What are the different forms of collagen supplements, and is one form better than another?
Collagen supplements are synthesized into protein chains called collagen hydrolysates and are absorbed by the body and then used directly by skin cells. They come in pill and powder forms. The powders should be dissolved in hot or cold liquid prior to consumption. There are no studies that compare the different collagen products, so we do not know if one supplement is better than another.
There’s a lot of hype around taking collagen supplements for younger-looking skin. Can they really slow the skin’s aging process?
There are some small studies showing improved skin elasticity and appearance of the skin after taking collagen hydrolysate supplements for at least six weeks. Keep in mind that we do not know if these effects are long-lasting and that there was no control group in some of the studies.
Are there any ingredients or things to look out for when buying collagen supplements?
Key words to look for in the ingredients are collagen hydrolysate, hydrolyzed collagen, or collagen peptides.
So, should we believe the hype?
There are some small studies showing that collagen improves skin elasticity. However, these studies were small and uncontrolled. Right now, we do not have good evidence that there is benefit to taking collagen supplements. I would advise my patients to avoid taking these supplements until we have more convincing data of benefits and until we can be sure of safety.
Any idea how long that will be?
We need to see data from randomized, controlled studies to really understand the effect of oral collagen on skin aging. This means we have to compare a group of people taking collagen supplements to a group not taking the supplement. There is currently one such study enrolling patients, so it should not be long before we can make recommendations to our patients.
Are there certain foods or drinks that contain collagen?
Red meats, chicken, fish, nuts, beans, and grains contain adequate quantities of collagen.