If you are up to date when it comes to health and beauty news, chances are you've heard of collagen supplements.
Everywhere I go I hear about collagen lately. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, well, I'm here to get you up to speed!
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body (and in all mammals' bodies too). This protein is very hardworking and has many vital functions – from strengthening our bones to providing our skin with structure.
It's literally the glue that keeps us together – our bones, blood vessels, cartilage, and skin.
It is so crucial that no wonder people try all kinds of ways to bring in some more into their bodies.
The older we grow, the less precious collagen our body starts to produce. And hence all the collagen products out there.
Many skin care products are marketed to contain collagen. However, most collagen molecules are too big to penetrate the skin. So, they tend to sit on the surface until we wash them off. Some products have collagen broken into smaller fragments. These do penetrate the skin but are too small to have any effect.
Another hard-marketed way to get some collagen goodness is collagen peptides powder. I hear people raving about these peptides, and honestly — I've had it!
Do a quick search on Amazon for "collagen peptides," and you will find tablets, capsules, and powders — both flavored and unflavored. The question is: which one should you choose? My answer: none, and in this post, I'll tell you why.
If you are ready to find out why everybody is wrong about taking collagen peptides and what you should be doing instead, read on.
First Things First: What Exactly Is Collagen And How Does Our Body Make It?
As mentioned above, collagen is a crucial protein in our bodies. Collagen in our body is made up of amino acid chains. It makes up 30% of the protein in our body and 90% in our skin. It ensures the integrity, elasticity, and strength of our body's connective tissues. Because of this, collagen maintains the form and function of our skin. An abundant supply of collagen leads to healthier and younger-looking skin.
Simply put, collagen is like that one Jenga block keeping the whole tower together. Pull it out, and everything will fall apart!
So, how does our body produce this oh-so-significant protein?
In truth, our body produces the needed amount of collagen on its own. The way our body produces collagen is by taking the "ingredients" from the food we eat. These ingredients are made up of vitamin C, zinc and copper, and protein. So, to help our body produce the most optimal amount of collagen, we need to load up on these ingredients with what we eat.
To illustrate the process, you can imagine that these vitamins, minerals, and proteins are the thin strands used to make ropes. Our body creates more thin strands until it has a full rope. But this rope alone is not collagen. Multiple ropes need to be designed and woven into a net. This net is our collagen.
Among the three crucial ingredients in creating collagen, vitamin C is the most critical.
Take, for example, the disease scurvy, which is characterized by vitamin C deficiency. Because of this deficiency, the body cannot create the "ropes" that make up the collagen "net." That is why people with scurvy have fragile blood vessels, tendons, and skin. This disease illustrates how the body cannot produce collagen without vitamin C.
What's The Deal With Collagen Supplements?
As we already found out, as we grow older, collagen production in our body slows down. In fact, when we reach the age of 20, we produce 1% less collagen each year.
With how essential collagen is, all kinds of ingestible forms of this protein have circulated the market — collagen supplements. One of those forms is the collagen peptides powder. It is said to be the most bioavailable form, which in plain English means that the powder is easy to absorb by the body.
The idea behind the collagen peptides (and other animal-derived collagen supplements) is that by taking animal collagen, you can replace the collagen levels in your body. For example, suppose you're 25 — meaning you've probably lost 5% of the collagen you would typically produce before 20. These animal-based collagen peptides are thought to replace that 5%.
Before debunking this, let me tell you what the problem with collagen peptides is.
Why Do You Need To Be Careful With Collagen Peptides?
There are some issues when it comes to these supplements.
Most collagen supplements you'll find in the market are animal-based.
These are sourced from chickens, cows, and fish.
Out of these three, bovine (cows) and marine (fish) sources are the most popular. Hooves, hides, bones, and scales are grounded up to make the supplements. As these are mostly by-products, there is a high chance that these ingredients can get contaminated in farm factories.
Contaminants And Drug-Resistance
In a study conducted by Consumer Wellness Center, eight popular bone broths and bone broth products (such as collagen supplements) were tested for the presence of contaminants. These contaminants include chemical pesticides, pharmaceuticals (like antibiotics), industrial chemicals, toxicological chemicals, and food additive chemicals. And did they find these contaminants? Yes.
As you can see from that list, none of these foreign and accidental "ingredients" are right for you. The amount found in the tested products may not seem a lot. But since collagen supplements are intended for daily intake, these contaminants will enter your body every day, too
Studies are still being conducted regarding the overall safety of these contaminants. But do take note that the antibiotics in these supplements, no matter how small in quantity, can contribute to antibiotic resistance, too.
When you become resistant to antibiotics, prescription drugs for when you get sick won't be effective.
