Collagen is a long-chain amino acid, responsible for giving skin its elasticity, strengthening hair, and keeping connective tissue healthy. Collagen supplements are gaining in popularity, but what does the science say about their effectiveness? Read on.
Uses for Collagen
Reduce Joint Pain
Collagen plays an important role in healthy joints, as all areas of connective tissue in the body contain this protein. The results of a study involving 80 patients with physician-verified evidence of progressive osteoarthritis (OA) suggests that supplementing with 2,000 milligrams (mg) of collagen daily results in less pain and better joint function in those with knee or hip OA.
Boost Skin Elasticity
Collagen is the protein that gives skin its firm, supple, and youthful appearance. Sun exposure damages skin, causes collagen to age, and leads to wrinkles. Collagen supplements can help: In one study, supplementing with collagen daily (along with hyaluronic acid) for two months improved skin appearance in terms of wrinkles, dryness, and firmness. Similar results were reported in research of middle-aged women comparing daily collagen supplements (with some women taking 2,500 milligrams [mg] and others taking 5,000 mg) to a placebo for two months. By the end of the study there was a noticeable difference, with the skin of the collagen users appearing smoother, more elastic, and less saggy.
Improve Skin Moisture
A double-blind study of 69 women ranging in age from 35 to 55 indicates that regular supplementation with collagen peptides can improve skin elasticity, and may have a positive influence on skin moisture. These results were seen in both the group of women who received 2.5 grams (g) of collagen hydrolysate (CH) or 5 g of CH once daily for eight weeks.
Recent research indicates that cellulite, which plagues women of all ages, may be reduced by regular ingestion of bioactive collagen peptides (BCP).
In a recent, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, 105 women aged 24 to 50 with moderate cellulite were given an oral dose of BCP or a placebo for six months. Normal weight women saw a statistically significant decrease in cellulite after six months, and overweight women also achieved some improvement, though not as pronounced. “Skin waviness on thighs” decreased significantly in women of normal body weight, according to the study.
Internal vs. External
Both collagen and hyaluronic acid are larger molecules, which generally make skin absorption more troublesome. Dietary supplements in pill form might be a better bet with these skin boosters. You can also try this recipe for Instant Beauty Chocolate Pudding!
“Daily Consumption of the Collagen Supplement . . . Reduces Visible Signs of Aging” by M. Borumand and S. Sibilia, Clin Interv Aging, 10/13/14
“Dietary Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides Has a Body Mass Index-Dependent Beneficial Effect on Cellulite Morphology” by M. Schunck et al., J Med Food, 12/1/15
“Effect of the Novel Low Molecular Weight Hydrolyzed Chicken Sternal Cartilage Extract, BioCell Collagen, on Improving Osteoarthritis-Related Symptoms: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial” by A.G. Schauss et al., J Agric Food Chem, 4/12
“Oral Intake of Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides Reduces Skin Wrinkles and Increases Dermal Matrix Synthesis” by E. Proksch et al., 12/24/13; “Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Has Beneficial Effects on Human Skin Physiology: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study” by E. Proksch et al., 8/14, Skin Pharmacol Physiol