If you’re as obsessed with skin health as we are, you’ve probably wondered about the benefits of collagen. This week, we’re chatting with Tami Nasu, founder of withinUs – an industry leader in the production of innovative and high-quality natural health products. Should you be taking collagen? What does it actually do? What makes withinUs collagen special? Read on to find out!
Photo: Britney Gill Photography
Hi, Tami! What inspired the conception of withinUs as a company?
It all began when I witnessed my mother experience the life-changing benefits of collagen after suffering years of debilitating arthritis pain and swelling in her joints. She had been diagnosed in her early 50s with osteoarthritis. She was taking pain medication and receiving cortisone injections to relieve the discomfort, but inevitably had to have two hip replacements before the age of 60.
My father travelled to Japan for a holiday (which my mother was not able to join due to her lack of mobility and pain) and returned with powdered collagen for my mom, which had been strongly recommended by family and friends in Japan who knew her situation. It was an almost unknown product in North America at that time (and had not been reviewed by Health Canada), but interestingly enough, collagen was a very familiar and mainstream product in Japan – similar to how vitamin C is widely used and accepted within North America.
Three months after incorporating collagen into her daily regime, my mother noticed improvements – not only in her joints, but also in her skin, nails and hair. She was pleasantly surprised that the swelling in her hands had decreased, and her joint pain was reduced. At that time, the only thing she was doing differently was taking the collagen.
After her hip replacements, her skin, nails and hair were extremely unhealthy (dry and brittle) and she lost a lot of hair as a result of the two major surgeries and years of medication. Aunts, cousins and friends started asking for collagen as they were impressed at my mom’s recovery and “glowing” skin. I was inspired by my mother’s experience, and motivated to help improve the people’s overall health and well-being with a product that was safe, natural and clinically proven but had not yet been recognized within the North American market.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that decades of clinical tests and research had been done in Japan on hydrolyzed collagen. The terminology and science was overwhelming at first – words like hydrolyzation, peptides, and bioavailability were fairly new to me, but I wanted to be certain that this product was safe and clinically proven. Then I began learning more about the different grades of collagen peptides. I had so many questions: Why powder, why not a pill or capsule? Why marine vs bovine? How does it work? What is the difference compared to applying collagen cream on your skin topically? What I learned and saw was impressive and I knew it was only a matter of time before the North American market would catch on.
I made the decision to offer the North American market the highest-quality and purest form of collagen with superior bioavailability (absorption). I also knew I did not want to source collagen products from land animals after the research I did and the information that I was provided.
withinUs was born in the fall of 2013 and we were the very first company to bring a Health Canada approved, powdered, superior-quality, marine collagen sourced from the scales of wild-caught, sustainably-sourced fish to the North American market. We are a proudly Canadian, women-run-and-operated business.
The first production run was very small. The company then grew organically through word of mouth. As word spread, production runs quickly became larger and more frequent. Today, withinUs is recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in Canada. Since our beginning, withinUs has focused on being authentic and transparent, telling our story, connecting with our customers and building relationships and loyalty with community leaders. It is this authenticity that has been the secret to our success.
Are there different types of collagen?
Yes. withinUs was the first to launch a premium-select grade marine collagen into the North American market. When we introduced TruMarine™ Collagen almost six years ago, we were one of the only powdered marine collagen on the shelves. There were some capsules on the market, but the quality was poor and the absorption rate of taking tablets or capsules was very, very low.
withinUs is the only company to date that offers the high-grade of marine collagen – sourced exclusively from fish scales from wild-caught, sustainably-sourced fish. We do not use lower grade collagen or even mid-grade collagen.
There are many types of collagen products, ranging in a variety of sources, purity, and quality. The most common form of collagen is bovine, which is sourced from the skin and/or bones of cows. It is low quality, not to mention the effects it has on our environment. For this reason, withinUs has chosen not to manufacture bovine, porcine or avian collagen. We will not compromise our integrity by manufacturing lower-grade collagen products.
