Evidence-Based Nutrient Recommendations

New Review Article on Collagen

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Due to growing popularity of collagen supplements and a number of inquiries we’ve received about it, we reviewed the literature on collagen supplements and published a summary of findings.

Main points:

  • There is little research to support the use of collagen supplements for most purposes, with the exception of osteoarthritis and skin appearance.
  • Several controlled trials have found that collagen supplements may decrease joint pain, stiffness, and function in some people with hip or knee osteoarthritis.
  • A handful of studies found improvements in skin elasticity, skin hydration/moisture, collagen density of the skin, and/or eye wrinkle volume among older women after 4-12 weeks of collagen peptide supplementation.
  • A major limitation of the studies on collagen supplements is that most do not control for protein intake, a known factor in collagen production. To draw any conclusions about the efficacy of collagen, we’d want to see human trials testing collagen versus an equivalent amount of other protein (especially plant protein).
  • It’s possible that eating extra protein can substitute for taking collagen supplements, but this hasn’t been studied.

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  • If you have a question about whether it's okay to cut supplements in half or combine supplements to achieve the dose we recommend, the answer is “Yes.” Be aware that nutrient recommendations are only estimates—it's not necessary to consume the exact amount we recommend every single day.
  • We aren't able to respond to questions about which brands of supplements to take.
  • We cannot provide personal nutrition advice for specific health conditions. If you need private counseling, here's a list of plant-based dietitians and we especially recommend VeganHealth contributor Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN.
  • We urge you to consult with a qualified health professional for answers to your personal questions.