Collagen Advantages: Are The Claims True?


Reviewed via Helen Kollias, PhD

What’s collagen? | Collagen vs. gelatin | Joint ache | Pores and skin well being | Hair expansion | Protein content material | Intestine well being | Being pregnant and postpartum | Must you are taking collagen?

Each and every morning, 1000’s of other people unload some white powder into their espresso or tea.

That white powder is collagen, and it’s (nonetheless) having a second.

Many of us (possibly your self or your shoppers integrated) use it on account of the claims that it will probably strengthen pores and skin, hair, joint, bone, and intestine well being. And likewise that it’s the “cleanest” and “maximum absorbable” protein supply. (A minimum of, that’s what the collagen complement firms say.)

However do collagen dietary supplements if truth be told paintings?

On this article, we’ll in finding out.


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What’s collagen?

Collagen is the most important structural protein within the frame present in our pores and skin, bones, muscular tissues, tendons, and ligaments.

As we age, we produce much less collagen. (Hello, wrinkles and creaky joints.)

Whilst there are no less than 16 various kinds of collagen, sorts I, II, and III make up 80 to 90 p.c of the collagen in our our bodies.1

The place does collagen come from?

Collagen dietary supplements are most often derived from bovine disguise (bovine collagen) or fish (marine collagen). Those normally are available a flavorless powder that dissolves in liquid. They are able to additionally are available tablet and liquid shape.

Collagen can also be present in meals too. Bone broth, sure cuts of meat and poultry, and fish (particularly the surface) are all excellent assets.

Some manufacturers advertise vegan or vegetarian collagen choices, however those merchandise don’t include collagen. As a substitute, they include vitamins that can advertise collagen manufacturing, corresponding to nutrition C.

Hydrolyzed collagen, collagen peptides, and gelatin: What’s the variation?!

Smartly, the primary comparability is straightforward: Hydrolyzed collagen and collagen peptides are if truth be told the similar factor.

“Hydrolyzed” simply refers back to the processing—the usage of warmth, enzymes, or acid to wreck aside protein chains into shorter chains, or peptides.

The declare is that hydrolyzed protein, or shorter peptides, are more uncomplicated to take in than longer-chain proteins. Then again, analysis doesn’t strengthen that idea, specifically when it comes to collagen. 2

Gelatin is the cooked type of collagen. It’s liquid at top temperatures and gels at low temperatures. (Assume: Jell-O, which accommodates gelatin.)

Nutritionally, collagen and gelatin are necessarily the similar. The principle distinction? Gelatin is a complete lot less expensive. (Extra on that later.) And in reality, a lot of the analysis used to strengthen collagen’s possible advantages—corresponding to collagen regeneration in muscular tissues and tendons3,4—is if truth be told analysis on gelatin.

The actual advantages of collagen dietary supplements

Right here’s a rundown of what we learn about collagen dietary supplements.

Collagen for joint ache

Of the entire buzzed-about advantages of taking collagen, this is among the maximum well-studied. (Hello, we need to play tennis with out knee ache!)

A little analysis means that sort II collagen may probably strengthen joint well being when all in favour of nutrition C.3 The nutrition C section is essential, for the reason that frame wishes nutrition C in an effort to make collagen.

That stated, opinions and meta-analyses have failed to seek out collagen supplementation advantages other people with joint prerequisites like osteoarthritis and tendinopathy, the breakdown of the tendons.5,6

One commonplace argument is that since collagen is normally produced from bone and cartilage, it will have to include the whole thing we wish to restore those portions of our frame. Then again, many of the amino acids in collagen are ones we will be able to make on our personal (like glycine, proline, and alanine) or ones that we will be able to’t use really well in our frame (like hydroxyproline).7

Base line: A little analysis presentations collagen would possibly assist with joint considerations when all in favour of nutrition C, however the proof general is vulnerable.

Your frame doesn’t care about promoting.

Many collagen dietary supplements are advertised for particular considerations, like wrinkles or joint ache.

And it will make sense that for those who’re missing collagen for your pores and skin or joints, you want to simply complement with collagen to maintain it, proper?

Then again, consuming extra collagen doesn’t essentially equivalent extra collagen anywhere you need it.

