Can Collagen Improve Hair, Skin, And Nail Health? (Guide)
What is Collagen | Collagen Forms | How Does Collagen Work | Benefits | Popular Supplements | FAQs | Which Should You Try | Warnings And Side Effects | Disclaimer
Protein is an essential macronutrient for maintaining health, building muscle, and performing complex bodily functions. Yet, the different types of proteins and their functions are rarely discussed. In this post, we’re diving into and breaking down the most abundant protein in the body, collagen.
What is Collagen?(1,2,3,4)
Collagen is a fiber-like structure that makes up connective tissue. In addition to connecting tissue with other tissues, it is a significant component of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies gradually produce less and less collagen. This reduction can result in things like joint pain to wrinkles. But, as you probably already know, other factors can reduce collagen production.
These factors can include:
- Chronically High Cortisol
- Inadequate Sleep
- Excess Sun Exposure
- Excess Alcohol Consumption
- Lack Of Exercise
The Different Forms Of Collagen:
Because collagen is a type of protein, it consists of amino acid chains. Yet, slight differences in the amino acid composition exist in collagen, and therefore there are different types of collagen. There are currently 28 known types of collagen, but only five types common in supplements. (4,5)
Collagen type 1 or Col-I generally makes up the more prominent protein component (90%) in vasculature, skin, tendon-bone, and other tissue. Because of its high compatibility with humans, Col-I can play a significant role in many functions, including wound healing, anti-aging, anti-oxidant, maintaining hydration, etc. (6)
Collagen type II (Col-II) is the major constituent of cartilage tissue and joint health. Interestingly, recent research indicates UC-II supplementation as a critical treatment option to avoid articular cartilage damage and promote cartilage repair and regeneration. In addition, more studies on UC-II suggest it may be more effective at reducing pain related to arthritis and Osteoarthritis compared to glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate. (7,8,9,10)
Collagen type III (Col-III) is a major structural component in hollow organs like large blood vessels, uterus, and bowel. This collagen type is essential for platelet interaction and as a signaling molecule in healing. (11,12)
Collagen type V (Col-V) is present in the cornea, where it can help maximize the transmission of light. Additionally, Col-V works naturally with types I and III. The main functions of Col-V consist of providing bone structural support, supporting cornea stroma, and enabling cell movement. While research is ongoing on the potential benefits for eye health and pregnancy, more research is necessary to understand if the body can break down Col-V. (13,14,15)
Collagen type X (Col-X) is primarily responsible for bone formation and joint cartilage. Research is currently examining the potential of Col-X for wound healing and bone health repair. However, as a network-forming type, Col-X may act as a supporting structure for cells and tissues, perform as a selective molecular filter/barrier, or function as an anchor for neighboring cells. (16)
How Does It Work:
Supplements commonly utilize a hydrolyzed peptide form or collagen to ensure their biological availability of it. These collagen peptides (CP) can then digest quickly and are absorbed through ingestion. The absorbed CP can then reach the skin’s dermis and distribute in the skin. This distribution can benefit photoaging skin and skin elasticity and reduce inflammation. (17)
Additionally, CP has the potential to reduce joint pain and improve joint functionality. This effect may improve with exercise. Supplementing 5 g–15 g/day doses at least an hour before exercise may reduce functional joint pain and improve muscle recovery. However, CP is a slow-acting protein. As such, benefits tend to be noticeable after three months or longer. (18)
Benefits Of Collagen:
We’ve already discussed some of the main benefits associated with collagen, including: (2,3,4)
- Improve Skin Elasticity & Hydration
- Ease Joint Pain
- Support Bone Health
But, there are other potential benefits that research has yet to support. Some other claims for CP include:
- Improving Gut Health†
- Supporting Cognitive Processes†
- Aid Weight Loss†
- Promote Hair And Nail Growth†
- Support Heart Health†
Popular Collagen Supplements:
In this section, we dive into various collagen supplements available on Same Day Supplement and discuss their formulas!
- YouTheory Collagen + Biotin
- NOW UC-II Collagen Joint Health
- Life Extension Hair, Skin and Nails Collagen Plus
- Hi Tech Pharmaceuticals Collagen Peptides
- Obvi Super Collagen Protein
YouTheory Collagen + Biotin:
Our first collagen supplement is YouTheory Collagen +Biotin which features three ingredients, Vitamin C, Biotin, and Hydrolyzed Collagen.
