Collagen Drinks Review

This year will be indeed a very exciting year for Collagen Drinkers :) Nearly every major brand has come up with newer and better products! We'll try to introduce a few to you, one by one :)

Stay Tuned!...How Do we know if they really work? Which brand is for me? This review aims to answer all of the questions above.





Firstly, does collagen really work?

Believe me, I was a collagen skeptic myself. How can such a big molecule be absorbed? Even if it IS absorbed, how does it improve our skin/Joints?

Well, there ARE actually a number of studies done that proves beyond a doubt that Hydrolysed collagen can indeed be absorbed by our body, to almost 90%. Oesser et al. conducted a study not too long ago, and found that Ninety-five percent of enterally applied gelatin hydrolysate was absorbed within the first 12 h. This was determined by Carbon 14 and HPLC methods. Iwai K et al also did a similar study in Japan, and the results also showed good bio-availability for oral hydrolysed collagen supplementation. Bear in mind that both studies used hydrolysed peptides, not whole collagen molecules.



So, how does it work?


Well, it is believed that orally taken hydrolyzed collagen improves the density of collagen fibrils and the fibroblasts number (fibroblasts are the cells that produce collagen). The explanation of this action may be that the small fragmented peptides of orally taken hydrolyzed collagen exhibit chemotactic properties on fibroblasts or have some way to ignite the growth of fibroblasts.


Are all collagen products out there the same?


The straight and simple answer is NO. A lot of the products out there are non-hydrolysed, and some are of weird sources (using chicken, "fruit" or other sources of collagen). Most studied collagen are of marine origin, and the collagen needed for skin is type1 collagen.


Another concern is the issue of safety.


Basically, collagen is only a type of protein, and apart from allergic reactions, most people can take it without any worry. However, there are a few exceptions to this.


Firstly, a customer with allergy to shellfish should not take collagen that is made from seafood. Secondly those who have been instructed to take a “low protein diet” (i.e. SLE patients with kidney disease) should at least limit or stay off collagen supplements.


A rarer concern for collagen is for the risk of TSE (Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy). Since collagen is of animal origin (especially with beef/bovine collagen), there are rare chances for TSE to be transmitted to humans if the source of collagen has been contaminated.


Can Men take collagen?


A very common question I get from my customers are…can men take collagen? Their concern is that if men took collagen, they’ll become slightly girlish or something (become lembik :p). This is totally untrue, because oral intake of collagen does not change/affect any sex hormones in the body. In fact, the latest product by kinohimitsu is aptly called “Collagen Men”.


Are there any other uses for Collagen?


Yes! I’ve been trying out type 2 collagen for patients with joint pain, and surprisingly it works wonders. The product I used is a French product called NJ-Flex, which contains a lot of other ingredients, so I can’t be 100% sure that it’s the collagen that works. Nevertheless, a lot of other studies have shown improvement in joint issues, and even in sports!



So Bottom line is….Those who like your daily dose of beauty potion, TAKE IT WITH CONFIDENCE! J It works, and generally very safe to consume!




NH Colla-plus Advance

One of the last to unveil their "Upgraded" version, the arrival of NH Colla-plus Advance has been long awaited. With added Grape seed OPC, Grape stem cell, and Sea buckthorn extract, NH Colla-plus Advance is moivng in the general direction as the rest of the gang, by introducing potent anti-oxidants to the fray. These Anti-oxidants will help brighten your skin, while reducing oxidative stress on our body in general.


The funny thing I found written on their website is this:

"While the best collagen dosage for the body is 5000mg, NH Colla Plus Advance is boosted with 6000mg of marine collagen, seeing the introduction of new ingredients."

Isn't it Ironic for a company that keeps saying that 5000mg is the only dosage acceptable is now producing a 6000mg product? :) If you read the introduction above, 12000mg is the maximum dose used in studies, especially in German papers. Well, at least they are going in the right direction in increasing the dosage right? :) so let's not complaint too much.


Bottomline, it IS an improved product compared to its predecessor. But is it enough? Only time will tell.




Origenplus Gold


One of the 1st brands to launch its improved version of collagen this year, OrigenPlus Gold is..a bit of an oddball. On the plus side, it has increased in its collagen content to 6500mg/sachet, and added vit C into their product. They also added mango essence into the fray to improve the taste, and provide a source of beta carotene (of all things rich in beta-carotene, they chose mango?). They also added in Grape seed extract (OPC) to help brighten the complexion.

On the down side, the marketing is almost challenging our math, by claiming it contains the "highest collagen in the market", at 195,000mg (printed on the box). I personally feel a bit insulted at this kind of marketing, as it totals up all the collagen in the box (6500mg x 30sachets) and calls itself "highest". It might as well come up with a value pack that says a million mg of collagen.

Bottomline is, the company took a step in the right direction, as the competition will get pretty stiff this year, and if they stuck to their old formulation of collagen only, they would most certainly be left behind. Better than last time, but nothing to shout about.





Fabula with HCA (FAT BURNING!)



Fabula is one of the 1st brands to market oral collagen drinks to the people of Malaysia. With 9000mg of collagen per bottle, it is one of the highest content of collagen in the market. The collagen is Fish based, and is hydrolysed, which makes it easier to absorp.


