Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It’s the main component of connective tissues that make up several body parts, including tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles. Collagen has many important functions, including providing your skin with structure and strengthening your bones.
In recent years, collagen supplements have become popular. Most are hydrolyzed, which means the collagen has been broken down to make it easier to absorb.
These supplements come primarily in powder form but are also available in capsules. The types of collagen found in supplements vary — some contain one or two types, while others contain up to five.
Vitamin C is crucial for collagen synthesis, so you should also be sure to eat foods rich in this vitamin, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, and bell peppers.
More research is needed to determine whether eating collagen-rich foods helps increase collagen levels in your body, as they may not have the same benefits as supplements. Digestive enzymes break down the collagen in food into individual amino acids and peptides. However, the collagen in supplements has already been broken down, or hydrolyzed, which is why it’s thought to be absorbed more efficiently than collagen from foods.
Collagen supplements have several benefits related to skin, joint, bone, muscle, and heart health.
Collagen is a major component of your skin. It plays a role in strengthening skin, as well as in elasticity and hydration. As you age, your body produces less collagen, leading to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles. However, several studies have shown that collagen peptides or supplements containing collagen may help slow the aging of your skin by reducing wrinkles and dryness.
These supplements may work by stimulating your body to produce collagen on its own. Additionally, collagen supplements may promote the production of other proteins that help structure your skin, including elastin and fibrillin.