6 Benefits of Collagen Powder

collagen powder

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Collagen has been making waves in the health and wellness industry with experts indicating that it may aid skin, bones, joints, nails, connective tissue, and muscle recovery. Although it is a naturally-occurring, structural protein, it also can be consumed in the form of supplemental powders.

These collagen peptides are made up of high concentrations of three amino acids—glycine, proline, and hydroxyprolin. And, they are also known as hydrolyzed collagen.

“Choosing hydrolyzed collagen [may] make it easier for your body to absorb the collagen,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDCES, for DiabetesStrong, a New Jersey-based dietitian.

Collagen also offers a number of potential health benefits—even when taken in powdered form. Here is what you need to know about collagen powders, including how you might benefit from using them.

Why Take Collagen?

People may choose to take collagen powder for different health reasons. Palinski-Wade explains that collagen powder is well-suited for people looking to increase their intake of high-quality protein or those looking to build or repair muscle tissue or improve skin health. Collagen powder is easy to add to your diet because it blends well with many dishes.

“Unflavored collagen powder is easy to add into soups, smoothies, oatmeal, and even yogurt for an easy way to boost your intake,” says Palinski-Wade. “[It] is shelf stable with a longer shelf life than liquid alternatives and can be added into most liquids and soft foods. Collagen powders also contain more collagen peptides per serving versus liquid varieties, allowing them to provide more of the beneficial key ingredients."

But collagen powder will likely not be appropriate for people who follow plant-based, vegan, or vegetarian diets.

“Because collagen powders are also derived from animal parts (yes, that’s right), it’s something that some might not even consider,” says Lisa Moskovitz, RD, a registered dietitian and author of "The Core 3 Healthy Eating Plan."

Potential to Improve Skin Health 

Research has shown that taking collagen powder may aid in improving skin health by increasing elasticity and skin hydration. Although collagen won't prevent aging, it may still be beneficial in combating the effects of aging. In a review that included 11 studies with a total of 805 participants, preliminary results showed that taking collagen supplements may be beneficial for aging skin and for healing wounds.

“As you age, you produce less collagen, which can cause dry skin, and age-related wrinkles, lines, and spots,” explains Rachel Naar, MS, CDN, RD, a registered dietitian based in New York City.

For instance, one review that looked at 19 studies and a total of 1,125 patients, showed that adding hydrolyzed collagen to your diet for 90 days increased skin hydration and elasticity and reduced wrinkles.

“Although it’s not the anti-aging magic potion people hope for, collagen may help improve skin elasticity, hydration, and fine lines or wrinkles,” says Moskovitz.  “Aging can take its toll on the appearance of your skin and a balanced, nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle, along with a little boost from supplements like collagen, may offer some reprieve.”   

May Aid With Bone Health

Human bodies contain and produce collagen, but the production of collagen declines with age. This can have an impact on bone strength and density, especially because your bones are mostly made of collagen, which is what gives them structure and strength, explains Naar.

What's more, taking collagen powder may be a way to reduce bones weakening and becoming fragile. This fact is particularly important for people with bone conditions, such as osteoporosis, which is essentially when the body has a low bone density. 

“Studies have shown evidence that supplementation with collagen may actually inhibit bone breakdown,” says Naar. “Collagen, in combination with vitamin D and calcium supplements, has shown to prevent loss in bone density.”

May Improve and Repair Joint Health

Research has shown that collagen can positively influence joint health. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with 120 participants researchers found that 43% of participants had reduced joint pain and 39% showed an improvement of joint mobility after taking collagen peptides.

People who are suffering from joint damage may notice a decrease in pain after taking collagen powder. In fact, Naar notes that collagen peptides can reduce pain and inflammation due to the degeneration of cartilage as well as joint damage.

“It has been shown that collagen peptides are related to how healthy your ligaments and tendons are," she says. “Since collagen comes from the tendons and ligaments of animals, it can be used for the synthesis of our body's tendons and ligaments once the peptides are digested and absorbed.” 

What's more, Moskovitz notes that people with osteoarthritis may find that taking collagen can improve joint stiffness and increase flexibility.

Might Support Connective Tissue and Muscle Recovery

Connective tissue health may be improved for athletes who take collagen powder. In a systematic review evaluating 15 randomized controlled trials, researchers found that people who took collagen peptides showed significant improvements in muscle recovery.

“Athletes may find that collagen is helpful in their recovery time,” says Naar.

However, more research is needed to understand collagen supplements and their effect on tissue health and muscle recovery.  

Might Help Nail Health

Research has provided mixed results in determining if the use of collagen powder can increase nail health. One open-label, single-center trial with 25 participants who took a bioactive collagen peptide showed an increase in nail growth and improvement of brittle nails with a reduction of broken nails.

However, in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study that focused on hair, skin, and nails, there weren’t any noticeable changes or improvements for nails in regard to appearance, growth, or strength. More research is needed to understand if taking collagen powder can actually aid in nail health. 

May Promote Heart Health

A healthy heart and blood vessels rely on collagen. If someone is low on collagen, taking collagen powder may be beneficial. One open label, single dose six-month study showed that taking collagen tripeptide (CTP) helps prevent and treats atherosclerosis.

“Collagen provides structure in our arteries,” explains Naar. “Without enough collagen, the arteries can become less flexible and elastic, which can exacerbate an acceleration to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the narrowing of the arteries, which decrease blood flow and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, heart disease, and failure.”

A Word From Verywell

Incorporating collagen powder into your diet can be an additional protein source as well as offer a variety of additional benefits to aid with skin and joint health, stronger bones, improved connective tissue, and better muscle recovery. Even the heart may benefit from collagen.

Collagen powder is considered safe but may have contraindications for people taking some medications. As with any supplement, talk with a healthcare provider before taking collagen powder. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How often can you use collagen powder?

    Collagen powder is considered safe and can be taken daily. According to some experts, it’s a good idea to pay attention to and honor the recommended dosage recommended. Taking excessive amounts will not increase the benefits. 

  • Are there any risks associated with collagen powder?

    Current studies show that there aren't any risks associated with collagen powder. But some nutrition experts say there could be risks with taking collagen powder if you have certain food allergies, such as eggs, fish, or dairy. It also can cause stomach upset in some people.

    Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate collagen supplements. Consulting a health provider about taking collagen powder may be a good idea to ensure it is safe for you given your medical history.

  • What side effects are associated with collagen powder?

    Based on current research, there are no known side effects of taking collagen powder. More studies are needed to know if there are potential risks associated with collagen powder, though.

    That said, some experts indicate that if you’re taking collagen for specific reasons—such as joint health or for muscle recovery—and then stop, you may notice a change in your body since it’s no longer receiving additional collagen. 

11 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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