Vitamin C forms the skin barrier against skin oxidation, wrinkles, and cell signaling. (19,20,21)
Biotin, or Vitamin B7, is a water-soluble vitamin that breaks down macronutrients and regulates cell signals and gene activity. While there is no Recommended Dietary Allowance or RDA for biotin, there is an AI or Adequate Intake level. For adult men and women, the AI is around 30mcg daily. However, biotin is unlikely to cause adverse side effects at high intakes. While biotin is prevalent in supplements and research for hair and nail growth, it may not be beneficial for individuals who are not deficient in this vitamin. (22,23)
How To Take YouTheory Collagen Plus Biotin:
The manufacturer recommends taking six (6) tablets per day, all at once or in divided doses for a total of 6 grams collagen per day.
Customer Review By Maura: “Me surpreendi com o resultando do crescimento dos cabelos e unhas. Não fico sem esse produto. (I was surprised by the result of the growth of hair and nails. I won’t be without this product.)”
NOW UC-II® Collagen Joint Health:
The next supplement we will be breaking down is NOW Food’s UC-II®. Similar to the previous product, UC-II® features three ingredients; Calcium, Chicken Cartilage (providing 10mg total collagen), and Aquamin® TG.
This is an essential nutrient that is necessary for many functions. Outside of being the most abundant mineral in the body, it plays a role in blood clotting, muscles to contractions, regulating normal heart rhythms and nerve functions. The Upper Limit (UL) for calcium is 2,500 mg daily. For healthy adults, the RDA for calcium is 1,000 mg daily. (24,25)
Aquamin®, is a multi-mineral supplement, rich in calcium and magnesium. This ingredient may be beneficial for reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis, like joint pain. It also features prominent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, which may aid in reducing the inflammation. (26,27)
How To Take NOW UC-II:
The manufacturer recommends taking one (1) capsule daily at bedtime on an empty stomach.
Customer Review By Devin H: “As a former linebacker I know a thing or two about joint pain. I’ve taken every joint supplement on the planet and must say this has worked the best. Easy to take, quick results, what more could I ask for.”
Life Extension Hair, Skin, & Nails Collagen Plus:
Next up, we have Life Extension Hair, Skin, & Nails Collagen Plus formula. Unlike the other products in this post, Hair, Skin, & Nail’s features a large blend of ingredients to support multiple factors of hair, skin, and nail health. This ingredient list does however share biotin and calcium.
In Life Extension’s Hair, Skin, & Nail, the niacin in this formula is featured as niacinamide. Niacinamide (vitamin B3) may have benefits for improving the appearance of skin and improving elasticity. However, there is not a clear indication if topical or oral administration of this ingredient is better. (28,29)
Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is another important water-soluble vitamin. This vitamin plays an role in cellular metabolism, heart health, immune support, and brain health. The RDA for adults is around 1.2-1.3 mg daily. Whereas the UL is around 100 mg daily for adults. While some studies suggest the UL for B6 won’t cause adverse effects, other studies indicate high doses of B6 and B12 may development rosacea. (30,31,32)
Pantothenic Acid, or vitamin B5, is a water-soluble important for metabolism. This vitamin is essential for making fatty acids and producing hormones and cholesterol. The adult RDA value for vitamin B5 is around 5mg daily, and there is no established UL. (33,34)
The next ingredient in this formula is zinc, an essential trace element. The body cannot create zinc on its own; therefore, you will need to supplement it into your diet through foods or supplements. When it comes to hair health, alopecia (hair loss) is a known symptom of a zinc deficiency. Studies suggest that zinc supplementation may support hair regrowth and benefits skin health. (31,35)
Our next ingredient, copper, is like zinc and is an essential trace element. Recent studies on nail brittleness suggest that minerals such as copper may be effective in strengthening and smoothing fingernails. However, copper is vital for numerous physiological and metabolic processes, including skin health. (36,37)
Following copper, we have Cynatine® HNS, a bioavailable form of solubilized keratin. This ingredient may be an effective supplement for improving hair and nails, and studies show participants experienced improvements in 90 days or less. (38,39)
Finally, we have silicon. Silicon is the second most abundant element on the planet but the third most abundant trace element in the human body. This trace element plays a role in collagen synthesis and may improve skin strength and elasticity. It also may lower the rate of hair loss in some individuals and increase the brightness of the hair. (40,41)
How To Take Life Extension Hair, Skin and Nails Collagen Plus:
The manufacturer recommends taking four (4) tablets daily or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner.
Customer Review By Betty: “I have tried various supplements to help my nails. This is the best I have used. In a short time, my nails are stronger and not splitting.”
