Do Collagen Supplements Work?

Collagen supplements will help you have healthy skin and joints even into old age.

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In a word, yes. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It’s needed to form connective tissues – like cartilage, fat and bone – and it’s also found in muscles and joints. There are over 20 types of collagen, but three of them predominate in your body. Collagen 1 and 3 (which are almost always found together) are basically for the skin. Collagen 2 is for the joints.

Related: 6 Nutrients for Glowing Skin and Shiny Hair

When I first started studying nutrition in the early ’90s, we all knew about collagen and how important it was, but we believed that you couldn’t absorb collagen orally. We now know that’s not true, and collagen supplements are everywhere. Collagen 1 and 3 are found in powdered form as a supplement and collagen 2 is usually found in pill form.

I can’t say this with scientific accuracy (it’s just my personal experience), but I’m fairly sure that taking collagen regularly for the past decade is one reason my skin looks as good as it does and that I’m free of joint pain, something that the guys my age that I play tennis with every day cannot say.

Recently, there’s been a trend toward consuming bone broth as a health elixir (I’m all for it!). One of the attractions of bone broth is that it’s a great source of gelatin – which is essentially cooked collagen. Some companies are even isolating the collagen, breaking it down to smaller components so it’s more absorbable, and using it as a source of protein for collagen protein powders.

Related: What Your Diet Can Do For Your Skin

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