Collagen for PCOS: To Supplement or Not To Supplement?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex hormonal condition that can affect a woman’s overall health and quality of life. With the promise of healthy skin, hair, and joint health, it’s no wonder that women with PCOS are turning to collagen supplements for relief. However, as a Registered Dietitian who specializes in PCOS, I can tell you that the answer is not that simple.

In this blog post, I will explore the many facets of collagen supplements and how they could benefit you. From skin elasticity to joint health, let’s dig deeper into the topic of collagen for PCOS.

collagen for PCOS

The Low Down on Collagen And PCOS

There are promising studies on the benefits of collagen supplementation. Keep in mind that the results are typically minor because collagen supplements are not a magic bullet and many of the studies we have are funded by companies who make collagen!

First and foremost, let’s address the elephant in the room. The fact of the matter is that there is no scientific evidence showing the benefits of collagen for PCOS hair loss or acne. While collagen plays a significant role in our skin, hair, and nails, taking supplements may not be the cure-all that some companies claim. So, if you’re looking for clearer skin or thicker hair, collagen supplements or collagen peptides may not be the solution you’re seeking.

Don’t worry, I will not leave you empty-handed! We do have a few tips for managing acne or hair loss in our PCOS Nutrition Guide as well.

vancouver dietitian gives tips on collagen and bone health

Collagen Benefits For PCOS And Joint Health

There are promising research studies that show the benefits of collagen supplements for other concerns which I will review below:

It’s essential to note that collagen for PCOS may also benefit those struggling with joint pain. As women with PCOS are more susceptible to joint pain, supplementing with collagen that contains undenatured collagen type II (UC-II) may help reduce joint pain.

  • Studies with lower daily doses of UC-II in healthy people have a minor improvement in exercise-related pain and range of motion but not daily pain.
  • There have been small improvements in pain for those with osteoarthritis and modest improvement for those with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Studies with hydrolyzed protein had some benefits for joint pain but needed a significantly high dose (10 grams daily).

Keep in mind that we are still working with limited research on collagen so the science is still growing.

collagen and pcos using broth

Can You Boost Collagen Through Nutrition?

Yes, you can! You can boost your collagen for PCOS through food or supplement sources.

Foods Higher in Collagen:

  • Bone broth
  • Use in stews, soups, or even to sautee vegetables.
  • Cooking bone-in meat dishes
  • Gelatin (use to make gummies or dessert)

Foods That Increase Collagen Production:

  • Eating enough protein
  • Foods high in vitamin C
  • Citrus, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, greens
  • Foods high in zinc & copper
  • Meat, shellfish, nuts, beans, nuts & seeds
  • Foods higher in amino acids
  • Egg whites

Foods that Decrease Collagen Levels:

  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking

Is Collagen Good For PCOS And Skin Health?

While collagen peptides for PCOS may not improve acne, if you are interested in getting your glow on or anti-aging benefits then look for a hydrolyzed supplement. Type I collagen is the primary type found in our skin (80%). Changes in Type I collagen often underlie visual changes in our skin.

  • Its thought that hydrolyzed collagen may boost hyaluronic acid (a popular ingredient in skincare & fillers to boost hydration) production by increasing levels of certain dipeptides & tripeptides.
  • Some studies have shown improvements in skin elasticity, skin hydration, and collagen density.
  • Type II collagen is not a major part of our skin but there is some evidence that Type II collagen can increase Type I collagen & hyaluronic acid.
Nutritionist Vancouver

The Verdict On PCOS And Collagen:

If you have extra income & want to experiment for yourself, give collagen supplements a try! If you are watching your budget, consider focusing on foods that boost collagen instead as the evidence is not super solid in favour of collagen supplements yet.

If You Still Want to Try Collagen For PCOS, Here are Some Reputable Collagen Supplements:

If you do add a collagen supplement, make sure you buy one that has been 3rd party tested! These supplements have been checked for heavy metals, banned supplements, and toxins so you don’t get any nasty surprises. I also recommend supplements for PCOS in my online nutrition course! Check it out here.

Just make sure that you get the go-ahead from your doctor and that you match the label on the product to the one listed on the website (see links listed below).

– Tested by NSF (check out the site here)

  • Vital Proteins
  • Biosteel Sport Collagen
  • Health Logics BioCell Collagen
  • Klean Collagen+C

– Tested by Informed Choice

  • Rivalus
  • Sports Research

– Tested by Informed-Sport

  • Rivalus
  • Biosteel
  • WithinUs TruMarine Collagen
  • Momentus

Ultimately, when it comes to collagen supplements for PCOS, it’s crucial to assess your individual situation and goals. Collagen supplements are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some women may see improvement in skin health, while others may not. Additionally, it’s always wise to discuss supplementation with your medical team to ensure it’s safe & won’t interact with any other medications or supplements you are taking.

If you decide to give collagen supplements a try, I’ve also included a few of my favorite high-quality brands. Let me know what your experience has been – I would love to hear from you!

collagen peptide pcos

References:

Examine.com. Type II Collagen. Accessed 2021 Nov 10. https://examine.com/supplements/type-ii-collagen/

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