Do you believe in Collagen Supplements and Drinks? Do I?

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Right off the bat, I do. However, I don’t think all collagen supplements are created equal and that they work for everyone. I’ve tried a couple of collagen supplements, powders, drinks and whatnot and read a lot more reviews to conclude that—hey, I’m neither a doctor nor a scientist but— if collagen supplements work for me without dissolving my kidneys… why not?

Recently, I’ve started taking collagen supplements again after stopping for months because I noticed that I’ve been looking a bit off my game lately due to stress and lack of sleep. And as expected, I’m seeing some of my glow back!

The magical glue that is Collagen
Collagen is a fibrous type of protein which… okay, scratch that. Collagen is like the glue that holds all the stuffings in our skin. As we age, our body starts to slow down the production of this magical glue and that’s why everything starts to fall apart and head south. Think ‘old pillow versus new pillow’.

Are we drinking collagen supplements in vain?
The dilemma is—regardless of whether it works on me or on a thousand other girls out there—there seems to be little scientific proof that collagen supplements taken orally can really help rebuild collagen. I’ve searched for hours and I can’t find any article that explains whether collagen supplements work without selling me a collagen pill. I’ve found a couple on how collagen can help repair joints but none–at least none that’s reliable enough to me–discussed in scientific hieroglyphics how collagen supplements can make someone look younger.

So, what’s my take?
Yes, to a certain degree (and plumpness of my skin, thank you!) I do believe that collagen supplements can deliver. However, I don’t think that whatever extra collagen we take gets automatically sucked into the layers of our skin as new human-type collagen. Most collagen supplements are made from fish or pig collagen and I’m pretty sure I’m not half-mermaid and neither is Ms. Piggy my cousin. At the most, the ‘plumpness’ is usually just temporary — I don’t think real collagen dissolves overnight like that.

But probably, along with other ingredients found in most collagen supplements nowadays (e.g. Vit C, glucosamine, MSM,  hyaluronic acid, etc.) they help nourish and support skin health in general.

How about you?

Do you believe in collagen supplements and drinks? Are you taking any now?

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  • Rae Scatterbraintures

    First off, I like the new header and the new slogan (or is it? I haven’t read that tagline before).

    I don’t believe they’re doing anything significant. I believe more in products that stimulate them, like those with Vitamin C, and Vitamin A.
    Rae Scatterbraintures recently blogged..Revlon Balm Stains: How to Keep It Sharp Without Sharpening

    • Vivi

      Thanks, Rae. :)

      Oh, tagline used to be “Beginner’s Guide to natural beauty and wellness” but I thought it’s more appropriate to use “City Girl” because, well, I’m a city girl. Sounds lame, haha.

      From my experience, collagen supplements help plump up the skin temporarily. So they might be more suitable to take if, say, you’re getting married in 2 months’ time and you want to look your best. But for long term skin benefits, like you, I’d still turn to A and C.

  • Lynn

    LOL,this is also the ultimate question for me ever!I’ve ever tried once,and it did make my skin supple in the morning.To suspect it that it’s the collagen that worked..umm….not sure either.Perhaps I should try another kind of collagen?vegetable collagen does exist,not only from ms.piggy and mr.fishy ;)..
    Lynn recently blogged..Indonesian Edition:Lead(timah)di Lipstik dan Produk Make Up

    • Vivi

      Yes! In the morning! That’s when my skin is plumpest, too, whenever I take collagen supplements. But the effects aren’t really long-lasting. I revert to my old skin when I stop for 3 days or a week. Haha, there is marine collagen from seaweed but haven’t tried that type yet.

      • Lynn

        Seaweed?Oh,good to know that.What I’ve heard before were collagen from soy and carrot.Anywho,regarding Lanie comment below,are you sure that swallow bird’s nest does have many benefits as it claimed?I have this chinese food & cuisine book,it said that the ancient chinese love to use”hardly to get”food(bird’s nest,tiger’s claw,shark fin,etc)and because of that the believe they have medicinal properties(more rare,more health effect).In short,it’s just kinda superstition..Do you believe in such foods?
        Lynn recently blogged..Indonesian Edition:Lead(timah)di Lipstik dan Produk Make Up

        • Lynn

          Oh,I forgot..nice new layout vivi!:)
          Lynn recently blogged..Indonesian Edition:Lead(timah)di Lipstik dan Produk Make Up

          • Vivi

            Hi Lynn, I don’t really like soy because I read that lots of them are GMO and that soy makes our body overproduce estrogen–which makes us look pretty, but apparently, is not very good for the body in the long run.