The Thing that sets it apart from the rest is it's dosing regime. The recommended dosage is 1 bottle every 3 days. This can be a plus point for some (convenience), but on the other hand it's effects may be seen slightly slower than the rest. Also, it is the only collagen drink that doesn't use fruit juices in it's formula. Instead, it tastes like an energy drink (because of it's vitamin B's).


This product does not contain any preservatives, and because it's made in Japan, we can be assured of it's superior QC.


UPDATE: Fabula CollagenMax now comes with...FAT BURNING properties! By adding in the ever so popular slimming agent Garcinia Cambogia, the drink can also promote fat decomposition, and reduces fat accummulation. Is this just too good to be true? Well, not in this case. The product is expected to hit the shelves of Malaysian Pharmacies in early February.




Fabula CollagenMax Bright HA (NEW)

This new version of the Fabula CollagenMax HA is a big leap forward to the previous model. It's what I like to call "Inner Shine Meets Collagen" :) Simply put, Fabula has crammed in 4 kinds of berries into the already high dose collagen drink (10,000mg).

Why add berries you may ask? Well, for those not familiar with the inner shine range by brands, certain berries give our skin a "brightening" effect. I have tried the drink personally, and if you compare it with its predecessor, it tastes WAY better.

In 2013, the experts in Fabula takes it one step further, by adding Hyaluronic acid into the fray. Hyaluronic Acid is a major component of skin, where it is involved in tissue repair. Skin starts losing hyaluronic acid as early as age 18 , but wrinkles and other skin damage from hyaluronic acid loss don't generally show up until the late 30s or early 40s. HA is also a super power when it comes to moisture locking (it can hold up to 1000 ml of water per gram of hyaluronic acid)

But apart from these two improvements, it is still the same old trusty Fabula Collagen, and retains Fabula's high standards of quality.



NH Colla-plus


NH Colla-plus is one of the most popular collagen drinks in the market nowadays, thanks to it's brilliant marketing team. It's the 1st to introduce the giant drum packing, the 1st to use an international artist as it's spokesperson, and the 1st to use 5000mg of collagen in every bottle.

However, you may notice that if you calculate the cost/day, it is probably the most expensive collagen drink out there, especially for a locally produced drink. Moreover, compared to it's competitors of the same 5000mg range, it is lacking of multiple additives, thus making it the plainest and costliest collagen. On paper that is.

Using grape juice as one of it's main ingredient, colla-plus tastes good to say the least. Also without preservatives, I would rank it somewhere in the middle, mainly because of it's price.






Lennox Firm Up


Lennox Firm Up is comparably a newcomer, with teeth :) Not only does it come with 5000mg of hydrolysed marine collagen, Lennox Firm Up contains 100mg of Co-enzyme Q10 in each bottle. As if this isn't enough, Lennox Firm up is priced nearly HALF the price of it's competitors.

Using Japanese Khoyo grapes as it's main flavouring agent, the taste of Lennox Firm Up is great.

How about the downside? Well, it DOES contain preservatives, and the colour of the liquid is less than consistent. Another bummer is the pricing issue. You can get 1 bottle for this particular price today, and tomorrow you may see an offer of a buy 1 free 1 on the papers. Makes you wonder what is the cost price of these things actually. But other than that, there's nothing else sinister really.


Lennox Firm Up Plus

Another "upgraded" collagen in the market, Lennox Firm Up Plus takes a different approach from Fabula. Instead of using berries, Lennox opted for OPC (Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins) Grape seed extract. The upside of doing this is, you get a very potent antioxidant from OPC, and probably can save you hard earned cash on buying any other antioxidant supplement. But the downside is, because the OPC is in powder form, you can't escape the bitter taste of grape seed in your drink, albeit just a little of it. The taste of OPC powder reminds me of the time where you accidentally bite into grape seeds. eeks :P

Another thing that they do differently this time is that they have reduced the Co-enzyme Q10 level from 100mg to "100MG OF YEAST". This is a bit of a downer to me, as most of my customers buy Lennox firm up BECAUSE of the high co-enzyme Q10 content. You will have no way of telling how much co-Q10 is inside the so-called yeast!









Kinohimitsu Collagen Diamond 5300


Kinohimitsu has so so so many collagen drinks on the market, so we'll just be talking about their flagship product now. Collagen Diamond 5300 has quite a unique formula, with 5300mg (a bit kiasu if you ask me :P) of hydrolysed collagen, and lots of other stuff like silk peptides, soy isoflavone, Perilla Seed extract etc. Do these ingredients really work? Only our customers can tell.

Priced at somewhere in between, Kinohimitsu has been the best selling collagen in many big pharmacy chains. The taste of this drink is excellent, and it is likely to follow in Colla-plus's footsteps. By this I am referring to the recent collaboration with Hong Kong Artist Tavia Yang to promote their products.


OrigenPlus Dextrose Marine Collagen Powder


Origen Plus is proudly made in Malaysia. I just spoke to the Representative earlier today, and according to her, the product is now hydrolysed! :) So good news for Origen Plus fans!

Priced quite reasonably, Origen Plus is gaining market share steadily. It has 5000mg of fish derived collagen in each sachet, and it has 30 sachets in a box! It's almost the same price with Lennox Firm up, but without the Q10.

Taste wise, it disagrees with me and my staff. It's flavour is orange, but I can't help thinking of "fish" when the drink hits my tastebuds. But then again, it's all on the tongue of the beholder! Some of my customers say it tastes great!