Most Collagen Supplements Don't Work: Here's Why
Are your favourite supplements the real deal or just a lot of hype?
In 2021, Olympian and trainer Sarah Lindsay shared on Instagram that she adds collagen to her morning coffee every day. "Great for hair, nails, joints, and SKIN!" she said.
Other celebrities like Kate Hudson and Jennifer Aniston have also endorsed collagen supplements, even launching their own brands. This sparked a widespread fascination with collagen supplements as an easy way to achieve youthful skin, strong nails, and supple joints.
Jennifer Aniston claims collagen helps maintain her ageless appearance
However, a closer examination reveals that the efficacy of collagen supplements might not be as straightforward as it seems.
In this article, we explore why most collagen supplements don’t live up to their grand claims and how you can make better choices when shopping for one.
What is collagen?
Derived from the Greek "kolla" (glue) and the French "gene" (to produce), collagen is like a scaffolding that holds our bodies together.
When we’re young, collagen is what gives our skin that plump, smooth, and wrinkle-free appearance. It also helps our joints stay cushioned, supports digestion, helps muscles grow, and aids in burning fat. These are the qualities that make us feel youthful and full of energy.
But as we age, our body’s collagen production decreases, leading to more wrinkles, cellulite, and sagging skin. We might start feeling achy joints and encountering digestion issues.
No wonder collagen supplements are so popular!
Collagen levels start to deplete at age 20
Types of collagen supplements
Collagen supplements come in two forms, each with its limitation:
Topically Applied Collagen: This comes in the form of creams. Collagen molecules are generally too large to penetrate the skin effectively. Even if there are methods to shrink these molecules, absorption through the skin remains an obstacle.
Edible Collagen: Pills, powders, and bone broths promise an internal boost in collagen levels. Yet, the reality is that consuming whole collagen molecules doesn't guarantee absorption. Many supplements pass through the digestive system without significant impact (More on this below).
Why most collagen supplements don’t work
Size does matter
One main problem with collagen supplements is the size of the collagen molecules. These molecules are naturally large, which makes it hard for the body to absorb them well. This is where the distinction between collagen peptides and whole collagen becomes crucial.
Collagen peptides are hydrolyzed into smaller, more easily absorbable units. This process not only enhances their bioavailability but also allows them to be effectively transported through the bloodstream, reaching the skin and joints where they are needed most.
When buying collagen, always choose hydrolised collagen peptides
Survivability matters too
Collagen supplements need to survive the acidic stomach environment to be effective. Unfortunately, many supplements lack microencapsulation, a process which involves encapsulating collagen molecules in protective coatings.
Without microencapsulation, stomach acids can break the molecules down before they even reach our skin. This coating shields collagen from degradation and allows for better absorption by the body.
Most collagen supplements don't survive stomach acid
Summary: Most supplements don't work because they utilise whole collagen instead of collagen peptides and they are not microencapsulated
Choosing Collagen That Actually Works – Here's How
1. Choose collagen peptides supplements rather than whole collagen for better absorption.
2. Look for the magic word – microencapsulation for better collagen survivability.
3. Choose wild-caught marine collagen as it is considered the purest form and offers the highest bioavailability.
4. Look for key antioxidant ingredients like vitamin C to support collagen protection and production from within.
Top 5 Collagen Supplements in Singapore
We here at Superfood Reviews have done the research to find out what the best option for collagen supplements in the market. We have graded each choice through a stringent grading based on the following criteria:
Our evaluation criteria:
1. The Purest Co Collagen Glow Berries
What we love:
✅ Potent dose (5500mg) of premium grade collagen from Japan
✅ Utilises marine collagen, which has been proven to be absorbed 1.5 times more effectively than other collagen types
✅ Hydrolised collagen peptides in liquid form for easier absorption
✅ Contains Vitamin C and Bilberry Extract that support collagen production from within
Promising review: “Best Collagen👍 I’m 66 this year. Same, tried many beauty products from facials, to ******. Nothing seems to work till I tried your collagen berries. Just to my 4 sachets, I can see my face seems brighter n I feel energetic too😍 hope I can continue to buy if the price is cheaper 😅” —Sue L.
Get a 30-sachet box for $115
2. Meiji Amino Collagen Powder
What we love:
✅ 5000 mg low-molecular marine collagen
✅ Features ceramides, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C for skin & joints benefits
Get a 196g pouch for $62.60
3. Crystal Collagen by Itoh Hanako
What we love:
✅ 5300 mg of marine collagen peptides per serve
✅ Contains skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid, pomegranate flower extract
Promising review: “I have been drinking this for 2 years now. Its reasonably price with very good amount of collagen and other vitamins and supplements. I can visibly see the results the after 3 bottles.” —W**
Get 16 bottles for $69.45
4. Tsubaki Ageless Drink by AFC
What we love:
✅ 5300 mg of marine collagen
✅ Contains hyaluronic acid and vitamins B & C
✅ Low molecular weight collagen peptides
Get 10 bottles for $62.90
5. Collagen Beauty 7000+ by DHC
What we love:
✅ 7000 mg marine collagen peptides per serve
✅ Contains Vitamin C
Get 10 bottles for $52.90
Buying The Best Collagen Supplement in Singapore
Our body’s collagen production naturally decreases over time, so it’s ideal to take collagen supplements that prevent a lack of this substance that keeps our skin, nails, hair, joints, and bones in their top shape.
It’s important to check the nutritional values of the drinks and powders you’re considering to buy and compare their health standards and especially collagen contents for optimum collagen absorption and to reap the benefits that come with it.
Best Product Overall: Collagen Glow Berries
Clinically proven to: Firm, Lift, & Moisturize skin
Collagen peptide: 5,500mg premium grade Japan Nitta-Wellnex™
Infused with: 250mg Vitamin C & 100mg Bilberry extract
Lightly sweetened with: Real fruit juice
Risk-free money back guarantee
Sustainably-harvested from: Tilapia fishes