Collagen Supplements: What are They for, do They Work and What to Look for

Collagen supplements are all the rage right now, so I wanted to share this great article I read on Good Housekeeping explaining what collagen is, the benefits of collagen and what to look for when choosing a supplement.

Key Takeaways:

1. Collagen is a type of amino acid that plays a role in forming connective tissues and skin. Collagen production declines as we age.

2. Most collagen supplements are type-I or hydrolyzed collagen that has been extracted from animal hides or cow bones, or fish scales. (Vegans take note.) However, if you're going to try collagen, some studies have shown undenatured type-II collagen, from chicken cartilage, is the type that helped arthritis suffers experience an average of 26% less pain. 

3. Claims of collagen supplements benefitting hair, skin and nails are challenged by scientists who say "one of the biggest mistakes they hear when it comes to food and supplements is assuming that something you swallow turns into the same something in your body". They cite that hydrolyzed collagen (type-I) is broken down by the enzymes and acids in the digestive tract. However type-II collagen may be able to slip through "without losing its chemical structure".

All in all, the benefits of supplementing with Collagen seem largely unconfirmed, but based on this article, if you are going to try one, opt for a product that contains the undenatured type-II variety.

*From Good Housekeeping article 5 Things You Need to Know Before Taking a Collagen Supplement