The Effectiveness Of Collagen Supplements – Fact Or Fad?


Over the last few years, the skincare game has been on the rise, and now, we’re tackling the debate of using ingestible collagen to achieve glowing skin whilst Doctors weigh in on their two cents…


About 5 years ago, the Kardashians, and other celebs, began promoting SugarBearHair gummies, claiming that they’re integral to their haircare and wellness routines, setting up beauty supplements for a skyrocketing success.



This vitamin-boom then predictably extended to skincare and soon enough, the emphasis of collagen started hitting the global market, but it looks like doctors are sharing their doubts…


2 White and Blue Plastic Bottles


Basically, collagen is a protein that provides the framework for our skin, as dermatologist Dr. Katta explains, and is found in bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin. She went on, ‘As we age, our production of collagen slows down, and the existing collagen we have starts to become more brittle and harder to repair. Over time, that leads to sagging and wrinkling’.



So, people turned to ingestible supplements, which tend to contain hydrolyzed collagen, meaning it breaks down into smaller protein chains/amido acids, so they’re easier for the body to absorb and are usually bovine and marine-derived, as dermatologist Dr. Allawh shared.


Person Holding Blue Pills


In brief, the idea behind them is to replace deficient collagen in tissues with animal collagen, as Dr. Maiman explains, adding that she does not recommend them, clarifying, ‘To extrapolate that ingesting collagen will result in greater concentrations of collagen at the level of the skin negates a lot of science.’



Dr. Lisa Chipps backs this up further, ‘I do not believe that oral collagen supplements are effective in thickening the skin. When you consume collagen supplements, they are digested into fragments, not deposited in your skin.’


Medicines on the Table


Meanwhile, Dr. Katta emphasised that there hasn’t been enough research to suggest that these supplements have any great impact on the skin, as Dr. Maiman agrees, ‘Realistically, studies that tout improvement in skin firmness as a result of collagen supplements are small and usually biased.’



Naturally, respective companies uphold their beliefs that their formulas are effective, even though ingestible collagen can cause undesirable side effects, such as heartburn and an altered sense of taste, as Dr. Maiman lists.


Person With Blue Pills


Dr. Chipps warns that ingredients like fish scales may be present in some, and Dr. Katta refers to a study that found cadmium in a brand’s supplements. They also clarified that plant-based collagen doesn’t contain any collagen; you’d just be consuming vitamins that support your body’s collagen production.



So, what should you do instead? Expand your diet. Dr. Maiman recommends eating foods rich in Vitamin C and amino acids, such as mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, egg whites, shellfish, beans, nuts, and leafy greens. Daily sunscreen use is also vital to slow down the depletion of collagen levels.


In short, you’re probably better off spending your money elsewhere and returning to the simple basics of sunscreen, sleep, and a healthy diet!

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