• Letisha Hodges

Are Collagen Supplements Worth It? A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Gives You the Scoop!

I'm sure you've seen the commercials for collagen supplements; they promise to help with everything from skin elasticity to joint health. So, are collagen supplements worth it?


As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I'm here to tell you that the answer is complicated.


Bottom line: It depends on your individual situation and goals.

Read on for more information about collagen supplements and how they might benefit you.


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The Low Down on Collagen Supplements


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!


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If you are looking for joint health benefits, look for an undenatured collagen type II (UC-II) instead of hydrolyzed.⠀


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.


Can You Boost Collagen Through Nutrition?


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

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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


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Foods that Decrease Collagen Levels:
  • Sugar

  • Alcohol

  • Smoking


If you are interested in getting your glow on & better skin, 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.


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The Verdict on Collagen Supplements:

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.


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If You Still Want to Try Collagen Supplements, 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.


Just make sure that you get the go-ahead from your doctor and 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


Collagen supplements are becoming a more popular way to improve skin health and decrease joint pain, but do they really work?


I’ve weighed in with my professional opinion as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, and also provided some tips on how you can increase collagen production through your food choices.


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!

References:

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


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