If you've been on any type of social media in the last few months, you've probably seen collagen crop up. It's become the holy grail of internal healthcare: a supplement promising to banish aging, joint pain, make hair and nails grow.
It's beloved by the stars - Jennifer Aniston, Lady Gaga and Kourtney Kardashian just a few who tout its benefits - and perhaps more influentially, the beauty and lifestyle influencer set of Instagram (Those Who Run The World ™)
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I was curious, and a wee bit suspicious. You have to understand, I've been burned before. I forked out truckloads during the great 'fish oil' boom of 2012 which touted similar benefits, and didn't get much in return apart from some pretty gross reflux.
But in collagen, the breakout star of the modern beauty industry, there at least seems to be some fairly heavy medical backing. That's because humans actually have collagen of our own in our skin and joints, and levels tend to decrease naturally with age.
New York dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe told WebMD that, as we get older, our bodies break down collagen which she refers to as "the glue that holds the body together" and is found in everything from our hair to our joints faster than we can create and replace it. Therefore, she suggests ingesting collagen to keep that "glue" intact.
But as shelves of serums, moisturisers, drinkable elixirs, and even gummy bears fill the shelves; it can be tough to narrow down the ones to choose, I've broken down some of my favourites depending on your personal collagen preference: Marine, Porcine and Bovine.
Marine collagen: Jeuneora
This Kiwi company makes the first collagen product I ever tried, and it's not surprising. Sort of the OG of the collagen scene, the Jeuneora team has been in action for over two years now - they were before the hype. Their Renew combination of 100 percent hydrolysed marine collagen with Vitamin C maximises absorption of collagen and detoxifies the body. It's become a cult product and is used an adored by wellness guru Millie Elder-Holmes.
As someone who can't handle sweetness, their unflavoured Naked Collaged was my pick. I dissolved it into my morning coffee and didn't even notice I was drinking it. Anything I don't have to put much work into is the gold standard for me. After a month of taking it dissolved into my coffee each morning, my stress-bitten nails are stronger, my hair is silkier (much commenting on it from my hairdresser) and skin is glow-ier.
Made up of marine collagen (fish), Jeuneora are focused on sustainability and use parts of the fish that would otherwise be discarded.
"We value a nose-to-tail philosophy (meaning little to nothing is wasted) and this is one of our main criteria when selecting suppliers," they say.
For an extra boost, team it with their Hair Skin and Nails capsules.
Porcine collagen: Adashiko
Another one popular with the social media set, Adashiko is another Kiwi company based out of Napier. I've used Adashiko Ultra for the last few weeks as a comparison, and have been impressed with the results. Also paired with Vitamin C, as well as Hyaluronic Acid and Co Q10, this collagen has massively impacted my arthritic old joints (yes, at the age of 25).
Again, you can dissolve this one in your morning coffee and again, hair and nails are stronger than ever. Adashiko uses porcine peptide collagen, meaning it's derived from pig. It's a pretty common source of collagen and is probably what that gelatine knocking around in your pantry is derived from. But teamed with its anti-aging support products, it's a nutritional powerhouse. They have a few products in their range, but for a full glow-over, the Ultra is my pick.
For an extra boost team it with their facial gels: Either the woman's Collagen and Noni Gel or the men's Facial Gel Energise (which I think is essentially the same thing, but in a very masculine black bottle). This product is a bit of a game changer and restores my dry winter skin back to hydrated and plump.
Bovine collagen: Dose & Co Collagen Creamer
A newcomer to the collagen block, the Dose & Co collagen creamer mixes Bovine (cattle) collagen with coconut milk to make a creamer you can add to your coffee. The coconut addition means you get a daily hit of healthy fat in there, as well as 10 grams of collagen per serve, and might be a little easier for those to stomach who feel nervous about breaking into the collagen scene.
This product is the brainchild of health guru Libby Matthews (Boxall), who is as passionate about the microbiome and gut health as I am about a creamy Havarti cheese (very). She even put together her top tips for a healthy gut for Newshub, you can catch those here.