Collagen drinks - the holy grail of anti-ageing. They’ve been the talk of the town in recent years. But what are they? And do they really work?
Why do people drink collagen?
Collagen is a protein found throughout the body, particularly in the skin, bones, teeth, ligaments, and other connective tissues.
This protein type is responsible for ensuring skin elasticity and “bounciness”, hence making the skin appear more youthful, smooth, and supple.
However, despite being the most abundant protein in our bodies, comprising about 30% of the body’s total protein content, our collagen levels decline as we age.
Natural collagen production starts slowing down in our early 20s, and by the age of 50, most people will have depleted about 50% of the collagen in their skin!
What’s shocking is that men have 20% thicker skin than women. And having thicker skin means being able to hold more collagen.
This is why women in general experience common signs of ageing, such as wrinkles, sagging and thinning quicker than men. It’s for this reason that many adult women turn to collagen drinks as early as possible.
How do collagen drinks really work?
Collagen drink manufacturers claim that their drinks can replenish your natural collagen levels and benefit your complexion.
How it works is that, when collagen drinks are ingested, the presence of collagen fragments “tricks” your body into thinking that depletion of collagen has occurred. This triggers your fibroblasts (the body’s collagen-producing cells) to increase the production of your own natural collagen.
At the same time, both hyaluronic acid and elastin, which provides hydration and skin elasticity respectively, are stimulated.
Therefore, collagen drinks do not directly add collagen peptides to your skin, but rather, they work as a feedback mechanism to stimulate the body’s own collagen production.
So, do collagen drinks really work?
Short answer: yes.
There has been evidence that collagen drinks live up to their claims. Collagen peptides from these drinks were shown to successfully digest into smaller molecules and be absorbed in the gut.
Clinical studies have shown that one hour after ingestion, collagen peptides appeared in the bloodstream of test subjects.
By using radioactive labelling, dermatologists have investigated that the absorbed collagen peptides can be retained in the skin tissues for up to 2 weeks.
But that doesn't mean collagen drinks are the key to good skin. If anything, they contribute to healthier-looking skin due to the increase in skin hydration, which is key to bouncy-looking skin.
So if you have difficulty achieving a healthy glow for your skin despite having a good skincare routine, collagen drinks may work for you.
What is the best type of collagen for the body?
You may have come across confusing labels on collagen drinks, such as Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, marine collagen, hydrolyzed collagen, etc.
The truth is, 28 different types of collagen exist, differentiated by its amino acid structure and where it’s sourced from in the body. In the end, they’re still the same protein.
However, as collagen is a huge protein, you may want to opt for hydrolyzed collagen, which is a more processed form of collagen. Cold enzymes have been added to hydrolyzed collagen to break it down, making it easier for your body to digest and process it.
Here are some of our top recommended collagen drinks in Malaysia:
Read more here about our quick reviews on the best collagen drinks in Malaysia.