June 2023

Are Collagen Peptides Worth It?

Consumers are increasingly interested in supplement products promoted for anti-aging and beauty. Collagen peptides are at the top of this list. Be ready to answer questions about these products.

Collagen types I, II, and III are thought to make up 80%-90% of all collagen in the human body. Supplement products can contain any combination of these forms, but they typically contain collagen peptides, which are very small pieces of collagen. One of the reasons for this is that the absorption of collagen peptides is up to 90% when taken by mouth. Once absorbed, they’re distributed to target areas, including the skin. It’s believed that this will then increase collagen production in those target areas.

Whether or not this will lead to perceivable cosmetic benefits still isn’t clear. Clinical research shows that taking collagen peptides by mouth seems to improve skin hydration and skin elasticity in older people. But most studies haven’t evaluated if it will also help reduce wrinkles enough to be noticeable. Despite a flurry of celebrity endorsements, these marketing claims aren’t currently backed by strong supportive evidence.

As for safety, collagen peptides seem to be well-tolerated – side effects are rare. But patients should be aware that all collagen products come from animals, most often cows, pigs, fish, and eggshell membrane. There aren’t any vegan sources of collagen protein. And these products are typically on the pricier side – a one month supply of Vital Protein’s Collagen Peptides, a top-seller online, is $51. Lastly, tell patients to skip topical collagen products, such as collagen-containing anti-aging lotions or creams. Collagen doesn’t seem to penetrate the inner layer of the skin, so it probably won’t help.

Check out our recently updated collagen peptides monograph to learn more. Also, don’t forget that we have an entire CE course dedicated to The Scoop on Collagen.

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2024 NatMed. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. NatMed is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.