What’s the Hype over Collagen?

These days, everyone is talking about collagen. But what is it, and is it worth the hype? Read on to find out…

What is it?

Collagen is a type of protein—the most plentiful protein in all of the animal kingdom, as one study notes. More specifically, it’s an insoluble fibrous protein in connective tissue, as well as in something called the extracellular matrix.<1> Sounds pretty scientific, right? In plain English, it helps hold our skin, joints, tendons, and so on, together. In fact, the Greek word for “collagen” is derived from the Greek word for “glue.”<2>

Why do people take it as a supplement?

While we naturally produce collagen, we produce less as we get older.<3> Therefore, people can and do take collagen in supplement form, after it’s been hydrolyzed and turned into peptides.<4>

Lucky for us, there’s been a lot of recent research on collagen supplements. So far, these supplements are believed to help with:

  • joint pain in athletes;<5>
  • osteoarthritis management;<6> and
  • skin health<7>, including reducing the appearance of skin aging<8>, reducing wrinkles<9>, and increasing skin hydration and elasticity.<10>

How do I choose a supplement?

If you’re interested in taking collagen supplements, check with your health care practitioner to make sure they’re right for you.

Make sure you choose a high-quality supplement from a reputable company. Also consider whether you prefer bovine (beef) or marine (fish) source. Keep in mind that fish collagen has a smaller molecule size than bovine collagen, which may help its absorption and use in the body.

Have you taken collagen?

What do you do to preserve your joint and skin health?

Let us know in a comment below!


<1> Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 22.3, Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix. Retrieved April 29, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/.

<2> Wikipedia. Collagen. Retrieved April 29, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collagen.

<3> Varani, J., Dame, M. K., Rittie, L., Fligiel, S. E. G., Kang, S., Fisher, G. J., & Voorhees, J. J. (2006). Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin : Roles of Age-Dependent Alteration in Fibroblast Function and Defective Mechanical Stimulation. The American Journal of Pathology, 168(6), 1861–1868. http://doi.org/10.2353/ajpath.2006.051302. Retrieved April 29, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1606623/.

<4> Wikipedia. Collagen. Retrieved April 29, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collagen.

<5> Clark KL, Sebastianelli W, Flechsenhar KR, Aukermann DF, Meza F, Millard RL, Deitch JR, Sherbondy PS, Albert A. (2008). Curr Med Res Opin. 24(5):1485-96. doi: 10.1185/030079908X291967. Retrieved April 29, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18416885.

<6> Kumar S, Sugihara F, Suzuki K, Inoue N, Venkateswarathirukumara S. (2015). A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, clinical study on the effectiveness of collagen peptide on osteoarthritis. J Sci Food Agric. 95(4):702-7. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6752. Retrieved April 29, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24852756.

<7> Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S. (2014). Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 27(1):47-55. doi: 10.1159/000351376. Retrieved April 29, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23949208.

<8> Borumand, M., & Sibilla, S. (2014). Daily consumption of the collagen supplement Pure Gold Collagen® reduces visible signs of aging. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 9, 1747–1758. http://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S65939. Retrieved April 29, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4206255/.

<9> Proksch E, Schunck M, Zague V, Segger D, Degwert J, Oesser S. (2014). Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 27(3):113-9. doi: 10.1159/000355523. Retrieved April 29, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24401291.

<10> Choi SY, Ko EJ, Lee YH, Kim BG, Shin HJ, Seo DB, Lee SJ, Kim BJ, Kim MN. (2014). J Cosmet Laser Ther. 16(3):132-7. doi: 10.3109/14764172.2013.854119. Retrieved April 29, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24131075.

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