As a substitute, your frame determines the place the amino acids from collagen (or any protein supply) you ingest will move.

That means, amino acids are much more likely for use to construct enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters—or construct/handle lean tissue—than they’re to easy out your crow’s ft.

So, simply because that collagen logo says it’s for pores and skin or sore knees doesn’t imply your frame will use it for that function.

Collagen for pores and skin well being

Collagen is what makes our pores and skin plump and elastic. That’s why collagen and collagen-enhancing components are commonplace in skin care merchandise. In a similar fashion, collagen dietary supplements promise to extend pores and skin elasticity and fight wrinkles “from the interior out.”

Whilst collagen has the possible to strengthen pores and skin, the proof isn’t definitive.

Taking collagen would possibly stimulate hyaluronic acid manufacturing within the pores and skin, which assists in keeping pores and skin moisturized and plump.8,9 And one evaluate did in finding that collagen dietary supplements larger pores and skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density.10

However collagen dietary supplements do not anything to scale back collagenase, an enzyme all of us produce that degrades our collagen shops through the years. So, certain results from taking collagen dietary supplements can simplest be maintained for those who proceed taking the ones dietary supplements indefinitely.

Additional, most of the research on collagen for pores and skin well being (in addition to different spaces of well being) were funded and run via the firms who’ve created the goods. Trade-funded research aren’t all the time biased, nevertheless it’s a possibility.

Last item: There are extra dependable tactics to fortify collagen manufacturing and handle collagen shops for your pores and skin:

  • The usage of skin care merchandise with nutrition C 11, retinol/retinoid acid12,13, glycolic acid, and/or hyaluronic acid14
  • Dressed in sunscreen15

Base line: Extra analysis is wanted, however collagen dietary supplements would possibly assist (minimally) with pores and skin well being.

Collagen for hair expansion

Collagen accommodates one of the vital amino acids had to produce keratin, a protein present in hair.

However recently, there’s no proof that taking collagen will make your hair develop sooner, thicker, or stimulate hair regrowth.

Base line: Don’t depend on collagen to make your hair develop.

Collagen as a protein complement

In spite of the claims of being “awesome” and “extremely absorbable,” collagen isn’t a perfect protein supply. Actually, till lovely just lately, it used to be regarded as a “junk” protein that wasn’t used for far of anything else.

There are a few the explanation why.

Reason why #1: Collagen is an incomplete protein.

That suggests it doesn’t include all 9 primary amino acids (EAAs).7,16 (Collagen is lacking tryptophan, as proven within the graphic underneath.) Your frame can’t make EAAs, so it will have to get them from meals.

Incomplete proteins have a spot in a nutritious diet, however to get essentially the most bang in your dollar, collagen is just no longer well worth the money because of its standing as a low-quality protein.

A bar graph showing how collagen protein and whey protein compare to each other in terms of essential amino acids. Collagen is overall lower in EAAs, and is missing the amino acid tryptophan.

Collagen lacks tryptophan and is general decrease in EAAs than whey.


Reason why #2: Collagen is low in different EAAs.

On account of this, even if tryptophan is added, collagen nonetheless rankings low on the subject of high quality in comparison to different proteins like whey, casein, or soy.

(To know protein high quality and why it issues, learn our information to selecting the most productive protein powder for you.)

Additionally, if you wish to fortify exercise restoration, muscle achieve, or muscle retention, collagen isn’t your perfect wager.17 Muscle protein synthesis calls for the amino acid leucine, and collagen has little or no of it.18 (Be told extra about leucine in our article on BCAAs.)

Base line: Collagen isn’t the most productive high quality protein complement.

Collagen for intestine well being

Collagen is wealthy in amino acids glycine and proline, and has some glutamine. Some say those amino acids have the prospective to assist heal the intestine lining and advertise digestive well being, specifically in other people with “leaky intestine.”

Then again, whilst intestinal permeability is related to sure digestive sicknesses, it doesn’t have direct signs.

Whilst there’s a little analysis appearing glutamine and glycine could also be useful for intestinal well being, tough proof is missing.19

(To be told extra about learn how to strengthen intestine well being, take a look at this complete useful resource on probiotics.)

Base line: It’s not going that taking collagen improves intestine well being.

