Collagen supplementation: what does a review of current scientific literature show?

Oral Collagen Supplementation: A systematic review

We know there are plenty of collagen supplements and brands on the market that claim various benefits ranging from anti-aging effects to our skin to healthier looking hair and nails and less painful joints. Individual collagen producers use vastly different raw materials ranging from fish skins or fish scales to beef byproducts. And most importantly, they all use different hydrolysis and purification methods, which can result in significantly different finished products.

It would therefore be interesting to find out what the overall picture was if one looked at all the existing peer-reviewed scientific papers out there. In fact, this is exactly what was done earlier this year – in January 2019 Journal of Drugs in Dermatology published a review called Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications. So what does it reveal?

The review included eleven studies with a total of 805 patients. Eight studies used collagen hydrolysate with daily usage between 2.5g to 10g and length of use from 8 to 24 weeks and investigated its benefits on the treatment of pressure ulcers, xerosis, skin aging, and cellulite. Two studies used collagen tripeptide at 3g per day for 4 to 12 weeks with notable improvement in skin elasticity and hydration. Lastly, one study using collagen dipeptide suggested anti-aging efficacy is proportionate to collagen dipeptide content.

The review concluded that preliminary results are promising for the short and long-term use of oral collagen supplements for wound healing and skin aging. Oral collagen supplements also increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density. Collagen supplementation is generally safe with no reported adverse events. The authors suggested that further studies are needed to elucidate medical use in skin barrier diseases such as atopic dermatitis and to determine optimal dosing regimens.

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