Do Hydrolyzed Collagen Supplements Work? A Closer Look at Nutricosmetics and Skin Health

In recent years, the beauty industry has experienced a surge in the popularity of nutricosmetics – products and ingredients that act as nutritional supplements to care for skin, nails, and hair from within. These products have piqued the interest of many seeking a more natural, holistic approach to maintaining the beauty and health of their skin. One of the most prevalent nutricosmetics is hydrolyzed collagen, a supplement purported to provide a range of anti-aging benefits. But, do hydrolyzed collagen supplements really work? While promising results have emerged from some studies, more research is needed to confirm their efficacy conclusively.

Hydrolyzed collagen – what is it, and how does it work?

It is understood that hydrolyzed collagen is a type of supplement that is derived from the connective tissues of various animals. It is produced by breaking down native collagen protein into smaller molecules, known as peptides. This process makes it easier for the body to absorb and utilize collagen.

Once ingested, these collagen peptides enter the bloodstream, where they can be easily distributed to the skin and other connective tissues.

As per the review by Cleveland Medical Professionals, collagen is a structural protein that comprises nearly 30% of the proteins found in the human body as well. It is essential for maintaining the integrity of the skin, nails, hair, and other connective tissues.

As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, contributing to the formation of wrinkles, sagging skin, brittle nails, and weaker hair. To counteract this decline, some individuals have turned to hydrolyzed collagen supplements as an anti-aging solution.

Hydrolyzed collagen works by providing your body with the building blocks it needs to create more collagen. This is believed to help increase collagen production in your body, particularly in the skin, which can help reduce the signs of aging.

It has been reported that consuming hydrolyzed collagen can stimulate the body’s natural collagen production, as well as promote skin hydration, elasticity, and overall integrity.

What does the research say?

Although anecdotal evidence abounds, more rigorous scientific evidence is needed to confirm the efficacy of hydrolyzed collagen supplements. Some studies have revealed promising results:

1. A 2014 study published in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology reported that oral supplementation with hydrolyzed collagen peptides significantly increased skin hydration and improved skin elasticity after eight weeks of use.

2. Another study, reported in Nutrients in 2020, found that supplementation with 5 to 10 grams of hydrolyzed collagen daily for eight to twelve weeks led to a significant reduction in wrinkle depth, as well as improvement in skin hydration and smoothness in a group of women aged 40 to 65 years old.

3. Research published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2015 revealed that 12 weeks of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation significantly improved skin texture, elasticity, and hydration, as measured by objective instruments.

4. Taking collagen for 90 days can reduce wrinkles, increase skin hydration and make the skin more elastic even for people over 70, according to a systematic review of 19 studies with over 1,000 people reported in the 2021 Journal of Dermatology

While these studies may seem promising, it must be noted that they are limited in number and often suffer from small sample sizes and other methodological issues. Furthermore, the source and quality of the hydrolyzed collagen supplements used in these studies may significantly impact the observed results. As such, it is crucial for more well-conducted, large-scale studies to be undertaken to definitively answer the question of whether hydrolyzed collagen supplements are effective.

Benefits for the Skin

The key benefits of hydrolyzed collagen for the skin include increased skin hydration, improved skin elasticity, reduced wrinkle depth, and improved overall skin texture.

Studies have also shown that taking hydrolyzed collagen supplements can help stimulate the body’s natural collagen production and promote healthy connective tissues.

Other Potential Benefits of Hydrolyzed Collagen Beyond Skincare

Although hydrolyzed collagen supplements have primarily been marketed for their potential benefits to the skin, these peptides may offer additional health advantages:

1. Joint health: Some studies suggest that collagen supplementation can help alleviate joint pain, reduce inflammation, and improve joint function, particularly in individuals with osteoarthritis or other joint disorders.

2. Bone health: Collagen peptides have been shown to promote bone mineral density and possibly reduce the risk of bone fractures in postmenopausal women.

3. Athletic performance: As reported, collagen peptides may enhance muscle growth, improve physical performance and reduce soreness after exercise in athletes or the elderly. However, more research is needed in this area.

