Juvea Asks: Do Collagen Supplements Work?
Responsible for joint health and skin elasticity, collagen makes up not only three quarters of your skin, but a third of the protein in your entire body. As you get older, your existing collagen breaks down and it becomes harder for your body to produce more of it. We lose about 1% of our collagen per year in our mid-20s, and women lose as much as 30% during the first 5 years of menopause. The result? Lines, wrinkles and skin sagging. Oh, and more lines. Hooray…
As a result of these dropping levels, people have turned to collagen supplements to boost their levels and turn back the clock; but are these supplements really the answer to our prayers or are they a bit of a hoax? Today, we’ll look at the collagen supplement business, where collagen supplements come from and the risks and rewards associated with adding them to your diet; to help you decide whether or not to hit ‘Add to Basket’ on Amazon.
The Collagen Supplement Industry
From Kate Hudson to Kourtney Kardashian, collagen supplements have a lot of A-List fans. Whizzing up collagen powder in a post-workout smoothie, taking a collagen tablet every morning, or sipping on a collagen peptide drink in the morning; these celebs attribute their healthy joints and glowing skin to these supplements.
This kind of endorsement has had a huge impact – the global collagen supplement market was valued at a whopping $1,827.6 million in 2019 and is expected to grow to $3,017.6 million by 2027. Clearly, this is big business.
What are Collagen Supplements Made From?
Well, there’s no nice way to say this – it mainly comes from animal bits. Bones, connective tissue, skin, hooves; all are rich sources of collagen. These ‘bits’ tend to be sourced from cows, pigs, fish and chicken; although vegan collagen has shot up in popularity as more people move to a plant based diet.
Risks of Collagen Supplements
Animal-sourced collagen comes with some ethical dilemmas for welfare-conscious consumers – often the supply chain isn’t easy to determine, so we can never be 100% sure of the welfare of the animals that went towards making the collagen. We also have to remember that in addition to being a great source of collagen; bones, hooves and hides are also sponges for chemical nasties. A survey of 14 of the most popular collagen supplements found that one contained high levels of cadmium, a heavy metal that can cause lung disease, anemia and kidney failure – not exactly what you want to put in your morning coffee.
Some collagen supplement providers are open about their supply chain, which is great news for eco-friendly consumers, and with companies like Jellatech investigating cell-based collagen, the need for animals in the collagen supplement industry may soon be a thing of the past.
Do Collagen Supplements Really Work?
The real question remains, then – do collagen supplements really work? Well, on one hand there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence from consumers who state that they have experienced benefits from regular collagen supplements; along with small research projects which found that collagen supplements led to an improvement in skin elasticity. On the other hand, a study of 69 women probably shouldn’t be translated to a resounding yes, much of the research was commissioned by the collagen supplement industry, and in a lot of the anecdotal cases, adding a collagen supplement wasn’t the only healthy lifestyle change made and was often accompanied by improved diet and exercise.
All in all, although the results proven so far are really encouraging, we feel that the jury is still out on whether collagen supplements work. A large-scale independent study is needed to give us an answer either way. If you’re determined to try collagen supplements in the meantime, do your research, find an ethical supplier, check out reviews, and let us know how it goes!