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Do Collagen Supplements Work? Here’s What the Research Says

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Do Collagen Supplements Work? Here’s What the Research Says

In recent years, collagen has captured plenty of attention – influencers endorse it, dermatologists debate it, and retailers line supplement shelves with it. However, despite the rise in popularity, collagen has become somewhat of a confusing topic, leaving many to wonder if collagen supplements really work, or if they are just a clever marketing ploy designed to fuel our insecurities as we age. This article will get you up to speed on the importance of collagen, review the latest collagen supplement research, and clarify what the science says on this hot topic.


Why is Collagen so Popular?

Collagen is found almost everywhere – it is the most abundant protein in the body and the main structural element of cartilage, bones, tendons, skin, and teeth. The body’s demand for collagen is quite high. In fact, every five days, your body must make one pound of collagen to properly remodel connective tissues. For example, when it comes to maintaining skin health, the body needs a substantial amount of new collagen (27 g per day!) to maintain the skin. [1]

Unfortunately, after the age of 20, natural collagen production begins to decline by 1% per year, and for women, an even more rapid decline occurs post-menopause. [2] Consequently, if the body does not keep up with collagen demands, connective tissue becomes vulnerable to damage, bone quality diminishes, and fine lines and wrinkles ensue. 

Along with natural collagen loss caused by aging and hormonal variations, there are also a variety of external factors, such as smoking, exposure to UV rays, and stress, that can contribute to collagen loss. [2] No wonder people are hearing so much about collagen! But are collagen supplements the answer to collagen loss? Here’s what the research says.

Collagen Supplement Research

Several studies suggest a correlation between collagen supplements and healthy skin markers. For example, a 2014 double-blind, placebo-controlled trial followed 114 women who were randomized to receive collagen or a placebo. The results show a statistically significant reduction in eye wrinkles after just four weeks of supplementation with 2.5 g per day of a specialized bioactive hydrolyzed collagen peptide formula compared to a placebo. [3]

Similarly, another 2014 double-blind, placebo-controlled trial followed 69 women who were randomized to receive either collagen or a placebo. The results show significant improvements in skin elasticity again after just four weeks of supplementation with 2.5 g per day of a specialized bioactive hydrolyzed collagen peptide formula compared to placebo. [4]

The specialized bioactive hydrolyzed collagen peptides used in these studies, namely Verisol®, are the same type of collagen peptides used in Collagen30® products.

Interestingly, marine collagen studies have also revealed similar skin health benefits. One 2020 clinical study followed 44 women and revealed that just 2 g per day of marine-sourced bioactive hydrolyzed collagen peptides resulted in significant skin improvements. Specifically, women taking the collagen peptides had a 19% reduction in deep wrinkles after just four weeks and an 8% increase in skin hydration after three months. [5] The marine bioactive hydrolyzed collagen peptides used in this study, namely Collactive™, are the same type of collagen peptides used in Marine Collagen30®.

As a result of the increasing number of new studies and systematic reviews reinforcing the positive benefits of collagen, more and more experts are recommending collagen supplements. But with so many products on the shelves, it can be challenging to know how to choose the right collagen. To help, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked collagen questions.

Collagen-powder-measuring-spoon

FAQs

Which collagen is best for skin?

Research shows that both bovine and marine collagen offer skin health benefits. [3–5] Both sources are rich in a variety of amino acids, so the choice comes down to personal preference and dietary restrictions. Just be sure to choose a brand that contains clinically studied collagen backed up with solid research.

Should I take powder, tablets, capsules, or gummies?

There are a variety of ways to take collagen products, but it really comes down to personal preference. Tablets and capsules are easy to add to your current supplement regimen; however, if you don’t like swallowing pills, powdered collagen that easily dissolves into your morning coffee or smoothie might be more to your liking. There are also collagen gummies available for people with a sweet tooth. Whether you take powder, tablets, capsules, or gummies, there is no difference in terms of effectiveness.

Are collagen supplements safe?

Research shows that collagen is generally safe and well tolerated without adverse effects when consumed at the recommended daily dosage. [6] However, some people have noticed mild gastrointestinal disturbances. It is always best to consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How long does it take for collagen supplements to work?

Research shows that bioactive hydrolyzed collagen peptides can improve eye wrinkles, deep wrinkles, and skin elasticity within just four weeks. [3–5] Additional benefits, such as improved skin hydration and a reduction in cellulite, can be seen after 3–6 months. [5,7] Further research shows that collagen peptides can improve nail health, promote hair growth, and improve joint pain after 4–6 months of regular use. [8–10]

Final Thoughts on Collagen Supplement Research

So do collagen supplements work? The research says yes! But not all collagen supplements are created equal. Make sure you select a brand that uses clinically researched ingredients, is non-GMO compliant, and is free of heavy metal contaminants.

Collagen30 is a household brand that checks off all the boxes and contains collagen that has been clinically proven to reduce wrinkles, improve skin elasticity, increase hydration, reduce cellulite, improve nail growth, and increase hair thickness in just 30 days. [3–5, 7–9]

WN

Webber Naturals

We are nutritionists, health professionals, and content creators committed to bringing you the finest health and lifestyle content to help you live your best life, naturally.

  1. Melendez-Hevia E, De Paz-Lugo P, Cornish-Bowden A, et al. A weak link in metabolism: The metabolic capacity for glycine biosynthesis does not satisfy the need for collagen synthesis. J Biosci. 2009; 34(6):853-72. 
  2. Reilly DM, Lozano J. Skin collagen through the life stages: Importance for skin health and beauty. Plast Aesthet Res. 2021; 8:2.  
  3. Proksch E, Schunck M, Zague V, et al. Oral intake of specific bioactive collagen peptides reduces skin wrinkles and increases dermal matrix synthesis. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014; 27(3):113-9.  
  4. Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert, et al. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014; 27(1):47-55.  
  5. PLT Health Solutions. (2020). Collactive™ collagen complex nourishing beauty. Retrieved from https://www.plthealth.com/resources/collactive-hm-product-sheet/
  6. Choi FD, Sung CT, Juhasz MLW, et al. Oral collagen supplementation: A systematic review of dermatological applications. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019; 18(1):9-16. 
  7. Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S, et al. Dietary supplementation with specific collagen peptides has a body mass index-dependent beneficial effect on cellulite morphology. J Med Food. 2015; 18:1340-8. 
  8. Hexsel D, Zague V, Schunck M, et al. Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017; (16):1-7.  
  9. Oesser S. The oral intake of specific bioactive collagen peptides has a positive effect on hair thickness. Nutrafoods. 2020; 1:134-8.  
  10. Bruyère O, Zegels B, Leonori L, et al. Effect of collagen hydrolysate in articular pain: A 6-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Complement Ther Med. 2012;20(3):124-30

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