It can be confusing to decipher what collagen is, especially when there are so many different terms to describe it: collagen peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, gelatin collagen, collagen type I, type II, type III—list goes on. And then there are all of the different sources: cows, fish? What about pills, liquid, or powder and which one is the best? Lets discover why using collagen supplements for skin is the foundation of healthy skin.
In this story, I will help you answer some of those questions, share with you my personal journey with collagen, and offer 40 recipes that can help make ingesting collagen an easy, delicious, and daily routine.
What is Collagen
Mainstream usage of collagen has been mostly topical, which leads people to mistakenly believe it to be only something to apply externally to skin (and in some cases, inject with a needle to plump the skin).
Collagen is a natural protein that our body produces. It is a major structural component of the human body (different types of collagen make up our skin, bones, muscles, and joints). and we depend on
collagen to keep our skin plump, hair strong. bones healthy, joints lubricated. and digestive system working smoothly.
And though our body is able to produce ample amounts of collagen when we are young, unfortunately. sometime after the age of twenty-five, our bodily production of collagen begins to decline at a rate of 1.5 percent per year (in addition to the decline in the quality of our produced collagen).
By our mid-forties, our collagen levels may have fallen by as much as 30 percent. Without collagen, our cells lose structure. increasingly becoming weaker, stretchier. and thinner—and essentially, this decline is the true cause of many of our skin woes, such as wrinkles, fine lines. dark circles. dry skin. and cellulite.
But don’t worry: you can make up for the collagen you lose by consuming collagen supplements. the foundation of healthy skin.
Personal Journey Using Collagen Supplements for Skin
You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that what you put into your body directly translates into how you look and feel. But despite knowing this all my life, I admit that I didn’t realize just how true this was until I seriously burned myself in a cooking accident. That incident led me to initiate a deep dive into finding a cure—spoiler alert: it turned out to be ingesting collagen —turned me into something of a true believer on this topic.
I also figured out that my Korean grandmother, my halmuni, with her bone broths and fish dinners, had been right all along about the importance of collagen for a healthy skin and body.
After my accident, I tried to fix the burns from the outside in. I bought every lotion, patch. and prescription ointment I could find. Nothing worked. I kept at it. researching everything I could find about skin, and how to heal and regenerate it as quickly as possible. I discovered a treatment using the skin of fish.
Researchers in Brazil determined that tilapia contains a very high level of collagen proteins, and that by placing the fish skin directly onto the burned area, the collagen helped relieve pain and showed signs of helping to prevent scarring. Could this be the answer? Of course. I wasn’t going to put fish skin all over my body, and I was already past the point of preventing initial scars.
I decided to start taking collagen supplements, just to see what would happen. Less than a month of consuming 20 grams of collagen a day. I saw incredible changes. I have to add here that what I took is twice the recommended dose, so I’m not telling you to reproduce this experiment! But it did work for me. Not only were the bums on my arms starting to fade, but everywhere from head to toe. even my nails and hair, had started to look better.
Everyone began asking me what eye cream I was using—and that’s when I realized that ingesting collagen was making my skin the healthiest it had ever been since I was a kid. back when I was enjoying my grandmother’s traditional cooking.
She served every meal with a basket of roasted seaweed, grilled mackerel with its skin on, and a bowl of piping hot soup with bone broth as its base (chicken, pork, beef, or anchovy stock). And what all these dishes have in common is that they are all loaded with collagen. or as my grandmother calls it. the good stuff.
There’s so much collagen in these side dishes and soups that after you’re finished with a typical Korean meal, even your lips get taut and sticky (a sign of your skin’s becoming more revitalized)!
Why is that important? Because collagen is a type of protein that all living. breathing animals—including humans—produce. It makes up our bones, muscles, skin. and hair. It’s also the most abundant protein in our body that holds our bones. muscles, and especially skin, together (collagen comprises 70 percent of the protein found in skin).
