If you’ve spent any time in the beauty and health industry lately, it seems like collagen is the word on everyone’s lips. Ingestible beauty aids (pills that make you look and feel great) are a booming business, after all. In an industry prone to ‘buzzwords’ and fads, it’s hard to know what’s really worth adding to your health regime. So is it all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s take a closer look…

The allure of (easy) internal beauty

Let’s face it – the idea you can just pop a pill and look years younger is an alluring one. Collagen is the main component of our skin, responsible for the elasticity that keeps skin taut, and the primary factor responsible for keeping a smooth, plump complexion. As we age, we generate less and less collagen, and this contributes to wrinkling and sagging over time. Collagen also has a vital role to play in joint, nail, and hair health, too.

While there is some clinical evidence to support collagen supplementation, that doesn’t mean all ‘supplements’ are created equally. Where there’s a demand, someone is offering a sub-par product to capitalise on it. It’s important to understand what to look for, to ensure you don’t get ripped off and end up buying a poor quality product.

What’s in the pill?

Most collagen supplements, whether in pill, powder, or drink form, use either marine collagen (from fish) or animal collagen (from the pork and beef industries). There are also so-called ‘vegan’ supplements, but these aren’t quite the same thing.

Collagen is derived from animal bones and connective tissue, you see. So technically, there’s no actual way for it to be ‘vegan’. Vegan versions are being produced through genetically modified bacteria and yeast forms to deliver the same amino acids.

That, after all, is what collagen is- a specific string of amino acids used to make healthy hair, firm skin, creak-less joints, and strong nails. If you’re science smart (like we know you are) you’ll notice that means collagen is (technically) nothing but protein. But it’s definitely tricky to eat enough to be able to get enough in your diet without additional supplementation.

Do I need a collagen supplement?

If you are already eating a diet rich in protein, you’re already taking in everything you need to help maintain sleek hair and wrinkle-free skin. The problem is, of course, that many of us are not doing that. Many people don’t meet even the conservative recommended daily minimum protein intake, let alone one with enough surplus for ensuring we look our best!

So would another protein supplement work just as well? Collagen has the benefit of providing the exact ‘building blocks’, in the exact form, that is used in the skin. The body has to do very little work to yield maximum results. So while other proteins might work, collagen does it significantly better. 

So what’s the verdict? Collagen is a high-quality, easily usable protein that the body can immediately utilize to boost your skin, connective tissues, nails, and hair. You can opt for a convenient pill or powder supplement, or take a different route through collagen-rich bone broths. Although the science is still in its infancy, many people report fantastic results from collagen supplementation, and if you’re looking for a little extra insurance against Father Time, collagen is safe and good for you. So what’s not to love?