Collagen in being pregnant and postnatal restoration

Collagen is top in glycine, which is thought of as a non-essential amino acid (your frame could make it).

However new analysis presentations it’s conditionally primary—that means you could wish to get some from meals—within the later levels of being pregnant (~35+ weeks). That is because of larger dietary call for to shape a child’s collagen shops.20

This has led some prenatal diet professionals to signify supplementing with collagen throughout being pregnant, particularly within the later levels.

Whilst this isn’t a unhealthy thought, it’s no longer essential for those who’re getting ok entire proteins thru your nutrition. (Protein wishes in overdue being pregnant are 1.52 grams/kg of frame weight in line with day.21) Complete-food proteins like meat, fish, protein powders, and dairy include greater than sufficient glycine to satisfy your wishes.

(The one exception is vegans, who won’t get sufficient glycine in overdue being pregnant from complete meals. However collagen isn’t a vegan possibility anyway.)

On a comparable word, some girls swear supplementing with collagen helped them heal and recuperate post-pregnancy. There’s no proof appearing supplementing with collagen is best than consuming a nutrition with sufficient protein. Then again, collagen is protected for brand new mothers, so if that is an manner that pursuits you, have at it!

Base line: Collagen could also be useful for ladies who’re pregnant or postpartum, nevertheless it’s no higher than consuming a nutritious diet with sufficient protein.

Must you are taking collagen dietary supplements?

In the end, that’s as much as you.

Right here’s a snappy recap of the prospective advantages and their high quality of proof:

A table showing the potential benefits of collagen supplements, the level of evidence for each, and any relevant recommendations. There’s weak evidence collagen supplements may help with joint health and skin health, but very weak evidence for everything else.

Collagen dietary supplements may assist minimally with joint and pores and skin well being, however are not going to assist with anything.


Listed below are every other components to believe when making your choice.

Complement high quality varies.

There are some considerations about heavy steel contamination with collagen. So, search for third-party examined choices to make sure purity and high quality. (Learn the “purity and high quality” phase of our article on protein powders for specifics.)

Gelatin is a protected, reasonable selection.

Now not simplest is gelatin a lot less expensive, it can be more secure. That’s as a result of, in maximum international locations, rules for meals manufacturing are a lot stricter than rules for complement manufacturing.

And take into accout, key analysis used to strengthen collagen supplementation used to be if truth be told achieved with gelatin.

Get sufficient nutritional protein and nutrition C.

It’s almost definitely no longer value spending cash on collagen for those who’re no longer already doing those two issues.

Goal for a minimal protein consumption of about 0.Eight grams of protein in line with kilogram of frame weight in line with day (0.36 grams in line with pound). That stated, many of us can take pleasure in extra:

  • Adults over 65: 1.2 to two.Zero grams of protein in line with kilogram of body weight in line with day (0.55 to 0.91 grams in line with pound)
  • Athletes and lively other people: 1.2 to two.2 grams of protein in line with kilogram of body weight in line with day (0.55 to at least one.Zero grams in line with pound)
  • Individuals who need to exchange their weight or frame composition: 1.6 to a few.Three grams in line with kilogram of body weight in line with day (0.75 to at least one.Five grams in line with pound)

On the subject of nutrition C, grownup ladies want 75mg an afternoon, whilst grownup men want 90mg. It’s protected to complement as much as 2,000 mg an afternoon.22

FYI, analysis on collagen and nutrition C used 48 mg of supplemental nutrition C, so that you don’t wish to megadose to stimulate collagen. Additionally, solo nutrition C has been proven to extend collagen synthesis.23 Neat!

Extra collagen isn’t essentially higher.

Workout, sleep, water—it’s imaginable to get an excessive amount of of anything else.

Bearing in mind that collagen’s advantages are minimum, taking additional doesn’t make sense. (If you select to take collagen or gelatin, 10-15 grams in line with day is most probably enough, which is the amount studied in maximum joint and tendon analysis.)

As a result of collagen is a low-quality protein, it shouldn’t exchange different varieties of protein for your nutrition. That’s once we may go over from “can’t harm, may assist” territory into the “most likely destructive” zone.

These days, we don’t have analysis evaluating collagen to raised high quality assets of protein, corresponding to meat and whey, which might assist us in finding out if collagen truly is “particular.”


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