Collagen is popping everywhere with new brands sprouting up daily, touting all its benefits. The buzz is certainly hard to ignore. You’ve also probably heard of the connection between vitamin C and collagen and the important role vitamin C plays in the production of this protein. But does vitamin C help with collagen absorption? This article has a closer look at the relationship between vitamin C and collagen and how you can increase the absorption of nutraceutical collagen.
Vitamin C and collagen: a perfect pair
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body with a host of immeasurable benefits. It supports blood vessels, heart, skin, bone, teeth, and gut health. We see the decrease of collagen in the body most notably when we age and the first signs of lines and wrinkles appear. Collagen can only be produced when vitamin C is around. In short, no vitamin C means no collagen. That’s why it is so important to get enough vitamin C daily, preferably from a balanced diet that consists of fresh fruit and veggies.
How much vitamin C do you need?
Since vitamin C plays such an important role in the formation of collagen, make sure you get a good daily dose. The RDA (Daily recommended allowance) of vitamin C for healthy adults ranges between 15 to 75 mg for children, 75 mg for adult women, 90 mg for adult men, and 85 to 120 mg for pregnant or lactating mothers. Smokers need an average of 35 mg more. The scientist, Linus Pauling advocated dosage of 2000 mg a day, especially for those with compromised immune systems whose bodies need more. Following the regular RDA is considered safe, but it is recommended to seek the opinion of a medical practitioner if you want to take higher dosages. A simple blood test can determine if you are vitamin C deficient.
Vitamin C and collagen absorption
When you supplement with collagen peptides, the body is not able to absorb the collagen in its whole form. The protein is broken down in the stomach before being absorbed into the bloodstream. Vitamin C then helps with collagen production every step of the way. To consume collagen as a nutraceutical source would only make sense if you take it alongside vitamin C rich food sources. To make collagen more bioavailable, supplements are available in peptide form. The long amino acid chains that form collagen are essentially broken down into a much smaller form, increasing absorption.
How to increase collagen absorption
Make sure you are getting the most out of your collagen supplement because a good high-quality product usually doesn’t come cheap.
Choose a collagen hydrolysate or collagen peptide form (same thing) rather than pure collagen. Peptides are better absorbed because they are smaller sections of an amino acid chain that comes from the longer chain of pure collagen. A good quality product would not need any additives or fillers. Look for a brand that is clean, third-party tested, and source their collagen from reputable and responsible sources. When the product states ‘from grass-fed and pasture-raised cattle’ you know you are on the right track.
Because vitamin C helps with collagen absorption, make sure your vitamin C intake is sufficient. Taking collagen alongside vitamin C sourced from wholefoods makes for a good combo. Beef liver is loaded with vitamin C too, for those who do not eat fruit. If you suspect a vitamin C deficiency despite eating well, see a health practitioner who will be able to advise you on the way forward. A simple blood test will determine if you are deficient in this nutrient.
Collagen can be taken at any time of the day really. Some people take it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. Others take it with their coffee, tea, smoothie, or juice. It is tasteless and can be added to a morning milky cereal too.
Does vitamin C help with collagen absorption – last thoughts
So, does vitamin C help with collagen absorption? The tiny size of the collagen peptides helps with absorption once in the gastrointestinal tract. Vitamin C’s key role concerns the formation of collagen in the body once the peptides are in the bloodstream. Although some products combine vitamin C and collagen, you do not have to take them together. You can take them at different times of the day too. If vitamin C is present in the body, collagen can be produced.
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Taking dietary supplements should always be done alongside the guidance of a medical practitioner. This article was not written or overseen by a medical professional and should not be viewed as advice or diagnostic information.
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Cautionary note: Not any of these statements have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The content of the articles and the products recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health issue. The intention is also not to imply that vitamins or any dietary supplements are substitutes for a balanced diet or are in any way more beneficial or superior to dietary nutrients. It is also not intended to imply that general or normal health may be affected by not taking dietary supplements or receiving intravenous vitamin C infusions.