Today, collagen supplements are generating buzz in the beauty industry, thanks to the various skin care benefits they provide, from suppler, smoother, and younger skin to stronger nails and hair. In the orthopedic field, where collagen has long been used for improving joints and one’s mobility, its purported effect on skin and nails has since been traditionally popular.
Advancements in beauty have paved the way for over-the-counter collagen you can consume as conveniently and safely as your usual multivitamin, because first, it is naturally found in the body anyway, and second, the body can synthesize it. The best part? It works. Here, Dr. Vicki Belo gives us the lowdown on collagen supplements and why they may just be the elixir of life.
WHAT IS COLLAGEN?
"Collagen is the most prominent protein in the body. It is the anchor of connective tissues that support the structure of the skin," says the dermatologist. 75% of our skin is made up of collagen, and it is the second most abundant substance in our body next to water. Our skin, too, is composed of 75% of it. As babies, our collagen levels are at the optimum level of 100 percent. At age 30, we have 20% less collagen; at 40, 40% less; and at 50, our body's collagen supply is tapered off by half. Of course that is if we don't do anything about it.
"As we age, we produce less amounts of it, making the skin lose its firmness and elasticity. Its loss is also attributed to sun exposure, pollution, free-radicals. The good thing is that you can replace lost collagen and help your own body to produce it through supplementation."
"Collagen is not commonly found in our regular diet," adds Dr. Vicki. So we can eat as much chicken or fruits as we want and still not get enough to restore the skin elasticity and smooth out lines. "The only way to increase collagen in our bodies is by supplementation," she explains. "The best supplementation is marine collagen, which has been hydrolyzed (it can be absorbed and utilized by the body) or pre-digested."
See, collagen must be delivered in molecules small enough to be used by the body for skin rejuvenation. Otherwise, we will just excrete them, as what happens when we eat even popular collagen-rich food. Belo Nutraceuticals Collagen Powder Drink (P1592.50 for 14 sachets, Lazada) addresses precisely that, being hydrolyzed and providing enough doses necessary to improve overall skin quality. As much as 95% of the collagen we drink through this innovative product gets absorbed by the body. What’s more, each sachet also contains hyaluronic acid, a powerful antioxidant that keeps skin moisturized and hydrated and "plays a key role in cushioning and lubricating the body."
Also, sachet of Belo's collagen powder contains Type I collagen, which is the most abundant in the skin and bones, and mainly used in food supplement products. "We can't stress enough the importance of choosing quality collagen as it matters immensely not only in safety but in yielding results," impressed Dr. Vicki. As for her brand of collagen powder, "it is marine-sourced, from a careful selection of fish, and undergoes a highly-refined process to produce a purer product of the highest quality," she assures. "Fish collagen peptides have been shown to possess antioxidant activity and improve water-absorbing and -holding capacity. It also has been known to effectively repress skin damage caused by UVB rays and helps maintain skin smoothness."
HOW TO USE COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTS
5000 mg is an accepted dose of daily collagen supplementation. "There is no RDA (recommended daily allowance) for collagen for skin health because the body can synthesize it," says the doctor. "Taking it even before the recommended age of 25 may help prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles at a later age. Two sachets daily (we mix it with our morning coffee and our soup in the evening) are enough to increase collagen levels. In as quick as two weeks, we’ve already noticed significant skin suppleness and smoothness."
This article originally appeared in Preview Magazine's July 2015 issue.