If there was a magic pill that could help improve digestion and gut health, erase wrinkles, ease joint pain and give you healthy, thick hair and nails, I would buy it by the truckload. After all, while boosting my overall health is a priority, having shinier hair and minimal crow’s feet is a major bonus. Although there’s no such magic pill, there is a supplement that promises these results and more—collagen peptides.
Collagen is a protein found in our bodies; it’s in our digestive system, muscles, bones, skin, and tendons. But collagen production decreases with age, hence wrinkles and sagging skin. That’s why taking a collagen supplement is supposed to improve the elasticity of your skin—in fact, a study published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found that those who took collagen peptides once daily for eight weeks showed a significant improvement in skin’s elasticity. As someone who is approaching 30 and constantly stressing over crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles, I was hoping collagen would help smooth out some of these signs of aging.
Collagen is also supposed to help with joint pain. Although I (luckily) don’t have chronic pain in my joints, my knees do flare up from time to time ever since I ran a half marathon a couple years ago. I also get some soreness in what feels like the bones in my legs a couple times a week, usually after a run or intense cardio session. If drinking collagen would ease this pain, then I was game.
To really test the health benefits of drinking collagen peptides, I vowed to take it every day for two weeks. I opted for Vital Proteins Unflavored Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides in the blue tub. I got the 20-ounce tub and a box of the stick packs, which were perfect for when I went out of town. I stuck with one scoop from the tub for 35 calories, 9 grams of protein, and 10 grams of collagen (this was the same serving size in the stick packs).
After taking collagen for over two weeks, here’s what I learned:
It Doesn’t Dissolve Well in Cold Liquids
The Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides that I used claimed that it could dissolve in hot or cold liquids. However, I found it dissolved much easier when I poured some into hot tea or blended it into a smoothie. For the majority of the two weeks, I put my collagen peptides in my morning iced coffee. Instead of dissolving nicely, however, it ended up clumping into gelatinous pieces throughout my coffee. Although the peptides eventually dissolved with frequent stirring, I sometimes ended up slurping up chunks of the peptides.
I Was Full All Morning
Since I drank my peptides in the morning with my coffee (around 9:30), I found myself full until lunchtime. I tend to take a later lunch, around 2:30, so I typically have a snack sometime mid-morning to tide me over. However, I found I didn’t need my morning snack after I had the collagen. It also helped to pair my collagen coffee with breakfast, especially if I ate something that wasn’t super high in protein such as avocado toast. The 9 grams of protein from the collagen kept me satisfied until my next meal.
My Nails Were Stronger
After about a week of taking the collagen, I noticed my nails were thicker and stronger and were growing faster. Usually, my nails break and tear off after they grow, but after drinking my collagen, they were growing nicely and faster than normal. In fact, when I got a gel manicure, which is supposed to last up to two weeks, my nails grew out after about eight or nine days, leaving the bottoms of my nail beds exposed. Although it was annoying having to get my nails redone, it wasn’t a bad problem to have!
I Didn’t Notice a Difference in My Joints
Since I get soreness in my knees from time to time, I was curious if the collagen would help ease this pain. However, nothing really changed; my knees still had their routine soreness a couple times a week.
My Complexion Was Better
I’m not sure if this was a placebo effect or not, but I felt like my skin looked brighter. Although I still struggle with acne and dry patches, I felt like my cheeks looked a little pinker and overall, my skin looked smoother. It wasn’t a replacement for my tinted moisturizer, but I’ll take it!
But My Wrinkles Didn’t Go Away
However, I still had wrinkles on my forehead and the starting lines of crow’s feet around my eyes. These are two trouble areas I’m always focused on, so I was hoping drinking collagen every day would help smooth these out. Although I didn’t see any noticeable difference in terms of skin elasticity and my wrinkles, I only did the challenge for two weeks. I’m going to keep drinking collagen every morning and hope it will help my fine lines disappear. If anything, there are other positive health benefits I found from taking collagen that I’ll definitely make this part of my daily routine.
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Main image courtesy of @VitalProteins Instagram.