Hype, hyperbole and histalogical hysteria? Does supplementing with collagen protein products really improve your skin? What does the research have to say?
Is their truth to claims online that people are freaking out about collagen peptides?
Let's see what the research has to say. But before we explore the studies, let's get something out of the way....
There's a lot of skepticism about collagen supplements from mainstream online sources. Headlines such as "Collagen: Fountain of Youth or Edible Hoax" (WebMd) may lead the potential consumer to conclude even before reading the article and exploring the research that collagen is synonymous with snake oil and, therefore, U.S. consumers, who are expected to spend over $120 million on collagen products in the very near future, are getting fleeced.
However, there are several research studies lending support to collagen supplementation in the diet.
Now, granted, much of the research is preliminary. Oral collagen supplements and products have only been studied for a relatively short time. There simply hasn't been enough large-scale and long-term evidence offering unequivocal proof.
But the existing research is indeed promising....
According to this article on Prevention.com, brand-new clinical research supports anecdotal claims that collagen supplements can improve skin quality.
The article points to a large double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in early 2014. In the study, women who took 2.5 g of hydrolyzed collagen peptide once a day for 8 weeks had a 20% reduction in wrinkle depth around their eyes. Moreover, procollagen, a precursor to collagen in the skin, was significantly elevated by 65%.
The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology concludes in this study: "Collagen density in the dermis significantly increased and the fragmentation of the dermal collagen network significantly decreased already after 4 weeks of supplementation. Both effects persisted after 12 weeks."
Journal of Medicinal Food examined the efficacy of collagen peptides on the cellulite treatment of normal and overweight women. In total, 105 women aged 24–50 years with moderate cellulite were randomized to orally receive a daily dosage of 2.5 g collagen peptides over 6 months. The results: "oral supplementation ... over a period of 6 months leads to a clear improvement of the skin appearance in women suffering from moderate cellulite. In addition, the data shows the marked potential of [collagen peptides] to improve the skin morphology of cellulite-affected areas, providing new evidence of [peptide's] beneficial effects and postulating a new therapy strategy for cellulite treatment."
Another study, in the Journal of Medical Nutrition & Neutraceuticals is a double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled clinical trial (the so-called 'gold-standard' of clinical research). It was conducted on healthy subjects to assess whether supplementation of peptides could improve certain specific skin properties of post-menopausal women, namely depth of facial wrinkles, skin elasticity and hydration. The supplement led to a "significant improvement in wrinkle depth. It is also able to induce noticeable improvement in elasticity and hydration of the skin."
And this analysis of several collagen peptides study in The Open Nutraceuticals Journal concludes:
"Due to its low molecular weight, hydrolysed collagen is highly digestible, absorbed and distributed in the different tissues of the human body. Several experiments have shown that collagen peptides can be efficiently absorbed and distributed to the dermis, the deepest layer of the skin, where they can stimulate the proliferation and motility of fibroblasts; induce an increase in the density and diameter of collagen fibres; increase hyaluronic acid production and activate protection against UVA radiation."
The study concludes, "To date several controlled clinical trials have been performed proving the efficacy and benefits of collagen peptides on skin properties."
Thus, considering the promising conclusions of these studies and others like it, there indeed seems to be adequate research to support collagen supplements for skin. And we expect the library of supportive research to grow.
Admittedly, it's not totally understood yet how collagen supplementation actually improves your body's own collagen.
The aforementioned Prevention.com article says researchers believe that it's the mincing of collagen into very particular small chains of amino acids and peptides that holds the secret to youthful skin.
We look forward to the publication of even more studies supporting collagen supplementation for skin. And it's our mission to supply you with the best grass-fed and pasture-raised collagen peptides on the market.
To conclude, let's not forget about the anecdotal evidence. Almost every day, we get an email from one of our customers letting us know how collagen protein has improved their health. (Here's a skin testimonial we recently received from Renea W.)