What is collagen?
Collagen is the main protein in our bodies, which is responsible for skin elasticity and healthy joints. It exists in the structural and connective tissues, including bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood, and skin. Its rubbery structure provides these parts of the body with their strength and form. Believe it or not, it covers about three-quarters of your skin and comprises a third of the protein in your body.
“There are four main types of collagen:
- Type I is the most common. It’s found in skin, bone, teeth, tendons, and ligaments.
- Type II is in cartilage.
- Type III is in the skin, muscle, and blood vessels.
- Type IV is found in basement membranes – layers of cells that surround all body tissues.”
As our bodies age, the existing collagen breaks down and we don’t produce more at the same rate as when we were young. By combining amino acids, collagen is produced naturally in our bodies. There are also many collagen supplements in the form of powders, liquids, and capsules that we can take to provide our bodies with collagen.
To produce collagen naturally, you need to consume these building blocks of proteins:
- Proline, which is found in egg whites, dairy, mushrooms, asparagus, and cabbage.
- Glycine, found mainly in legumes, meat, fish, dairy, chicken skin, and gelatine, amongst other protein-rich foods.
- Vitamin C, which is an essential vitamin. The best sources are found in fruits and vegetables, in particular, citrus fruits. Although there are many good vitamin C supplements, getting vitamin C from food is recommended.
- Zinc, which is an important mineral that your cells need to fight off viruses and bacteria. It is also needed to make DNA, which informs our bodies how to function the way they should. Zinc also aids in healing wounds. It is a helpful mineral important for growth in infants and children. Although there are many zinc supplements, try consuming foods high in zinc, such as lamb, oysters and other shellfish, beef, legumes, dairy, cashew nuts, and seeds. Always speak to your doctor before increasing your zinc supplements as too much zinc can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb copper.
- Copper is another important mineral that plays a part in making red blood cells, it keeps our nerve cells healthy, supports the immune system, forms collagen, aids in absorbing iron into the body, protects our cells from damage, and converts sugar into energy. To ensure you’re getting sufficient copper, consume a variety of seafood, fruit and vegetables, nuts, organ meats, cacao powder, sesame seeds, and lentils.
Aim to feed your body a variety of healthy foods so that it produces more collagen naturally. Since we live in a fast-paced world where many people are not consuming the right balance of proteins, vitamins, and minerals necessary to enable their bodies to produce collagen naturally, it may be necessary to source a quality collagen supplement.
Potential benefits of a collagen supplement
Although further research is needed to establish all the benefits of collagen, there is some evidence citing the following benefits – stronger bones, thicker hair, healthier nails, skin hydration and elasticity, a pain reliever for osteoarthritis, and increased muscle mass and strength.
Side-effects of taking a collagen supplement
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s best to hold off on collagen supplementation since there isn’t yet enough evidence on the safety thereof while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Some people have experienced allergic reactions or upset stomachs when using a collagen supplement, but otherwise, the side effects are rare.
Quality and effectiveness – how to choose the right collagen supplement
I always advise anyone wishing to try any form of supplementation to conduct their own thorough research or glean advice from a medical practitioner or a trusted and well-informed friend or family member before doing so.
I’ve researched and tried a few collagen supplements over the years. With some, the difference was notable, there are many good brands on the market. With others, I felt that they were extremely over-priced and/or offered no significant benefits.
One of the products I recently tested is Drasanvi COLLMAR, which you will find at Natural Options. They have a wide range of collagen supplements, in a variety of flavours, and a choice of powders, chewable tablets, and tablets. I particularly liked the texture and taste of the Collmar with magnesium and hyaluronic acid powder. Collmar® is a dietary supplement containing marine collagen, vitamin C, and magnesium. This option has a pleasant, subtle taste as well as ingredients that my body can tolerate (I have an autoimmune disorder called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)), so have to be selective and cautious with what I consume). Two of their other products in this range, do contain sucralose (an artificial sweetener), which I found disappointing. I feel it’s unnecessary and pointless to add an artificial sweetener to an otherwise healthy supplement as this can cause some adverse health effects. For instance, some studies have revealed that sucralose can alter one’s gut microbiome by lowering the number of good bacteria by half. Other animal studies have also shown that sucralose can increase inflammation in the body and over time, inflammation can result in problems such as obesity and diabetes.
After consuming the Collmar with magnesium and hyaluronic acid powder, I noticed a few positive changes in my body. My nails grew faster and were less brittle than before, my hair also had a growth spurt and appeared thicker. I also have fewer joint aches.
I caught Covid-19 a few weeks ago and one of the lingering symptoms has been extreme exhaustion and fatigue. I’d stopped taking the Collmar collagen supplement while on the prescribed medication to ease the symptoms of Covid but resumed about a week after completing the prescription medication. Interestingly, within about a week of taking this supplement, there was a marked difference in my energy levels, which I believe was aided by the Collmar collagen I’d resumed taking.
