Collagen, which makes up 30% of our total protein mass, is the fibrous structural connective tissue present in ligaments, tendons, cartilage, blood vessels and of course our skin. There are in fact 28 types of collagen!
The unfortunate reality is that from the age of 18, the amount of collagen present in our bodies declines at a rate of 1% each year. This steady decline contributes significantly to thinner, more dehydrated skin and yes, wrinkles, all fabulous visible signs of ageing. The anti-ageing beauty market has exploded in recent years due to scientific advancements and people’s insatiable appetite to maintain that youthful glow.
The connection between nutrition and skin health is becoming increasingly apparent. With that, the focus has turned from what you ‘put on your skin’ to what you ‘put in your mouth’. In turn, so has the availability and popularity of ‘nutraceuticals’ (nutrition-based supplements) such as oral collagen supplements. Nutraceuticals play an increasingly significant role in building a more complete nutritional profile, which is often difficult to achieve in 21st century living. A key group that is often interested in these are post partum, or breast feeding Mum’s. So, are collagen supplements safe during breast feeding? Read on to find out.
To find out more about what collagen is, and why it is more than just a fad, check out my article here.
How do collagen supplements work?
Unlike other ingested protein sources, clinical studies have found that orally ingested hydrolysed collagen is absorbed into the bloodstream from the small intestine. From there, it is then distributed throughout the human body, but especially to our skin. Here, it contributes directly to the building of connective tissue.
How much collagen should we be taking per day?
It appears that 2.5-9g per day is considered safe and tolerable to consume.
What are the benefits of collagen supplementation?
Clinical studies and research on collagen supplementation is still underway. The list of potential benefits is impressive but yet to be fully proven. It includes the following:
- Improved skin hydration and elasticity
- Reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Reduced bone loss and joint pain
- Faster healing of wounds
- Healthier scalp and hair follicles (less hair loss)
- Stronger nails
What does the research say?
There are an abundance of reports that provide evidence for collagen hydrolysates supplementation, which supports the enhancement and/or improvement of skin health from oral supplementation.
- One 2006 study found improvement in moisture content and elasticity of skin, resulting in fewer wrinkles and smoother skin texture after 6 weeks with 5g provided per day (Matsumoto, 2006).
- A 2014 study that lasted for 8 weeks again found skin elasticity and moisture improved at doses of 2.5g and 5g per day (Proksch, 2014).
- Another 2014 study using a nutritional supplement composed of hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and minerals for 60 days led to a reduction in skin dryness, wrinkles, and nasolabial fold depth (Borumud and Sibilla, 2014).
- A 2017 study showed 2.5g per day increased nail growth by 12% and reduced breakages by 42%, with 80% of participants satisfied with the improved appearance of their nails after the 24 week study (Hexsel, 2014).
- A 2019 study using a supplement containing 2.5 g of collagen peptides, acerola fruit extract, vitamin C, zinc, biotin, and a native vitamin E complex for 12 weeks found statistically significant improvements in skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density (Bolke, 2019)
Are collagen supplements safe during breastfeeding?
Postpartum is an intense period of hormonal and physiological change within the body. Along with elevated energy requirements, especially for those Mum’s who are breastfeeding.
Whilst quality research is lacking in this particular subgroup, it makes complete sense that inclusion of marine collagen may help maintain that glow, assist with skin hydration and help with the added strain on your joints, all when your growing baby is sapping all the nutrients out of you!
Is there anything else to consider?
As with any supplement, it is always recommended to speak with your health care team about your particular situation prior to starting, to ensure you are making an informed choice.
Want to learn more?
This post was sponsored by Vida Glow.
From time to time I write sponsored posts such as this, however views are entirely my own, and I only ever collaborate with companies and brands who resonate with me.
Bolke, L., Schlippe, G., Gerß, J., & Voss, W. (2019). A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. Nutrients, 11(10), 2494. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102494
Borumand M, Sibilla S, Daily consumption of the collagen supplement Pure Gold Collagen® reduces visible signs of aging. Clin Interv Aging. 2014; 9():1747-58. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S65939
Hexsel D, Zague V, Schunck M, Siega C, Camozzato FO, Oesser S, Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017 Dec; 16(4):520-526. DOI: 10.1111/jocd.12393
Matsumoto H., Ohara H., Itoh K., Nakamura Y., Takahashi S. Clinical effect of fish type I collagen hydrolysate on skin properties. ITE Lett. 2006;7:386–390, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284693005_Clinical_effects_of_fish_type_I_collagen_hydrolysate_on_skin_properties
Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(1):47-55. doi: 10.1159/000351376. Epub 2013 Aug 14. PMID: 23949208.
Vollmer, D. L., West, V. A., & Lephart, E. D. (2018). Enhancing Skin Health: By Oral Administration of Natural Compounds and Minerals with Implications to the Dermal Microbiome. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(10), 3059. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19103059