Why are Collagen Supplements Popular?

A scoop of powder next to a bowl of collagen powder
Photo: GETTYIMAGES.COM/ALEXANDER RUIZ

Touted to reverse signs of aging, reduce joint pain and speed up healing, collagen is a new darling of the supplement market. Rich in protein, collagen supplements are made by cooking the connective tissues of fish and animals including tendons, skin and bones, which produces gelatin. Drying and purification results in collagen powder. Humans also have collagen in our skin and joints, and levels tend to decrease naturally with age. It is thought that consuming collagen from other animals can boost collagen in humans and help ease the physical aging process. Americans are spending more money than ever on anti-aging products; according to Zion Market Research, the anti-aging market is estimated to reach more than $216 billion by the end of 2021.

According to the Natural Medicines Database, chicken-derived collagen (Type II) possibly is effective when used to reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis and there is insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness of bovine-derived collagen for any health conditions. There are a lack of conclusive human studies on the benefits and health implications of collagen at this time.

Collagen supplements cost up to $70 for a month’s supply. Before beginning any supplement, discuss your plans with a health care provider.

References

Anti-Aging Market To Touch US$ 216.52 Billion By the End of 2021, Globally: ZMR Report. Zion Market Research website. Published August 30, 2018. Accessed November 20, 2018.
Bovine Cartilage. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database website. Updated January 23, 2018. Accessed November 20, 2018.
Collagen Type II. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database website. Updated November 11, 2018. Accessed November 20, 2018.
Krieger E. Collagen supplements show early promise for skin and joints, but don’t stock up yet. Washington Post website. Published March 26, 2018. Accessed November 20, 2018.
Marshall L. Collagen: ‘Fountain of Youth’ or Edible Hoax? WebMD website. Reviewed March 8, 2018. Accessed November 20, 2018.
Super Youth. Skinny Fit website. Accessed November 20, 2018.

Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN
Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN, is a dietetics content manager at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and associate editor of Food & Nutrition.