Why Your Collagen Supplement Isn’t Working

As health enthusiasts continue to search for ways to keep their bodies young and healthy, collagen has emerged as a superstar on the anti-aging scene. Collagen protein powders, bars, beverages, and supplements are now being marketed as the answer to combat aging — so why don’t we see astounding results?

The answer: nothing in your body happens in a vacuum. 

Collagen may be a crucial component of anti-aging, but it doesn’t work alone. If you want to reap the benefits of collagen production, there’s more to the story than increasing your dietary intake.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The crucial role collagen plays in anti-aging
  • Aging and the role of toxins
  • Why collagen supplementation (on its own) always produce the desired results
  • The cofactors needed to utilize collagen
  • The key nutrient that your body needs to optimize collagen production 

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is a type of protein and is, in fact, the most abundant protein in your body. It makes up a large portion of your connective tissue, which can be found throughout your body, supplying structure and function.  

Your bones, muscles, skin, and tendons all rely on collagen and connective tissue for support. As you age, your collagen production (and therefore connective tissue integrity) begins to decline. Typically, around the age of 30, you can start seeing a slow and steady progressive loss of this tissue[1]. 

While this is a normal part of aging, unwanted side effects like wrinkles in your skin and joint pain may begin to appear. That’s where marketing has swooped in and made quite a splash by highlighting the myriad of functions that collagen participates in to support the youthfulness of your body. 

Is collagen a complete sham? Absolutely not. In fact, some of the crucial roles that collagen plays in your body include:

Skin Health

Collagen supplementation improves skin elasticity and hydration. That’s because the extracellular matrix (ECM) that sits below your skin is made up of mostly collagen. When your collagen is strong, the ECM is strong, and it quite literally holds up your skin like scaffolding on a building. When collagen is weak, however, your skin begins to sag and lose its elasticity[2].

Joint Health 

While most people assume joint health is only an issue for the elderly, the fact is that collagen, as a crucial component of cartilage, is essential for the joints’ health no matter what age you are. 

Cartilage is a rubbery elastic type of tissue that sits at the junction of your bones, allowing them to move in a smooth motion. Both aging and overuse can cause your cartilage to wear down, and this often results in inflammation and joint pain. 

However, keeping your collagen stores healthy has been shown to reduce joint pain associated with the loss of cartilage[3].

Gut Health

Collagen plays a vital role in the health of your gut, and may even be the key to overcoming a condition known as “leaky gut syndrome” or intestinal permeability. 

Leaky gut is a common condition that results from inflammation in your gut, causing the tightly packed cells that usually keep out foreign substances to loosen. These junctions, known as tight junctions, are crucial for protecting your body from anything that shouldn’t be absorbed — including partially digested food, bacteria, and toxins. 

Research shows that part of the story with leaky gut may have to do with decreased collagen production in the gut lining, which is crucial for the integrity of your tight junctions[4].

The Cofactors Needed to Utilize Collagen

Oftentimes we’ll pop supplements fully expecting to see results, yet we never truly assess whether or not they’re working for us. Collagen is a perfect example of this. Have you seen the benefits of skin health and anti-aging from your collagen supplement?

If you have, great. If you’re like most people, however, then your answer would be a resounding  “meh” – you can’t really tell the difference after taking collagen. 

So what gives? 

The issue isn’t with the collagen itself, but with another crucial nutrient that is a required cofactor to utilize collagen. It’s also often overlooked when it comes to anti-aging — silica.

As I mentioned before, nothing in your body happens in a vacuum. Although collagen supplementation may be helpful, if you’re not providing your body with the nutrients, it needs to put collagen to work; it’s like gassing up a car that has no tires — what’s the point?

If collagen is a scaffolding material for your body, silica is the nails and glue that hold the scaffolding together. Collagen without silica is like trying to build a house with a bunch of wood beams and no nails. 

In more technical terms, silica assists in the formation of cross-linkages in your connective tissue that hold everything together[5]. Therefore, if you want the collagen you consume to actually end up building more connective tissue, silica is vital. 

And yet, most people are deficient in silica because they don’t eat enough vegetables and water that contain silica – or they can’t absorb it from their food due to gut issues or stress. 

If you’re looking to collagen for skin health, in particular, silica becomes twice as important as it is also a necessary nutrient for the activation of enzymes that improve skin strength and elasticity[6][7].

Aside from the obvious roles that silica plays in anti-aging and collagen function, there’s yet another crucial aspect of anti-aging that silica supports — detoxification. 

Aging and Toxins

I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight both the importance of supporting your body’s natural detox abilities for anti-aging; and the essential role that silica plays in supporting detoxification. 

Aging is a process by which your body slowly begins to break down. One leading theory, called the oxidative theory of aging, holds that aging really boils down to increased levels of oxidative stress with inadequate stores of antioxidants to combat the damage[8][9].

So, where does this oxidative stress come from? 

While there are many things that can instigate oxidation in your body (some quite normal and actually beneficial), environmental toxins like heavy metals, pesticides, and xenoestrogens (substances that mimic estrogen) can instigate the oxidative stress that leads to cellular damage[10][11].

One pertinent example of this is the effect that the heavy metals mercury and cadmium have on the synthesis of collagen. High levels of these toxins can cause oxidative damage and disruption to collagen synthesis — creating a clear link to heavy metal toxicity and aging[12][13][14].

