Understanding different types ofcollagen, their unique benefits, and the science supporting them can help brands and retailers best serve consumers seeking to look and feel their best. To update the industry on the latest,New York Timesbest-selling author Naomi Whittel, CEO of Naomi Whittel Brands, sat down at the Naturally Informed virtual education eventNutri-Beauty: Mastering the Market  to answer frequently asked questions about collagen and clear up misconceptions. In the sessionCollagen Through Lifestages, Whittel discussed how collagen is used throughout the world. In Asia, she said, ingestible forms of nutritional collagen, including capsules and powders, have long been popular. “The younger people were already incorporating this concept of collagen into their diet,” said Whittel, who also noted that the concept of beauty from within emerged in Europe before gaining popularity in the United States.

For years, Whittel explored cultural understandings from around the world before incorporating them in the United States market. “It was a no-brainer, in 2008 and 2009, to want to bring good-quality, science-based collagen into the market. It was almost impossible to find [in the U.S.].” She explained the gap between the United States market and markets in Europe and Asia, noting that in the U.S., health provider knowledge on the topic was lacking as “the science wasn’t yet there, [so] none of the doctors or dermatologists in the United States had that insight yet.”

U.S. consumers, though, wanted the benefits that collagen could offer to ward off signs of aging. “We know that it’s the most abundant protein in our body, we know the matrix of our dermis is collagen, and we also know that it declines; it starts declining around the time we are 17 to 18 years old,” Whittel told viewers. She explained that when a woman reaches perimenopause, collagen decreases at the same ratio estrogen declines. “Our bodies are going through what many health experts consider a health crisis.”

Clearing Up Collagen Confusion

The most common misconception in the market, according to Whittel: That all collagen is created equal. There is one form of collagen that can be taken for wrinkles, fine lines, and skin, for example, and a different kind of collagen for joints and bones, and further a different type to build muscle. Nathan Gray, Co-Founder & CEO Advanced Biotics and the session’s moderator, added, “A lot of people think all collagen peptides are the same and they’re not. Different forms of collagen are found in different parts of the body.”

Whittel added, “Collagen itself is a structural protein, one of the most abundant in the body and is a building block for teeth, bones, muscles, skin, as well as joints and connective tissue. This sequence of amino acids is going to work for my lean muscle mass, and this one for my skin…understanding it at that next level will give us a deeper understanding of our health.” 

In conclusion, Whittel wants consumers to remember that collagen is an animal product. She urged retailers and brands to know where their collagen is coming from and to look at sourcing. And it’s important to note: Americans are consuming one-tenth of the collagen that is consumed in Asia, Whittel said, and people need to be patient to see results. 

In an article addressing collagen supplements for joint health, Whittel stressed that results may not be felt in a day or in a week, as might be the case with pain medication, “but over weeks and months as the body begins to rebuild the essential structure, many report significant improvements with both pain and inflammation.”

For more on collagen, nutri-beauty, and healthy aging topics, you can watch this session on demand (access the video onwww.NaturallyInformed.net). And check out more sessions from the event, including:
  • Getting to the Root of the Issue – An Innovative, Science-Based Approach to Addressing Hair Thinning from the Inside Out
  • Beautiful Microbes - The Role of the Skin Microbiome and the Gut-Skin Axis in Beauty
  • Secrets to Radiant Health and Ageless Beauty
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