(SD-SP) Those that are wellness-minded, or perhaps have friends who are, may be interested in collagen supplementation to benefit their hair, skin and nails – as well as muscles, tendons and ligaments. But what exactly is collagen? Are there real advantages to adding collagen supplements to daily routines? And is it right for everyone?

What exactly is collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body – comprising three-quarters of the dry weight of skin – and, according to a paper published by the Annual Review of Biochemistry, is also the most prevalent component of the extracellular matrix (ECM), which is the non-cellular component present within all tissues and organs, helping to provide strength and resiliency. The body makes collagen from protein-rich foods and vitamins like Vitamin C and minerals like copper and zinc.

People tend to make less collagen as they age, and some studies have shown excess sun exposure, stress, alcohol and lack of sleep can all factor into collagen production. A less than ideal amount of collagen may be related to signs of aging such as wrinkles, thinning hair, joint pain, etc.

How Does Collagen Work?

The reason collagen has so many benefits is because of its unique amino acid profile. Collagen peptides contain a combination of essential and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be made by the human body, meaning the only way to get the amount your body needs is through dietary sources or supplements. Non-essential amino acids can be produced by our bodies even if we do not get them from the food we eat. Even though our body can make non-essential amino acids, we need to ensure we are getting the proper amounts because they are very important to our overall health. The various essential and non-essential amino acids all have different benefits that enable our bodies to function properly. 

When collagen is taken as an ingestible, it is absorbed into the bloodstream, helping replenish your body with collagen. We recommend looking for collagen peptides that are “hydrolyzed”, which means that they have been broken down through a particular type of water synthesis to allow them to be absorbed much quicker than non-hydrolyzed collagen or gelatin. Hydrolyzed collagen then provides amino acids that are needed by the body to build connective tissue, help regenerate cell growth, and see all the potential benefits. 

How are collagen supplements made and are they safe?

Collagen can be found in certain topical applications, but oral applications are believed to be more easily absorbed according to an article on Harvard’s “The Nutrition Source.” Oral collagen supplements can be made from animal sources such as bovine or fish.

How to Pick the Right Collagen Supplement 

When deciding which supplements to take, one of the most important factors is knowing how bioavailable they are, meaning how well the body can absorb them. The definition of bioavailability is the degree and rate at which a substance (i.e., a supplement) is absorbed into a living system (i.e., our bodies). Anything we put into our bodies (vitamins, minerals, supplements, pharmaceutical drugs, etc.) will only take effect if the body can absorb it. This is why it is important to know how bioavailable collagen supplements are before choosing one.

One of our favorite collagen supplements for women is Collagen For Her. All of their collagen products pass the bioavailability test and, on top of that, are non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and soy-free (plus, it’s a woman-owned company). A great place to start is either their Unflavored Collagen Peptides or Multi-Collagen Capsules. The unflavored collagen peptides are flavorless and tasteless, so you can add a scoop to coffee, tea, smoothies, baked goods, etc. If you prefer collagen in capsule form, their multi-collagen capsules are a great option too.

If you are looking for even more hair, skin, and nails benefits, check out their Marine Collagen Beauty Blend. This product is sourced from marine collagen, so it is pescatarian-friendly and contains 100% daily Vitamin C, biotin, and hyaluronic acid in addition to collagen for added hair and skin benefits. This product is also flavorless, so you can add it to just about anything.

While many people realize they may need more collagen starting at age 25, it is always a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional before adding any supplement to a diet. Check out the variety of benefits on the Collagen For Her benefits page for more info.

If you want to try out Collagen For Her’s products, you can use the code “SILVER10” for 10% off through their website here. All of their products are also available on Amazon, and you can save 10% on every order when you choose the Subscribe & Save option here