Hi Tech Pharmaceuticals Collagen Peptides:
Our first powder form of collagen is Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Collagen Peptides. This product features 20g of hydrolyzed collagen peptide protein. It’s important to note that while collagen is protein, this protein isn’t the same as whey protein. One study comparing whey protein and collagen suggests that collagen may not be effective for body composition. Additionally, while collagen protein did not alter caloric intake in this study, it consequently increased body weight after eight weeks.(42) Instead, collage peptide protein may be more beneficial for the other properties mentioned in this post. †
How To Take Hi Tech Pharmaceuticals Collagen Peptides:
The manufacturer recommends mixing one (1) scoop with your favorite hot or cold beverage, any time of the day.
Customer Review By Eric: “Just finished my first container of these and my knees feel great. I really wasn’t expecting collagen to help my knee pain very much if at all, but I was pleasantly surprised. Will purchase again.”
Obvi Super Collagen Protein:
Our final product comparison is with Obvi Super Collagen Protein. This product features a blend of ingredients in the form of a powder. It also shares ingredients we’ve gone over previously, including; vitamin C, biotin, and calcium.
First, we have vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin with several forms. Its primary role is as an antioxidant and improving immunity. However, research also suggests vitamin E may benefit skin health and wound healing. Yet, these effects are often contradictory in study results with topical applications. (43,44)
Next, we have another essential trace element, iron. This trace element is vital for normal skin, hair, and nail development. Iron is also an essential co-factor in proteins and enzymes. As a co-factor, it plays a role in many important functions like energy metabolism, respiration, and the metabolism of collagen. Iron’s RDA for adults is between 8-18mg daily with a UL of 45mg. (45,46,47)
Our next ingredient, phosphorus, currently doesn’t have any research directly relating it to hair, skin, or nail health. However, phosphate is essential for skeletal mineralization and mediates almost all biological processes. The RDA of phosphorus for adult men and women is 700 mg daily with a UL of 4,000 mg. (48,49)
The following ingredient is another essential mineral that plays an important role in multiple body functions like building proteins and regulating blood pressure, magnesium. Magnesium is vital for maintaining body systems and ensuring they run smoothly, including the skeletal system. In fact, around 60% of the body’s magnesium is stored in the bones, and studies suggest a low magnesium intake may reduce bone density. The RDA of magnesium for adults is around 310-420mg daily. However, doses of about 350mg daily of supplemental magnesium may lead to diarrhea, nausea, and other gastro-health issues for some people. (50,51)
Our last ingredient in Obvi Super Collagen Protein is sodium or salt. The body requires a specific amount of sodium to conduct nerve impulses, relax the muscle, and maintain the balance between hydration and mineral content. The estimation for how much sodium our bodies need is between 500-2,300 mg a day. However, it is advised to stay below 2,300mg. (52,53)
How To Take Obvi Super Collagen Protein:
The manufacturer recommends mixing one (1) scoop with 8-10oz of cold or hot drinks, smoothies, oatmeal or yogurt.
Customer Review By Erin: “I’ve tried literally dozens of collagen of all flavors but the cocoa cereal is the best and am addicted to adding it to my coffee and yogurt. So good and my hair is thicker and gorgeous!”
In this section, we’ll be diving into some of your most frequently asked questions about collagen!
Are There Vegan Collagen Supplements?
|Unfortunately, not naturally. Collagen typically comes from fish, cows, pigs, and chickens. However, you may be able to stimulate collagen production with a high protein diet featuring legumes and soy. And by consuming nutrients necessary for collagen production, including zinc and vitamin C (1,4) Additionally, more vegan and vegetarian forms are becoming available through genetically modified yeast and bacteria. (18)|
Can It Cause Weight Gain Or Bloating?
|It’s possible. While some studies suggest collagen can assist with improving body composition and reducing body fat, others suggest that collagen may not be effective for body composition improvements. Instead, collagen increases body weight after eight weeks. (42,55)|
Supplements VS Topical?
|Collagen can be supplemented into your diet/lifestyle through topical lotions/creams and dietary supplements. However, there is more research supporting oral supplements, in contrast to topical applications, in acquiring benefits from collagen. (3,4)|
What To Stack With Collagen?
|As we mentioned previously, Collage production may be enhanced when taken with other nutrients like vitamin C and Zinc. But, depending on your goals, you may want to stack another supplement with your collagen or select a collagen blend.†
Here are some stack examples:
Who Shouldn’t Take It?
|While collagen supplementation is generally safe and currently does not have reported adverse effects, there are some cases where you may be better off without it. For example, some individuals may experience bloating or an upset stomach. Additionally, there isn’t enough information to know if collagen peptides are safe to use when pregnant or breastfeeding. So it may be best to avoid use. (1,2,56)|
Which Should You Try:
As we’ve mentioned throughout this post, different types of collagen can be helpful for different goals. So when deciding what to try, you should consider what you’re looking for in your collagen supplement.
