Do Collagen Supplements Actually Work?
One of the most common questions we get on a daily basis is if in fact collagen supplements work. Almost in the realm of CBD, we all know somebody with an infatuation with collagen, but is there actually any validity to it? Will it help you? Supplements are.. supplements and designed to help address issues in conjunction with other solutions, like proper diet, exercise, and general health maintenance, but let's take a look at what collagen is helping people with and you'll be able to decide if it's the right fit from there.
Again, similar to CBD, there are many different types and claims on collagen supplements so before we dig in we're going to do some deciphering. After all there are 28 different types of collagen.
- Collagen is a series of proteins that are broadly related in terms of
chemical features, structure, and function (1)
- Collagen Peptides are tiny pieces of collagen protein from animal collagen.
- Type 1 Collagen is one of the most abundant structural protein in organs and tissues (2).
- Type 2 Collagen is the "cushion" of the joints
- Type 3 Collagen structurally supports intestines', muscles, and blood vessels
- Type 5 (V) Collagen is a fibril forming or self assembling collagen
- Type 10 (X) Collagen regulates matrix mineralization and is a marker for new bone formulation in articular cartilage (3).
Now that you understand the most common forms of collagen, let's look at the common sources of these forms.
Hydrolyzed Bovine Collagen - Bovine collagen is primarily derived from cows and studies show that bovine collagen can improve the laxity of aged skin (4). Bovine Collagen is typically made up of type 1 & 3 Collagen.
Hydrolyzed Fish Collagen - Studies show that after 12 weeks of use, skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkling all improved. Fish (or Marine) collagen is primarily type 1 collagen (4). In another study, they combined fish collagen peptides with chondroitin, glucosamine, l-carnitine, vitamins and minerals to help with skin aging and joint health (6).
Chicken Bone Broth Collagen - Chicken collagen is largely type 2 collagen derived from sternum cartilage. Pain, stiffness, and physical function all improved with type 2 collagen supplementation (7)
Eggshell Membrane Collagen - Largely a type 3 collagen that helps with skin elasticity and increasing arm elasticity (8). In those with osteoarthritis, eggshell membrane can help with reducing stiffness and enhance average individual physical capacity (9).
What Type of Collagen is Best For Me?
As you can see, there are many different uses for collagen. The collagen supplement you purchase should have the intention to help with the reasons you're purchasing it. Most collagen supplements are multiple forms of collagen so it's important to breakdown the label prior to purchasing.
Will Collagen Help My Joints?
Collagen may help your joints. Proper diagnosing of the joint pain with a medical professional should come first and if you decide that trying a collagen supplement to aid in joint health then you should try a type 1, 2& 3 collagen that is made up of bovine, fish, egg and chicken. Having a variety of sources makes sure you have your the proper amounts of each type of collagen.
Will Collagen Help With My Skin?
Studies show that collagen can help with skin elasticity and hydration. Type 1 and 3 are most likely best for skin. Choosing sources of Eggshell, fish, and bovine is the best for healthy skin. As with joints, properly diagnosing any skin care issues with a medical professional first is important prior to trying different collagen powders.
Are All Collagens The Same?
Unfortunately the collagen market is very similar to the protein market. The direct type of collagen may be disclosed but only trial and error of different products will help you land on one that is a good quality. Continue to read labels and when it's affordable, go for the ones that have more natural claims like grass fed or pasture raised.
Should I Count Collagen As Protein?
Usually not. Collagen doesn't carry the same spectrum of amino acids as a complete dietary protein would, therefore it should not count towards your daily protein goal.
(1) Gay S, Miller EJ. What is collagen, what is not. Ultrastruct Pathol. 1983 Jun;4(4):365-77. doi: 10.3109/01913128309140589. PMID: 6359612.
(2) Yamauchi M, Sricholpech M, Terajima M, Tomer KB, Perdivara I. Glycosylation of Type I Collagen. Methods Mol Biol. 2019;1934:127-144. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9055-9_9. PMID: 31256377.
(3) Shen G. The role of type X collagen in facilitating and regulating endochondral ossification of articular cartilage. Orthod Craniofac Res. 2005 Feb;8(1):11-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-6343.2004.00308.x. PMID: 15667640.
(4) Song H, Zhang S, Zhang L, Li B. Effect of Orally Administered Collagen Peptides from Bovine Bone on Skin Aging in Chronologically Aged Mice. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 3;9(11):1209. doi: 10.3390/nu9111209. PMID: 29099747; PMCID: PMC5707681.
(5) Kim DU, Chung HC, Choi J, Sakai Y, Lee BY. Oral Intake of Low-Molecular-Weight Collagen Peptide Improves Hydration, Elasticity, and Wrinkling in Human Skin: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2018 Jun 26;10(7):826. doi: 10.3390/nu10070826. PMID: 29949889; PMCID: PMC6073484.
(6) Czajka A, Kania EM, Genovese L, Corbo A, Merone G, Luci C, Sibilla S. Daily oral supplementation with collagen peptides combined with vitamins and other bioactive compounds improves skin elasticity and has a beneficial effect on joint and general wellbeing. Nutr Res. 2018 Sep;57:97-108. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2018.06.001. Epub 2018 Jun 9. PMID: 30122200.
(7) Lugo JP, Saiyed ZM, Lane NE. Efficacy and tolerability of an undenatured type II collagen supplement in modulating knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutr J. 2016 Jan 29;15:14. doi: 10.1186/s12937-016-0130-8. PMID: 26822714; PMCID: PMC4731911.
(9). Hewlings S, Kalman D, Schneider LV. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Prospective Clinical Trial Evaluating Water-Soluble Chicken Eggshell Membrane for Improvement in Joint Health in Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis. J Med Food. 2019 Sep;22(9):875-884. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2019.0068. Epub 2019 Aug 5. PMID: 31381494; PMCID: PMC6748399.