You might not be familiar with them yet, but collagen gummies are inching their way onto Australian pharmacy shelves and into online stores.
3 or 4 years ago you were hard-pushed to find anything about collagen on the beauty pages bar collagen serums and face creams and the odd promo for cosmetic procedures involving collagen injections.Open a Australian womens’ magazine or check your Instagram account today and the chances are that you’ll come across an ad for a collagen supplement – especially if you’re female.
The growth all aspects of the ‘wellness’ industry, the desire to halt the signs (and effects) of ageing and the emergence of the nutraceuticals business have all combined to produce the perfect storm that is collagen supplements in their many forms.
Why Collagen Gummies?
Fruit-flavoured gummies are a big player in the dietary supplements market in the US. Everything from fish oil to multi vitamins is moulded into a brightly coloured jelly chew and sold to kids and adults alike.
Here in Australia we tend to think of gummies as sneaky way to get kids to take a daily dose of vitamins and minerals and not something for grown-ups.
But why is that?
A pleasant tasting, jelly-like lolly that smells and tastes vaguely of fruit and that can be popped in your handbag or sit in your desk drawer to be eaten at any time of day like a treat isn’t such a crazy idea for adults.
Especially if you’re trying to get people to take something that either has an unpleasant flavour, or is slightly icky to think about.
The Taste Test
As I said in other posts, I’ve tried a few collagen powders and some of them definitely taste better than others.
I’m currently stirring a scoop of California Gold Nutrition CollagenUP into my morning coffee and pretending it’s creamer. It’s unflavoured and I’ve not been aware of this particular blend of marine collagen tainting my caffeine fix with a delicate fishy after-taste!
This isn’t always the case.
I have well-developed senses of both taste and smell and it only take the vaguest whiff of pig’s trotters or fish scales to turn my tummy first thing in the morning.
The ‘Ickiness’ Factor
Whatever your views on animal versus plant-based products, I don’t think you have to be a committed vegan to find the idea of consuming collagen slightly icky.
To elaborate, though there are a number of so-called ‘vegan collagen’ products for sale in Australia, what virtually all of these collagen tablets and powders really are is collagen ‘boosters’ or ‘builders’. This means that they are providing a range of amino acids, vitamins and other dietary supports that may help your body to produce its own collagen, but don’t strictly contain collagen themselves.
This is because collagen is not vegan. It is a protein derived from living creatures – cows, pigs, chickens, fish, shellfish.
The only exception to this that we have come across to date is the laboratory created Algenist GENIUS collagen products.
For more on what is really going on with vegan collagen, see here.
I like to think that I have a fairly strong stomach in terms of knowing where my food comes from – I have no problem picking meat from bones or eating a whole fish with the head still attached.
However, knowing that bovine collagen is a nice way of saying bits and pieces of cow skin, bones, tendons, hooves and goodness knows what else all boiled down and then dried to make a collagen peptides powder can make my insides churn if I give it too much thought!
And a good friend of mine is adamant that she took Code Age Anti-Aging Marine Collagen Powder without any problem for a fortnight until she started thinking about what ‘wild-caught hydrolyzed fish collagen peptides’ actually meant.
From that time forward, she became aware of a ‘fishy’ smell and after-taste to the product.
Is it all in her head? Very probably, but it still tastes of fish!
Collagen Gummies – Pros and Cons
And so we come to the sanitised world of the collagen gummy, where unpleasant animals parts are disguised as cutesy, fruity sweeties.
- Pleasant Taste – collagen gummies are artificially flavoured and coloured, with berries and other fruits being popular options. They certainly don’t make them in little cow or fish shapes to indicate what’s really in them!
- No Reminder of Their Contents – (see above) a generic fruit-flavoured jelly offers no unpleasant mental images of vats of cow hide being cooked down to extract their collagen.
- Portable – you can keep a bottle on the side in the kitchen next to your coffee cup, in your gym bag, or in a drawer at work.
- Easy to Take – you can chew a collagen gummy whenever you like. With collagen powder or collagen tablets, you need a liquid to either dissolve your powder in or to wash your pill down.
- Memories of Childhood – collagen gummies remind us of the fruit jubes and other jelly lollies that we had as kids. And there’s no easier way to take ‘medicine’ than when it’s disguised as a treat!
- Texture – when you think gummy, no doubt something like tangy, chewy jubes or squidgy Haribo gummy bears come to mind. Sadly, not all collagen gummies have this same sticky, giving texture. In fact, some are quite firm and borderline crunchy, precisely due to their high collagen peptides content.
- Dose – How many collagen gummies to you need to nibble your way through to get a decent dose of collagen? There are conflicting reports on exactly how much collagen an adult should take each day to get a therapeutic result (if indeed, taking collagen supplements has any beneficial effect at all). See here for more on collagen powder and other supplements and whether or not they work.
- One of the current best selling collagen gummies in Australia is Flamingo Supplements – Hydrolyzed Collagen Gummies Type I & III. Let me emphasise this collagen supplement has hundreds of positive reviews and many happy customers. However, a number of buyers point out that taking only 2 gummies (as recommended) adds a very small amount of collagen to a daily diet. Indeed, one customer estimates that you’d need to take 25 of their gummies to ingest a decent dose.
- Where does the Collagen Come From? – This is the elephant in the room.
- A quick look at Flamingo Supplements shows that this American brand is quick to point out that its collagen gummies are GMO free, gluten free, Kosher and Halal and allergen free, but (as far as I can see) don’t indicate where their collagen comes from. ‘Collagen’ is simply listed as an ingredient.
- Nature’s Way Beauty Collagen Gummies are starting to make an impact on the Australian collagen supplements market. This well-known brand states that it’s collagen gummies contain their own VERISOL collagen peptides, but again, exactly what it’s derived from is unclear.
- In contrast, the popular MAV Nutrition Collagen Hair Vitamins Gummy says quite clearly under the Supplement Facts on its bottle that their collagen gummies contain Hydrolyzed Bovine Collagen. Personally, I feel better knowing where the collagen has come from, even if it is clearly a cow.
See here for a comprehensive list of collagen gummies complete with price comparisons and information.
Anti-Ageing and Collagen Supplements
As far as the multi-billion dollar beauty industry is concerned, anti-ageing really is the future.
And the latest wonder product in the fight against both the wrinkles and sagging flesh that we prefer not to see, and the stiff joints that make us aware that we’re getting older, is collagen in all its forms.
Whether you take a collagen powder in your morning cuppa, chew a collagen gummy in the car on the drive to work, slather a collagen cream on your face at bedtime or book yourself in for collagen injections every few months, collagen in all its forms is suddenly everywhere.
And it won’t be going away anytime soon.