Do collagen dietary supplements deserve their hype?

A couple of small medical scientific studies advise that collagen supplements can lessen discomfort in people today with knee osteoarthritis. Even so, the enhancements are modest and gains could take 3 to five months to show up.yacobchuk/iStockPhoto / Getty Visuals

Judging by the multitude of collagen supplements offered – from capsules and gummies to liquids and powders – collagen is major business.

And no question. The sought-after component is credited for rejuvenating skin and smoothing wrinkles, selling nail and hair expansion, easing joint pain, strengthening bones, even constructing muscle.

But do collagen nutritional supplements deliver on their guarantees? Here’s what the science claims.

What is collagen?

The most considerable protein in the overall body, collagen is the key element of connective tissue, which offers composition and guidance to other overall body tissues.

Collagen-loaded connective tissue keeps our pores and skin supple and elastic, strengthens bones, supports joints and tendons and maintains adaptable blood vessels. It is also an important element of skeletal muscle mass.

There are distinctive styles of collagen in the body. Most prevalent is Sort I, located in bones, ligaments, tendons and skin. Style II arrives from cartilage and joints, although Variety III collagen is discovered in skin and blood vessels.

With age, our body makes significantly less collagen, creating us vulnerable to wrinkles, sore joints and weakened bones. Cigarette smoking cigarettes, extreme solar publicity, heavy alcoholic beverages ingestion and lack of sleep accelerate collagen decline.

Supplementing with collagen, then, can seem to be like an attractive way to slow growing older.

About collagen nutritional supplements

Collagen nutritional supplements are manufactured from animal sections, this kind of as bovine or chicken bones and skins or fish scales. They’re offered as hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides, which are lesser models of collagen that are a lot easier for the human body to take in.

Collagen peptides comprise the exact protein-developing blocks (amino acids) as the animal merchandise they are derived from. Some supplements may possibly also include other components thought to advantage pores and skin or joint well being.

Are collagen health supplements advantageous?

It’s essential to observe that lots of reports are funded, at the very least partly, by providers that manufacture collagen, which could probably bias the success.

Pores and skin getting old

Supplementing with 4 to 10 g of collagen day by day for four to 12 months would seem to gain pores and skin health and fitness, primarily in more mature ladies. A 2021 evaluate of 19 randomized scientific trials carried out in 1,125 women of all ages, for case in point, concluded that hydrolyzed collagen was beneficial for skin hydration and elasticity (e.g., wrinkles and roughness).

The research is unclear, however, no matter if collagen dietary supplements decrease pores and skin wrinkles to a cosmetically significant diploma.

Joint wellbeing

A several small clinical reports propose that collagen nutritional supplements can reduce ache in persons with knee osteoarthritis. Nevertheless, the advancements are modest and advantages may choose 3 to five months to look.

Preliminary analysis also suggests that getting 5 to 10 g of collagen day-to-day for six months can modestly ease joint agony in the course of exercising in university student athletes. In older people 50 and older, collagen health supplements don’t seem to lessen joint soreness.

A mix merchandise made up of fish collagen, chondroitin, glucosamine and L-carnitine, however, was revealed to lessen joint soreness in older older people. But it was unclear if the gain was due to collagen, the other elements, or the mixture.

Bone wellness

There is conflicting evidence that collagen nutritional supplements defend versus bone decline in postmenopausal gals with very low bone density.

In a person research, taking collagen together with calcium and vitamin D for just one calendar year experienced no outcome bone density when compared to getting calcium and vitamin D by yourself. Another review found that 10 g of collagen taken each day for 12 months modestly improved bone density of the spine compared to placebo.


A couple compact research counsel that collagen nutritional supplements, blended with resistance coaching, may possibly boost muscle mass energy and lean muscle mass in premenopausal females, young adult men and more mature males with sarcopenia (age-connected muscle mass reduction) compared to a placebo.

Nonetheless, when in contrast to whey protein, investigation has revealed collagen to be ineffective at growing muscle protein synthesis in younger adults and in more mature women of all ages. Not astonishing, due to the fact collagen is a small high quality protein it is designed up largely of non-essential amino acids, ones the body can make on its possess.

Collagen is also small in leucine, an necessary amino acid that is vital for stimulating muscle protein synthesis. (The entire body just cannot make essential amino acids they have to come from diet regime.)

Base line

Supplementing with collagen seems to improve signals of getting older pores and skin, but don’t count on your wrinkles to disappear. Using collagen may well also modestly reduce joint discomfort persons with knee osteoarthritis and in youthful athletes.

There’s scant proof, even though, that collagen nutritional supplements counteract bone loss. And if your intention is to obtain muscle mass, don’t trade in your whey (or pea) protein for a collagen complement.

Collagen dietary supplements are thought of protected and devoid of adverse results in doses up to 10 grams.

Leslie Beck, a Toronto-centered private practice dietitian, is director of foods and nutrition at Medcan. Abide by her on Twitter @LeslieBeckRD

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