Collagen has long been revered in Asian beauty products and medicine cabinets as a “fountain of youth” ingredient which can support skin health, and it is making its way to the Western world as Korean beauty treatments are growing in popularity globally.
As we age, the collagen stores in our body are depleted, and consuming collagen or adding it through superficial treatments adds this material back to our body – and skin is composed of mostly collagen. As a result, many collagen supplements have sprung up on the market – here’s what to look for when selecting one.
1: The Most Bang for Your Buck: Bioavailability & Marine Collagen
The problem with collagen is that there is good collagen and bad collagen in terms of what our bodies can actually use. This is measured with something called bioavailability, a term used to represent how much of a substance enters circulation in our body when we drink or eat it.
Collagen is produced from various animals, and one of the priciest to produce is marine collagen, or collagen derived from fish. When compared to collagen from other sources, including porcine collagen (collagen derived from pigs), marine collagen has a higher bioavailability. This is due to its comparatively smaller particle size, which allows marine collagen to be absorbed at the beginning stages of digestion, where it is more likely to travel to skin, hair, joints and nails for their use.
2: Look for Ingredients Which Encourage Collagen Production
A good collagen supplement shouldn’t just introduce collagen, but contain ingredients that encourage and help your body produce it on its own. Vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E all encourage collagen production. While A and E are helpful, vitamin C is fundamentally necessary to collagen production with its vital role in producing collagen in the body – a process known as collagen synthesis.
3. Is it a liquid? It should be for best absorption
Liquid supplements are far more effective than even pills which contain liquid. These supplements are available as a drink or shot which you take daily. To find out why, we circle back to bioavailability – pills take longer to digest, which reduces the chance that the ingredients will make it to the skin, hair, nails and joints that the collagen needs to travel to. While a liquid-filled gel would be preferable to a pill in terms of bioavailability, a liquid drink is better than both.
4. Is it responsibly and ethically sourced?
Selecting marine collagen as an ingredient is not enough. Some countries, such as China, don’t have quality control standards in place to ensure that the collagen you are buying is marine collagen and that it is refined at the highest quality. LQ products use Peptan marine collagen – a high grade, quality collagen peptide.