Collagen protein powder with spoon measure isolate on white background.

Is Your Collagen Supplement Really Working?

If you have been taking collagen supplements to tighten your skin, you may just be wasting your money. Find out what really works instead.

Collagen protein powder with spoon measure isolate on white background.

No doubt you have heard of adding collagen to your diet. You may even be sipping on a beverage with collagen powder mixed in right now. The collagen craze is so popular that it has been listed as the top dietary trend of 2018. And why not? Who wouldn’t you want to turn back the clock on skin aging by simply adding a few scoops of collagen powder into your diet each day? But is all this collagen actually helping your skin, or is it more hype than help? Let’s take a look.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and is responsible for giving structure to hair, skin and nails along with bones, tendons and ligaments. When it comes to skin health, collagen is what gives skin its elasticity, helping to maintain a more youthful, radiant texture and tone. So I get why you want more collagen, but here’s the down side of ingesting collagen as a supplement.

The body can’t absorb collagen whole. So when you take collagen as a supplement, it gets broken down into a variety of amino acids, just like all proteins you ingest, and then the body uses these amino acids where it needs them. Some may end up in your skin, building more collagen, but not all. In fact there is very little evidence to support oral collagen supplements improve skin elasticity or texture. The only benefit may be a lighter wallet after paying up for this expensive protein, and that isn’t necessarily the result you were hoping for.

So if you want to know what really can help improve the health of your skin, forget the collagen powders and turn your attention to the powerful antioxidant vitamin C. Since this vitamin plays an essential role in the creation of collagen, having too little vitamin C in the diet can mean your body cannot create or store collagen. As an added bonus, thanks to its antioxidant properties, vitamin C protects skin from free radical damage, which can be brought about by chemicals and toxins in our environment and diet and can accelerate premature aging.

Factors such as stress, poor die, and behaviors such as smoking can all reduce the circulating vitamin C levels in your body and therefore reduce your ability to produce collagen. Adding supplemental vitamin C daily can be an excellent way to make sure you are meeting your needs to protect yourself against declining collagen production.