Collagen: What Happened When I Tried the Latest Beauty Craze

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell

woman stirring collagen powder into her coffee

Have you tried collagen? I was intrigued by all of the things I was hearing and reading about this purported fountain of youth (And y’all know I always want to help you be SO in the KNOW! ????), so I decided to try it for myself! I’ve been using it for about six months, and I’m sharing my experience. I’m also giving you all the details on all the hype. We’re going to talk about what collagen is, why it supposedly works, and the benefits that people say it gives them when they use it.

woman stirring collagen powder into her coffee

Collagen: What is it?

On a fundamental level, collagen is the glue of the human body. It’s the stuff that holds us together! It makes up nearly 30% of the proteins in our body and can be found in our muscles, joints, nails, hair, and skin. It’s responsible for skin elasticity and regenerating connective tissues such as cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and bones. Collagen is created in our cells and combines with amino acids and peptides to provide support for the structural tissues throughout our body.

Collagen makes up about 75% of the dry weight of your skin, providing volume that keeps skin looking plump and keeps lines at bay. It’s also rich in the amino acids proline and glycine, which you need to maintain and repair your tendons, bones, and joints. Collagen in our body breaks down as we age, resulting in things like less flexibility in tendons and ligaments, loss of muscle tone, joint pain or osteoarthritis due to worn cartilage, and even gastrointestinal problems due to thinning of the lining in your digestive tract.

With regards to skin, collagen is well known as an injectable filler, but, it doesn’t last as long as other fillers, and for many people, it’s cost-prohibitive, seems overly invasive, and they’re worried about potential side effects like an allergic reaction, but it doesn’t last as long as other fillers and tends to prompt allergic reactions. It can be used topically, but, it doesn’t absorb well. Recently, people have been ingesting it, either in foods like bone broth or in the form of supplements.

woman stirring collagen powder into her coffee

Collagen: What’s the Science?

Although many of the studies done so far on collagen are small and partially funded by industry, the results are impressive.

In one recent study, women who took collagen supplements for eight weeks experienced less skin dryness and a significant increase in skin elasticity compared to those who did not receive the supplements. Another study found that women who mixed with a collagen supplement into a daily beverage for 12 weeks experienced increased skin hydration and a significant reduction in wrinkle depth compared to those who did not take it. Collagen supplements stimulate your body to produce collagen on its own. Since collagen can be difficult to absorb, all of the subjects in these studies were given hydrolyzed collagen. (More on that later.)

collagen powder and coffee mug on white marble background

Similar “Blessed” Coffee Mug | Physician’s Choice Collagen Peptides

Collagen: How to Get it

Your body can make collagen naturally, but adequate absorption may pose a challenge because several bioavailability agents must be in place for your body to synthesize it properly. Collagen in food must be broken down into individual amino acids and peptides by digestive enzymes in order to be absorbed well.

Collagen-Boosting Foods

For your body to produce collagen, foods must combine:

  • Amino acids—found in protein-rich foods, like beef, chicken, fish, beans, eggs and dairy products
  • Vitamin C—found in citrus fruits, red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, and greens
  • Minerals found in meats, shellfish, nuts, whole grains and beans

The most popular and widely-recommended collagen-boosting food is bone broth, made by drawing collagen out of beef, chicken or fish bones. (Collagen is a good source of protein, with more protein per calorie than other sources while containing less sodium and sugar. ) It’s important to note that there haven’t been any human studies on whether collagen-rich foods have the same benefits as supplements.

Collagen Supplementation

The collagen in supplements has already been broken down, or hydrolyzed, which is why it is thought to be absorbed more efficiently than the collagen in foods.

If you are interested in trying collagen, it’s essential to choose wisely, since dietary supplements are not regulated as rigorously as drugs. To be blunt, collagen supplements are made from ground-up fish, chicken, pig, and cow parts, so you want to look for companies that get their bones and tissues from cage-free, free-range, and antibiotic-free sources. You also want to look for a trusted brand that puts a high value on transparency and quality. Also, because of the innate absorption issue with collagen, you want to be sure to choose hydrolyzed collagen peptides. I chose a powder that also adds digestive enzymes for enhanced absorption since aging can affect absorption efficiency, and since I already have gastrointestinal issues.

woman drinking coffee with collagen powder in it

Collagen: My Experience

After hearing several friends rave about it, I decided way back in January to try collagen myself! I wanted to use it long enough that I could share an honest review with you all, so that’s why I’m just now sharing my thoughts.

I started researching quality products and finally settled on Physician’s Choice Collagen Peptides. I love that it’s formulated with digestive enzymes and the amino acids necessary collagen for superior absorption. It’s one of the purest products that I could find on the market. (More on that HERE.) I also liked that I could get the product right on Amazon, making it easy to add to an existing order. I ended up adding it to my Amazon Prime “Subscribe and Save” items, so I get automatic delivery right when I’m about to run out, and I save an additional 15%! (For more on the Amazon Prime benefits you may not even know you have, click HERE.)

