Collagen—the protein found in skin, hair, nails, and joints—has become a buzzy beauty trend, and products are touting lofty promises like reducing wrinkles and strengthening your bones. But is it worth the investment?
The best collagen supplements are derived from animal sources (like cows, pigs, and fish)—look for products that specify the type of collagen they contain. Also, look for supplements that use a combination of types to support different areas of the body.
Collagen is found in your skin, hair, and nails and can help promote a healthier appearance when you consume enough. It can help reduce the signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles caused by collagen depletion. It has also been shown to improve your skin’s elasticity and increase moisture content, helping it feel softer and smoother.
You can find collagen supplements such as those you can buy at Thorne.com in pill and powder form, many of which include various types of collagen. However, selecting a high-quality product free of common allergens like gluten, dairy, fish, and shellfish is important. Look for a supplement that is third-party certified for purity and potency.
The skin isn’t the only place that benefits from collagen; your hair and nails also benefit from this protein. Collagen is needed for keratin production, which keeps your hair strong and healthy. When collagen levels decrease, your hair can become dry and brittle. A good quality collagen powder can help your tresses return to their health.
Aside from eating a well-balanced diet, collagen supplements can give you the nutrients your hair needs to stay healthy and strong. The glycine in collagen may also reduce the appearance of gray hair by supporting healthy hair follicles that produce pigmentation. Collagen can also promote a healthy scalp and may reduce telogen effluvium (excessive hair loss during pregnancy, surgery, or profound weight loss). For this reason, consuming a collagen supplement like ours is a great way to support your natural beauty and health.
Collagen makes up about 10% of your muscle tissue, so it’s no wonder it may help combat sarcopenia (a condition in which you lose muscle mass as you age). It also plays an important role in bone health and can improve osteoporosis symptoms. One study found that post-menopausal women who took collagen supplements saw increased bone density in their spine and hips, which helps reduce their risk of fractures.
There are several types of collagen, but the type used in supplements is called “collagen peptides.” This form is broken down into smaller pieces that your body can more easily absorb. This type of collagen is found in cartilage and joints, and some studies show that it can improve joint pain and prevent further cartilage damage.
You can find collagen in pill or powder form, but many prefer to take it as animal bone broth (simmering beef or chicken bones for hours or overnight). Some of these products are made with bovine or porcine (pork) collagen, while others use marine collagen (derived from fish skin and scales). If you’re a vegan, look for a plant-based product free of hormones, additives, allergens, and microbes.
Better Joint Health
Collagen is a protein that helps form cartilage, the rubbery tissue that covers bone ends in joints. It can also help ease joint pain by promoting cartilage growth and relieving inflammation. Collagen supplements can also help strengthen tendons and ligaments.
Collagen can be found in capsules, liquids, gummies, and powders. The best option depends on your goals. Some people find it easier to swallow collagen capsules, while others prefer the convenience of adding collagen powder to their drinks and meals. Some collagen peptides and hydrolyzed products contain animal-derived collagen, but vegan options are also made from bacteria and yeast.
Some studies have shown that collagen may reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, more research is needed. In the meantime, many people report that collagen-boosting foods and supplements can help with joint health. The key is to make these a regular diet to see the most benefit. Boosting your intake of protein-rich foods can also help improve overall joint health.
Collagen is a protein found in connective tissues throughout the body, including the skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments. Its role is to provide structure and help tissues withstand impact, stress, and movement. You can find collagen in liquid supplements, gummies, and powder forms.
In studies, ingesting collagen increases glucagon-like peptide-1 and cholecystokinin, hormones that promote feelings of satiety and reduce cravings for high-calorie foods (2). In addition, because collagen is a protein, it may also help you feel full faster and boost thermogenesis – an energy-generating process in which your cells burn fat for fuel (3).
Remember that most collagen supplements are sourced from animals (pigs, cows), but you can also find vegan collagen powders and gummies on the market. To avoid issues, seek organic or grass-fed animal products vetted for toxins and heavy metals by third-party labs. Also, when choosing a supplement, consider how it is processed (i.e., hydrolyzed) and what additives are included. This will influence the final product’s quality, efficacy, and safety.
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