During the last few years, the interest in powder supplements has increased worldwide. People are becoming more interested in supplement stores near them and other places where they can get powder supplements to enrich their diet.
Two types of powder supplements have become particularly popular recently. One of them is collagen powder, where celebrities have endorsed specific brands, and this spiked interest worldwide; in fact, search queries for ‘dose and co collagen’ have increased by 1,600%, which could be seen in relation to Khloé Kardashian sponsoring their product.
Moreover, spirulina has also caught the interest of many as queries related to this supplement, such as its functions, its side effects as well as benefits, have increased significantly in countries such as Indonesia, Italy and Romania.
In line with these recent trends, I decided to focus on these two powder supplements for this blog post outlining their benefits and specific studies to support claims made about them. Although these elements can be very beneficial for our overall health, it’s important to remember that the best sources of nutrients are whole foods and therefore it’s important to have a varied and balanced diet, along with healthy patterns of sleep, physical activity and recovery time.
Collagen is a protein that helps keep your joints healthy and your skin elastic. It’s a protein that can be found in your bones, muscles, teeth, blood as well as many others. The collagen in your body has 16 different varieties and as you get older your organism produces less and less collagen. As a result, your skin is not as firm and elastic as when you were younger and, later in the years, you’ll start showing signs of ageing.
To support your production of collagen, you can take supplements as well as eating foods that contain specific amino acids. These help you reach your daily intake of protein and four of them are particularly helpful in stimulating the body to produce collagen: proline, glycine, vitamin C, zinc and copper. On the other hand, habits that will pose harm to your natural production of collagen are eating too many added sugars and refined carbs, exposing your skin to too much sunlight as well as smoking.
It’s no surprise why collagen supplements have become popular within the last few years, being talked about on social media and sponsored by well-known celebrities. However, there’s still a debate going on about the effectiveness of collagen supplements and whether they’re really that helpful.
A few studies showed supplements to be useful. For example, a 2019 study analysed this by comparing data of participants before and after 12 weeks of resistance exercise training combined with supplementation of collagen peptides. They consumed this within an hour after training. The study conducted by German professors in the Department of Sports Medicine and Sports Nutrition found that strength training combined with the assumption of collagen peptides helped them build muscle mass and increase their level of strength.
Furthermore, a 2017 study conducted on male mice looked at how consuming collagen supplements orally could help the animals with post-traumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA). This happens after an injury damages the cartilage of some joints and can lead the cartilage to slowly break down and, in more severe cases, to separate itself from the bone. The professors, mostly from the Center for Musculoskeletal Research at the University of Rochester in New York, found that ingesting collagen every day can help prevent cartilage loss and help the body protect against the worsening of PTOA conditions.
Taking collagen supplements can also help with strengthening bones (since they become weaker as we age), skin elasticity and with keeping hair thick and nails healthy. Some still debate the efficacy of supplements, as they see actual foods to be more of use when upholding the production of collagen in the body. Look for foods containing the four amino acids I previously mentioned (proline, glycine, vitamin C, zinc, copper) when you want to increase your collagen production more naturally, here’s a useful website outlining foods that contain these.
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that can be found in fresh and saltwater. One of the first uses of this algae has been attributed to the Aztecs who thought it to be effective at treating diseases. Spirulina is considered to be a superfood due to its multiple nutrients as it contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, copper, iron and magnesium. Furthermore, a tablespoon of spirulina powder, around 7 grams, contains 4 grams of protein, and this is considered to be a high-quality source of protein as it contains all the essential amino acids, like the one found in eggs.
Spirulina has also been proved to lower cholesterol levels. A 2013 study conducted with over 50 adults, a mixture of men and women, compared how their levels changed before and after consuming 1g of spirulina every day for 12 weeks. They observed that the triglycerides levels, which if too high can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, decreased by over 16%.
Although these studies show spirulina to be efficient in providing beneficial properties for our body and overall health, some say that larger studies are needed to explore more in-depth the efficacy of this superfood. The studies conducted until now suggest that there are no major side effects to ingesting spirulina when using the recommended portion size.