I opted for a powder collagen supplement (7 gm./serving) rather than a pill because to get the amount of collagen you need into pill form, the pills are large, and you have to take a lot more than one. Also, you have to take them on an empty stomach. The powder is convenient, and I stir it into my morning tea. (Also, since collagen is such a good source of protein, it satisfies my morning hunger and gives me energy for my workout.) Most powders will arrive with a handy scoop so you can be sure you’re getting the perfect dose.

The Cons:

Some people find that the taste of certain powders is too noticeable for them to add to food. I do notice a slight taste, but I think that’s mostly because I’m stirring it into tea. My friends who add it to coffee or breakfast smoothies say they don’t notice a thing. The taste isn’t enough to dissuade me from taking it.

The Pros:

The studies I cited above all gave collagen 4-8 weeks to work, so that’s what I did. But honestly, I started noticing benefits way before then! Even after a few weeks, I noticed more elasticity in my skin and an improvement in my joint pain. I also noticed that my nails were stronger. (My regular manicurist saw it too—before I even said a word!)

After about eight weeks, I noticed that my hair was growing faster and thicker than it had in a long time! This was huge for me because hair loss not only comes with menopause and aging, but it’s a side effect of my auto-immune disease as well. Even my hairstylist noticed!

Also (and I was not at all looking for this!), I found an improvement in the cellulite on the back of my thighs! When I started noticing it, I researched it and actually found a 2015 study in which 105 women, ages 24 to 50, took collagen peptides for six months. Those who did demonstrated a definite improvement in skin texture and bumpiness!

It’s important to know that this post is not sponsored and I’m so not an expert. No one knew I was using collagen except Bob. (And he didn’t care! ????) I just wanted to try it and share my honest experience with y’all. I was as surprised as anyone that this little research experiment made me a believer.

Have you tried collagen? Did you notice a difference in your skin, hair, nails, or other things? I’d love to know!

woman stirring collagen powder into her coffee

LILLY PULITZER Reversible Top | Mid-Rise 5″ Blush Denim Shorts | Similar Blush Python Belt | MARLEY LILLY White Acrylic Monogram Necklace | NORDSTROM Faux Pearl Earrings | APPLE Pink Watch | Similar Blessed Coffee Mug | Physician’s Choice Collagen Peptides

I know y’all are sick of me talking about this machine washable, reversible top that comes in a boatload of colors and patterns! (Click HERE to see them all.) My white one is traveling with me on all of my summer getaways this summer because it’s such a versatile piece! I paired it here with inexpensive blush shorts and pulled them together with a blush-tinted python belt. My acrylic monogram necklace is one of those pieces that people ask me about all the time! It’s a classic, for sure.

Blessings,

 

 

 

Photos by Megan Weaver.

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Suzy Mighell

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28 Comments

  1. I noticed after a week that my skin had more elasticity. My nails were always weak, but with collagen, they are stronger. My hair has a life of its own but it’s staying on my head so that’s good. But I love the benefits to the skin the most. I tell all my friends over 50 to add collagen to their diets as it is a game changer. I also use the powder and place a scoop in my tea daily. If I’m traveling, I take the chews as it is easier to pack. Pretty much I can use any powdered brand, so I get whatever is on sale from a health food store. Currently, I’m using the Costco brand since that is the most cost-effective – lasting for 6 months.
    I approve this post!!!!! 🙂

    1. Nylse,
      I’m so glad you share my experience! Amazing, isn’t it? xoxo Suzy

    2. I bought the Costco brand, as well. I haven’t been using it every day, religiously, but have been using it for a few months now. I have not noticed a difference yet. Nails still chipping, still having skin issues, etc. But the Costco brand is only 2.5g serving. It is hydrolyzed, but doesn’t have the digestive enzyme blend. Now I’m wondering if I should use more than 1 scoop of this brand? May switch over to a different brand when this runs out. Thanks for any advice you can give.

      1. Sheri,
        I’m not an nutritional expert, for sure, but I DID do my research well. I really believe the product I’m recommending is superior. Because nutritional supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, they can literally say anythng! This one has the certification, stamps of approval and corporate commitment to excellence that I was looking for! (Also, when my friend, Wendy (her comment above) endorses it, that means something, because she found the product independently of me and she IS a certified dietician and nutritionist!)
        xoxo Suzy

    1. Carol,
      I take biotin supplements too and I’ve been using them at the same time. Still, you might want to check with your doctor. I just did a cursory Google search (“is it safe to use biotin and collagen at the same time”) and there were a few articles that came up, so that might be a good place to start! xoxo Suzy

  2. Wouldn’t you know I was researching collagen last night for several hours and prayed and asked the Lord to show me which one was best. The one you recommend met all the standards I had researched, so I just ordered it! Thanks for being an answer to prayer, Suzy!

