To appreciate how collagen may help your hair, it’s important to first know that the protein “keratin” is the primary building block of hair. Amino acids, many of which are in collagen, form keratin. And while there are more than 20 types of collagen, Type I collagen makes up 90% of the human body's protein.
Hair, skin, bones, tendons, and the rest of the body have Type I collagen. But as you age, your body’s natural collagen production begins to slow. Smoking, pollution, and other environmental stressors like sun damage are just some of the factors that further deplete collagen in the human body. Many people see the first signs of collagen loss as early as age 20.
When you experience brittle or thinning hair, fading hair color, or seemingly unhealthy skin and nails, you may also be experiencing slowed collagen production. And to combat this, many people rely on collagen powder to help rebuild hair follicles, slow hair thinning, and generate hair regrowth. Although there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence about how daily collagen supplement intake restores hair, there are very few scientific studies and no definitive findings that prove collagen's impact on hair health.
However, in this guide, we’ll explore the connection between collagen and hair health to help you decide whether you want to add collagen supplements to your healthcare routine.
There is a vast array of different dietary supplements available on the market, including those that include collagen and biotin, aimed at supporting hair health. And while there is no definitive proof that biotin (aka vitamin B7) leads to hair growth, there are promising early studies.
One such study looked at women participants ages 21-65 participants with self-perceived thinning hair. The participants each took a daily dose of a marine protein supplement with biotin for 90 days. At the end of the study, researchers determined the participants had less hair loss and shedding.
Although the study does not directly mention collagen, shark and mollusk powder often contain collagen. Hydrolyzed collagen, which is often found in supplements, is also known to include antioxidants that stop free radicals from damaging cells, including those that produce hair follicles.
What does this all mean? Essentially, the belief is that both collagen and biotin may help hair growth, though there is no definitive scientific proof. However, if you are interested in using these supplements to support your hair health, it’s important to discuss your concerns and the potential products with your doctor.
There is promising preliminary research that suggests proteins and collagen peptides may thicken and otherwise improve hair. Again, however, these results are not definitive.
Consider one study that included participants with brittle hair who took protein supplements for 90 days. The researchers found that this regimen caused the participants’ hair to return to normal consistency. Another study showed a lack of collagen resulted in hair aging characterized via thinning, which suggests added protein may stop that thinning. A third study showed that collagen may also prevent premature graying.
If you wonder why this is important, remember that hair health isn't just about appearances. As noted above, it benefits overall health, too. Researchers also say that hair loss and hair damage may trigger a decline in self-image and self-esteem for both men and women. In severe cases, hair loss triggered clinical depression.
Studies linking collagen with hair growth are lacking, so there aren't any definitive answers as to what type of collagen helps hair growth or if collagen directly impacts it at all. Yet, some research leads the way toward a hopeful future.
Skin grows out of your scalp, which indicates that healthy skin would aid the growth of hair. Such healthier skin was the outcome in one study in which 72 healthy women aged 35 and up took a daily supplement that consisted of 2.5 g of collagen peptides, acerola fruit extract, vitamin C, zinc, biotin, and a native vitamin E complex. After 12 weeks, the researchers found that the skin health of those who took the supplement was significantly higher than those taking a placebo.
Another study involved 1,000 adults taking a collagen supplement each day for 12 weeks. The results also showed healthier skin and fewer signs of aging.
While there is no absolute proof that collagen supplements may help stop hair loss and promote growth, studies do show that diets with reduced protein intake and nutritional deficiency can result in numerous issues related to hair loss.
Preliminary studies suggest that if collagen peptides work for hair growth––again, that’s an if––it generally involves the participants taking collagen supplements for three to six months. Researchers note that numerous factors, including micronutrient deficiency, plan a role in hair health. Various studies have their limitations, which is why more research is needed in this area.
When you take any dietary supplement, you need to do a bit more due diligence than you may normally do when taking a new medication or adding a certain food to your diet. This is because of how supplements are regulated. But what does that mean exactly?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does technically oversee supplements, and it will take action when it finds that a supplement is "adulterated or misbranded." But you may not know that the FDA generally only steps in after a supplement has reached the market. Supplement manufacturers are actually charged with following regulations and requirements of the FDA and the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). Still, it is up to those companies to play watchdog on their products.
That doesn't mean supplements are unsafe. It also doesn't mean that companies don't follow the regulations. What it does mean, though, is that all supplement producers don't create their products the same way.
That's why it's essential to read the label of any supplement you’re considering. You need to make sure it doesn’t contain sweeteners, fillers, and other less-than-healthy ingredients. You also want to verify the exact ingredients in the supplement you choose. If the label doesn't answer your questions, you can look at the company's website and even call them to discuss the product.
When you’re looking for a high-quality collagen supplement to add to your diet, consider Brightcore's Revive®. It's made from the finest ingredients, including wild-caught fish, cage-free chickens, and grass-fed hydrolyzed bovine. Plus, it's free of GMOs, dairy, soybean, fillers, artificial binders, and colors. Even better, it’s entirely tasteless, so you can easily incorporate it into your favorite foods to experience the benefits.