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  • Letisha Hodges

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

Updated: Jan 3

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.