Collagen helps hold us together, as it is a structural protein contained throughout the human body, and the main component of connective tissue. It aids in the building and support of bones, joints and skin. The skin’s dermal layer, just below the external epidermis, is made up of more than 70% collagen which helps maintain its structure and strength, contributing to skin fullness and elasticity. We naturally produce collagen, but that production decreases as we age, leading to thinner, drier skin. Sadly, the gradual decrease begins in our late 20s. Happily, there are measures you can take to promote dermal collagen and increase its thickness.
Supplementing with collagen has gained popularity as most of us no longer consume a collagen-rich diet of organ meats, bone broth, or the skins of chicken, fish, and other animal products. It was previously believed that supplementing with collagen was not beneficial as it is simply degraded to amino acids, just like all other proteins. But recent scientific evidence has demonstrated that collagen is broken down into fragments, or peptides, that resist digestion and make their way intact to various parts of the body such as the dermal layer of skin and joint cartilage. Once there, collagen peptides exert benefits such as stimulation of fibroblast cells that produce more collagen and hyaluronic acid, as well as acting as an antioxidant to inhibit enzymes that degrade collagen: more collagen production, less collagen breakdown. Collagen peptides therefore stimulate their own production and inhibits its own degradation.
Marine collagen hydrolysates are sourced from fish. Bovine collagen is sourced from cows and porcine collagen is sourced from pigs. Studies have shown that the peptides from marine collagen are better absorbed and generate higher concentrations of the peptides that increase dermal collagen synthesis, so less is needed to obtain benefits such as smoother skin. By requiring smaller amounts, it provides the option of supplementation with capsules and avoids the necessity of powders.
Ingestible beauty can often be enhanced with topical applications, but this is not the case for topical collagen. For a topical to be effective, it must be the right molecular structure and size for absorption. The molecular weight of collagen (without digestion to peptides) is too large to be absorbed.
Human clinical trials of marine collagen hydrolysates have shown benefits such as increase in dermal thickness, skin elasticity, and skin moisture, along with reduction of wrinkle depth and smoother skin appearance. In addition to the visible benefits of collagen supplementation, human clinical trials have suggested that there are other benefits, such as supporting joint health & blood pressure that is already in normal range. Everyone is beautifully unique but, typically, visible skin benefits are experienced within 8-12 weeks of beginning supplementation, with continued improvement with consistent supplementation.