Touted on the sides of sundry beauty packages that litter our cabinets, collagen has long been heralded the miracle of youth. It’s been packed into vitamins, creams and serums (and beer!) but we’re only just beginning to add it to our favorite smoothies. Are taut skin, defined muscles and the glory of our youth really just a tablespoon of collagen away? Bulletproof recently released a new product, a fusion of protein and a new, super-digestible form of hydrolyzed collagen, and I couldn’t wait to investigate.
First Of All: What’s Hydrolyzed Collagen?
Collagen, often dubbed the “elixir of youth,” is responsible for making you look young. If there’s a single ingredient your body produces that keeps your skin radiant, elastic, and wrinkle-free, it’s collagen. But at around age 40, your body begins to reduce production of the important protein, and by 60 the decline is dramatic. It’s a natural protein component of skin and it acts as an advanced support structure and core building block for cells, tissues and organs.
Hydrolyzed collagen is collagen derived from the bones and cartilage of cows. The process of extraction allows for the amino acids to remain intact and be easily absorbed by the bloodstream, which can then be used as building blocks for new collagen.
Bulletproof consults with several doctors and certified nutritionists on all product development and formulation. Upgraded collagen is enzymatically processed several times to leave its peptides intact, resulting in a neutral tasting, highly available protein that is odorless and doesn’t clump. It is far easier to use and contains more collagen than bone broth.
Why Is It Better To Eat Collagen Than Put It On Your Skin?
The collagen molecules found in most face creams are too large to pass through our skin’s pores, so they reportedly have no effect on our skin. Hydrolyzed Collagen is a more easily digested and absorbed form of collagen due to it’s lower molecular weight. Additionally, the unique amino acid profile is more beneficial to cell replication as well as the metabolic pathways to healthy tissue. This recent study confirms those beliefs.
Is There Proof That Ingesting Collagen Can Support Skin Health?
Experts constantly debate this and we think the jury is still out. However, some recent studies are promising, and this form of “hydrolyzed collagen” seems to be having better results. In a large double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in early 2014, women were asked to ingest 2.5 grams of hydrolyzed collagen daily. At the end of 8 weeks, researches found a whopping 20% reduction in wrinkle depth around the subjects’ eyes.
If that’s not convincing enough, the same study also found that our body’s own pre-collagen (collagen’s precursor in our bodies) was increased by a massive 65%.
To put these claims to the test, I sought out the world’s foremost bio-hackers, Bulletproof, to see if I could achieve a higher state of performance and beauty with just one tablespoon of their new product, Upgraded Collagen Protein.
When I first received the package I was immediately surprised at how understated the branding was: no bulging muscles for the body building set, and nothing too pink for us ladies: thank you! As a health coach, I was impressed with the 8 grams of complete protein per tablespoon, plus the unique amino acid profile. My husband—ever manly with no use for girly wellness products—picked it up and requested it be added to his morning shake. Score!
I started incorporating the product with warm water as a pre-bedtime tea. Admittedly, I was nervous going in for my first sip. But true to its claims, the Upgraded Collagen Protein is flavorless and odorless. Throughout the week, I got more adventurous, tossing it into smoothies and teas and eventually whipping it into a batch of savory protein pancakes. Yum!
The Results: Is A Tablespoon Of Collagen All It Takes To Turn Back The Clock?
After a week of consistently using the product, my skin is noticeably more luminous. At 31, I’m not that lined so I cannot speak to its reported wrinkle reducing powers. However, I packed in an extra boot camp, and my muscles carried me through. So from a performance perspective, I’m feeling the benefits.
On the other hand, there was a happy victory relating to my stomach. As someone with Celiac disease and several food allergies, my stomach is finicky to say to the least. A week of using this product had my stomach feeling calmer and happier than ever. In times of struggle, I’d always turned to the ever-laborious home made bone broth, but this seemed to do the trick just as well, without the 48-hour turnaround time. After reading up on its digestive health magic, I found that hydrolyzed collagen is a go-to for sufferers of digestive upsets and leaky gut syndrome.
If you’re looking for a convenient, palatable and high-performing supplement that can literally better you from your head to your toes, this is it, ladies. Buy It: Bulletproof Upgraded Collagen Protein Powder, $40 for 16oz.
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