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Collagen: What it is and what is the best supplement

by Maria Kirmanidou, Dietitian & Sport Nutritionist

16 May 2024 • 0 min read

What is collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant building block in the body, supporting the health of not only our skin - as many of you will have heard - but also the healthy structure of bones, joints & tendons. In fact, it is one of the most abundant proteins in the human body, supporting the body internally and externally. The quality of our skin - which is the largest organ in the human body - is closely linked to endogenous collagen production. There are several types of collagen, with type I being the predominant type of collagen on the skin and type II making up about 90-95% of the total collagen, present in connective tissue.

Skin and collagen

The skin is made up of many layers, the main ones being the epidermis and dermis (or dermis). The epidermis is the outer - visible - layer of our skin and the dermis is the inner layer. The dermis is where endogenous collagen production takes place, the most important component - along with elastin & hyaluronic acid - that keeps our skin firm and hydrated. However, newer scientific evidence shows that endogenous collagen production declines with age. And this is the main reason why our skin gradually "loses" its youthful firmness and elasticity, resulting in the inevitable appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Reduced collagen production, which is directly linked to the aging process, is affected by a number of factors, such as:

  • Our continued exposure to air pollutants and solar radiation
  • Bad eating habits
  • Tobacco use
  • The improper use of cosmetics and skincare products.

Collagen and Joints

As mentioned above, collagen is a structural component of connective tissue. It is found in muscles, joints, bones, tendons and cartilage. As we grow old, not only the endogenous production of type I collagen in the epidermis decreases, but also type II collagen in osteoarticular tissues. Reduced endogenous production of type II collagen appears to be associated with a progressive loss of resilience, flexibility and mobility of these tissues.

Collagen supplements. Are they worth it?

The multifaceted nature of collagen has transformed it into one of the most famous ingredients, not only in skincare products, but also in the world of nutritional supplements. But is it worth trying a collagen supplement? And if so, in what form? Liquid collagen, collagen in a tablet or collagen powder?
Collagen, used in supplements, comes from a variety of sources, such as bovine, fish, eggshell or free-range chicken, with the most famous sources being the first two. Bovine and marine collagen are among the most bioavailable and therefore most absorbable sources of collagen, with marine collagen being superior, especially in types I & III (skin) collagen content. The effectiveness of a collagen supplement depends on:

  • The source
  • The time frame, that is being used
  • Its dosage
Numerous studies have noted promising data both in terms of improving skin texture and reducing the appearance of wrinkles, as well as in terms of rebuilding and supporting stressed osteoarticular tissue, and improving bone density and muscle mass.

Yes, you're right about all that. But which one should I choose?

There are many options in collagen supplements. Collagen in a tablet, liquid collagen, collagen powder, etc. The absorption rate depends on the origin of collagen (bovine, marine, etc) and not on the form. The different forms exist to serve different needs. So, we should all focus on choosing the right collagen supplement that serves our needs, in the right dosage and in the form. Holland & Barrett provides a variety of collagen supplements in different forms and in different dosages. So, if you want to:

  • Improve the texture of your skin.
  • Reduce the appearance of wrinkles & fine lines.
  • Effectively treat hair loss. can choose bovine and marine collagen supplements, from 0.5 - 5g, in any form that suits you, tablet, liquid or powder. In addition, Holland & Barrett's Expert range features products containing the clinically studied form of Verisol collagen, which are combined with ingredients such as vitamin C, zinc and/or hyaluronic acid for maximum absorption and efficiency. In addition, regarding the connective tissue, we are directed to dosages >2.5g. We should point out that the supplementation of collagen peptides, in doses of 5-20g, according to recent studies, demonstrates very positive results in terms of pain and inflammation reduction. So in addition to supporting skin health, consider supplementing collagen, in case of:

  • Osteoarthritis, chondropathy or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Recent injury.
  • Being an athlete, who needs extra support in muscle recovery.
  • Osteopenia/osteoporosis.
It should be noted that the use of the supplement should be consistent and for at least 60 - 90 days in order to see the desired results.

In conclusion, collagen supplementation, in both men and women, is considered a safe and effective way to support a wide and broad range of needs, such as improving skin and hair health, as well as contributing to a more flexible and stronger connective tissue, offering an effective solution to people with osteoarticular comorbidities, thus improving their quality of life.

Scientific references

Bolke, L., Schlippe, G., Gerß, J., & Voss, W. (2019). A collagen supplement improves skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density: Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, blind study. Nutrients, 11(10), 2494.

Campos, L. D., Junior, V. D. A. S., Pimentel, J. D., Carregã, G. L. F., & Cazarin, C. B. B. (2023). Collagen supplementation in skin and orthopedic diseases: A review of the literature. Heliyon.

de Miranda, R. B., Weimer, P., & Rossi, R. C. (2021). Effects of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on skin aging: a systematic review and meta‐analysis. International Journal of Dermatology, 60(12), 1449-1461.

Pu, S. Y., Huang, Y. L., Pu, C. M., Kang, Y. N., Hoang, K. D., Chen, K. H., & Chen, C. (2023). Effects of Oral Collagen for Skin Anti-Aging: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients, 15(9), 2080.

Supplements with Collagen

Natures Plus Collagen Peptides 294g

by [Nature's Plus]