating the development of collagen fibres of connective tissue.
Type V collagen co-exists with type II collagen in joint cartilage while supporting healthy collagen fibres of type II collagen.
Type V collagen also functions to create the cells of a pregnant women’s placenta, which is the organ that attaches to the lining of the womb. Type V collagen also helps to form cell surfaces and hair.
Collagen type X (which is generally found in eggshell membrane collagen) is a protein typically present in normal joint cartilage.
Overall, type X collagen is described as a “network-forming collagen.”
Dr Karl says that all of the research on collagen has been done by the companies who produce collagen (everyone – no matter how much or little they charge you to purchase their collagen powders all buy it from the same suppliers).
More effective vegan collagen stimulating options.
If like me, you like the idea of improved collagen and glowing skin but don’t want to spend money on products that possibly won’t do anything but increase your protein levels and don’t want them to come from animal sources – have a look at vegan options for achieving glowing skin.
I personally swear by spirulina and chlorella for ultimate glowing skin.
Both spirulina and chlorella are vegan/vegetarian plus they contain high levels of absorbable iron, B12 and iodine (needed by the thyroid) along with a wide range of phytonutrients and other nutrients – but importantly they contain highly absorbable collagen-boosting protein.
Spirulina and chlorella are microscopic freshwater plants containing over 100 Synergistic nutrients. Basically, they are natural vitamin tablets.
But they are better than any vitamin tablet you can take because they are an unrefined whole food so absorbed up to 16x more effectively than multivitamin supplements!
Gram for gram they are one of nature’s richest and most complex sources of nutrition.
They are one of nature’s richest sources of protein – 65% of their weight, 300 x more than fish, meat or poultry but with zero cholesterol, which makes them a brilliant protein source for vegans and vegetarians and those wanting to consume a high protein diet or bolster their collagen levels.
They contain 58 x more iron than spinach per gram and 28 x richer than raw beef liver. They are a rich natural whole-food source of antioxidants, being 25% richer in beta-carotene than carrots. 2 x richer in chlorophyll than alfalfa, barley grass or wheatgrass so more cleansing to the body because of these plants.
They are a highly concentrated source of essential fatty acids (EFA’s) which are important for hormone balance, and glowing skin.
They contain important B complexes and natural vitamin E, along with Calcium, and other essential chelated minerals and trace elements. They also contain Selenium, Iodine, Methionine, Cysteine, Super Oxide Dismutase, Glutathione Peroxides, Copper, Manganese, Zinc, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5, B-6, and very importantly B12.
The difference between Spirulina and Chlorella is that the cell wall on chlorella is thicker and harder to break down than spirulina which is why it is more expensive – but both of them are equally as good.
When I consume a blend of spirulina/chlorella or one or the other I find that when I consume those my skin and nails are at their best, plus my energy levels improve greatly.
Vegan collagen-boosting mixes
Vegan collagen-boosting powders are loaded with protein, antioxidants and polyphenols – deliciously good for you even though they like their animal-based counterparts they can just be a very expensive way to up your nutrition intake. The upside of these is that if you are actually vegan or vegetarian – their protein and amino acid content will be incredibly good for you – ensure that they also contain B12.
Collagen boosting foods
Eating a collagen-boosting diet will not only boost your collagen but also improve your all-around wellbeing.
Collagen boosting foods consist of;
Kale, Spinach, Silverbeet
Berries – any berries they are all loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols
Pumpkin Seeds, Pumpkin and Carrots
No matter what you choose to take to help with your skin’s collagen levels – a high plant-based diet, and low processed food and sugar diet will enhance your skin alone without supplementation help.
If you would like or need one on one help to achieve glowing skin – book a glowing skin consultation with me – you can even do it via Zoom!
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