How Long Does It Take for Collagen Supplements to Work?
What Is Collagen?
When it comes to understanding the structure of your body, collagen is an important protein. Not only is it the most abundant protein in the human body, it’s the most abundant protein in the animal kingdom!
Overall, collagen supports the stability and structure of tissues and organs and helps our tissues handle stretching. The human body contains at least 16 types of collagen, but most of our collagen is made up of types I, II, & III. These helical proteins provide support to bones, skin, tendons, cartilage, muscle, blood vessels and more. Collagen is also the primary component of connective tissue, and is not only important for wound healing, but also for many daily actions that we may take for granted.
Where Does Collagen Come From?
Collagen from food sources are almost always animal-based in one way or another -- beef, pork, fish, chicken, bone broth, egg whites, etc. Anyone who does not adhere to a plant-based diet consumes collagen through animal products they eat. It’s important to note that collagen supplements that contain naturally derived collagen are ALL from animal sources.
There are no natural plant-based sources of collagen, which can make it difficult (or impossible) for anyone adhering to a plant-based diet to supplement their collagen. However, the latest news in “vegan collagen” is a process to create vegan collagen from genetically modified yeast and/or bacteria. We understand that some individuals prefer to consume products that are not genetically modified; however, if you’re interested in this type of supplement, be on the lookout for it — but it could be expensive. One source from late 2020 states that there are no vegan collagen supplements currently available to consumers, while another from April 2021, suggests that they have found their way to store shelves.
Types of Collagen
As previously mentioned, there are multiple types of this protein within your body, but 80-90% of the collagen in your body consists of type I, II and III. Type IV collagen is also recognized often although it is not as abundant as the others.
- Type I collagen gives stability and structure to your skin, bones, teeth, and more. (Did you know? By weight, Type 1 collagen is stronger than steel!)
- Type II collagen along with another protein called aggrecan make up about 80% (by dry weight) of the cartilage matrix.
- Type III collagen is found in some of the same areas as Type I collagen. Some examples include the skin, lungs, spleen, and blood vessels. However, Type III is not found in bone.
- Type IV collagen is the collagen found in basement membranes — which are present in every tissue of the body. Some examples of where you can find Type IV collagen are the kidneys and lungs.
While there are quite a few different types of collagen, with different functions and different locations, each one also has something in common with all the others. All collagen has a specific structure; that is, each type contains a right-handed triple helix made up of ɑ-chains. This terminology is a way to describe the shape of the finished protein, and this structure and the process of making collagen in the body is important for understanding which building blocks are needed to support your body in making more when it’s needed.
Collagen and Your Skin
One of the biggest reasons why collagen is such a crucial protein is because of its ability to help keep your skin healthy and strong. Your skin’s production of collagen can directly affect your appearance – lower levels of collagen mean weaker, more vulnerable skin.
When your skin is producing insufficient levels of collagen, your skin is more vulnerable to getting wrinkly, sagging, and showing other signs of aging. Collagen is the protein that gives your skin its firmness, and is one of the proteins that helps it retain its youthful, natural shape. As you get older and collagen production slows down, wrinkles can start to show up in your skin as it loses its structure.
When your skin is producing enough collagen, the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging may be minimal. These signs of aging are directly linked to the levels of collagen and other key proteins in your skin, and supplying your skin with the nutrients that it needs to stay healthy can help to keep collagen production at normal, healthy levels.
Why Collagen Production Slows Down
Although your skin needs collagen to stay healthy, its production of this essential protein can slow down for multiple reasons. When collagen production decreases in the skin, it can get weaker over time — wrinkles may appear, and the skin may lose it’s suppleness. This reduction in collagen production typically happens as a person ages, and is a natural part of the aging process.
While loss of collagen production comes naturally with age, certain factors can lead to a greater decrease in collagen production or damage to the collagen in the skin.
Below are a few of the key factors that can affect collagen in the skin:
- Sometimes, an unhealthy diet can lead to damaged collagen. Glucose and fructose have been found, in some cases, to have a negative impact on skin’s collagen. This is accelerated with higher sugar content and is stimulated more by the presence of UV light in the skin.
- Smoking has been suggested to decrease the synthesis of Type I and Type III collagen in the skin.
- It’s suggested that UVA radiation supports the breakdown of collagen in the skin. And, since UVA rays are a normal part of the rays that we receive from the sun, it’s wise to avoid unnecessary overexposure to the sun’s rays.
