Collagen has been a huge trend for the past few years. But what is it about collagen that has captured our attention?
Is it that it’s another protein option for our smoothies?
Is it the claims that are made about collagen – everything from fewer wrinkles to gut healing to less joint pain?
Is it that celebrities – not only Jennifer Aniston, but pretty much all of Hollywood – and influencers, have posted an infinite number of photos of themselves posed with their favorite collagen-infused drink? Barf.
I’ve reviewed collagen, made videos on it, and have given countless media interviews about it. It’s just all over the place. Like a lot of nutrition fads, collagen has experienced a meteoric rise in the media without the same sort of meteoric rise in the research.
That doesn’t stop people from selling it like it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to them.
In short, when we consume collagen, it’s broken down into individual amino acids just like any protein we eat. Our bodies reassemble those amino acids into different formations and send them where we need them – not necessarily in the form of collagen that plumps up our skin and strengthens our nails.
In other words, eating collagen doesn’t do what you think it does.
But what about supplements of collagen combined with other things, like Biocell?
Biocell is something I’m getting asked about a lot recently, so here’s my review!
What is Biocell collagen?
The company that makes Biocell collagen (and sells it to Modere) claims that it’s a different collagen formulation that combines collagen with chondroitin and hyuralonic acid, apparently creating some sort of miracle youthfulness mishmash.
But just as an aside, if something was this much of a miracle, I think we would have seen some miraculous results, never mind more research, since Biocell collagen was developed in 2012.
Right? 8 years is a long time to prove something works.
It’s funny that the Biocell site has a huge ‘free-from’ list: their product “is non-GMO and free of gluten, soy, shellfish, fish, egg, milk, peanuts and sugar.”
But wait! It’s made from chicken sternums! Weird.
What is the research on Biocell collagen?
To that effect, I found a 2012 study done with Biocell for osteoarthritis, and a 2015 study with 8 subjects looking at Biocell’s effect on exercise recovery. While the 2012 study found some efficacy, the 2015 one was preliminary, short, and of poor methodology.
Wuh Wuhhhh. NEXT!
That’s where Modere comes in. (Read my latest Modere review here)
Modere seems to have seen dollar signs in Biocell’s lame AF research, because they’ve has stuffed Biocell collagen into a bunch of products. There’s a liquid Biocell product line with four formulations: Pure, Life, Skin, Sport.
The claims around the Pure, Life, Skin, and Sport products are nothing short of absurd.
They include (pasted from the Modere site, with my comments in bold):
- Reduces wrinkles from the inside out*: if this worked, nobody would have wrinkles. But it doesn’t work, so we rely on Botox. Collagen has been studied for decades and the research around it and wrinkles still remain inconclusive. Drinking hyuralonic acid may help with dryness, which can make wrinkles look smaller. But the HA dose in this product may be too small to have an effect (see ‘dryness’ point below)
- Increases skin’s collagen content*: maybe, but by how much? And what’s the outcome?
- Virtually eliminates dryness*: Some studies have shown that oral HA may improve skin hydration – but only with significantly higher doses than you’d get with any of the Modere products. This is something I see all too often – a nutrition MLM making claims about a product, but not putting enough active ingredient into the product to match up with the doses used in studies.
- Improves skin’s microcirculation, hydration, skin tone and firmness*: Again, we’re talking about dose here.
- Reduces hyaluronidase, the enzyme that can make your skin age*: No. That’s not how hyaluronidase works, actually. Not even close.
- Promotes healthy hair, nails, gums and eyes*: No. Dietary collagen doesn’t do those things, even though we really want it to.
- Improves joint mobility and lubrication*: The research on collagen as well as for chondroitin in joint issues is inconclusive. Hyuralonic acid is that it has shown some promising results in studies on people with joint issues. The problem is that Biocell’s dose of HA is ‘proprietary,’ but said to be around 50mg. The studies that I mention above all used HA at doses of 80-200mg. (here and here)
- Reduces joint discomfort*: See above.
- Improves muscle tone*: What in actual EFF. NO. How would that even work?
To support their claims about Biocell collagen, Modere refers to ‘clinical trials.’ So, I dug those up..because of course I did.
One is on hairless mice, so yeah. I don’t think so.
The other is a 2019 study that looks great…that is, until you look at the outcomes buried in the paper.
I laughed out loud when 1. I saw that the study was sponsored by Biocell, and then when I saw the 12 week outcomes where the placebo group had equal to or more positive outcomes than the intervention group.
The study only bothered to include the few positives the intervention group got, in its conclusions.
Whaaaaaa! See? You need to read the entire study before judging the results!
Assuming that most people are more likely to look at photos than a scientific study, Modere has plenty of Before and After shots to ‘prove’ that Biocell collagen works.
Before and after photos are often doctored, and they’re essentially an unreliable tool to evaluate the efficacy of anything. Unfortunately, it’s a sales tactic that most nutrition MLMs use.
But as I always say, no number of Before and Afters equal a good study. They aren’t science.
The grift is real, though, like it is with any nutrition MLM.
The medical professionals who Modere use on their site to help increase the credibility of their sham products – three physicians and a vet (for doggie Biocell) – are all Modere salespeople.
I also found a Modere hun selling her Biocell collagen wares on a mommy site, and here’s what she had to say:
“There are four kinds of Modere Liquid Biocell. Before I share with you how they work and the finer details of each, let me just say that ALL should have at least a 90 day commitment before you make a decision of ‘does it work.”
Let’s see, at $140 a month x 3 months = $420. Ka-Ching! That’s a lot of money to see if something actually works or not. Right?
You can’t really ‘counteract’ the aging process. So many things influence how we age, including genetics, lifestyle, stress levels, and overall diet. It’s not just about taking Biocell collagen and experiencing some unprecedented wrinkle and joint renewal.
More effective is to eat foods that contains the nutrients our bodies need to create its own collagen – such as a variety of proteins, plus vitamin C, zinc, and copper.
Collagen, or collagen combined with hyuralonic acid and chondroitin, is a trend that’s overblown and oversold.
Listen. Biocell collagen probably isn’t dangerous. But do you really want to spend your money on a product that probably doesn’t fulfill its promises?
Save your money.