Judging by the multitude of collagen dietary supplements out there – from capsules and gummies to liquids and powders – collagen is large enterprise.
And no marvel. The sought-after ingredient is credited for rejuvenating pores and skin and smoothing wrinkles, selling nail and hair progress, easing joint ache, strengthening bones, even constructing muscle.
However do collagen dietary supplements ship on their guarantees? Right here’s what the science says.
Probably the most plentiful protein within the physique, collagen is the primary part of connective tissue, which supplies construction and assist to different physique tissues.
Collagen-rich connective tissue retains our pores and skin supple and elastic, strengthens bones, helps joints and tendons and maintains versatile blood vessels. It’s additionally an necessary part of skeletal muscle.
There are several types of collagen within the physique. Commonest is Sort I, present in bones, ligaments, tendons and pores and skin. Sort II comes from cartilage and joints, whereas Sort III collagen is present in pores and skin and blood vessels.
With age, our physique produces much less collagen, making us liable to wrinkles, sore joints and weakened bones. Cigarette smoking, extreme solar publicity, heavy alcohol consumption and lack of sleep speed up collagen loss.
Supplementing with collagen, then, can appear to be an interesting option to sluggish growing old.
About collagen dietary supplements
Collagen dietary supplements are made out of animal components, reminiscent of bovine or hen bones and skins or fish scales. They’re offered as hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides, that are smaller items of collagen which are simpler for the physique to soak up.
Collagen peptides include the identical protein-building blocks (amino acids) because the animal merchandise they’re derived from. Some dietary supplements might also include different components thought to learn pores and skin or joint well being.
Are collagen dietary supplements helpful?
It’s necessary to notice that many research are funded, at the least partially, by corporations that manufacture collagen, which might doubtlessly bias the outcomes.
Pores and skin growing old
Supplementing with 4 to 10 g of collagen day by day for 4 to 12 weeks appears to learn pores and skin well being, particularly in older ladies. A 2021 overview of 19 randomized scientific trials carried out in 1,125 ladies, for instance, concluded that hydrolyzed collagen was helpful for pores and skin hydration and elasticity (e.g., wrinkles and roughness).
The analysis is unclear, nevertheless, whether or not collagen dietary supplements cut back pores and skin wrinkles to a cosmetically important diploma.
Joint well being
A couple of small scientific research recommend that collagen dietary supplements can cut back ache in folks with knee osteoarthritis. Nevertheless, the enhancements are modest and advantages might take three to 5 months to seem.
Preliminary analysis additionally means that taking 5 to 10 g of collagen day by day for six months can modestly ease joint ache throughout train in pupil athletes. In adults 50 and older, collagen dietary supplements don’t seem to scale back joint ache.
A mix product containing fish collagen, chondroitin, glucosamine and L-carnitine, nevertheless, was proven to minimize joint ache in older adults. However it was unclear if the profit was as a consequence of collagen, the opposite components, or the mixture.
Bone well being
There’s conflicting proof that collagen dietary supplements defend in opposition to bone loss in postmenopausal ladies with low bone density.
In a single research, taking collagen together with calcium and vitamin D for one yr had no impact bone density in comparison with taking calcium and vitamin D alone. One other research discovered that 10 g of collagen taken day by day for 12 months modestly elevated bone density of the backbone in comparison with placebo.
A couple of small research recommend that collagen dietary supplements, mixed with resistance coaching, might enhance muscle energy and lean muscle in premenopausal ladies, younger males and older males with sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) in comparison with a placebo.
Nevertheless, when in comparison with whey protein, analysis has proven collagen to be ineffective at rising muscle protein synthesis in younger adults and in older ladies. Not shocking, since collagen is a low high quality protein; it’s made up largely of non-essential amino acids, ones the physique could make by itself.
Collagen can be low in leucine, an important amino acid that’s key for exciting muscle protein synthesis. (The physique can’t make important amino acids; they need to come from weight loss plan.)
Supplementing with collagen appears to enhance indicators of growing old pores and skin, however don’t anticipate your wrinkles to vanish. Taking collagen might also modestly cut back joint ache folks with knee osteoarthritis and in younger athletes.
There’s scant proof, although, that collagen dietary supplements counteract bone loss. And in case your objective is to realize muscle, don’t commerce in your whey (or pea) protein for a collagen complement.
Collagen dietary supplements are thought-about secure and with out adversarial results in doses as much as 10 grams.
Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based personal follow dietitian, is director of meals and diet at Medcan. Comply with her on Twitter @LeslieBeckRD
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