- Even though research about the effectiveness of collagen supplements is still in its early stages, pills and powders that contain collagen have gained popularity in recent years.
- Collagen is an important part of one’s skin – it provides structural support and elasticity. After age 20, people begin slowly losing their body’s collagen supply each year.
- Collagen supplements are often advertised as being able to do things like restore sagging skin and diminish wrinkles. Some research supports the idea that collagen supplements can be beneficial to one’s skin and overall health, but the research is very limited.
- When you consume collagen supplements, you can’t actually target specific areas of your body and these products may not be absorbed by your body in a way that will make a visible or notable difference in your skin.
- Most collagen supplements and powders are not highly regulated. Since the FDA categorizes supplements as a food, not a drug, they do not verify the claims made about these items.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Collagen supplements are trendy wellness items that have been advertised as being able to give someone plump skin, shiny hair, and strong bones.
According to findings from Nutrition Business Journal, US buyers spent an estimated $US122 million on collagen supplements in 2018 – an increase compared to the year before. And this ingestable’s sales are predicted to continue to increase.
However, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of consuming collagen through supplements for vanity and health purposes, mostly since limited research has been conducted on this topic so far.
Collagen is an important part of one’s skin, so it’s not surprising that the wellness industry is trying to harness its power
“Collagen is a vital component of the skin because it provides structural support and elasticity, resulting in youthful and healthy appearing skin,”Dr. Aanand Geria of Geria Dermatology in New Jersey previously told INSIDER.
After age 20, people begin slowly losing their body’s collagen supply each year. As the production of collagen starts to break down, one’s skin can lose its elasticity, leading to wrinkles, sagging skin, and fine lines.
Some research supports the idea that collagen supplements can be beneficial to one’s skin and overall health, but the research is very limited
In addition to possibly rejuvenating skin, some small studies and analyses have also suggested that adding certain types of collagen supplements to one’s diet can potentially help ease symptoms in patients with osteoarthritis,a degenerative joint disease.
Although these studies seem promising, experts have noted that the results from early research about the potential benefits consuming additional collagen are far too limited to actually be deemed conclusive or widely accepted.
These supplements can’t actually target specific parts of your body – and your body might not even recognise that you ingested collagen
Even though collagen has been touted as a fountain of youth for its supposed ability to restore sagging skin and diminish wrinkles, Dr. Rifai said it’s important to note that it’s impossible to specifically target certain areas of the body when you ingest a collagen supplement.
When you consume a source of collagen, it will be broken down, absorbed by your bloodstream, and will go to different parts of the body as needed.
“All proteins are broken down completely and they’re not just comfortably put in as collagen where collagen in needed. It doesn’t work like that,” said Dr. Rifai. “The raw science is that it won’t be collagen when it’s absorbed. Your body won’t have a clue that you ate collagen because it will be individual amino acids when it’s absorbed in your body.”
Essentially, this makes it difficult to tell if ingesting collagen will have any sort of sizable impact on your body, let alone your skin.
Plus, collagen supplements and powders are not highly regulated and they can contain a variety of ingredients
In most cases, ingredients in these supplements may include animal bones and skin as well as fish scales, which can potentially be high in heavy metals. Potential side effects of consuming these heavy metals can include diarrhoea, nausea, heartburn, and skin reactions, said Gorham.
Also, per the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), federal law doesn’t “require dietary supplements to be proven safe to FDA’s satisfaction before they are marketed.” That isn’t to say all supplements are dangerous, but it is worth noting that what you’re taking may not necessarily be safe to ingest.
And as Business Insider previously reported in 2017, some supplement manufacturers have been found to use contaminated products and print incorrect nutritional information on labels, which can be extremely dangerous. So, it’s up to the consumer to do their research and only purchase supplements from companies they really trust.
Notably, since the FDA categorizes supplements as a food, not a drug, they do not verify the claims made about these items.
There are many ways to boost your collagen production and take care of your skin without taking supplements
If you’re looking to boost your collagen intake, you can do so by consuming more vitamins and foods you’d typically incorporate in your diet anyway.
“Vitamin C, in particular, helps promote collagen production,” Gorham told INSIDER. Plus, foods like bone broth, egg whites, chicken, and berries are all said to help promote collagen production in your body, per Healthline.
In addition, instead of ingesting supplements people should focus on cutting out lifestyle habits that can break down collagen production, Dr. Rifai told INSIDER.
“Our body breaks down all protein, and protein is applied where it’s needed and where it’s able,” Dr. Rifai says. “And the body is not going to be able to make it if you have a poor lifestyle – [a poor diet], cigarette smoking, excess alcohol, and excess sun are the drivers of the issue when it comes to [having low levels of] collagen, not inadequate protein intake.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.