Before you start adding collagen to your smoothie or making bone broth a regular part of your diet, here’s what you need to know to see the best results in your connective tissues (skin, joints, digestive tract, hair).

Did you know that on average after the age of 20, our collagen levels decrease by 1% each year?

Hence the sagging skin, digestive issues, creaky joints, well you get the picture.

Collagen is touted as the salve for beautiful skin and well-lubricated joints, but is all collagen created equal?

A graphically pleasing label and persuasive advertisement does not a bioavailable collagen make.

Here’s the scoop…

Size matters. Look for a collagen with a molecular size between 2,000-3,000 microdaltons so it can actually get into the cells of your body.

It likely goes without saying, but you want to make sure that you look for collagen that comes from pasture-raised or grass-fed animals. 

Besides powders, liquid or gelatin capsule forms of collagen, many people consume bone broth on the regular to get their intake of collagen.

Bone broth collagen has a molecular size of about 140,000 daltons. This large size of protein makes it difficult for the body to break it down to an effective size that could enter the cells of the body. Most of the time, the collagen is just being excreted from the body unused.

Even if molecular size isn’t an issue, much of the popular bone broth and collagen products contain harmful levels of glyphosate and pesticides.

For example, the number of pesticides and herbicides used in collagen products sourced from South America is so ubiquitous that even the “organic” farms are likely contaminated.

Before taking collagen, take Vitamin C.

When we maintain healthy levels of Vitamin C, we don’t age as fast and we give our body the support it needs to withstand the effects of sun exposure. 

Beyond its antioxidant protecting effects, Vitamin C is utilized in the creation and maintenance of 28 different types of collagen found in the human body.

Vitamin C along with phytochemical-rich foods and exercise, help boost collagen production.

Phytochemical-rich foods include:

  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Turnips
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Watercress
  • Acai
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cherries
  • Red Oranges
  • Red Grapes
  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes

Winning combination

In fact, one randomized, double-blind study, found that participants who took Vitamin C with 15 grams of gelatin (a food derivative of collagen) supplement 60 minutes before a six-minute jump rope session had a 2x increase in collagen synthesis. (1)

It’s important to promote collagen synthesis, whether you have arthritis or other rheumatic condition or just want to reduce injury risk and stay active in the game of life.

That’s why if you are looking to protect your ligaments, tendons and joints, you may want to combine Vitamin C and Collagen an hour or so before doing a short bout of resistance training or even jumping jacks. 

As with any supplement, it’s important to know why you’re taking it. With so many supplements out there, a good thing can quickly become a bad thing if your body doesn’t need it or it’s in the wrong form for your body to use.

Have you tried Collagen?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.