Collagen Dietary supplements for Pores and skin, Hair, and Nails: What to Know

April 8, 2024 — When Mary Claire Haver, MD, got interested within the potential of collagen supplementation a couple of decade in the past, she struggled to search out many gold-standard research that confirmed main enhancements within the points that mattered most to her sufferers, akin to cellulite, wrinkles, and bone well being.

Now the info appears to be extra plentiful, although nonetheless murky. Collagen dietary supplements look like secure to take and considerably efficient, relying on what drawback you’re attempting to resolve, what sort of complement you are taking, and which substances are included.

“I at all times say to search for the proof,” Haver mentioned. “I noticed randomized managed trials with a specific sort of collagen complement — known as VERISOL — that confirmed enchancment. Because it helped and positively wouldn’t harm, I started taking it, and it grew to become a part of my routine.”

Haver, an OB/GYN in Texas who has drawn a significant following on social media below the model The ’Pause Life, speaks concerning the challenges of menopause and the modifications in vitamin, train, and supplementation which will assist. Haver sells collagen dietary supplements with VERISOL below her model, however she nonetheless cautions her sufferers and followers to watch out about what they select to make use of since dietary supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. 

“Firms can slap a label on something and promote it, and a part of why I created my model is as a result of it’s so exhausting to search out respected merchandise,” she mentioned. “On high of that, you additionally see ‘meno-washing,’ the place corporations market merchandise as menopause-related and mark up the costs.”

Normally, Haver recommends in search of complement corporations that use third-party testing, checking the manufacturing location and date for freshness, and being conscious of unrealistic claims. If something appears too good to be true, it most likely is.

“I obtain DMs from followers with screenshots from Instagram or TikTok advertisements, asking if a product is sweet or if the claims are actual,” she  mentioned. “Purchaser beware: Nothing cures menopause, however there are issues we are able to do to assist our our bodies, together with the correct dietary supplements.”

What Is Collagen?

Collagen serves as a significant structural protein in connective tissues and offers assist to pores and skin, hair, nails, bones, tendons, and cartilage. Collagen can be a constructing block for proteins akin to keratin, which kinds pores and skin, hair, and nails. Different substances, together with hyaluronic acid and elastin, work with collagen to keep up pores and skin elasticity and moisture.

Greater than two dozen kinds of collagen exist, with sort I making up 90% of the collagen discovered within the human physique. Though the physique naturally produces collagen by way of amino acids present in protein-rich meals, manufacturing decreases over time as a consequence of ageing, alcohol consumption, smoking, and solar harm, which might result in widespread points akin to wrinkles, joint ache, and dry pores and skin.

Collagen dietary supplements sometimes use sorts I, II, and III, with sorts I and III being good for pores and skin, hair, and nails and kind II being good for joints and cartilage. Probably the most bioavailable kinds — or most available for digestion — are offered as hydrolyzed collagen, or collagen peptides which can be damaged into smaller molecules that the physique can take up. 

However collagen isn’t thought-about a “full protein” as a result of it doesn’t include the entire important amino acids wanted to assist the physique operate, so supplementation can’t change protein powders or different dietary supplements with all 9 important amino acids.

What Do Research Present About Collagen Dietary supplements?

New research about collagen supplementation have emerged up to now decade, with a notable enhance in recent times. For example, a 2021 systematic overview of 19 research that examined hydrolyzed collagen dietary supplements amongst 1,125 folks confirmed favorable outcomes for pores and skin hydration, elasticity, and wrinkles. In 2023, one other overview of 14 research with 967 folks discovered encouraging outcomes for pores and skin moisture ranges and elasticity. But one other 2023 overview of 26 research with 1,721 folks additionally confirmed improved pores and skin hydration and elasticity. Further research have famous potential advantages for joint stiffness and ache, bone density, and brittle nails. 

“The excellent news with collagen is that, except the product is adulterated or doesn’t observe good manufacturing practices, it sometimes received’t hurt you to take,” mentioned Mahtab Jafari, PharmD, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences on the College of California, Irvine. Jafari and her analysis workforce take a look at botanical extracts and dietary dietary supplements for his or her anti-aging properties and long-term well being results.

With collagen merchandise, Jafari suggests paying shut consideration to substances. She lately obtained a name from somebody who began taking collagen and developed a rash. After trying on the product, Jafari noticed that it used marine-based collagen, and the individual was allergic to fish. Collagen dietary supplements could use fish, hen, cow, pig, eggshells, or different sources of protein, she famous, but corporations typically make it tough to study concerning the sources or substances of the product.

As well as, Jafari mentioned, corporations could use research or knowledge to again up their claims, however that will not inform the entire story. Most collagen-related research use self-reported measures from research contributors, who could look within the mirror and write down what they see. This will skew the outcomes since a few of the measurements are subjective, together with the looks of wrinkles, tremendous strains, pores and skin hydration, or elasticity.

“Contemplate the entire different variables that aren’t measured: Did the entire research contributors use sunscreen? What are their stress ranges?” Jafari mentioned. “When you don’t use sunscreen to forestall solar harm, for example, then oral collagen isn’t essentially going to assist.”

Complement-related research additionally are inclined to have main limitations. A lot of the research are observational, which suggests they don’t immediately take a look at the product as a part of an experiment, and so they usually embody a small variety of folks. In collagen-related research, almost all have included solely girls, most centered on pores and skin (reasonably than hair, nails or joints), and lots of are funded by complement corporations.

“There are a couple of research that recommend collagen dietary supplements could also be useful, however extra rigorous analysis is required to substantiate that that is true,” mentioned Temitayo Ogunleye, MD, an affiliate professor medical dermatology on the College of Pennsylvania’s Perelman Faculty of Medication.

Though research are enhancing, few make clear the right dosing or the opposite substances, akin to vitamin C or hyaluronic acid, which will enhance the constructive results of collagen, she says, in addition to probably much less useful substances akin to added sugars or synthetic flavors. 

“Most of the research make the most of dietary supplements with different substances, making it tough to tease out which ingredient could also be contributing to perceived modifications,” she mentioned. “There may be additionally an absence of standardization for measuring enchancment or enhance in collagen synthesis to objectively assess response to remedy.”

What Else Ought to I Contemplate With Collagen Dietary supplements? 

Collagen dietary supplements are usually secure to make use of, however different strategies could also be simply as efficient, akin to consuming a balanced food regimen with sufficient protein, Ogunleye mentioned. 

“Because it’s damaged down as different proteins, I don’t see why ingesting collagen could be extra helpful than consuming different types of protein,” she mentioned. “Lotions aren’t definitely worth the effort.”

For anti-aging properties specifically, Ogunleye recommends solar safety and retinoids over dietary supplements, in addition to life-style modifications akin to getting sufficient sleep and lowering stress.

“My takeaway is that every one the info could be very weak,” mentioned Robert Anolik, MD, medical assistant professor of dermatology on the NYU Faculty of Medication. “Because it stands now, I don’t advocate that my sufferers eat collagen supplementation as a result of I imagine it in the end wants extra knowledge for a medical advice just because there isn’t a robust proof of efficacy.”

Anolik factors to the easy bodily nature of consuming meals or a complement: You may’t dictate the place the collagen goes within the physique after being digested, so in case you resolve to take a complement, it must be p

artwork of an total strategy reasonably than a particular answer.

“Simply because we eat collagen doesn’t imply that it’s going emigrate proper into the pores and skin layers the place we wish it,” he mentioned.  “Moreover, simply because we eat one thing doesn’t imply it would act in that particular operate in our physique. I’d like to have a stronger hairline, but when I swallowed some hair, it sadly received’t go proper to my scalp.”

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