Heavy Metals And Absorption
Dr. Mark Moyad, the director of preventive and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan, weighs in on the collagen supplement trend. He states his concern that harmful heavy metals like copper and arsenic can be found in collagen supplements. Along with this, process and powdered animal tissues tend to exude creatinine, which can be toxic in large doses.
In his book "The Supplement Handbook," Dr. Moyad remarks another issue regarding collagen supplements and their likelihood of absorption: "It's not at all clear that eating collagen increases your body's levels of it." Full-form collagen is tightly twisted and hard to break down during digestion. Plus, they are too large to enter the intestinal wall to have any effect.
Tackling The Root Cause
The main problem in taking animal-based collagen is that it doesn't confront the root cause of your collagen loss. It's like placing a pimple-patch over your pimples to suck out the gunk. But you don't try to know why you're getting pimples in the first place.
Then, What Collagen Supplements Should You Be Taking?
Despite the risks of taking animal-based collagen products, many still take supplements daily. Because despite the cons, they feel like the pros of collagen peptides are hard to pass up. For example, let's take a closer look at what drinking collagen peptide does to the skin.
As we found out earlier, older age means less collagen production. Since collagen is a significant component of our skin, less of it can mean wrinkled, dry, and sagging skin.
I admit — the idea of taking collagen supplements and achieving youthful skin is alluring. So the question is: is there an alternative to the animal-based collagen peptides lining the market shelves?
Fortunately, the answer is yes!
Vegan Collagen Builders
Animal-based collagen peptides are created to replace the collagen lost as we age.
From the discussion above on how collagen is made, it's clear that our body is capable of creating collagen. Therefore what our body needs is not collagen from animals to replace our collagen, but something that will boost our natural collagen production.
As we learned earlier, our body needs three things to produce collagen: vitamin C, minerals (zinc and copper), and protein. These three don't need come from animal ingredients. Many plants have all these three and are known to be collagen-promoting. From the name itself, vegan collagen builders help our body build its own collagen. They do not replace collagen but instead promote collagen production.
So, vegan collagen builders are good news for those of us who don't want to take the risk of contaminants or simply want to carry on the healthy vegan lifestyle. And take note, vegan collagen builders are made without any animal products in them, but that does not make them any less effective.
These builders actually work similarly to the food we consume that promotes collagen production. Leafy greens, chia seeds, and of course, citrus – when incorporated into our diet, will boost our collagen production. However, not all of us can include all the collagen promoting foods into our daily diet.
The good thing about vegan collagen builders is that they are the result of combining the best collagen promoting plants. In their powder form, getting your much-needed collagen boost is as simple as mixing it with your favorite drink. Many come in unflavored versions, which is ideal for incorporating in smoothies, meals, and my favorite — adding it to coffee.
Here are more benefits of vegan collagen peptides:
- Comes at a lower cost for consumers
- Lower risk of allergies
- Products are highly safe
The downside to vegan collagen builders is that only a handful of brands make them. But of course, by spreading the news and opting for vegan collagen, more brands are sure to produce them in no time!
You don't have to be vegan to opt for this type of collagen supplement. If you want to help your body build collagen consistently and thus have healthy and glowing skin, then vegan collagen is the way to go.
To help you get started, I highly recommend checking out Sun Warrior’s Collagen Building Protein Peptides.
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No Hooves, No Horns, No Hides
Sun warrior’s collagen builders are completely plant-based. To get that “shine from within,” their collagen builders contain the following ingredients:
- Organic brown rice peptides
- Organic pea protein (fermented)
- Organic leafy green blend
- Organic sea buckthorn
- Organic tremella mushroom
- Organic spirulina
- Organic Vitamin C
- Organic Biotin
- Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
- Trace Minerals
All of these plant-based ingredients work together to boost our collagen production. And the rows and rows of positive reviews speak for themselves, which goes to show how good and effective Sun Warrior’s collagen builder is. Many people report how they see great results from incorporating this product into their diet.
It’s also great to know that by choosing Sun Warrior’s collagen builders, you are supporting a brand that is responsive to their customers. Due to customer feedback, they have reduced the sweetness in their Collagen Builder and even come out with an unflavored option that allows you to be the flavorologist!
To Wrap It Up
Truth is, no matter how consistent we are with our routines, failing to prioritize a healthy lifestyle will hinder our journey towards great skin. Even if we bank on serums and essences for anti-aging, our skin will inevitably lose its efficiency in producing collagen.
To achieve healthy, hydrated, and supple skin, we must also opt for enriching our diets. Consistent skin care routine + healthy diet + anti-aging superpowered vegan collagen builder = dream skin!
Have you tried incorporating vegan collagen builders into your diet? Share your experiences in the comment section below! I always love hearing your thoughts.
Stay tuned and take skin care