Silica plays a key role in your body’s detoxification system and specifically helps to clear heavy metals and other toxins from the body, which leads to aging[15]. In essence, you can think of silica as your all-around anti-aging support nutrient. 

Not All Silica Is Created Equally

Okay, fantastic, so to get the most out of your collagen, you just need to add some silica to the regimen, right?

Not quite. 

Silica is a crucial anti-aging nutrient, but not all silica is created equally. Much like every other supplement out there, you’re going to have your cheap run-of-the-mill silica supplements; then, you’re going to have your high-quality super bioavailable supplements. 

When it comes to silica, there’s one natural source that’s far superior to the rest, and that’s bamboo silica.

The bamboo plant has the highest content of silica in the entire plant world. While other sources of silica may supply moderate amounts of this crucial nutrient, nothing comes close to bamboo.

Anti-aging and cellular health are extremely important to me, which is why I created Ageless AF, a silica supplement that includes bamboo silica, along with hyaluronic acid, and selenium, to round out your anti-aging needs. 

Here are some key highlights of Ageless AF:

  • The bamboo silica included provides the richest source of silica from the plant world. 
  • The selenium adds in detox support and promotes thyroid function
  • Hyaluronic acid helps to trap water in your skin, enhancing your skin’s
  •  moisture and glow.

So before you go out and buy another tub of collagen, I recommend giving silica, specifically Ageless AF, a try. The nutrients included in this formula help your body produce collagen naturally and assist your tissues in utilizing it optimally. 

Click Here for References+

  1. Varani, James, et al. “Decreased collagen production in chronologically aged skin: roles of age-dependent alteration in fibroblast function and defective mechanical stimulation.” The American journal of pathology 168.6 (2006): 1861-1868.
  2. Bolke, Liane, et al. “A collagen supplement improves skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density: Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, blind study.” Nutrients 11.10 (2019): 2494.
  3. Clark, Kristine L., et al. “24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain.” Current medical research and opinion 24.5 (2008): 1485-1496.
  4. Chen, Qianru, et al. “Collagen peptides ameliorate intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction in immunostimulatory Caco-2 cell monolayers via enhancing tight junctions.” Food & function 8.3 (2017): 1144-1151.
  5. Scholey, D. V., et al. “Bioavailability of a novel form of silicon supplement.” Scientific reports 8.1 (2018): 1-8.
  6. Seaborn, C. D., and F. H. Nielsen. “Silicon deprivation decreases collagen formation in wounds and bone, and ornithine transaminase enzyme activity in liver.” Biological Trace Element Research 89.3 (2002): 251-261.
  7. Araújo, Lidiane Advincula de, Flavia Addor, and Patrícia Maria Berardo Gonçalves Maia Campos. “Use of silicon for skin and hair care: an approach of chemical forms available and efficacy.” Anais brasileiros de dermatologia 91.3 (2016): 331-335.
  8. Lin, Michael T., and M. Flint Beal. “The oxidative damage theory of aging.” Clinical Neuroscience Research 2.5-6 (2003): 305-315.
  9. Liguori, Ilaria, et al. “Oxidative stress, aging, and diseases.” Clinical interventions in aging 13 (2018): 757.
  10. Samet, James M., and Phillip A. Wages. “Oxidative stress from environmental exposures.” Current opinion in toxicology 7 (2018): 60-66.
  11. Al-Gubory, Kaïs H. “Environmental pollutants and lifestyle factors induce oxidative stress and poor prenatal development.” Reproductive BioMedicine Online 29.1 (2014): 17-31.
  12. Goldberg, Ronald L., Stephen R. Kaplan, and George C. Fuller. “Effect of heavy metals on human rheumatoid synovial cell proliferation and collagen synthesis.” Biochemical pharmacology 32.18 (1983): 2763-2766.
  13. Galicka, Anna, et al. “Effect of cadmium on collagen content and solubility in rat bone.” Acta Biochimica Polonica 51.3 (2004): 825-829.
  14. Kucharz, E. J., and K. Olczyk. “Influence of chronic mercury poisoning upon the connective tissue in rats. II. Effect of mercuric chloride on collagen and elastin.” Central European journal of public health 2.2 (1994): 80-81.
  15. Yantasee, Wassana, et al. “Functionalized nanoporous silica for the removal of heavy metals from biological systems: adsorption and application.” ACS applied materials & interfaces 2.10 (2010): 2749-2758.
  16. Jurkić, Lela Munjas, et al. “Biological and therapeutic effects of ortho-silicic acid and some ortho-silicic acid-releasing compounds: New perspectives for therapy.” Nutrition & metabolism 10.1 (2013): 2.

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Wendy Myers, FDN-P, is a detox expert, functional diagnostic nutritionist, NES Bioenergetic Practitioner, and founder of Myersdetox.com. She is the #1 bestselling author of Limitless Energy: How to Detox Toxic Metals to End Exhaustion and Chronic Fatigue . Additionally, Wendy is the host of The Heavy Metals Summit, the Myers Detox Podcast, and the Supercharged Podcast. Passionate about the importance of detox to live a long and healthy life, she created the revolutionary Myers Detox Protocol , and Mitochondria Detox kit after working with thousands of clients, as well as a range of supplements to help you detox from everyday living and maintain a healthy lifestyle!