There's a lot of myths out there about collagen, everything from it's a miracle cure for cellulite to exactly when and how you need to take it for it to be effective.
A lot of the myths have good theory behind it, but that's about it.
Collagen is neither a miracle cure nor something that works only at certain times. It's a food-based supplement and very versatile in its use.
Let's take a look at some of these myths and breakdown to discover the truth.
Should You Take Collagen On An Empty Stomach
Many people claim taking collagen on an empty stomach allows it to be absorbed properly, and you get more out of it. The theory is that taking the collagen on an empty stomach allows it to interact with the stomach acids better.
The thing is, it doesn't matter if there is food on your stomach or not, as the acid will digest the contents of the stomach with food or without extra food. Additionally, the majority of protein digestion happens in the small intestine, not the stomach. So it doesn't matter if you have a full stomach or empty stomach, you're still going to get the same benefit out of the collagen.
Do You Need Vitamin C?
Most manufacturers add vitamin C to the collagen or recommend taking a supplement of vitamin C. The theory is that vitamin C is a nutrient necessary to boost your body's natural production of collagen. Vitamin C also helps most other nutrients be absorbed easier.
There's no research or study to show that consuming vitamin C with collagen helps absorption or doesn't. Most people do not get enough vitamin C in their diet, to begin with, so getting extra vitamin C with collagen or an extra supplement will only benefit your overall health.
Collagen Will Fill You Up
Most collagen supplements are very small, ranging from capsules to a scoop of powder. The thought is that protein helps fill you up, making you feel full.
But, that doesn't seem to be the case, based on what people report. It's what else you eat besides the supplement that will truly fill you up. Having something with fat in it greatly increases your feeling of satisfaction and fullness.
Take Collagen At Night For Better Absorption
This is one of the odd theories. Some claim that taking collagen at night makes it more effective because it can sync up with your REM cycles and increase absorption.
However, it takes about three to five hours for the collagen to move through your intestine to be absorbed. So while it does cover at least one REM cycle, the process of absorbing nutrients is slow and not dependent on sleep.
In fact, taking a collagen supplement at night may decrease the amount of protein you absorb from it. Your digestive system relaxes and slows down its ability to absorb nutrients at night, meaning it might be better to take the supplement earlier in the day.
Fish Or Bovine?
Some claim that fish is better, some claim that bovine is better. Each of them has different percentages of the peptides and amino acids. Both contain Type 1 collagen. They both contain proline and glycine.
Naturally, fish collagen amino acids are smaller and do not form long chains like bovine collagen. That makes it easier for the body to absorb. However, no study exists to compare the two.
In your supplements, you should look for hydrolyzed collagen because the amino acids will have been broken down into smaller chains for easy absorption. That way, it doesn't matter if you're using fish or bovine collagen, they will both absorb well.
Basically, using a collagen supplement mixed into your meals, smoothies, or just plain water will give you the amino acids and peptides you need to build strong, healthy tissues within your body. Be sure to choose a high-quality supplement, as they will have the fewest contaminants and highest quality proteins.