6 things you need to know about collagen

Many people, including celebrities, swear by collagen.

Drew Barrymore, the Kardashians, Busy Phillips, and Halle Berry are all massive collagen fans.

Kate Hudson describes collagen as her “wellness staple,” while Jennifer Aniston once told Well & Good magazine: [1]

“nails are stronger and there’s a healthier…how do you explain it? A glow. It’s sort of that working from the inside-out thing.” 

So what exactly is in collagen that seems to be giving many the fountain of youth, with healthier nails, skin, and hair to boot?

Here are 6 things to know about this “wellness staple:"


#1 What is collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. In fact, 30 percent of your entire system is made up of collagen, and so is 75-80 percent of your skin.

That suppleness that you want for your skin? That’s abundant collagen at work!

Collagen allows your hair, skin, and nails to become more elastic, despite the stress that wreak havoc on our body as we grow old. It gives us shiny hair, stronger nails and healthy skin with plumpness and natural glow (sans Fenty highlighters).


#2 You need collagen for so many reasons… mostly because it makes you look younger and healthier.

It slows down aging.

As we age, our bodies’ collagen production slows down. Our skin becomes less supple and it starts to lose that “plumpness.” More gray hair appears and nails become brittle.

So you need to supplement your daily diet with collagen.

Various studies show that collagen supplements essentially helps slow down the aging process - especially with your skin. It helps you steer clear from wrinkles and dry, loose skin. [2345]

Taking collagen also helps you avoid brittle nails. Instead, it prompts your skin and hair to grow longer and faster. [6]

It also increases elasticity in your hair.

Collagen, being an amino acid, helps to produce keratin protein that makes your hair grow longer, stronger and more elastic. With it also comes Omegas 3 and 6 which fights off harmful radicals and hydrates your hair. [7]

It regulates your hormones.

When there’s an imbalance of hormones, like testosterone and estrogen, hair loss happens. Collagen helps regulate hormones and keeps the balance between testosterone and estrogen.


#3 Are there any studies supporting collagen’s benefits?

  • A study shows women taking a supplement with 2.5–5 grams of collagen for eight weeks enjoyed supple, elastic skin with less drying. [8]
  • Another study found that women who drank a beverage mixed with a collagen supplement daily for 12 weeks experienced increased skin hydration and a significant reduction in wrinkle depth compared to a control group. [9]
  • According to a couple of studies, regularly taking hydrolyzed collagen slows down aging – say hello to smooth, hydrated skin and fewer wrinkles. [1011]
  • A 2015 study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found high levels of collagen within hair follicles. This means that collagen is an integral component in hair. [12]


#4 Where can you find collagen?

Chances are, collagen is already part of your daily diet.

Found in the connective tissues of animals, this amino acid may be consumed through chicken skin, pork skin, beef, and fish. [1314]

Other sources of collagen include:

  • Bone broth (best for those who love eating cartilage) from beef, chicken and other meat stock
  • Gelatin, famously known as the main ingredient for some desserts, is actually pure collagen
  • Salmon, which contains some collagen but isn’t as rich a source as the others
  • Eggs are an amazing source, especially for the yolk and white

Despite the above sources containing collagen, more research is needed to prove that they increase collagen levels in the body.

The best way to supplement your body with collagen is through – wait for it – supplements.


#5 Do collagen supplements work?

Studies show that taking collagen supplements stimulates the production of other proteins like elastin and fibrillin. As the names hint, these proteins make your skin more elastic and strong. [1516]

You need collagen supplements because the amount you take in from natural sources like bone broth and gelatin just isn’t enough – especially if you want to combat aging and achieve supple skin stat.

Plus, if you’re on the go or just feeling plain lazy (like one of those days), popping a collagen pill or mixing them with your smoothies is much easier than going through all the motions of keeping a strictly collagen-rich diet.

Pro tip: Just find supplements that don’t contain fillers and are made from grass-fed animal sources – to get the most bang for the buck.


#6 Does collagen have any side effects?

Good news – there’s little to no known risks associated with collagen supplements. Probably explains why many people and celebrities vouch for it!

Be careful though because some contain food allergens like fish, shellfish and eggs. So people allergic to these better steer clear.

Some also report a lingering after-taste, bloated feeling, and heartburn. [17]

As we like to say here, it’s best to consult with a qualified medical professional before starting to take any supplements.