Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth nutrition, fitness and adventure courses, and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+..
Our skin and joints may seem like very different parts of the body, but both rely on some of the same nutrients to stay supple and youthful, and both can benefit from BioCell Collagen, a patented substance found in many dietary supplements. Studies have shown that it improves mobility and decreases pain in achy joints, and helps restore moisture and structure to skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
BioCell is a natural substance that contains three key nutrients: collagen, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin. Although these are also available as individual ingredients, the combination in BioCell has unique properties because it comes directly from nature, rather than being pooled together by man. The difference is somewhat analogous to eating a whole carrot as opposed to taking a beta-carotene supplement.
BioCell comes from the cartilage in a chicken’s breastbone, which naturally contains all three ingredients. Aside from the fact that we don’t eat chicken cartilage, in its native state, the substance would not be effective because its molecules are too large to be absorbed and utilized by a human body. To solve the problem, BioCell is “hydrolyzed,” meaning that it undergoes a proprietary process that breaks down large molecules into much smaller ones.
More specifically, BioCell contains collagen peptides, which are chains of amino acids that are made of very small molecules. Studies show that this form is bioavailable and therapeutic for joints and skin. (Many anti-aging skin care products contain various types of peptides for topical use, but BioCell works from within.)
The ends of bones in our joints are protected and cushioned by a specific type of cartilage, known as articular cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber and prevents friction. In osteoarthritis, this cartilage has been damaged, either by chronic low grade inflammation, wear and tear, or some type of earlier trauma (sports injuries are common triggers).
Articular cartilage has no way to spontaneously heal itself-painful surgical treatments or experimental stem cell therapy are options for its repair, but they aren’t foolproof. Platelet-rich plasma injection has been shown to be beneficial, but costly. BioCell Collagen, with a structure similar to that of human articular cartilage, offers a natural alternative that may bring relief or enhance the results of other treatments.
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry tested BioCell Collagen against a placebo on 80 people with osteoarthritis of the hip and/or knee, for 10 weeks. To measure efficacy, researchers used two different types of tests, which are widely used in studies of osteoarthritis. They found that people taking 2 grams daily of BioCell had significantly less pain and were able to be more physically active than those taking a placebo.
Reducing Lines and Wrinkles
Collagen and hyaluronic acid are natural components of our skin, but their levels diminish as we age. Collagen provides structure and contributes to the “bounce” of youthful skin, and hyaluronic acid retains moisture in skin and helps to stimulate natural production of collagen. BioCell helps to restore both.
A 12-week study published in Clinical Interventionsin Aging tested BioCell on 26 women whose faces showed signs of aging. Researchers found that taking 1 gram daily of the supplement reduced dryness, lines, and wrinkles.
Medical scans were used to determine how BioCell affected skin. These showed that after 6 weeks, the supplement helped to plump-up skin by increasing levels of collagen, and it also increased hemoglobin in the skin. Higher levels of hemoglobin, which gives blood its red color, increase the amount of oxygen delivered by the blood to skin tissues, giving it a healthier appearance. In addition, BioCell inhibits the breakdown of hyaluronic acid.
Researchers noted that the changes produced by BioCell Collagen supplements “can be harnessed to counteract natural photoaging processes to reduce visible aging signs in the human face.”
Vera Tweed has been writing about nutrition, fitness, and healthy living since 1997. She specializes in covering research and expert knowledge that empowers people to lead better lives. She is the author of numerous books, including Hormone Harmony and the User’s Guide to Carnitine and Acetyl-L-Carnitine.
The body contains many different types of collagen, and several of them are found in dietary supplements. BioCell Collagen is a specific, patented form that contains a combination made by nature, consisting of approximately 60 percent hydrolyzed type II collagen, 20 percent chondroitin sulfate, and 10 percent hyaluronic acid. What’s more, the hyaluronic acid is low molecular weight (LMW), meaning smaller molecule size. LMW hyaluronic acid by itself has been shown to stimulate collagen repair. Other types of collagen supplements may offer different benefits and may or may not be supported by clinical trials.
On product labels: Look for “BioCell Collagen” or “BioCell Collagen II” as an ingredient in the Supplement Facts section. In addition, product labels should feature a BioCell Collagen logo. Recommended dosages:
For healthier joints: 2 grams daily.
For younger-looking skin: 1 gram daily.
Doctor’s BestBest Hyaluronic Acid blends BioCell Collagen II with two other joint- and skin-friendly nutrients: hyaluronic acid and chondroitin.
Nature’s WayHydraplenish, which contains BioCell Collagen, works like an internal moisturizer for skin and joints. The dosage is 2 capsules daily.
Collagen Booster, with BioCell Collagen and anti-aging
resveratrol, is an award-winning formula for beatiful skin.