By Dr. Josh Axe
Considering it’s the most abundant type of protein found in the body, collagen has plenty to offer both men and women, especially those who are aging normally and want to support mobility, their appearance and general joint comfort.
Why should women take collagen? Well, the collagen benefits for women are abundant. Collagen supports healthy skin, hair, nails, joints and gut function. In fact, consuming enough protein in general is important for healthy aging, since the body uses amino acids to build and repair muscles and bones and to make enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters.
Women who can benefit from taking collagen supplements most include:
- Those looking for extra joint support and help with exercise recovery.
- Athletic/active women.
- Women lacking protein in their diet (such as vegetarians).
- And anyone looking to support the strength and appearance of their skin, nails and hair.
Of course, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to starting any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including supplementation.
Why Women Need More Collagen
What does collagen do for a woman's body? As a structural protein made up of approximately 19 amino acids (including often hard-to-find glycine, proline and arginine), collagen essentially holds the body together. It helps to form connective tissues, including joints, skin, ligaments, tendons, hair and more.
Your body makes its own collagen, plus you can consume more from certain food sources, such as bone broth and gelatin.
The issue for most people is that collagen’s not abundant in most meat protein foods; therefore, supplements can come in handy. Protein foods like meat, eggs, fish and dairy can provide your body with amino acids that help you synthesize collagen, but these aren’t great sources on their own.
Overall, both women and men produce less collagen once they reach their 30s or 40s. Adding more to your diet can offer many benefits, such as: assisting in skin health and elasticity, promoting joint comfort and mobility, and assisting in gut function by helping to maintain integrity of the gut lining.
Beauty Benefits of Collagen
Protein, especially collagen, acts as a support network for the dermis, the skin layer that helps keep skin resilient and supple. About 70 to 80 percent of the protein found in skin is collagen.
As collagen production naturally starts to accelerate its decline in middle age, this can result in changes in skin elasticity, including increased appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin.
Collagen is therefore one of the best supplements for supporting healthy skin, including normal skin aging and healthy elasticity. Below are some of the benefits of collagen for women pertaining to healthy skin, hair and nails:
- Supporting skin elasticity and tone.
- Improving the appearance of crow’s feet.
- Reducing collagen degradation with noticeable results.
- Promoting healthy hair thickness and growth while reducing hair breakage.
- Contributing to healthy, strong nails.
Joint & Exercise Benefits
Collagen helps to form joints, ligaments, tendons and cartilage, which all facilitate normal mobility, flexibility and strength.
Joint-related benefits of collagen for women include: contributing to joint health and joint comfort, supporting exercise performance and recovery, and potentially reducing exercise-related discomfort.
Consuming certain collagen supplements such as Multi Collagen Protein, which contains a specific fermented eggshell membrane collagen ingredient (see below for more info), has been shown to help reduce stiffness (such as knee stiffness) in as little as one week, making it easier to stay active.
Consuming more protein, including collagen, can also support a healthy metabolism and body composition, and aid in energy output.
Because collagen forms and repairs the lining of the intestinal wall, it can contribute to overall health of the gastrointestinal tract. It helps to keep fascia tissue strong which lines the gut, contributing to healthy “tight junctions” in the intestinal barrier.
As collagen helps to maintain gut integrity, it also assists in nutrient absorption, digestive health and healthy immune system function. The majority of a person's immune system is located inside their gut, therefore prioritizing gut/microbiome health is crucial for general well-being.
A healthy gut also facilitates normal hormone and neurotransmitter production. And other gut-related overall benefits of collagen for women include: supporting normal phase 2 liver detoxification, supporting the central nervous system, and promoting relaxation, which is important for the “gut-brain connection.”
Best Collagen Products & How to Use
The best collagen supplements for women are those that provide multiple types of collagen, such as types I, II and III, considering these are found in the highest concentrations in the skin, gut and joints.
You’ll find these collagen types in the Ancient Nutrition supplements described below. These products all feature a proprietary fermented eggshell collagen ingredient that has been backed by six human clinical studies, proving to offer several specific benefits for women.
1. Multi Collagen Protein (MCP)
Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein can boost your intake of multiple types of collagen, each which has its own unique role; it features 10 different collagen types from four real food sources: bovine, chicken, fermented eggshell membrane and fish collagen.
MCP is one of the best collagens for women considering it supports maintenance of healthy connective tissues, including skin, joints and hair health.
Our MCP formulas use hydrolyzed collagen, meaning the protein has been broken down in smaller peptides, which assists in absorption.
How much collagen should women take? While there isn’t a standard daily recommended amount, most adult women can benefit from having at least one serving of collagen protein powder per day (about 10 grams of collagen), for example by having a collagen-filled smoothie for breakfast.
Some women may benefit from collagen loading, such as 2–3 servings daily, but should always check with their healthcare professional first and read and follow label directions for use.
MCP comes in several flavors, including pure/unflavored, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry lemonade and guava passionfruit.
Ancient Nutrition offers several formulas designed specifically to support healthy skin and hair, as well as healthy sleep support and more.
Our Multi Collagen Protein Beauty Within formula features a blend of 10 types of collagen, plus phytonutrient-dense fruits and vegetables for extra antioxidant and skin support.
Additionally, we include 2 billion CFUs* (*at time of manufacture) of the SBO probiotic strain called Bacillus coagulans, along with 100 percent your daily need of vitamin C. The probiotic helps support a healthy immune system and gut function.
This formula has a delicious guava passion fruit flavor that easily blends into water, smoothies and juices.
3. Collagen Peptides (CP)
Ancient Nutrition’s Collagen Peptides offer many of the same benefits as MCP, including support for skin, hair, nails and joints. Collagen Peptides are made from two sources: clinically studied fermented eggshell membrane collagen and bovine collagen, which offers collagen types I and III.
Our unflavored CP formula provides 18 grams of protein per 2 scoop serving (20 grams of the Collagen Complex). Try Collagen peptides in recipes such as: collagen coffee, collagen overnight oats, or this cleansing collagen smoothie.
If you're a plant-based eater or vegetarian, try our new Vegetarian Collagen Peptides, which feature our proprietary fermented eggshell membrane ingredient.
This formula is made without bovine, chicken or marine collagen, instead exclusively featuring fermented eggshell membrane collagen that has been hydrolyzed to assist in digestion. We also include SBO probiotics in this formula, as well as the fiber called acacia. SBO probiotics support maintenance of healthy gut flora.
You should always consult your healthcare professional prior to starting any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including collagen supplements. Likewise, you should always read and follow label directions for suggested use.
Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food and nutrition. He operates leading natural health website DrAxe.com and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health supplement company. He’s also author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, Keto Diet, Collagen Diet and Ancient Remedies.