            Oh, I think I forgot to write (not sure why!) that I don’t have any comment on that and it’s simply because I haven’t taken bird’s nest before. Apart from it being too expensive, ust like you, I’m a bit ‘apprehensive’ of whether it delivers especially when I think about tiger claws and shark’s fin. Probably they are rich in certain nutrients but not really unique — meaning, one can get the same results by taking another nutrient-rich alternative. Same thing with milk. I realized I don’t really need the calcium from milk because I can get it from leafy vegetables.

            And thank you! Hope it’s better than the previous one, haha.

  • nami

    you read my mind this time ..i wanted you to write on this topic actually but i dont understand why many dermatologists and doctors claim that collagen supplements don’t work for skin.Are they really safe?can you share which brand are you using

    • Vivi

      Hi Nami, I think the collagen effect is ‘temporary’ but it’s good for conditioning the skin or making one look less tired. I usually take collagen supplements when I’m extremely stressed with work and lack sleep because that’s the time I need the extra help.
      I’m trying 2 brands now. I’m currently liking Pure Skin from Nature’s Farm but it’s very expensive. I only bought it because it was on a 70% off sale as it’s expiring in December. I’ve tried Meiji Collagen, too. It’s quite good but very inconvenient because it’s hard to mix and it doesn’t taste good on it’s own.

  • nami

    and vivi are they safe?

    • nami

      this new layout is so lovely vivi..awesome choice

      • Vivi

        Thanks, Nami. :) I think I like the new header, too. It says more about my personality which is very random, haha.

        Generally, if taken in the recommended amount (meaning, you don’t overdose), it should be safe unless you are allergic to the ingredients or are suffering from an illness. But of course, not all collagen supplements are safe. The source and brand needs to be reliable. The effects vary from person to person, as well. Not everyone will experience the same level of benefits.

  • Lanie

    1st – let me commend you on your nice new, refreshing look and feel..
    2nd – I do believe that collagen helps to make our skin stay younger or better, however, once we lost our natural collagen am not sure if we can ever regain it back- perhaps we can maintain what we have left but not sure if we can regain it back either through external or internal supplements
    3rd – whether commercial solutions work? I really really doubt it — perhaps the short term results are due to the moisturising effect of the solution… cause think of it this way.. if the commercial solutions worked,, then you would have regained that new collagen forever right? or even just for a few weeks?.. but you lose the effect after just maybe 24-48 hours.. babies have lots of collagen and they dont lose it overnight…
    4th best sources of collagen according to Weston Price are chicken feet and the white thingy that clings to bones (mutton/beef the best sources)…he recommends slow cooking chicken feet and bones and drinking the broth (at least a pint per day)– to get the benefit of regenerating no tissues and bones (even teeth)– but really I tried drinking a cup of broth, but it makes me puke (its probably an acquired taste)…
    5th not sure if I read this right, I thought bird’s nest and white fungi are best sources of collagen too according to TCM
    6th am not sure why, I really dont bother that much (not sure if thats normal)??

    anyway I hope that our transition to mostly raw foods will turn around the clock for me (at least in the looks department)… glad that my 6 year old dd is onboard on this too.. and is making breakfast “cereals’ w/o the cereal for me :)
    Lanie recently blogged..Apple Cinnamon Breakfast “Cereal” without the “Cereal”

    • Vivi

      Totally agree with all your points, Lanie. While I believe collagen supplements work in making someone look younger, the effects are temporary as mentioned above. Which makes me doubt even more whether they really rebuild or replenish lost collagen.

      I think boiled chicken feet and tendons might work the same way as collagen supplements but I’m scared of the bad cholesterol, haha. And not to mention, the taste! I don’t know how to prepare herbal chinese soups so I’m sure my version would turn out to be like a pint of mucus.

      Haha, I watched the vid and she’s so cute. I also watched the Henna video. How you’re getting your daughter very much involved in your healtier lifestyle is very inspiring. :) You should really think about that natural health course if you have the time. :)

  • fwy

    I took 7 bottles of Brand’s Innershine last month. After finishing all in 7 consecutive days, I see no improvement in my skin at all. Guess these products doesn’t work for me. I am not going to keep on spending just to see which brands works either so I am done with these collagen drinks.

    • Vivi

      Yup, I don’t think these beauty supplements work for everyone. I’ve tried several brands and they didn’t deliver similar results regardless of the price. It’s just like a skincare product — if you’re keen in taking it, there’s a lot of trial and error involved and unfortunately, it costs quite a bit of money. :(

  • Amanda

    Oh, I love your blog’s new look! Modern with a pinch of sophistication.

