Woman eating gummy candy

What if someone told you that you could chew off a few years? Not with leafy greens like kale and spinach, but with yummy fruit supplements. ReserveAge does just that with their new Nutrition Collagen Replenish Skin-Revitalizing Fruit Chews ($16.99). The grown-up gummies are said to restore the collagen that’s lost through aging.  

I must admit that I first laughed at the idea of fruit chews stimulating collagen production. Nonetheless, I was curious to see if collagen dressed up as candy could deliver real anti-aging results.

The ingredient list contains something called Verisol Bioactive Collagen Peptides, and I’m honestly surprised the FDA let them get away with something so vague. Peptides are numerous and specific — they are the active molecules that send signals to your cells. When collagen begins to break down, it forms specific peptides to let your skin know that it has been damaged and needs to be replenished.

Those peptides can be synthesized and are listed on topical skin care as names like palmitoyl pentapeptide-7. There is no such thing as “collagen peptides.” After nosing around the web, I would say the key ingredient in Nutrition Collagen Replenish Skin-Revitalizing Fruit Chews is edible bovine collagen, which simply put is gelatin from cows.

Collagen can come from fish (euphemistically called marine collagen), cows or even placenta (note this could be cause for concern). But in any case, companies should make the source clear to consumers.  

Collagen chews remind me of the collagen marshmallows I stumbled upon not long ago by a company called Eat Yourself Beautiful that's manufactured in Japan. They were said to contain 3000mgs of collagen peptides per bag. The marshmallows have since been discontinued, but the point is that these chews come in a long line of edible collagen products — from gummies to coffee and flavored water.

So can these edibles actually encourage the production of collagen? There is really no supporting evidence. I found only one study, conducted in Japan, which says that taking collagen supplements had a visibly positive effect on the skin. ReverseAge chews also include hyaluronic acid, but — ditto — there is no evidence that oral hyaluronic acid boosts our natural levels. The most useful component is probably the 60g of vitamin C. 

Three (the recommended daily dose) of these chews will give you as much as one fifth of your daily sugar allowance. Personally, I’ll stick to collagen-boosting peptides with a clinical track record in my potions and lotions.