What is Collagen? Benefits, Food Sources and Dosage

Collagen supplements are becoming increasingly popular these days (Image via Pexels @Anna Shvets)
Collagen supplements are becoming increasingly popular these days. (Image via Pexels @Anna Shvets)

Nowadays, many people take collagen pills daily or add collagen powder to their morning beverage for the health of their skin, joints, and hair.

Although the consumption of collagen supplements and other collagen-based goods is on the rise, most people do not understand what collagen is or what it accomplishes in the body.

This article will help you understand everything you need to know about collagen, what it does in the body, and whether taking collagen supplements is worthwhile.

What is Collagen?

Collagen is a type of protein. It's, in fact, the most prevalent structural protein in animals.

A structural protein is one that forms the framework or structure of cells and tissues.There are 28 recognized varieties of collagen; 90% of the collagen in the human body is type I collagen.

The amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline constitute most types of collagen. These amino acids form three strands that make up the characteristic triple-helix structure of collagen.


Connective tissue, skin, tendons, bones, and cartilage all contain collagen. It plays crucial functions in cellular activities, including:

  • tissue repair
  • immunological response
  • cellular communication and migration, an essential mechanism for tissue upkeep

Fibroblasts, which are cells of connective tissue, create and retain collagen. As people age, their collagen fragments; fibroblast function declines, and collagen formation slows.

Together, these changes, including the loss of elastin - an important structural protein - result in aging symptoms, such as sagging skin and wrinkles.

Benefits of Collagen

For skin

One of the most common applications of collagen supplements is to promote healthy skin. Research suggests consuming collagen supplements can improve the health and appearance of skin.

Hydrolyzed collagen was found to enhance skin hydration, suppleness, and wrinkles compared to placebo treatments in a meta-analysis of 19 studies involving 1,125 individuals (95 percent women) aged 20 to 70.

Several studies have demonstrated that collagen supplements can improve the moisture and flexibility of skin and diminish the appearance of wrinkles.


For bones

One study examined the effects of collagen supplementation in 102 postmenopausal women with low bone mineral density (BMD).

Those who took five grams of collagen peptides per day for one year exhibited greater increase in bone mineral density (BMD) in their spine and femur (a bone in the lower leg) than those who took a placebo.

A follow-up research including 31 of these women found that daily use of five grams of collagen for four years was associated with an increase in BMD. During the follow-up period, the BMD of the individuals increased by 5.79–8.16% in the spine and by 1.23–4.21% in the femur.


Long-term collagen supplementation may increase bone mineral density in postmenopausal women who are at increased risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Food Sources of Collagen

Collagen is present in all mammals, and its concentration is highest in the skin and joints.

Here are a few examples of foods rich in collagen: animal bones, skin, and ligaments, such as chicken skin and pig knuckle seafood, such as fish skin and jellyfish items produced from animal bones and ligaments, including bone broth.

As the body creates collagen from amino acids, you can boost collagen formation by consuming proper amounts of protein from foods such as poultry, fish, beans, and eggs.


In addition to amino acids, various dietary components are required for collagen synthesis and maintenance.

For instance, vitamin C is required for collagen synthesis, so low or inadequate vitamin C levels can affect collagen production. Therefore, ingesting an abundance of foods high in vitamin C can support collagen formation. Try citrus fruits, peppers, greens, and berries, for instance.

A diet rich in healthy plant chemicals may also promote skin health by lowering inflammation and preventing collagen degradation.


Health authorities have not issued any formal recommendations regarding the daily dosage of collagen. Therefore, the amount of collagen you should consume depends on the type and purpose of your consumption.

Hydrolyzed collagen

Hydrolyzed collagen is one of the most commonly utilized varieties of supplements, as it's more quickly absorbed than other types. In powder form, it can be added to hot and cold beverages, soups, and even baked products and other dishes.

A 2019 analysis of clinical research found that daily consumption of 2.5–15 grams of hydrolyzed collagen peptides may be safe and beneficial.


Joint discomfort, skin health, and hydration can be aided by a reduced daily dose of 2.5 grams. An increase to five grams per day can increase bone density.

Larger daily doses of 15 grams of these peptides can be utilized primarily to enhance muscle mass and body composition.

Collagen in its native form

Several human studies have indicated that daily doses of 10–40 mg of undenatured collagen may enhance joint health (34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source).

Gelatin is rarely sold as a dietary supplement. Instead, this form of heated collagen is usually included in gelatinous treats. It can also be added to sauces, soups, and smoothies for an extra boost of collagen proteins, although there's little evidence to support particular dosage recommendations for this application.

Before utilizing a supplement, it's best to refer to the serving size specified on the packaging.

Dosage recommendation from the manufacturer

On the box of most collagen supplements is a suggested daily dosage. Powdered supplement packaging often recommends 1-2 scoops (or tablespoons) daily, whereas capsule or chewable supplement packaging may suggest 1-2 pieces.

Depending on the supplement, the collagen content of these servings can vary greatly; so, check the nutrition facts label for specific dosing information.


Collagen is produced naturally by the body, but you may also ingest it through supplements and certain meals, which can improve the health of your skin, bones, and other tissues.

A balanced diet rich in protein, vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc provides a healthy and cost-effective alternative to supplements. By combining that with regular exercise, you can reduce age-related collagen and bone loss.

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Edited by Bhargav
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