4. Can be added liquid or food. In addition to the benefits for our outward appearance and physical health, hydrolyzed collagen supplements are also relatively easy to incorporate into our diets. They can be added to smoothies, stirred into tea or coffee, or taken in capsule form. This makes it simple to start reaping the benefits of hydrolyzed collagen without drastically changing your diet or lifestyle.

Types of Hydrolyzed Collagen Supplements Available 

Hydrolyzed collagen supplements come in various forms, including powders, capsules, and liquids. They can be sourced from different animals, such as cows, fish, and pigs.

1. Bovine Collagen: As reported, bovine or cow-sourced hydrolyzed collagen supplements are the most common type. They contain types I and III collagen, the two most abundant types found in human skin. This type of collagen supplement provides a high amount of glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, which are essential amino acids for collagen synthesis. Bovine collagen peptides are often odorless and tasteless and can easily blend into smoothies, teas, or other beverages.

2. Marine Collagen: Marine collagen is derived from fish and contains type I collagen. It is an excellent source of amino acids such as glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, which are essential for the production of collagen. Marine collagen is easy to digest and is believed to be absorbed more efficiently than bovine collagen. Furthermore, some studies suggest that marine collagen has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Porcine Collagen: Porcine collagen supplements are sourced from pig skin and contain a mix of types I and III collagen, similar to bovine collagen. Porcine collagen supplements are more affordable than other types, but their taste and smell can be offputting.

4. Multi-Collagen: Multi-collagen supplements combine different sources of collagen, usually bovine, marine, and porcine, to provide a more diverse range of amino acids. Multi-collagen supplements aim to offer a more complete solution to the skin, joint, and bone health.

5. Collagen Drinks: Collagen drinks are a convenient way to consume collagen supplements. The drinks are available in various flavors and contain hydrolyzed collagen peptides that dissolve in water, making them easier to absorb. They may also have added vitamins and minerals that help optimize collagen synthesis.

When choosing a collagen supplement, it is crucial to check the quality of the product. Look for supplements that are free of fillers, additives, and artificial preservatives. Furthermore, consult with a healthcare professional to determine the right dosage and to rule out any potential interactions with medications.

Potential Side Effects and Precautions to Consider

While hydrolyzed collagen supplements have several benefits, it is essential to be aware of potential side effects and precautions before incorporating them into your routine.

1. Allergies: People with an allergy to a specific type of collagen should avoid taking supplements sourced from that animal. Bovine or marine collagen supplements may trigger an allergic reaction in individuals with a sensitivity to cow or fish products. Symptoms may include stomach and bowel problems, itching, swelling, or breathing difficulties. If you are unsure of your allergies or have a history of allergies, consult with a healthcare professional before taking hydrolyzed collagen supplements.

2. Digestive issues: Hydrolyzed collagen is generally well tolerated, with no major side effects. However, some individuals with an intolerance to collagen may experience mild digestive problems, such as bloating or an upset stomach, after taking hydrolyzed collagen supplements. This may also occur if you are intolerant to the fillers or additives contained in the supplements. To minimize digestive issues, opt for supplements that are free of artificial additives and are easily absorbed by the body.

3. Interactions with medications: There are no known interactions of hydrolyzed collagen with drugs. However, as with a high-protein diet or supplement, hydrolyzed collagen supplements may interact with some medications such as levodopa and valproic acid. If you are taking medications or supplements, speak with a healthcare professional before taking hydrolyzed collagen supplements.

4. Quality concerns: Not all hydrolyzed collagen supplements are created equal. Some supplements may contain impurities or may not have undergone sufficient quality testing. To ensure that you are taking a high-quality supplement, look for one that has undergone independent testing, contains a good mix of amino acids, and has minimal additives.


Overall, hydrolyzed collagen supplements are a great way to improve skin health and reduce the signs of aging. However, it is important to do your research before taking any supplements. Look for products that have undergone independent testing and contain minimal additives or fillers. Additionally, speak with a healthcare professional if you take any medications or have allergies as these may interact with hydrolyzed collagen supplements. With proper precautions in place, nutricosmetics can help keep wrinkles at bay and make sure your skin stays healthy even as you age!

Leave a comment below if you have any questions about hydrolyzed collagen supplements.

Disclaimer: This article is purely for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice. If you are considering taking hydrolyzed collagen supplements, always consult with a healthcare professional first.

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