Here is the thing...not all collagen is created equal. Especially when we are comparing animal collagen to human collagen. Fun fact: they aren’t the same. Concerns surrounding collagen supplements include additives and preservatives that can lead to inflammation, poor gut health and breakouts as well as poorly sourced animal products that can carry heavy metals, animal diseases and cause a multitude of health issues.
When we consume “collagen” that is sourced from animal products our digestive system needs to work extra hard to break these down into smaller amino acids that our body can then use to produce its own human collagen.
Often times, the breakdown of this animal-based collagen can put a heavy toll on our digestive system. And for anyone who has compromised gut health (almost everyone thanks to modern diets and contaminants), the body may not be able to break these compounds down sufficiently enough to use. These larger proteins can then leak into the bloodstream causing inflammation and breakouts.
Collagen Ingredients: Additives & Preservatives
Chemical additives like anti-caking substances and preservatives are common culprits of acne flare-ups. These chemical ingredients can cause systemic inflammation as well as accumulate within the body leading to inflamed and clogged pores. This can eventually lead to breakouts. Other ingredients like dies and synthetic gelatin in gummy supplements can be hard to digest, lead to gut and body inflammation, trigger sensitivities and cause skin rashes and breakouts.
Collagen Ingredients: Animal Products
We know you don’t want to hear it...and we dread having to say it...but most collagen supplements are made up of poorly sourced animal products. Dr. Mark Moyad states, “I think the elephant in the room here is safety. We are talking about ground-up fish, chicken, pig, and cow parts, and these parts tend to act as sponges for contaminants and heavy metals.” The ugly truth? Farmers are looking for ways to utilize the parts of animals that can’t be sold as a direct food product. This means that collagen supplements are generally made up of unusable parts like hooves, hides and nerve tissue. Animal proteins in general can lead to increased oil production and inflammation throughout the body, but these poorly sourced animal products present more serious health concerns.
Other Health Concerns of Collagen Supplements
Animal Diseases – Doctors are increasingly concerned that collagen supplements can carry diseases that were present in the animals that are now part of the product (like Mad Cow Disease).
Heavy Metals – Animals can absorb a huge amount of toxins, including heavy metals. As most supplements are not tested very rigorously, there is concern regarding the amounts of heavy metals in collagen supplements. These can then begin to accumulate in the human body and lead to an array of health symptoms and even death if untreated.
Hypercalcemia – The ground-up animal parts can be exceptionally high in calcium. Hypercalcemia can lead to constipation, bone pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abnormal heart rhythms.
Allergic Reactions – For those with allergies to shellfish or other animal products, collagen supplements can be risky because the specific animals used in the supplements are rarely listed.
Skin Sensitivities – Skin irritation can occur when applied topically including redness, inflammation, and rash.
What to do instead:
If you are in your 20’s or 30’s YOU DON’T NEED COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTS. Your body is more likely than not producing enough collagen. Instead of adding more collagen than your body can process, look at other preventative measures like sun protection and a clean and consistent skincare routine.
Boost collagen production naturally
- Red Light Therapy: At Facial Lounge we use red light therapy as a natural way to tighten skin and increase collagen production. Read more about the powerful benefits of red light therapy here .
- Clean nutrition: There are so many amazing foods that support collagen production. Our new Superfood Beauty Blend is packed with ingredients like goji berry, lucuma and pearl to naturally boost collagen production, reduce inflammation and reduce oxidative stress. It fights aging from all angles!
- Sun Exposure: Get out in the sun! Media has effectively scared all of use from every letting a drop of sunlight hit our skin, but this is so important to natural collagen production. We always recommend getting out in the sun for 10-20 minutes first thing in the morning to stimulate the change in your circadian rhythm and to allow for optimal collagen production. If possible, take 3-5 minute breaks throughout the day to go stand outside and aim for 30 minutes total of sun exposure daily!
Make your own clean bone broth
At Facial Lounge we love promoting the vegan lifestyle, but want to educate everyone on ways to eat cleaner. Bone broth is one of the best foods that can lead to increased collagen production. We recommend making your own using organic, free-range, antibiotic free bones. If you can’t make your own, look for companies who meet these clean qualifications and who do not add preservatives or other unnecessary additives.
Kettle and Fire uses organic, pasture-raised bones as well as organic, non-gmo vegetables in their bone broth. For those interested in making their own, here is a great recipe along with more in-depth information on the benefits of bone broth as well as the difference between broth, bone broth and stock.