Fewer wrinkles and smoother skin sounds pretty great, but will collagen supplements actually provide that?
More and more products are popping up with collagen as an ingredient, like in powders for shakes, health bars, and more. Collagen is a protein that helps give the skin structure and fullness. It has other purposes too; it makes up about 30 percent of all proteins in the body. When it comes to skin, collagen is always a big topic, because collagen is depleted with age, leaving our skin looking less youthful, and saggy.
Various treatments work to rejuvenate collagen and restore the fullness it provides. Various filler injections, dermabrasion, chemical peels, and some topical options can be effective. But will eating collagen do something for you?
How The Body Uses Collagen When You Eat It
The truth is, when you eat collagen, the body doesn’t actually absorb the protein whole. It gets broken down into its different amino acids, and then the body uses those important acids for whatever is important. In other words, eating collagen doesn’t magically send more collagen to the skin to give it more volume.
“There isn’t evidence to show this helps thicken collagen in the skin despite the buzz,” Dr. Myers says.
So why are people eating it? Some research suggests that eating collagen might help the bones and joints. It may also have benefits for the hair. However, research on its effects for skin are very sparse.
Furthermore, remember that you’re already eating a lot of collagen, just with your regular diet! Jell-O, chicken, beef, bone broth, pork, eggs and many other foods contain collagen naturally. In fact, the supplements out there with collagen are likely using bovine collagen (cow), chicken collagen, or fish collagen. Collagen supplements are pretty expensive, and given what we know, there isn’t much justification for spending the money.