Why Vitamin C Is Critical To Have In Collagen Supplements + A Powder That Does
Not all collagen supplements are created equal. In fact, formulating a collagen powder that actually delivers on the skin-supporting promises is not easy. And to find a well-constructed collagen supplement, you need to ensure it checks several boxes: Is it grass-fed and pasture-raised? Is it hydrolyzed? Does it only contain clean, effective extras, like hyaluronic acid?
We're going to add another box to check: A thoughtfully made collagen supplement should contain vitamin C, a classic antioxidant that is a vital part of the collagen production process.
Why your collagen powder should always have vitamin C
Here's what we know about collagen production: Naturally, your body produces less and less of its own with age and due to oxidative stress, UV damage, diet, and other lifestyle factors. (Read about these collagen-reducing factors here.)
We also know that your body will produce less collagen during times of stress or anxiety. Finally, and thankfully, we know that there are a few things you can do to support your body's natural production.
The most effective way to promote your body's natural collagen production is through collagen supplementation.* Hydrolyzed collagen peptides, like those found in collagen powders, are able to be absorbed by the body. Once absorbed they work to support your skin's fibroblasts1, or the mechanism in the cell that actually makes collagen and elastin.* Studies show that collagen supplements can promote healthy skin2 by smoothing fine lines, enhancing firm texture, and even maintaining moisture.*
Here's the vitamin C catch: Your body cannot effectively produce collagen without the antioxidant3.* Vitamin C is actually able to promote fibroblast production4, tend to damaged collagen DNA, and regulate collagen synthesis5, or the pathway in which collagen is made.* "Vitamin C is a key cofactor in the synthesis of collagen and elastin, [which helps] give your skin that plump and youthful appearance," says Keira Barr, M.D., dual board-certified dermatologist.*
But it goes a step further, too, as vitamin C can also take on a protective role. (As if it hasn't done enough already!) Vitamin C stabilizes the collagen you already have thanks to its antioxidant properties, which can help neutralize free radical damage, a main source of collagen degradation and DNA damage.*
But your body cannot make vitamin C on its own; it must be ingested. To make this easier for you, mindbodygreen's grass-fed collagen+ already combines the ingredients into one hardworking powder. The supplement also contains other ingredients like the aforementioned hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and a host of other skin-supporting actives.
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Vitamin C is an essential nutrient your body needs to make collagen.* If you are serious about optimizing your collagen production, look for a powder that combines both.*
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Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.