Do collagen supplements actually work? Or are they just a waste of money? Perhaps these questions have been swirling in your head as you mull over whether you should add collagen to your diet. If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place to get the answers to your most pressing questions.
The good news is, yes, collagen supplements do work. High-quality collagen powders and pills aren’t scams and hoaxes masquerading as overpromised marketing ads (provided that you buy from a reputable brand, of course). Ahead, you’ll learn the science-based benefits of supplementing with collagen.
In General, Do Collagen Supplements Work?
As we’ve mentioned, collagen supplements work to address various health issues, such as joint pain, wrinkles, and weight gain.
The main reason you experience these age-related changes is that the human body loses its collagen-producing ability over time. Not many people realize that their body’s collagen synthesis starts to slow down as early as their late teens to early 20s at a rate of 1% per year. It’s why your joints start to act up, your skin gradually sags, and you experience other signs of aging.
When you supplement with collagen, you’re doing yourself a big favor as you replenish your body’s declining collagen stores. That’s why the answer to “Do collagen supplements work?” is a big, resounding yes!
In the next few sections, we’ll show you scientific proof that collagen supplements do work.
Do Collagen Supplements Work for Your Skin?
The first signs of aging usually show up on your skin as fine lines, wrinkles, and loose skin. Thankfully, scientific evidence indicates that collagen supplements work for your skin to minimize and slow down the aging process.
A groundbreaking 2019 systematic review of 805 patients found that oral collagen supplementation significantly improved “skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density,” as well as “wound healing and skin aging.” The participants witnessed these improvements after consuming collagen supplements for about one to six months, give or take.
Note: There’s been lots of hype about collagen and vitamin C being the potent duo for skin health. But a small-scale 2013 study revealed that a low vitamin C dosage (500 milligrams) did not synergistically boost collagen’s skin-enhancing prowess. In fact, the researchers noted that the greatest improvements in skin hydration and elasticity were seen in the group that was only supplemented with collagen.
Do Collagen Supplements Work for Joint Pain?
Joint pain isn’t just an annoyance; it can be a devastating disability for the average person. Unfortunately, there are multiple causes of joint pain, many of them age-related. Case in point: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, to name a few.
But adding collagen powder to your diet may increase your range of pain-free movement. A 6-month-long study involving 147 athletic participants is proof of that. The results showed that daily consumption of 10 grams of collagen hydrolysate reduced pain parameters for everyday movements, like walking, running, carrying objects, and lifting. Most significantly, the study highlighted that these improvements were more pronounced in test subjects that had knee pain before the experiment.
If you’re thinking that topically applying collagen-rich creams and gels may give you the same results, this 2006 medical review will make you think twice. The review shows clear hard proof that when you take collagen supplements by mouth, they are efficiently absorbed in the intestines. Afterward, the ingested collagen is transported via the bloodstream to the cartilage to increase your body’s collagen deposits where it's needed most. Topically applying a collagen product may not guarantee the same effectiveness.
Do Collagen Supplements Work for Hair Growth?
Thinning hair and hair loss are two common struggles among men and women alike. But you don’t have to be at your wit’s end. A mix of clinical and anecdotal evidence shows that collagen supplements work to promote stronger, healthier hair, including growth.
The reason is that hair follicles need collagen to sustain their hair-growing mechanisms. Replacing your body’s age-related collagen loss with collagen supplements helps your follicles do their best work. One study, in particular, noted that a nutraceutical supplement containing hydrolyzed marine collagen improved “hair growth, volume, thickness, and hair growth rate.”
At Zen Principle, our customer testimonials are also solid proof that collagen supplements help optimize hair health:
“I have been taking two scoops in my coffee for 60 days now. At 53, my hair had stopped growing for a year. My hair is now 2.5 inches longer.”
“I have been using it for about 3 months almost daily and have noticed most improvement in my hair and skin quality - my hair is getting fuller and softer.”
Do Collagen Supplements Work for Gut Health?
Per a 2018 global study by Sanofi, gastrointestinal conditions are commonplace everywhere. At least once a week, people go to work suffering from:
- Constipation (10%)
- Indigestion (9%)
- Abdominal pain (8%)
- Diarrhea (6%)
If you can relate to the above statistics, you may find comfort in collagen supplements. You can read our in-depth guide on how collagen supplementation improves gut health, but the main points are:
- Many digestive issues are caused by a leaky gut, no thanks to a hyper-permeable intestinal barrier.
- Collagen consists of several gut-healing amino acids that can help fill in the gaps in a compromised intestinal lining to alleviate leaky gut and other digestive issues.
- Collagen supplements are a better alternative to bone broth. That’s because the latter may not provide your body with the amount of amino acids it needs for optimal gut health.
Do Collagen Supplements Work for Weight Loss?
Due to the bulk-promoting benefits of collagen supplements in the bodybuilding world, many people are under the misconception that collagen promotes weight gain and not weight loss. Well, that’s not exactly the case.
For the record, collagen helps you build muscle mass which is not the same as gaining body fat. The former refers to healthy weight gain, while the latter isn’t. As you’ll see in our other post (Does collagen make you gain weight?) collagen supplementation indirectly helps you lose weight in the following ways:
- Protein-rich collagen enhances the satiety effect. In human-speak, that means you will likely feel fuller for longer when you incorporate collagen supplements into your everyday diet. In other words, you’re less likely to binge-eat unhealthy snacks like potato chips and carbonated sodas that contribute to unhealthy weight gain.
- Scientific evidence indicates collagen burns off the body fats, essentially helping you lose the unwanted pounds.
- Collagen supplementation before and after exercise boosts your athletic performance and speeds up post-workout recovery. This way, you have more motivation to stick to your workout program as you work toward your ideal weight goals.
How Long Before You See Results From Collagen Supplements?
Some people may be skeptical about the efficacy of collagen supplements and think “Are collagen supplements a waste of money?” The reason they feel this way is probably because they assume collagen supplementation is a miraculous cure that works overnight.
While it’s true that collagen is a formidable health supplement that benefits most people, it’s wise to manage your expectations with it. Simply put, it’s not realistically possible for your joint pain, wrinkles, and extra pounds to vanish after only a day of collagen supplementation.
One common theme that runs through the various scientific studies we’ve mentioned earlier is that collagen supplements take time to see results. It can be anywhere from a few days to more than a year, depending on the health issue you’re targeting. To learn the specific answers, head over to our guide - How long does it take for collagen supplements to work?
Good Things Take Time, Including Collagen Supplements
As you’ve learned, collagen supplements work for multiple health functions, ranging from wrinkles and hair loss to joint pain and athletic performance. The only thing you need is patience and time.
If you’re on the lookout for a top-grade collagen supplement to optimize your overall well-being in the long run, Zen Principle has three options for you to choose from:
No matter which one(s) you choose, you’ll reap the countless health benefits collagen has to offer.