YouTheory Collagen + Biotin:
YouTheory Collagen + Biotin formula could be a great option for individuals looking to enhance their hair, skin, and nail health. However, each serving is six (6) tablets for a total of 6 grams of collage. So if you’re not a fan of taking many pills, you may want to try a different option. Unfortunately, while the manufacturer ensures their collagen is the purest peptides, they don’t specifically identify the source of the collagen.†
NOW UC-II Collagen Joint Health:
As the name suggests, this product is better suited for individuals looking to support joint health. However, NOW Foods does offer a different product for hair, skin, and nail health: NOW Hair, Skin and Nails. Unfortunately, this product does not feature any collagen, so you may want to double down with their Collagen Peptide Powder. With the UC-II, one serving (1 capsule) provides 10mg of total collagen coming from chicken cartilage. In comparison, the collagen powder features 10g of Hydrolyzed Collagen from bovine or beef.†
Life Extension Hair, Skin and Nails Collagen Plus:
This Life Extension product is one of our favorite blends for hair, skin, and nail health. However, for four (4) tablets daily, you’ll only supplement 2.5 grams of their VERISOL® Bioactive Collagen Peptides®. This dose matches the dosages studies for this ingredient specifically. But, recommendations for collagen peptides tend to be around 2.5-10 grams daily. (56)
So Life Extension features the least total collagen per serving. Here, the VERISOL® Bioactive Collagen Peptides® features a combination of type I and type III collagen derived from fish. Compared to You Theory, this beauty-focused collagen product is 500mcg less biotin. Even so, we would expect more positive results from this product due to the other ingredients like Cynatine® HNS.†
Hi Tech Pharmaceuticals Collagen Peptides:
Next, we have the Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Collagen Peptides. Unlike the other products in the post, Hi-Tech Pharmaceutical’s collagen does not feature other ingredients. Instead, the supplement facts disclose the amino acid profile from their Collagen Protein. With 20 grams of collagen protein per serving, this product features the most grams of collagen compared to the other products. While recommendations for collagen peptides are between 2.5-10 grams daily, 20 grams may be too much for some individuals and can cause bloating or stomach discomfort. This product appears to be more geared for joint health, but because it features type I and II collagen, it could also be beneficial for other goals. Additionally, being a powder allows more opportunity to stack and adjust dosing.†
Obvi Super Collagen Protein:
Finally, we have the Obvi Super Collagen Protein, which takes the best of the blends and combines them into a delicious collagen drink. Although this product features 10g of collagen, the other ingredients like biotin dosages are low. However, this is a good option for individuals that prefer a flavored drink or to bake with their protein.†
And this marks the end of our post on Collagen. Thank you for reading! And as always, if there was something that wasn’t clear, another question you might have, or if you have another idea for a blog, Email Us!
Are you looking for more to read? Check out some of our other blogs!
- Does YouTheory Fat Burner Actually Work?
- Glutamine: What Does It Do And Should You Start Taking It?
- Creatine 101
- What Is NAC?
- What Is Whey Protein?
Warnings And Side Effects:
Products mentioned in this post are intended for the consumption of healthy adults 18 years of age or older. Check with your doctor before using products mentioned in this blog if you are taking medication or have any medical conditions, including liver or kidney disease, or if you have been instructed to follow a low protein diet. Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing. Do not exceed the recommended daily intake. May cause mild gastrointestinal complaints, in which case discontinue use.
Keep out of reach of children. Store in a cool and dry place after opening.
†PLEASE NOTE: The intention of the information provided is for reference only. Furthermore, we are in no way providing medical advice or instruction. Instead, the information provided in this guide/blog utilizes anecdotal information and available studies/reviews. While our goal is to maintain and display accurate information, we can’t guarantee it represents the latest formulation of the product or information. Therefore, please visit the manufacturer’s website if you have any concerns. Also, the information above does not represent our views here at Same Day Supplements. Instead, these are the views and information provided by the manufacturers and users. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. Finally, the intention of these products is not to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.
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