    1. Wendy,
      Oh, my word, you made my day!!! It’s not often that I’m an answer to prayer, so I’m so excited!!! (Hahaha!) Our God is so good, right? xoxo Suzy

  3. I’m fascinated Suzy! Thanks for doing all the leg work as always. I have terrible weak nails as well as the typical hair loss. I once had a super thick head of hair.

    I did notice briefly on IG you mentioned damage at your home while away. I haven’t had the opportunity to really look for it and read, but wanted you to know I’ve been thinking about you and hope things are better.

    <3<3
    Nancy

    1. Nancy,
      Well, you are just the sweetest! Thank you! We got back to a fridge and freezer full of ruined food, which we tossed. The best thing was that it exposed the giant need for a thorough fridge cleaning! (Hahaha!) We did have one of our chimney caps ripped clean off and the remnants were all over our yard. That’s all, though, so we are so very thankful!
      Let me know what you think if you try the collagen!
      xoxo Suzy

      1. So glad to hear that the loss was minimal. This weather has been crazy all over. Memorial Day we had 20 tornadoes in Ohio and this past Saturday we were in our basement again.

        I will definitely let you know my thoughts on the collagen!

        Take are Suzy!

        1. Nancy,
          I agree! The weather has been crazy this year! Stay safe! xoxo Suzy

          1. We visited our sons in Fort Worth last weekend and had the crazy experience of witnessing the rotating clouds and roaring wind noise of a tornado forming as we were winding up a Father’s Day expedition at Top Golf! I’ve never seen anything like it, and thankfully it didn’t hit our location (although, as you probably know, other areas of Fort Worth weren’t so fortunate). I’m afraid this experience didn’t help my motherly concerns for my sons’ safety, but I can only keep praying since it’s not in my control.

            So glad all is well at your home … let’s pray this intense weather streak comes to an end! You’ve intrigued me with these facts about collagen, and I’m considering whether to give it a try despite following a mostly plant-based diet — the benefits are super compelling, especially regarding my thinning hair. Thanks much for the great info!

          2. Lauren,
            Thank you so much for your concern, and I’m so happy you are okay! It was pretty scary!
            Yep, the thinning hair was a huge part of why I wanted to try it too! I’ve taken biotin for years, but this is what really made the difference for me. I’ll look forward to hearing what you decide and your thoughts if you do give it a try!
            Thank you for your comment!
            xoxo Suzy

    1. Hi Heather!
      Yes, that’s the recommended dosage. Thanks for your good question! xoxo Suzy

  4. Thanks for your post on the Collagen Peptides. I’ve been thinking about trying this for awhile….so thanks to you, I am. Hope they help my hair and nails!!
    Christie B

    1. Christie,
      I am so glad you found the post helpful! I hope you have great results, like I did! xoxo Suzy

    1. Suzana,
      I’ve seen that in the stores! I chose a supplement powder that was hydro lizard and that I thought was high quality because there are absorption problems with the other types. So be sure to check the label before you buy! Lots of people just add this to their coffee! Thank you for your comment! xoxo Suzy

  5. Oh I LOVE this article! You inspire me to be more regular with the one I bought several months ago and only used occasionally! Yours seems great and such a good price too????Thanks for this info!

    1. Jenn,
      Oh, yay! Be sure it’s hydrolized and safe! Love you!
      xoxo Suzy

  6. Suzy,
    This is a good example why I follow you and enjoy your blog so much! It is filled with a nice variety of topics, along with your cute outfits. And, the research and thought are obvious that go into your posts, ESPECIALLY when you are unsponsored! (which convinces me far more!) On the advice of a good friend who said it helped her nails tremendously, I began using collagen a couple of weeks ago b/c my nails were splitting and chipping so badly, even long after winter. I am anxious to see the results as mine are beginning to grow out. Thank you again for such a good, info packed post!

    1. Martha,
      Well, you are just so kind, thank you! That’s why I am SO picky about sponsored posts and don’t do them very often! The money is good, but I feel like y’all trust is my true currency!
      I’m so glad you found the post helpful! Give the collagen time to work, and let me know what you think, okay?
      Thanks again for your sweet comment!
      xoxo Suzy

  7. I’m so glad to hear that you really noticed a difference after taking the collagen. I add it to my smoothies but I’ve been pretty terrible about drinking the smoothies regularly. I’ve got to get back on the wagon with that and see if I notice the difference

    1. Julie,
      Yes, I do think you have to be consistent! I hope you have good results! Thanks for your comment! xoxo Suzy

  8. Yes, I have been using this in my coffee for 8 months and it’s amazing. My joint pain is substantially improved. My hair is softer and growing faster than ever before. I feel better over all. I love it!

    1. Kathy,
      So glad to hear that your results have been so wonderful! Thank you for letting me know!
      xoxo Suzy

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