What Drinking Collagen
Might Do for Your Skin

Mixed with water into a creamy, palest-pink drink, a vanilla-infused packet of GOOPGENES tastes nothing like what you might imagine from a combination of wild marine collagen, ceramides, astaxanthin, and aloe. But the deliciousness doesn’t mean that the drink isn’t powerful, says formulator Lyra Heller, who helped create both GOOPGENES and GOOPGLOW (and, over the course of an incredible career, cofounded Metagenics and helped build it into the major dietary supplement/health sciences company it is today). “We focused on getting the very best ingredients and included them at levels they’re known to be most effective at,” she says.*

Collagen is one of those suddenly everywhere buzzwords, but there are many types, many with different results on skin. “The studies done on marine collagen in terms of effects on skin are pretty clear,” says Heller.

The types of collagen in supplements are either mammalian-derived (mostly from beef and pork) or marine-derived (from either farmed or wild fish), and then there are plant-derived/vegan products designed to boost collagen. “Both mammalian-derived (from pork and beef) and marine-derived collagen are widely accepted as viable sources of collagen,” says Heller. In both cases, the animals aren’t harvested solely for their collagen; most collagen is repurposed from the waste stream, the parts of the animals we don’t otherwise use.

The goop team felt more confident in the safety of marine collagen. And while farmed marine collagen is less expensive and the nutrient profile is similar for both wild and farmed, the team felt the wild had an edge in improving skin. “These are fish that swim in clean waters, and they’ve been checked for heavy-metal content,” says Heller. “Marine collagen has been shown in cell models, animal models, and human models to make a difference in skin elasticity and skin health.”

Collagen polypeptides are collagen that’s been essentially predigested, broken into chains of amino acids known as polypeptides. “The collagen is hydrolyzed, which breaks it into chains of amino acids known as polypeptides,” says Heller, noting that the science on how the collagen peptides find their way to the dermis, where they then make a difference in the appearance of the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin), is still evolving. It appears that after digestion, collagen peptides travel throughout the body stimulating cells to produce new collagen.

When you consume collagen-rich food, such as bone broth, you’re ingesting collagen along with probably some collagen peptides. Says Heller, “The cooking process may break down some of the collagen. There’s a line between hype and truth when you start putting collagen into dietary supplements. The science shows that you’re able to influence skin if you’re giving enough collagen. Five grams daily [the amount is a single serving of GOOPGENES] is a respectable amount [to take], based on preclinical and clinical research.”

Not that Heller’s in any way against bone broth: “Eating healthfully has an undeniable effect on skin,” she says. “I can’t say enough about lifestyle and its effects on skin—using sun protection; eating whole, unprocessed foods; exercising—all contribute to the health and vibrancy of skin.”

In creating GOOPGENES, the team worked to incorporate as many skin-friendly ingredients as possible. “We’ve also included the phytoceramides at meaningful levels to influence skin moisture and barrier function, and concentrated organic aloe juice. There’s also astaxanthin, which, when combined with wild marine collagen, has demonstrated photoprotective properties—it helps reduce oxidative damage and supports skin hydration and elasticity,” says Heller. “Each of the individual ingredients has good studies behind it; with collagen, astaxanthin, and phytoceramides, the science is very positive. In the case of aloe vera, a plant we know is amazing when used topically, the skin science with oral aloe is still evolving and promising.”

Lyra Heller is an anthropologist and a social scientist whose life’s work is dedicated to forging an alliance between traditional and contemporary systems of medicine in an effort to better facilitate our innate capacity to heal. To this end, her experience as a Metagenics cofounder and the decades she spent building it into a major dietary supplement and health sciences company proved indispensable to promoting partnerships between the natural products industry, health care consumers, practitioners, and legal and regulatory bodies. She has forty-five years of experience as a consultant and an educator, and she is committed to improving natural-product standards and developing customized systems for the implementation of personalized therapeutic lifestyle change programs.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies. They are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop. This article is for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.