Collagen supplements are said to give you bouncy, glowing skin. But, do they work?
Collagen supplements are not new. They’ve been around for more than 10 years and yet, a lot of research and experts declare insufficient evidence about whether those supplements benefit the skin. Well, it’s time to come to a conclusion on this.
First of all, what is collagen?
It is the main structural protein found in skin and other connective tissues, and is one of the major building blocks of bones, skin and muscles. Collagen is also found in blood vessels, corneas and teeth.
In food, collagen can be found in bone broth, meats like chicken, fish and pork, and products with added gelatine like gummy sweets and puddings. The collagen in supplements are usually extracted from piscine (fish), bovine (cow) or porcine (pig) sources, so check the source if you have allergies or dietary restrictions.
To get down to the real benefits of collagen supplements, we asked Chan Joy Seng, director and nutritionist at Alive Nutrition Consultancy. “Much of the research on the benefits of collagen has focused on its potential for improving joint health,” he says. “Oral collagen has been shown to reduce exercise-related joint pain in some small trials. Multiple small studies have also tested the efficacy for treatment of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis with promising results.”
Complexion wise, growing research suggests that collagen consumption has a positive effect on skin health. One trial found that daily oral supplementation with fish collagen resulted in a significant improvement in skin elasticity, while another small trial found that supplementation with collagen peptides for eight weeks significantly improved skin hydration and increased collagen density in the skin, while also reducing collagen fragmentation in the skin.
New-in-Singapore health supplement brand Olly by Unilever is making waves with products in the form of delicious gummies. The US brand has a supplement called Glowing Skin, which has collagen as one of the main ingredients.
According to senior R&D manager Sudarshana Purkayastha at Unilever, once collagen is ingested and reaches the gut, digestive enzymes break it down into smaller peptides and amino acids, making it more bioavailable for easy absorption.
Furthermore, research published in Nutrients journal found that collagen in supplements breaks down and is absorbed more efficiently than the collagen from the food we eat. And this collagen has various beneficial effects primarily on skin, nails, hair, bone and joint health.
Weighing these facts, we gather that taking collagen supplements is similar to taking vitamin supplements — there are general benefits but no one can say how long the benefits will last or accurately measure how significant the improvements are, mainly because the results vary among individuals, depending on their state of health as well as variable factors such as hormones, stress level, diet and lifestyle.
Keen to give them a go? These supplements may just give your skin the boost it needs.
Kinohimitsu Collagen Diamond 5300 Drink
$69.90 for 50ml x 16 bottles, from sg.kinohimitsu.com
With 5,300mg of collagen peptide from premium-grade Japan marine collagen, this supplement is specifically designed for mature skin to restore its youthfulness, resilience and radiance. The collagen peptide boasts a shorter molecular structure and is almost similar to the structure of collagen in skin, making it easily absorbed and supposedly better utilised to improve skin.
Laneige Youth Collagen Drink
$54 for 25ml x 10 bottles, from Laneige counters and stores
This all-rounded supplement has fish collagen peptides from tilapia to replenish collagen in your body and skin, pomegranate and red orange extract for a vitamin C boost, and GABA, an amino acid from green tea to relieve stress and aid in sleep. It promises a glowy, translucent complexion, improved skin elasticity and moisture levels as well as an improved sense of well-being.
AFC Collagen Beauty MCP-EX
$43.30 for 300mg x 270 caplets, available at Watsons and Unity Pharmacies
Promising improved hydration, natural skin firmness and luminosity, this supplement features marine collagen peptides, shark cartilage and vitamin C to hydrate skin and restore its elasticity and firmness for a supple appearance. It also supports cartilage, joint and bone health.
BRAND’S® Innershine® RubyCollagen Essence
$62.90 for 50ml x 12 bottles, available at major supermarkets and personal care stores
This collagen supplement is infused with the brand’s trademark RubySignature formula, a blend of ingredients that combines micro-collagen with Astaxanthin, a naturally bright red micro-algae extract. While micro-collagen replenishes skin’s building blocks, astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that prevents collagen degradation and boosts skin’s microcirculation so that nutrients are delivered to the skin for optimal skin health.
Meiji Amino Collagen Can
$39.90 for 200g, from Watsons
This odorless, tasteless collagen powder is meant to be mixed into a beverage like coffee or tea. It uses low-molecular weight, fish-derived collagen peptide that is reportedly easily absorbed by the body to give a smooth, glowing complexion over time. The ingredient list also contains vitamin C and glucosamine.
DHC Collagen Jelly EX
$29.90 for 15 pieces, from Watsons
This mango-flavoured jelly has 3,000mg of marine-derived collagen peptides plus hyaluronic acid to moisturise, elastin for firmness, ceramides to strengthen skin, and mangosteen extract to help improve absorption. It comes in convenient single-dose packs with no added sugar. It’s also caffeine-free and low in calories, containing 14kcal per pack.
Olly Glowing Skin
$34.90 per bottle of 50 gummies, from www.olly.com.sg and Lazada
Naturally flavoured with blueberries and pomegranate, a serving of two gummies contains 120mg of hyaluronic acid and 120mg of collagen to help replenish and hydrate skin for an enviable glow.
Skin Inc My Beauty Jelly Dose
$68 for 28 sachets, from Skin Inc
Skin Inc created this tasty jelly supplement that contains a cocktail of superfood ingredients. There is apple cider vinegar and black vinegar to detoxify, prevent breakouts and congested skin, plus hyaluronic acid, marine collagen, marine placenta and vitamin C to replenish collagen and moisture.
Fancl Tense Up
$55.49 for 10 x 50ml bottles, from qoo10.sg
This skin supplement is a favourite among brides-to-be. Each bottle contains 2,600mg of patented High Tri-Peptide Containing Collagen (HTC Collagen), which is a form of collagen with a unique molecule structure that purportedly allows for better absorption and results. It also has other active ingredients like vitamin C, apple polyphenols, ceramides, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, and hyaluronic acid, to boost skin’s hydration and help maintain its elasticity and suppleness.