Collagen and your bodyMIA-Studio/Shutterstock
The human body doesn’t absorb collagen whole, so the idea that taking a supplement can directly promote bone growth and skin or hair health is incorrect, says Osinga. What your body does do is break collagen down in the digestive system into amino acids that the body uses wherever they’re needed, but won’t automatically give you glowing skin. On the plus side, taking a collagen supplement can prompt your body to produce more collagen. Research agrees: One study found collagen is beneficial to bones and joints by helping the body’s natural production of collagen by providing a bioavailable source of these amino acids.
Collagen and skinMaridav/Shutterstock
Before you take a collagen supplement in hopes of improving your skin, consider this: “There’s actually very limited data, or rigorous scientific studies, on ingestible or oral collagen at this point in time,” says Whitney Bowe, MD, board-certified dermatologist. “Consequently, the jury is still out as to whether these supplements actually have any meaningful benefit on the skin in women who are already eating a well-balanced diet with a variety of protein sources, such as chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, and yogurt.” Of the data available, a double-blind placebo study found that women who took the peptide form of collagen regularly for eight weeks saw a 20 percent reduction in wrinkles.
Collagen and hair healthNina-Buday/Shutterstock
As you age, the natural levels of collagen in your body decrease, which is why taking a supplement sounds inviting. According to research, collagen has been shown to support and increase the body’s hair building proteins, which can prevent hair loss, encourage hair growth, and reduce the appearance of gray hair by supporting the healthy structure of the hair follicle, where pigment is produced. Furthermore, collagen supplements have been shown to be very effective in the treatment of dry brittle hair by supporting healthy moisture levels within the hair. If want to take collagen for your hair, Qilib, Viviscal, and Phillip Kingsley Trichotherapy are all reputable brands.