Is Collagen a Medicine?
Often referred to as the “miracle molecule” or the “protein of youth”, collagen is attributed to helping customers with all manner of health concerns.
However, in spite of this reputation and the ever increasing anecdotal evidence from people experiencing a huge array of health benefits from it, collagen is a food - a protein source - commonly used as a health supplement. As such, it is not defined as a medicine.
Consider collagen no different from any other food source that isn’t considered a medicine yet provides the body with essential nutrients.
For example, we don’t classify oranges as medicine, but we know they are rich in vitamin C and help our immune system. We don’t classify salmon as medicine, but we know it is a potent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart health and possibly brain function. We don’t classify kombucha as medicine, but we know it encourages a balanced gut microbiome, which helps promote general health and well-being.
So if collagen is not a medicine, what does it do for you?
Let’s find out.
Is collagen a vitamin?
Collagen is the most prevalent protein in the body, but it is not a vitamin. As a protein, it is made up of amino acids that form the building blocks of our body. It plays a vital role in the growth, maintenance and structure of our skin, hair, nails, bones, joints, cartilage, muscle and more and without it, we would literally fall apart. That said, although collagen is a protein and not a vitamin, it does require vitamin C in order to be produced by the body.
What does collagen have in it?
As a protein, all collagen is made up of chains of amino acids that are formed in a very unique way. There are 18 amino acids in collagen, which includes eight of the nine essential amino acids (ones that our bodies cannot produce so have to come from our food). There is nothing else in collagen. Just amino acids and, as mentioned, collagen gives structure and accounts for around 30% of our body’s total protein content.
Our bodies naturally produce collagen and they’re very efficient at doing this in our youth. However, as we age, our collagen production slows down, so we need that extra helping hand through our diet. We can do this by eating foods that support collagen production or which contain collagen, as well as taking a collagen supplement.
So, the collagen in our bodies and the collagen we consume doesn’t “have anything in them” per se, but are is made up of special chains of amino acids.
However, when referring to the collagen that we take as supplements and asking, “what’s in collagen supplements” well, that’s a different question, and the answer depends on whose product you are talking about!
When it comes to Edible Health, we use two collagen sources - bovine (from sustainable cowhide) and marine (from sustainable fish skins). Both of our collagen powders are 100% natural and contain absolutely no nasties, and are nothing more than pure collagen-containing amino acids. However, we also produce specialised collagen blends such as our Anti-Ageing and Digestive Enzyme formulations. These collagen supplements contain collagen (composed of its special amino acids) plus a whole host of other super nutrients. Find out more about the role of collagen and gut health.
What does collagen do for you?
What doesn’t it do is more the question!
As we mentioned, collagen is essentially the building block for our bodies. It is fundamental in maintaining the health and integrity of so many pieces of our complex bio-puzzle! We have customers who are devoted to taking collagen for so many reasons, including:
- General health and well-being
- Gut health and immunity
- Allergies and inflammation
- Beauty - hair, skin, nails
- Bones, joints, cartilage
- Recovery from illness and/or injury
- Workout, fitness and muscle recovery
- Cognitive function
Are collagen products tested in clinical trials?
Given that collagen is not a medicine, there is no legal requirement for it to undergo clinical trials or research studies and evaluations.
As collagen is classed as a protein food supplement, any research and general knowledge about protein would apply to collagen. Let’s use another example; carbohydrates...
Science tells us what happens when we consume carbohydrates, why we need them and the effects of good/bad carbohydrates. Still, there aren’t really double-blind clinical trials to study the benefits of eating a potato or a slice of bread or a bowl of pasta etc., because these are foods, not medicines.
However, a limited number of ethical/responsible manufacturers recognise the growing demand for science-backed nutrition. This is one of the many reasons why we only use collagen from the world-leading collagen manufacturer. Not only do they have state-of-the-art facilities, but they invest heavily in research to understand, evaluate and prove the effects of collagen.
Is there a therapeutic dose recommended for collagen?
We must reiterate that collagen is not a medicine and therefore does not have a “dosage” per se and, as a food, it is supplementary, not therapeutic. As collagen is a protein, there are recommended daily amounts for how much protein people need. These typically range from around 0.5 grams of protein per kilo of body weight up to 1.0 grams per kilo, depending on age, lifestyle and other considerations.
No trials have been undertaken to determine an ideal serving size of collagen. This will vary from person to person because collagen is a protein and daily protein requirements differ from person to person. We suggest 13 grams based on recommendations from our manufacturer. We have found this to be a great average serving size to suit most people whilst optimising benefits. However, we do have customers with specific health issues and requirements who take less or more than our recommended serving size.
If you have any concerns about taking collagen or how much you need, especially concerning medical conditions, we advise you to consult your medical practitioner.
Is collagen a medicine - take-home points
- Collagen is not a medicine, and it is not a vitamin - it is a protein-rich food supplement.
- Reasons for taking collagen vary, but many customers do so for general health and well-being, gut-related issues, inflammation and allergies, beauty-enhancing (skin, hair, nails), muscle build and repair, injury and illness recovery, and more.
- Because collagen is not a medicine, there is no legal requirement for it to undergo medical trials.
- Edible Health’s cutting-edge manufacturer has invested significantly in undertaking double-randomised blind trials to demonstrate collagen’s effects, despite there being no legal or medical requirement to do so.
- There is no recommended therapeutic dosage of collagen because it is not a medicine. Instead, Edible Health recommends a daily serving size of 13g based on our manufacturer’s recommendations. However, individual customers may take more or less than this depending on their specific circumstances and daily protein requirements.
- If you are considering taking collagen and have an existing medical issue, we recommend you consult your GP about this and about a serving size that would be best for you.
The information we have provided herewith, and all linked materials, are not intended nor should they be construed as medical advice. Moreover, the information herewith should not be used as a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions and consult your General Practitioner for advice specific for you.