Photo: Britney Gill Photography
What makes withinUs TruMarine™ collagen special?
withinUs TruMarine™ Collagen is simply the best.We pride ourselves in sourcing the highest quality raw ingredient available, which results in a superior collagen peptide. There are three main points that set us apart from other collagen peptides:
withinUs Trumarine™ Collagen is ultra-pure and is stringently tested for traces of heavy metals and toxins (including mercury and lead), and does not contain oils, hormones, or any additives. Most other collagen supplements are sourced from land animals, or fish skin which contain oils and impurities, purely based on the source of the collagen (skin/bones of animals). As a result of being ultra-pure, our collagen is virtually tasteless and odourless and dissolves completely and crystal clear in liquids.
withinUs TruMarine™ Collagen is clinically proven to be 1.5 times more bioavailable (absorption rate) than other collagen sources – this means that TruMarine™ Collagen absorbs more effectively, and at a faster rate than other collagen products.
As a company we ensure that our collagen is sourced as ethically as possible. TruMarine™ Collagen is wild-caught and sustainably sourced (we never use farmed fish, and pay close attention to species that are over fished).
What kind of benefits can one expect from using TruMarine products?
withinUs TruMarine™ Collagen has a variety of benefits ranging from beauty benefits, to joint health.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is found in our skin, muscles, tendons, joints, organ linings, and hair and nails. As we age the natural collagen production within the body slows, causing those areas to become depleted in collagen, ultimately causing signs of ageing.
Improves skin hydration and complexion
Reduces UVB sun damage
Improves hair and nail health
Reduces pain associated with osteoarthritis
Photo: Britney Gill Photography
How does consuming collagen orally differ from using skincare products with collagen?
When a high-quality collagen peptide is ingested, if it has a low molecular weight it is absorbed into the bloodstream to ignite collagen production from within. When it is applied topically, it often is not a peptide and the molecules are far too large to enter the bloodstream, as it has several layers of skin to penetrate before reaching the bloodstream.
The common misconception is that all collagen supplements are equally as effective, this is not true. The bioavailability of collagen supplements is very important to consider. withinUs TruMarine™ Collagen has superior bioavailability in comparison to all other collagen sources and products.
Who should be taking collagen supplements?
Collagen is a protein that is produced naturally by the body, and in our mid-twenties, its production begins to slow. For this reason, we recommend collagen peptides for anyone in their mid-twenties and above, both men and women.
Our products have received attention from professional athletes, trainers, doctors, as well as (unpaid) celebrity attention from: Kate Hudson, Michelle Obama, Debra Messing, Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa.
Photo: Britney Gill Photography
What’s your favourite TruMarine product and how do you use it?
It is difficult for me to choose a favourite withinUs product. We will also introduce a few more premium products to add to our line and I am really excited to announce these soon.
The product that I use on a daily basis is the Ultra-Pure withinUs TruMarine™ Collagen. I add 1 scoop to my daily hot lemon water every morning. I also have a Matcha Misto in the afternoon and I am really excited for people to try our newest product launching very soon – that may become one of my soon-to-be favourites.
What are the key values that you and your team share?
The withinUs team consists of purpose-driven, phenomenal and passionate women who are extremely selective and dedicated to offering the highest-quality ingredients, resulting in exceptional products and uncompromising quality. We believe that health and beauty begin from within.
The core values we embody at withinUs are trust, purpose, and dedication. We continue to educate ourselves and our customers on why choices matter, why we are extremely selective and are dedicated to providing mindfully-sourced, exceptional products without compromise. We believe in providing transparency to our customers and the purity, simplicity and the quality of our products will speak for itself. We are unwilling to compromise our integrity and work very hard to provide only the best.
We believe in giving back to our community. It is very important to our team and we do our part and support various charitable organizations throughout the year. As a culturally-diverse work environment, everyone’s opinion truly matters and the company acts as a united force ensuring that all voices are heard.
Photo: Chung Chow/Business in Vancouver
What do you envision for withinUs in the future?
I envision continued growth and brand recognition. withinUs has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing Canadian companies and that recognition feels wonderful to know how much work we have all invested into this business.
Our team wants to continue to be a brand that holds a special place in the hearts of our loyal customers and retailers. We have earned their trust, and we do not take that for granted.
Over the past 6 years we have focussed on being authentic, telling our story and connecting with our customers and building relationships with our community leaders. Being genuine and offering authentic branding I believe is the reason why we have experienced much faster growth.
We will continue to evolve as a brand and as a team. We will add innovative products to the line with the focus on health, wellness and transparency – pure and simple.
Thank you, Tami. ♡
withinUs products are available now at Project Skin MD – contact or visit us to purchase.