Summer is officially upon us! As the temperatures heat up and the outdoors beckon, you might be paying more attention to your skin than usual – and rightly so. We accumulate the majority of our yearly UV exposure in the summertime, and it’s essential to develop a sun-protection strategy to keep skin safe from the cell damage that can cause premature aging.
Developing a skincare routine that includes moisturizer with SPF, staying hydrated, and opting for self-tanner instead of a natural suntan are practices that will benefit your skin and reduce your risk of skin cancer (check out this blog post for more tips!). But don’t forget to support your skin’s health and natural elasticity from the inside out, too! Research suggests that collagen peptide supplements may improve the appearance and elasticity of skin and help to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.1
How does collagen work?
As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen accounts for about one-third of its total protein composition. The word “collagen” comes from the Greek word for “glue.”1 Given that it provides structure for bones, skin, ligaments, tendons, and muscles, and is also found in the blood vessels, corneas, and teeth, this seems like a pretty apt association!
Collagen is produced naturally by the body, primarily by connective tissue cells. Molecules of the protein form long chains that are both strong and elastic. These chains create a network of fibroblasts in the skin’s middle layer, or dermis. This network supports the top layer of skin, or epidermis, and provides the foundation for new cell growth and encourages the turnover of dead skin cells.2 As the body ages – or experiences UV damage – the natural production of collagen slows, and the network begins to break down. Smoking and consuming high amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates can also interfere with collagen production, diminishing the body’s stores and increasing the visibility of wrinkles.
Supplementing with collagen peptides can encourage the body to continue producing collagen and promote the synthesis of other supporting proteins. Increasing collagen intake contributes to better hydration, which helps skin look smoother and younger, and may also help prevent cartilage degradation in the joints and density loss in the bones. Studies have also found that collagen supplementation can benefit hair and nails, encouraging healthy hair growth and decreasing nail brittleness.3,4
It’s pretty clear that adding collagen peptides to your supplement lineup is a good idea. But the market is inundated with collagen products that contain different types from various sources, and what the heck does hydrolyzed mean? How do you know which supplement to choose for real benefits?
How to pick your peptides
When it comes to choosing a quality collagen supplement, you don’t have to cross your fingers and just hope for the best. There are some key features to look for that will help ensure true efficacy so that you know what you’re putting inside your body will support a healthy appearance on the outside!
Just your type
There are 28 different types of collagen, but most products contain a combination of types 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10. Types 1 and 3 are generally thought to provide the most benefits for skin health, but Dr. Nick Bitz doesn’t agree. While each collagen type is structured slightly differently, at the end of the day, all 28 types are the same kind of protein. “When you ingest collagen, you’re rebuilding all of your own collagen in the body, not just Type 1 or 3,” he explained to Well + Good.5 Still, each type plays a specific role in the body, so it can’t hurt to choose a product that contains the types of collagen that most directly influence the health and elasticity of your skin.
Hydrolyzation: Let’s break it down
The type of collagen in your supplement might not be a make-it-or-break-it factor, but whether or not it’s hydrolyzed should be. Hydrolyzation is a process in which enzymes break down collagen, which naturally forms long strands, into smaller molecules that are easy for the body to absorb. The protein is then dehydrated to produce a tasteless white powder that dissolves into drinks and meals for convenient consumption. One study found that hydrolyzation may increase the absorption rate of supplemental collagen to 90%, whereas the collagen found in food sources like bone broth is only 27% absorbed.6 Make sure you choose hydrolyzed collagen peptides!
Diversity is beautiful
The more diverse the amino acid profile of your collagen supplement is, the more comprehensive support it will provide. There are 20 different amino acids used for various functions throughout the body, combining to form proteins and supporting connective tissue strength and the health of the hair, skin, and nails. Wouldn’t it make more sense to take an amino acid supplement, then? That’s a good question, but if your primary reason for taking collagen is to keep your skin healthy, the answer is no. Hydrolyzed collagen supplements promote collagen restoration more effectively because they contain all the components necessary for the construction of collagen protein chains.7
Check your sources
As you investigate your collagen options, you’ll notice that some of them are “bovine,” some are “marine,” some are derived from poultry, and others are “vegan.” Collagen can be found in the bones and connective tissues of cows, pigs, chickens, and marine animals like fish, sharks, shellfish, and even jellyfish. The trick with marine-sourced collagen is that the specific animal source is often not disclosed on the product label. Marine collagen also may not be as easily absorbed as bovine collagen.
While vegan collagen can be produced by genetically engineering bacteria and yeast, most vegan collagen products are actually collagen builders or boosters. They may contain vitamins, minerals, and plant-sourced proteins that encourage the natural production of collagen by the body.8
The best source of collagen for you depends on your dietary preferences, but the easiest way to make sure you’re getting high-quality collagen peptides that your body can absorb and put to use is to choose 100% grass-fed bovine hydrolyzed collagen peptides.
Take it all in stride
Is there an ideal method of collagen consumption? The jury’s out on this one. While many product labels offer recommendations for mixing peptides into hot or cold meals and beverages, some sources suggest that heating collagen supplements above body temperature negates their benefits.9 Others point out that caffeine may inhibit collagen synthesis, so collagen and coffee (hot or iced) might effectively cancel each other out.10 To avoid all the controversy, mix your collagen into a glass of water, smoothie, or post-workout shake.
There’s no evidence that taking collagen peptides at any specific time of day will yield better results. Collagen can be absorbed by the stomach and intestinal tract whether it’s taken with or without food, and taking it at night doesn’t have any advantages over taking it in the morning (or vice versa). Deciding when to take it comes down to picking a time and method that will be easiest to remember. You can’t reap the benefits of collagen peptides if you’re not taking them regularly!
The search is...already over?
Now that you know what to look for when choosing a collagen supplement, we have a surprise for you: You don’t have to go anywhere! We’ve got Enhanced Collagen Peptides right here on this website. Our collagen powder contains collagen types 1 and 3, is 100% derived from grass-fed bovine sources, and boasts a profile of 19 amino acids. It contains no gluten, eggs, milk, soy, or GMO ingredients, is unflavored for easy mixing, and includes a unique multi-enzyme complex for effective digestion and absorption.*
Specifically designed to support youthful skin, strong bones, and healthy hair and nails, NatureWise Collagen Peptides provide your body with the building blocks it needs for continued collagen production.* Toss a scoop into a post-workout shake, a morning smoothie, or a summery cold drink for hydration with skin-supporting benefits!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.