How effective are oral collagen supplements?

oral collagen supplements

Every time we scroll through our social media feeds, it seems like there’s a new influencer praising the wonders of collagen supplements. Promoted as the holy grail for radiant skin, robust nails, and glossy hair, it’s no wonder they are rising in popularity.

Collagen is the primary building block that lends elasticity and strength to our skin, ensures our nails aren’t brittle, and gives our hair a natural shine. The question is, are these oral supplements as effective as they claim? Let’s find out…

What are oral collagen supplements?

Collagen supplements, sold as capsules, drinks, or powders, promise to replenish the body’s depleting collagen levels. They are processed from animal tissues and believed can boost collagen in your body, fostering healthier hair, skin, and nails.

Not all collagen supplements are produced to the same standards. This is especially true when you’re buying them online, as you have no idea what is really going into them. Some may contain unlisted ingredients, or vary in collagen concentration, posing concerns for consumers about what they’re truly ingesting.

Do oral collagen supplements work?

Recent research offers some insights into the potential benefits of collagen supplements. A significant review of 19 studies published in the International Journal of Dermatology found participants who took collagen supplements reported improved skin texture and hydration.

However, a deeper dive reveals that many of these supplements had additional ingredients beyond collagen. For example, vitamins and antioxidants, making it challenging to attribute results solely to collagen.

Collagen from oral supplements cannot be absorbed whole. It is broken down in the gastrointestinal tract into individual peptides which can be taken up into the bloodstream. Once they have been further broken down, some of these peptides may become the building blocks to form proteins. For example, keratin that form our skin, hair, and nails. At present, however, there are no studies that unequivocally prove that collagen from oral supplements will end up in the skin, hair and nails.

When it comes to hair and nails, the evidence is even sparser. A 2017 study noted improved nail health with collagen intake, but its limited sample size and lack of a control group make conclusions tentative at best.

Finding effective treatments for hair, skin, and nails

If you’re experiencing issues related to your hair, skin, or nails, avoid turning to unverified online collagen supplements.

Before wasting money on collagen supplements, consider consulting with a dermatologist. They will get to the root cause of your concerns and provide expert advice on potential treatment options.