    Yes, I did the same thing like you. I searched and searched and couldn’t find any scientific research supporting the effectiveness of collagen supplements. On the other hand, there are tons of physicians and beauticians claiming otherwise. But after trying collagen supplements myself, I think some of them do deliver. Now, collagen supplements have become my staple!!
    Amanda recently blogged..It’s Leave-in Conditioner and Oil Treatment That Do the Magic!

    • Vivi

      Thanks, Amanda. :)

      Did you notice your lips getting plumper, too? I noticed that whenever I take collagen supplements, my lips don’t dry or crack easily (which I’m very prone to). Not yet sure whether it helps with the fine lines around my eyes but I’ll try to observe closely.

      I gave up looking for scientific proof anymore… what I’m doing currently is to dissect to ingredients and make sure they’re all ok with me.

  • Bugs

    When I was taking collagen pills or drinks, my heels were less likely to crack and peel… I guess it in some way helped my body to “hold on” to some water. ^_^

    • Vivi

      Now that you mentioned it, it makes everything ‘clearer’ to me. I don’t have problems with my heels cracking but my lips are usually dry. But when I took collagen supplements, they sort of ‘plumped up’.

  • sesame

    It works for me as long as I’m taking it. The AFC one is effective.
    sesame recently blogged..Simply Organic Oil Emulsion Haircolor @Ecorganics

    • Vivi

      I stopped taking collagen again recently ’cause I got sick and needed to take some TCM stuff and I noticed my lips are starting to be prone to dryness again.

  • Angela @ The Unprofessional Beauty Blog

    I do take collagen supplement, and they actually does work. When I take them regularly, I do see improvement in my skin.
    Angela @ The Unprofessional Beauty Blog recently blogged..Holiady Nail Art: A Red and Green Christmas

    • Vivi

      Glad to know you feel the same way. I think they really work based on my own experiences, too, but I find it hard to explain ‘intelligently’ how they work because I can’t find scientific proof.

  • Tammy

    I’m 44 years old; I was taking collagen supplements, but quit about a year ago, because of the cost. I went from one very fine wrinkle between my eyes, and a very fine laugh line on my left side to a deep wrinkle on my left side and between my eyebrows, and the beginnings of crows feet and a fine line on the right side of my mouth. I noticed when I eat a lot of licorice the lines don’t look as bad, and my skin looks healthier. Not sure what it is, but for now, I’ll be eating licorice.

    • Vivi

      I also stopped taking them for the same reason. However, I’m tempted to go back to the habit because my long working hours are starting to wreak havoc on my skin. :(

      Interesting experience with licorice. I read before that it can help prevent inflammation and clear skin problems. However, I also read that it shouldn’t be taken in huge amounts/prolonged periods of time especially by people with blood pressure problems.

  • Vivi

    Hi Annie, thank you! :) How’s your skin now? What’s your Blood Type?

    I also stopped taking collagen supplements now, too, not because I think they don’t work but more because I feel that they tend to be very expensive in the long run — which robs me of budget for other supplements that can benefit both my health my skin. I totally agree with you! Omega 3 is the bomb! 😀 I can totally see the difference when I haven’t been taking it regularly — my skin doesn’t glow and my dandruff gets worse.

    • Annie

      Hi Vivi, thank you. My skin is much better now. My blood type is O type, not sure if it is O+ or O-. According to my blood type which doesn’t do well with dairy and wheat products, I also read one of your entries about milk can cause acnes and make the worst, so I did immediately stopped drinking my favourite cow milk and saying no with my favourite peanut butter toast. That was painful actually but it really helped my acnes. After weeks stop drinking milk and consuming other dairy/ wheat products, along with taking fish oil, flaxeed oil and primrose oil (which helps to balance hormones), my skin experienced some improvements, I didn’t have more new acnes every morning I woke up. My skin became clearer.
      I totally agree with you Omega 3 makes your skin glowing. I didn’t recognise that myself but people told me that my skin is glowing.
      Until now I still have to deal with some annoying acnes scar but in a nut shell, my skin is much better than 4 months ago. :)

      • Vivi

        Ah! Milk, yes. I really get cystic acne when I drink it. It seems to run in our family, too, because my siblings also stopped having pimples when I recommended that they try skipping milk. I want to try drinking organic milk just to see whether it makes any difference but I’m really scared to even experiment — you see, I get really huge cystic acne ON MY NOSE (?!@#$!) when I indulge in dairy. I was wondering whether it’s just a matter of whether the milk is organic or not but I can’t find the guts to risk it.

        I’m happy that your skin is improving really well — and I think you’re in the right track. Omega 3 + Vit C helps in the healing of the skin (not sure if you read my post on post-acne marks) and as long as you’ve got your pimples already under control, your skin will have enough time to heal. Good luck! :)