It's difficult to remember a time when many people weren’t talking about the benefits of collagen. And even though there are no definitive studies on how collagen supplements may impact our health, preliminary studies show promising potential benefits for nails, skincare, joints, and more.
Your body uses protein and amino acids to produce collagen that supports almost every bodily function. Without collagen, your bones, tendons, cartilage, skin, teeth, and even corneas couldn’t operate properly. It only makes sense, then, that the same healing and strengthening properties in collagen that benefit those parts of the body can also help to support your hair and nails’ health.
Aging, sun exposure, smoking, and even the diet impact our bodies, including collagen production. And it’s our bodies that often reveal signs that our collagen supply is lacking. Telltale signs include brittle nails, reduced skin hydration, bone loss, and poor gut health.
There are many supplemental collagen products available to step in and help. The most widely known and popular options are known as "regular" or bovine-based. And more often than not, these options are presented in powder form, because it’s the convenient way to consume collagen.
We’ll talk about this more later, but when you choose a collagen supplement, look for those made from high-quality ingredients that are tasteless. That way, you can easily mix it into beverages, soups, sauces, and other foods. That addition may benefit your hair, skin, and nails.
When you think of collagen for increased nail health, consider that collagen and keratin are among your nail bed's most essential properties. Physicians consider our nail beds, specifically blood flow to the capillaries, when they diagnose different conditions.
Collagen contains various amino acids, specifically arginine, which is essential for nail growth. The arginine adds nutrients and oxygen to tissues, including those in the nail beds and nail roots. Also, while all collagen types play an important role in the body, the most prevalent in nails is Type I. This type of collagen is also present in the skin and bones.
If you read reviews and do your own research online, you’ll likely find some swear that they had stronger nails and thicker hair after consuming collagen supplements regularly. The science on this topic may be sparse, but it’s promising. One study showed that those who added these supplements to their diets experienced fewer instances of nail breakage. A separate study revealed that various ingredients, including collagen peptides, helped with hair growth.
Although collagen may be recommended to help support various conditions, it's wise to check with your health care professional before you start taking it. Collagen is considered safe––an upset digestive system is one of the most common side effects––but individual health profiles are the main factor in effectiveness and safety. Knowing what you need, and why, will help you make a better informed decision about collagen supplementation.
Again, there aren't many studies about the impact and benefits of collagen on the body, specifically not regarding nails. Still, a small study revealed that those who took 2.5g of bioactive collagen peptide each day for 24 weeks showed promising nail health results. The scientists focused on nail growth rate and cracked or chipped nails, and brittleness of nails (most common among women), to evaluate their findings. Researchers made assessments during the 24 weeks of collagen ingestion and again four weeks after the treatment concluded.
While the results were not definitive, they were quite promising. Those who took daily doses of collagen peptides saw a 12% increase in nail growth. Those participants also had a 42% decrease in the frequency of broken nails. Other positives included 64% of participants had clinical improvement in brittle nails.
Most of the participants (88%) saw these results four weeks post-treatment. Scientists noted that 80% of the participants reported improved nail appearance and were "completely satisfied with the treatment's performance."
To ensure the supplement you choose is safe and of the highest quality, it's vital to read the labels and even reach out to the manufacturer with any questions you may have. Manufacturers have leeway in the production of their products. That does not mean the federal government tolerates false claims or safety issues. However, companies do use a variety of different production processes and ingredients to create supplements.
It's also important to remember to talk with your doctor or health care professional before you begin taking collagen—or any supplement. They can help you select the right supplement for you and the right dose to support your body. Of course, supplements are just that. Expect your doctor to stress that you continue to eat a healthy diet even while taking these products.
You may not know that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not classify dietary supplements as drugs. Instead, the FDA uses a different set of regulations, known as the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994, to monitor and control them. DSHEA does not allow manufacturers to sell adulterated or misbranded products. And if the FDA finds that a company has violated the Act, it will take immediate action.
That is in contrast with how the FDA regulates "conventional" drugs. The safety and effectiveness of drugs are reviewed and evaluated, usually for several years, before a manufacturer is allowed to market and sell those products to U.S. consumers.
Again, quality is key when picking a collagen supplement for you. And in your search, you’ll find that many people choose powdered supplements that are also tasteless. When you can’t actually taste the collagen protein powder, you can easily add it to beverages, soups, stews, yogurt, and other dietary mainstays.
When you shop for a high-quality collagen supplement, consider Brightcore's Revive®. Our multi-collagen protein powder is entirely tasteless, so it's convenient to add to your regular menu. It's made from wild-caught fish, cage-free chickens, grass-fed hydrolyzed bovine, and eggshell. Plus, it's free of GMOs, dairy, soybean, fillers, artificial binders, and colors.