One of the most common things you can find in the health and beauty industry is collagen. If you don’t know, collagen plays many essential roles in the body from keeping your gut healthy to helping with your bone health. However, collagen is most popular in maintaining the elasticity of the skin. Nowadays, there’s a new wave of collagen drinks, which brings up the question – do they really work in making you look younger?
What Are Collagen Drinks?
Collagen-infused drinks come in many different forms. However, the most popular is the powdered collagen supplements.
This type of supplements usually comes with hydrolysed collagen. This means that the collagen is broken down into tiny units. The advantage of this is it can dissolve in cold or hot liquids, which makes the supplements a great addition to your smoothie, coffee, tea or even soup.
Another advantage of the hydrolysed collagen is it’s easier to absorb by the body. Keep in mind that collagen is a fibrous protein, which makes it tougher to deal with. However, when collagen comes in a hydrolysed form, it’s a lot easier for the body to make use of.
There are studies that suggest that within six hours, 95% of the collagen that’s in the bloodstream has reached the dermis.
On the other hand, collagen tablets and pills have around 20% to 30% absorption rate. Also, it may take 40 minutes for the body just to break down the collagen, and only then it starts to enter the bloodstream.
Another advantage of hydrolised powdered collagen is bioavailability which means it remains stable within the liquid for about 30 minutes. Once the collagen powder hits the water, you have half an hour to take advantage of it. Collagen is difficult to remain stable in water, which is why drinks that are pre-formulated are not advisable as it’s unlikely that the collagen is still bioactive.
Do They Work?
Here’s the thing. collagen-infused drinks are still relatively new. While it’s true that there are studies that suggest they work, they aren’t conclusive enough yet. To make the matters more challenging, there are not enough clinical trials out there.
Testing is also difficult as it’s hard to differentiate the results and make sure you aren’t getting a diluted outcome due to other factors such as lifestyle choices (e.g., drinking alcohol, smoking), normal hormone fluctuations, stress, and sunlight exposure.
Another concern with hydrolised powdered collagen is targeting issues. This means that you can’t tell the body to use the collagen on the hands, neck, and face where signs of ageing typically show up.
Hence, the response to the original question is – “the jury is still out.”
How to Make Them Work
While this article is taking the stance of “may work, but no conclusive evidence yet,” this doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of them. Just like weight loss, you can’t drink pills and expect to lose weight without doing exercise and changing your lifestyle. In other words, if you want to use collagen drinks, then it’s best to combine them with other efforts to make them effective.
For example, you can consume more foods and vitamins that will have a direct or indirect impact on collagen production. There are known ingredients that will help stimulate the body to produce collagen. It’s a different route than just simply taking collagen.
Vitamin C is also a great pair to collagen. Researchers often refer to it as the Vitamin C and collagen cross-linking. Basically, the two will form a sort of mesh, which then lifts and makes the skin plump. Furthermore, an orange drink packed with vitamin C is all you need, and it won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
You can also make efforts to minimise the damage done to your skin. For example, you can stay away from direct sunlight as much as possible if you aren’t wearing sunscreen. You can also feast on strawberries, maqui berries, raspberries and blueberries which are rich in anthocyanidins and polyphenols. These are potent antioxidants that will help with the reduction of free radicals in the skin.