Collagen plays an integral role in keeping our skin plump and youthful. as it is key in our body’s facilitation of new regeneration of skin, muscle, bone, and joint cells. Yet unfortunately. as we age, our body’s ability to produce our much needed supply of collagen diminishes at a rate of 1 percent per year, resulting in the depletion of collagen in our skin cells.
Consequently, our skin fails to retain moisture as it once used to, leading to less hydrated cells and looser, weaker, stretchier, and thinner skin (and of course, this is what causes wrinkles, fine lines, dry skin, cellulite, and even brittle hair).
Despite religiously yet unknowingly consuming collagen all my life—I didn’t always put two and two together—I always attributed my skin to “Korean genetics: the same way everyone else did. Because, to be honest, I didn’t really ever do anything to my skin. I was terrible at making a daily habit of those expensive products that I’d purchase on a whim, and in comparison to my friends who were getting regular facials and peels, my skincare efforts were minimal.
My family moved to the London when I was ten years old, so my diet changed at that time (as did my skin). But once I started back on collagen—this time, in powdered form—not only did my bums heal, but the differences I noticed were not just on my arms, but in my face and hair. My eyelashes, brows, and hair got so much thicker, and my skin no longer just looked great—according to my friends, it looked °Photoshopped,”glowy,” and “as soft as a baby’s bottom.”
Even my number-one skin problems—dry skin and enlarged pores—seemed to have disappeared without my even knowing, over the course of my collagen regimen.
It truly felt like a miracle, but was one that was literally hard to swallow. I was using unflavored powdered bovine collagen, which was designed to be mixed into drinks; coffee was the most popular as it was supposed to mask the taste of the collagen. Even in the blackest of the coffees, though, I was able to pick up on the earthy, musty, icky flavor.
I actually ended up just mixing my dose of collagen into a bit of water, holding my nose, and gulping it down. The fact is, there are people who are able to stand the strong taste of bovine collagen; I was not one of them.
But, knowing how beneficial collagen was for me from head to toe, I kept at it. I started telling everyone I knew about this wonder supplement and got quite a few people started on.
The taste continued to be an issue. To me, it was a challenge. And after months of research, tasting essentially every collagen brand out there, and then flavoring it with other, delicious superfoods, I found the king of all collagens supplement, one that would work with the other superfood powders I liked to add. So here are some of best collagen supplements to buy if you live in UK.
I happily recommend these brands to every single one of my friends and family. But despite their approval, I came across other obstacles: they kept forgetting to take it daily; plus, some of the plastic tubs were a hassle to open and they’d lose the measuring spoon. Without taking it every day, they did not see the results that I was seeing.
So, I decided to reverse-engineer the experience a bit; if people genuinely liked the taste of the collagen drink and looked forward to drinking it, then they wouldn’t think of it as medicine, but like any other flavored beverage out there.
On a mission to get them hooked, and with the goal that my final product would taste good (so good that you’d have no idea that there were 10 grams of fish skin in it), I started formulating, and invented hundreds of recipes with collagen in them.
Finally, when my friends and family couldn’t taste the difference between the matcha latte that had the collagen in it and the one without, that’s when I knew that I had succeeded. And that’s the start of my ingestible beauty brand, Crushed Tonic, and the purpose of this article, and this collection of recipes—to show you that collagen, if prepared well, could be something you enjoy, and even love.
Read More: Gotu Kola Supplement for Skin Care
Is Collagen Gluten and Dairy Free? Is It Paleo Friendly
Collagen powder, by itself, should be gluten-free, dairy-free. sugar-free and free of everything but animal skin and bones or vegetarian-sourced substances, such as seaweed.
Many brands are certified kosher. If you are allergic to anything, you will want to know whether the collagen powder you are using was processed with any other substances. Even if it doesn’t say that on the bottle, the bottle should identify the facility where the collagen was processed. You can contact that facility and ask whether the collagen was processed with other substances.