Have you ever wondered what that weird protein powder is that all the health gurus are talking about?
It’s called collagen, and it just might be the key to unaging your skin, hair, and nails.
In this article, I shed some light on collagen supplementation and its benefits. I also highlight some studies conducted on the topic.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein that naturally occurs throughout the body. It is mostly found in places like your skin, bones, or connective tissue – like your tendons.
Your body stops producing collagen as you get older. Some research shows this beginning as early as 25 years old.
The depletion of collagen in the body can lead to a number of issues like loss of flexibility, muscle mass decreases, joint pain or osteoarthritis, and loss of skin elasticity.
What Does It Have To Do With Hair?
A lot, actually. Even though its not a component that directly makes up your hair, it still plays a significant role in maintaining healthy hair.
First, healthy hair is more than just the hair that comes out of your head – it’s also about a healthy scalp.
Second, as you age we stop producing as much collagen. The skin on your scalp (which includes your hair follicles) loses its elasticity.
This can lead to thinning hair.
Additionally, collagen might not be found in hair, but keratin sure is.
Keratin is the very protein that makes up your hair. Maintaining keratin production is essential to healthy hair.
Studies show that the body takes amino acids from collagen to make keratin. By having a lot of collagen, your body is able to borrow that to make keratin for your hair, skin, and nails.
Do Collagen Supplements Matter?
Whether or not people should take collagen supplements is still up for debate.
It’s agreed that collagen is essential to healthy skin and hair. But the science around the improvement taking collagen will have on your hair is still limited.
It is important to weigh the pros and cons before you make your choice.
In a study done by the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, women suffering from hair loss who were taking collagen supplements were compared to women taking a placebo capsule.
At the end of the study, the women taking the collagen supplements found that their hair had grown more compared to the women taking the placebo.
This study is often cited in conversations about collagen production.
In the same study it was noted that:
“800 patients who took up to 10 grams of collagen per day, experienced improvement in skin elasticity, moisture retention, and increased density of collagen fibers in the skin.”
Still, it is important to note that the women were also taking a variety of vitamins in addition to collagen supplements.
Studies have also shown that women who take collagen often see a large increase in their hair quality, hair thickness, and more hair on their scalp.
So What Are The Results?
While collagen supplements have shown to strengthen nails and help with skin elasticity and hydration – the studies don’t show concrete results.
First, there is no vegan option on the market currently.
The collagen that makes up collagen supplements is sourced from animals, and that may be a deal-breaker for vegans or vegetarians.
Additionally, collagen supplements might cause heartburn, bloating, or a feeling of fullness. With all this in mind, collagen supplements have been said to be safe for most people.
Should I Take Supplements?
I cannot make the determination if you should take supplements or not. I recommend you consult a doctor before you start adding supplements or any vitamins, to your diet.
Personally, I have decided the benefits far outweigh the minimal risks that come from taking collagen supplements.
Most collagen supplements recommend taking ten grams every day to achieve best results. It is important to always follow the instructions on the back of your supplement container.
Collagen peptides are usually considered the best form of collagen to take because they can be absorbed effectively by our digestive systems.
I found noticeable effects after 90 days of consistent supplementation. I am currently taking Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder and loving it!
Alternatives To Supplements
If supplements aren’t your thing but you still want the benefits of collagen, there are a number of foods you can eat to naturally increase your production of collagen.
Foods like chicken, fish, leafy greens, citrus fruits, and even bone broth have all been known to support collagen production.
When you use a lot of products or heat on your hair, it’s important to take every precaution you can when it comes to maintaining healthy hair – and for me, that includes a collagen supplement.