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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 the Philippines


At Superfood Reviews, we’ve conducted comprehensive and thorough research to shortlist the best collagen supplements in the market. We’ve graded each choice through a stringent grading based on the following criteria:


Our evaluation criteria:




Key differentiators: Superior ingredients, large amount of collagen


Pros: 

  • Hydrolyzed collagen peptides from Japan

  • Contains complementary ingredients

  • Made in an FDA-approved facility


Cons:

  • Frequently out of stock


The Purest Co’s Collagen Glow Berries contains a potent dose (5500mg) of marine collagen sourced from Japan in each sachet, and follows it up with supporting ingredients like vitamin C (250mg), bilberry extract, and mixed berries concentrate juice.


Collagen Glow Berries uses a patented technology to extract their collagen peptides, ensuring faster and more effective absorption of collagen into the body.


With its mixed berries concentrate juice, the taste is a hit amongst consumers and feedback is that it is just right in terms of sweetness. Not only does this make for a delicious supplement, but the Vitamin C in these berries provide added antioxidant support and improve your body’s rate of absorption.





Key differentiators: Comprehensive formulation, diverse supporting ingredients


Pros: 

  • Antioxidant support with vitamins A, C & E


Cons:

  • Tablet form may be inconvenient for some people


Swisse Ultiboost Collagen Plus boasts a well-rounded formulation that includes collagen hydrolysate, hyaluronic acid, copper, beta-carotene, and vitamins C & E. This blend is designed to provide comprehensive nourishment and support for overall wellbeing.


The inclusion of Vitamin C plays a crucial role in collagen formation, contributing to the health and maintenance of connective tissues. Additionally, the antioxidant properties of vitamins A, C & E provide protection against oxidative stress by free radicals.





Key differentiators: Widely available online


Pros:

  • 20g of Collagen per serving

  • Popular brand

  • No sugars and artificial flavorings

  • Widely available online

  • Contains Vitamin C & Hyaluronic Acid


Collagen Peptides by Vital Proteins is a high-quality powdered collagen supplement and is one of the more well-known brands in the market.


This type of collagen is soluble in hot or cold liquids, making it easy to mix in beverages like water, smoothies, and some even to their morning coffee.


The supplement from Vital Proteins contains grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine collagen that helps support healthy hair, skin, bones and joints. A scooper is included to measure 2 scoops of powder per serving - which contains 20g of Collagen Powder. The collagen powder is flavorless and free of gluten, dairy, and cholesterol.


It is also stated to contain high levels of Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid. However, some reviews have shown that the inclusions of these two are inconsistent.


This soluble collagen supplement is a good option that offers a good amount of collagen if you want your daily collagen intake to be mixed into your daily drinks or food.





Key differentiator: Popular, well-known brand


Pros:

  • Available in unflavored and flavored types

  • Contains Vitamin C

  • High dose of collagen per scoop


Neocell’s Collagen supplement contains 6g of collagen per serving. They utilize types 1 & 3 of collagen, and provide a keto-certified and gluten-free daily collagen supplement. Neocell uses hydrolyzed collagen that provides the body building blocks that aid in collagen formation.


According to their website, the suggested way of taking it is by dissolving and mixing it into your favorite beverages and taking it with an empty stomach. However, this format isn’t ideal for people who are on-the-go and have little time every morning to prepare a supplement.


Additionally, their product listing notes that this product may contain traces of sulfite residue - a chemical preservative.





Key differentiator: Healthy dose of Vitamin C


Pros:

  • Hydrolyzed collagen peptides

  • Contains daily dose of Vitamin C


Similar to the majority of collagen supplements in the market, Youtheory’s collagen capsules contains Vitamin C, which helps against the effects of aging and revitalizes skin, hair and nails.


This brand offers a gluten-free daily supplement, while using hydrolyzed collagen. Youtheory contains 6,000mg of collagen per serving, with 18 amino acids and highly absorbable peptides. However, adults require taking 6 capsules per day to ensure optimum daily collagen intake.


Customer feedback shows that this can get quite tedious. This is also not recommendable for those who have a hard time swallowing or taking supplements in pill or capsule format.




 

Buying The Best Collagen Supplement in the Philippines


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

30 Sachets



  • 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



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