In fact, one study showed that Type I procollagen content, a marker of ongoing collagen synthesis, was decreased by 68% in the older participants’ (80+) skin versus those aged 18-29 years old. The study also suggests that collagen degradation may increase over time while the synthesis of collagen may decrease over time; however, the decrease in collagen synthesis appears to be most notable in skin that shows damage.
Importantly, the researchers point out that previous research suggests that even in sun protected skin, collagen production by older skin is 75% lower than that of younger skin.
Perhaps just as important though is the acknowledgement by the authors of this study that collagen production has been shown to be stimulated in older skin under certain conditions.
What Foods Contain Collagen?
The conversation regarding dietary sources of collagen comes with one major caveat – collagen isn’t found naturally in plant-based foods. Because naturally derived collagen is found exclusively in humans and animals, it’s almost impossible for anyone sticking to a plant-based diet to find collagen in foods that are compatible with their lifestyle.
Since collagen production can slow down with age and due to a variety of other factors, using collagen supplements and eating animal-based dietary sources of collagen has an understandable appeal for many people. Including collagen in your diet via supplements and food may help support your body’s levels of the protein. However, if you’re following a plant-based diet, you’ll have to approach collagen a bit differently.
Collagen Supplements For Vegans: How Do They Work?
Vegans may choose to avoid animal products for a wide variety of reasons. When you’re sticking to a vegan diet, traditional collagen supplements and dietary sources of the protein are off the table. So, how can you support collagen production as a vegan?
Instead of supplying your body with collagen derived from animal sources, you may have the option to choose “vegan collagen” from genetically modified yeast and/or bacteria, or you can take a supplement that provides your body with nutrients it needs to support its own collagen production.
Unlike animal-based collagen supplements and the newer vegan collagen produced by yeast and/or bacteria, their vegan “collagen boosting” counterparts don’t actually contain collagen. Instead, vegan collagen boosting supplements have nutrients that your skin – and the rest of your body – needs to produce its own collagen.
Some beneficial nutrients for collagen production are antioxidants like vitamins A and C, and L-lysine. And all of these ingredients are included in MaryRuth Organics’ Collagen Boosting Gummies!
How Effective Are Vegan Collagen Supplements?
Although you may choose not to take traditional animal-derived collagen supplements, you can still support your body’s natural production of its own collagen by supplying it with nutrients that are beneficial to collagen synthesis.
Unfortunately, collagen in any form – whether derived from animals or produced by your own body – is not a miracle cure for wrinkles, lines, and other signs of aging. These are all just part of the natural process of getting older! Taking collagen-boosting supplements won’t make wrinkles magically disappear, but they can play a valuable role in supporting your overall health, and helping you to stay healthy as you get older!
When Should I Expect Results?
Taking collagen-boosting supplements may start to have a noticeable effect in different ways over time, though the timeline for seeing results from any supplement may vary from person to person.
While there isn’t any direct evidence on how long collagen boosting supplements take to show results, there are a few things we can look at to give you a timeline for collagen supplements and vitamin supplements in certain situations.
- The time it took for a supplement containing collagen to show results in dermal collagen deposition was 4 weeks; further results were seen at the 8 week mark.
- As well, in studies around vitamin C supplementation and wound healing, there was an “increase or acceleration in collagen synthesis” for those individuals taking vitamin C.
It’s important to keep in mind that while the supplements mentioned above are related in scope to collagen boosting supplements, your particular results may vary based on exactly which supplement you choose, how much and how often you consume the supplement, and the current status of your health.
MaryRuth’s Collagen-Boosting Supplements
For vegans and anyone aspiring to maintain a plant-based lifestyle, figuring out how to support collagen production may be tricky. But thanks to MaryRuth’s, it’s easy for vegans to provide their body with nutrients they may need to support their collagen production and benefit their body as a whole!
MaryRuth’s collagen-boosting supplements don’t actually contain collagen, but our supplements can supply you with nutrients that may aid in collagen production and overall health, helping to support you!
To use MaryRuth’s collagen-boosting gummies, you can take up to three each day with a meal. Another great way to support your health, should you need extra support, is to incorporate MaryRuth’s liquid multivitamin into your daily routine!
High-quality, vegan supplements from MaryRuth’s can provide vitamins, minerals, and other key nutrients needed to support wellness. Depending on your needs, our collagen-boosting gummies can be a great start, but your supplement regimen might be even better with a great multivitamin!