What are the Benefits of Powdered Collagen?

You may have noticed powdered collagen being sold along with other protein powders in the supplement section of grocery and health food stores. But what exactly is powdered collagen, what are its benefits, and what makes it different from other protein powders?

Collagen is a protein containing amino acids glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine. It is the most abundant type of protein in humans, accounting for about a third of all protein in the body. It creates the building blocks for our bones, connective tissue and skin.

Because of its heavy presence in skin, collagen is often advertised as having age defying properties. Many claim that collagen can improve the elasticity of skin, which can help diminish wrinkles and make skin appear more youthful. Could collagen actually reverse the aging process? Well before we get to the science for an answer, let’s see what’s in the collagen powder you’re buying at the store.

Store bought collagen peptides are made from animal protein, generally either bovine or marine. These collagen peptides are packaged in a powdered form that can easily be blended into cold beverages.

Note that all collagen powders are animal products! Collagen powders marketed towards vegans merely claim to boost the body’s production of collagen. But the vegan collagen products do not themselves contain any collagen (at least not yet!)

Of the 16 different types of collagen, there are four most associated with the benefits of collagen peptides. The first type makes up for about 90% of the collagen in the body, providing building blocks to skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and even teeth! The second type is made of small ‘elastic’ fibers found in cartilage. The third type is found in muscles, organs and arteries, and the fourth is in the layers of the skin.

But just because collagen is an important protein in the human body, does that mean that eating collagen powder has a benefit? And what about internet claims that collagen powder makes skin more elastic and youthful. Is collagen a fountain of youth? Here’s what the science says.

According to a German study by Quiris Healthcare, the benefits of powdered collagen peptides were significant and proven in a blind study of 72 women aged 35 or older. Half the test group was given 2.5 grams of collagen peptides each day for 12 weeks, the other half was given a placebo.

The test subjects were evaluated over the course of the 12 week trial, with additional follow-ups after the trial concluded. The skin of the subjects was measured in four different ways, and those taking the collagen peptide supplement demonstrated statistically significant improvements in all four categories:

  • Skin hydration
  • Skin elasticity
  • Skin roughness
  • Skin density

These results were all verified by dermatological measurements, but the test subjects also had strong subjective responses as well. All subjects receiving the collagen peptides reported that their skin felt less dry, less scaly and more elastic. 28.6% of the subjects reported that their skin appearance improved!

So if you’ve been wondering what are the benefits of collagen powder, the science backs up its age-defying properties. And since collagen powder is readily available online and at many supplement stores, it’s worth giving it a try!