I also found the Collmar collagen supplement range to be particularly unique in that it contains a few additional vitamins, minerals, extracts rich in antioxidants, spice, and seeds, such as Acerola dry extract, turmeric, magnesium, and cacao – all making it more effective.
I’ll certainly continue using this product as I’m impressed with the results so far. I’m sure after taking it for three months or more, I will see additional notable benefits. When I do, I will be sure to add those to this article too.
Additional details about the Collmar brand
“Marine collagen is rich in amino acids. The collagen used comes from fish. A recent study (J Agric Food Chem 55(4) 1532-1535 (2007)) has proved that marine collagen is more easily assimilated by the body than other forms, such as collagen that comes from pig parts. Collmar magnesium contains a high proportion of glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline (the most prevalent amino acids in collagen) and other essential amino acids.”
The collagen they use has gone through a unique process in which it is broken down into tiny fragments so that the body can easily absorb it.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps make up the bones and provides several benefits, such as:
- Aiding in the reduction of fatigue.
- Maintaining a healthy metabolism and contributing to the balance of electrolytes in our bodies.
- Helping the muscles to function optimally.
- Maintaining a healthy nervous system.
- Keeping bones and teeth healthy.
- Supporting cell division.
“Collmar collagen contains vitamin C. The EFSA (European Food and Safety Authority) recommends the consumption of vitamin C, as it helps create collagen and helps make cartilage, bones, and skin.”
The ingredients of the Collmar product I tested
Hydrolysed marine collagen (Type I, low molecular weight) 9717 mg, magnesium carbonate (40% magnesium) 937 mg, Acerola dry extract (Malpighia prunicifolia L., 25% in vitamin C) 320 mg, hyaluronic acid 10 mg, vanilla flavour.
“Take 11 g (2 dose scoops) daily, divided into 1 or 2 doses. It can be sweetened to taste [if necessary],
dissolved in a glass of water or juice. For best results use for at least 3 months.
Daily dose: 11 g.”
My overall experience with Natural Options
Ease of navigating the Natural Options website
Natural Options has a customer-friendly website and its search engine is efficient. Each product is listed and contains well-defined headings elaborating on the product, its ingredients, directions regarding consumption, warnings, cautions, or contra-indications.
It’s refreshing to see such clear specifications. I found it incredibly useful to quickly be able to see such a well laid out product description. In today’s busy way of life, simplicity and clarity are most welcome. When I visit websites that require too much ‘detective’ work or those that are full of errors, I immediately abort my search and look for something better elsewhere. Natural Options was one of those BETTER options.
Customer service (including communication and delivery)
I was initially asked to test and review the Collmar with magnesium and curcumin lemon collagen but that option, unfortunately, contained sucralose. On advising the merchant of my dilemma with consuming artificial sweeteners, without hesitation, they kindly offered me a few other options to try and I selected the Collmar with magnesium and hyaluronic acid as mentioned above.
After I’d placed my first order, I received an email from Thelma Mfeketo enquiring which day would suit me for delivery. To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement, as I have yet to experience an online store contacting me to enquire when I want my product delivered and accommodating the delivery date to suit my schedule. Unfortunately, delivery was delayed but it was not due to any fault of Natural Options, but a courier issue. Both Thelma Mfeketo and Annemarie Johnson at Natural Options dealt with the issue promptly and contacted the courier company immediately. There were a few more false starts with the delivery company, but still, these ladies acted efficiently. They were both extremely polite and apologetic, despite it not being their fault.
My entire experience with all the staff I dealt with at Natural Options, from placing the order to receiving the product, was seamless and pleasurable despite the courier delays. One seldom experiences this level of professionalism. I was super impressed.
They also go the extra mile by creating cute voucher codes, such as “HeyThereDelilah” – something I did not expect from a large online retail store. Even if I was not impressed with the product, which I reiterate, I am, I would try many of their other products simply for the shopping experience. Thank you, Natural Options – you guys rock!
Collagen provides structure for our skin, bones, ligaments, muscles cartilage, teeth, blood, and tendons. It is the most abundant protein in the body.
It’s best to eat a variety of healthy foods so that our bodies produce more collagen naturally. But if this is not possible, it’s wise to source a quality collagen supplement. There is some evidence that suggests that collagen supplements may promote firm, smooth skin, stronger hair, and protect tendons and ligaments. However, further studies are needed to determine the efficacy of collagen supplements. We also cannot control how and where our bodies use collagen.
There are minimal side effects from using collagen supplements, but these can include allergic reactions and stomach upset. It’s best not to use these supplements while pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you would like to try the Collmar collagen supplement I’ve been using or one of the other Natural Options range of collagen supplements, click here. Their efficient sales staff will not disappoint. To make the experience even more pleasurable, you can use the discount code: delilah20 to get 20% off your purchase. Did I mention that they rock? Go on, see for yourself, place your order today!
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only. No material contained herein is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment before undertaking a new health care regime, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
Authored by Delilah Nosworthy
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