Collagen, do the supplements really work?

Healthy skin is a connection we are automated to make whenever we come across the term Collagen and its marketed supplements that claim to give our skin luster and make it look youthful. These claims are not incorrect, as collagen is known to be a solid fibrous protein that does not dissolve in water, and it makes up a third of the human body of proteins that are present in the bones, muscles and cartilage, of course, in the skin as well, collagen is produced primarily from connective tissue cells throughout the body.

Does collagen have any types?

40 may be a huge number but it also represents collagen types in the human body, but here we’ll mention the most famous four types as follows:

Type One: This type constitutes about 90% of the amount of collagen in the body, and it consists of dense fibers found in the skin, bones, ligaments, fibrous cartilage, connective tissues, and gums.

Type Two: This type is composed of less dense fibers than the first type, and is found in the elastic cartilages that line the joints.

Type Three: This type is also thinner than the first type, and supports the structure of muscles, organs, and blood vessels.

Type Four: This type is found in the basement membrane layer surrounding various types of tissues in the body, the most important of which are the skin layers. It contributes to the filtering of substances through it.

What is the role collagen plays in the skin?
Regarding its role in skin’s health, collagen is extremely important as it contributes to the formation of a fibrous network of cells known as fibroblast cells, which are active connective tissue cells that form the basis for the growth of new cells. In addition, collagen contributes to the process of replacing dead skin cells.
It should be noted that the first type of collagen is responsible for giving the skin its freshness as well as keeping it young, in addition to maintaining the health of the bones and protecting the internal organs, but as a natural part of aging, the level of collagen decreases. That’s why it is important to consume the food sources rich in it, and to resort to supplements.
How can we protect collagen in our skin?

There are some external factors that affect the stability of collagen in the skin, and fortunately these we can control, and among these factors is exposure to ultraviolet rays coming from the sun, as it has the ability to destroy collagen in the skin, and therefore it is recommended to put Sunblock before leaving the house, as well as inside buildings to avoid damage from ultraviolet rays type A (UVA) , in addition to that it is recommended to eat foods rich in antioxidants, which contributes to protecting collagen from breakage, it is also important to follow a healthy skin care style Or use anti-aging products.

What are the food sources rich in collagen?

Before sharing these dietary sources, it should be noted that the consumption of collagen protein cannot be absorbed as it is by the body, but rather it is broken down by stomach acids into the amino acids that make it up, which prevents it from reaching the skin, so its consumption may not hold a high value as it is not absorbed by the body as it is, however, these amino acids may play a role in supporting the health of the skin and giving it the desired youthfulness, among the most important sources of collagen are the following:

• Fish, and poultry.
• Garlic.
• Cranberries.
• Citrus fruits.
• Yellow and red vegetables.
• Green leafy vegetables.
• Egg whites.
• Tomatoes.
• Soy and legumes.
• Avocado.
• Bell Pepper.
• Cashews.
How effective are collagen supplements in improving skin health?

As we mentioned earlier collagen synthesis in the body occurs naturally, but it may decrease with age, and because of the importance of collagen in supporting the health of the skin, some people may resort to using supplements that contain collagen, but we also mentioned that stomach acids break down collagen protein into its amino acids. So how do supplements help?

When collagen supplements are manufactured they go through an external collagen breakdown process which facilitates the absorption of the amino acids. However it must be made clear that whatever the form of the collagen supplement, the body will break it down into amino acids, and it will not be absorbed in its original form. Collagen supplements are available in several pharmaceutical forms such as; Pills, capsules, and powder.

As for the importance of collagen supplements for skin health, this has been demonstrated in two studies as follows:

• In a study published in the Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals, which examined the effect of women's consumption of a mixture of vitamins, minerals, hydrolyzed collagen (the form in the supplement), and hyaluronic acid, the study showed a decrease in the severity of wrinkles in women, in addition to an improvement in skin moisture and elasticity.

• In another study published in the Journal of Skin Pharmacology and Physiology in 2013 examining the effect of women's consumption of collagen supplements for 8 weeks and comparing them to another group who took a placebo treatment, and it was observed that the level of moisture and elasticity of the skin increased significantly in women who used collagen supplements.

At the end, we would like to make it clear that there is no need to take collagen supplements to increase its production, as the body does this naturally by using the amino acids from dietary proteins.

However, it is undeniable that some studies have indicated the role of taking collagen supplements in boosting collagen production.

- McIntosh, James. “Collagen: What Is It and What Are Its Uses?” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 16 June 2017,
- “Fibroblast.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2018,
- Jennings, Kerri-Ann. “Collagen — What Is It and What Is It Good For?”, 5 May 2020,
- Cedars-Sinai Staff. “Collagen Products: Healthy or Hype?” Cedars, 15 Jan. 2020,
- 13 Foods That Help Your Body Produce Collagen. Edited by Katherine Marengo ,, 26 Feb. 2019,
- Proksch E;Segger D;Degwert J;Schunck M;Zague V;Oesser S; “Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Has Beneficial Effects on Human Skin Physiology: a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study.” Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2013,
- “Collagen Supplements: Benefits, Safety, and Effects.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International,

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