Ask the readers: Collagen?

One of my colleagues recommended collagen powder because my nails have been brittle and breaking and I’ve definitely been showing signs of aging.

She’s a bunch older and her hair and skin do look great.

I ordered some from the brand she recommended.

On the one hand, collagen powder seems pretty squicky and I’m not sure about the real benefits and any potential costs.  And it’s not like vitamin D where I take a pill and 20 min later I feel peppy (I have a Vit D deficiency)– even the places that say that collagen powder works say it takes minimum 30 days to see any effects.

Any testimonials?  Word of mouth?  MD opinions?


26 Responses to “Ask the readers: Collagen?”

  1. Chelsea Says:

    You could try these:
    They are $$$ but the company’s products are 3rd party tested by the major sports science groups so you know you are getting what you paid for. They also sell a powder that I believe most people mix with coffee or tea.

    Just in case you are interested – I’ve started taking collagen from the tendon/ligament healing perspective on the recommendation of a sports dietician. She emphasized that the trouble with collagen (at least for tendons and ligaments) is that the blood flow to those areas is really poor so it only makes sense to take collagen about an hour before you do a decent workout because that’s when blood flow to those areas is highest. Seems like we get a lot more blood flow to our faces, so that may not be an issue for how you want to use it.

    The other two things I remember are that she said it does take about 6 weeks to perceive a difference. I would not say I’ve noticed a difference in my skin and nails yet, but I don’t take it every day and it hasn’t been 6 weeks yet. Also, she said you have to take it with Vitamin-C but that most companies already add that.

  2. Kingston Says:

    I’d love to know what brand/formulation your colleague is having good results with. My skin (age 60) is not bad but could use some care. It’s hard to keep it from feeling dry.

  3. Alyce Says:

    I have been using the Vital Proteins collagen protein powder (for the protein, not the collagen) since the spring and I have had the best nails of my life. And I’m only using it a couple days a week.

  4. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    If your senator voted Yes on the respect for marriage act, give them a call to thank them.

    If they voted no, give them a call to tell them you’re disappointed.

    • Debbie M Says:

      I don’t know why I even looked up my senators. Very occasionally one of them will do the right thing, I guess. I’m afraid if I call them, this evidence that someone in my zip code disagrees with them will seem to them to be a) no surprise and b) good news because they hate us. Some people actually want to turn Austin into a district, like Washington DC or Mexico City, so it could be ruled by the state instead of self-ruled.

      But hey, this passed!!! And surely Biden will sign it! That’s pretty awesome. Thank you other states!

  5. Linda Says:

    Following this discussion. For the past two years or so I’ve tried different products because I have two fingernails that split vertically when they get to a finger tip length. I’m not trying to grow long nails, but it’s annoying to have to cut them down to the quick or painful when they snag and split down to the quick. I’ve also been losing more hair lately.

    I tried increasing amounts of biotin and it did nothing for these nails. I switched to silica supplements a couple months ago and if I remember to take the giant pill every day it does seem to help more than the biotin with my nails. It could also be that when I detect them starting to split I am putting on gloves whenever I’m using dishwashing detergent, and moisturizing my hands several times a day.

    My PCP was no help, and just brushes off my suggestions that perhaps we could try adjusting my thyroid meds to see if that helps. [His NP, though, may be another matter. I had to see her recently and she picked up on my low B12 level right away so I’m back to giving myself B12 injections every week. The PCP had said my labs were all good, which clearly they were not. Ugh!] I haven’t tried collagen yet, but am willing to give it a try if others are finding it beneficial.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Splitting vertically sounds terrible. I’m definitely having problems with snagging and breaking at or below the quick. As well as just getting weirdly shaped chips if they grow longer.

  6. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    From a biochemistry standpoint, all collagen is basically the same, and not that different from plain old gelatin.

  7. Lisa Says:

    Anecdotally, there was a time when I was eating a lot of gummy bears (I don’t remember why, this was a while ago) and I did notice that my nails seemed to be growing faster than usual. But I have thick hair and strong nails anyway, so I can’t claim causation. A quick search on PubMed leads me to believe that there isn’t very solid evidence of the efficacy. (quick search, though, I’ll defer to someone with more expertise)

  8. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I have also wondered if ingested collagen as a supplement was any use at all. It’ll be good to hear what your experience is.

  9. Cloud Says:

    I’m going to have to look into this because my first instinct is that any collagen you swallow will be digested in your stomach and so it would really just be a source of amino acids… But I have never looked at whether it somehow makes it into your bloodstream as an intact protein. Also it could be the amino acid supplementation would provide the benefits people attribute to collagen.

  10. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    P.S. All the reputable studies give about 5 grams/day.

  11. Lisa Says:

    If it’s just a benefit derived from getting more amino acids (i.e. more protein), wouldn’t eating more protein in any form be similar? Nothing at all on PubMed about that. Sounds like the Grumpy Nation should do a trial. I’m in for the gummy bear or jello arm of the trial!

  12. First Gen American Says:

    I wonder if Bone broth is another place that would give similar benefits. I bought some collagen pills for my joints but wasn’t disciplined in taking them as I didn’t feel an immediate benefit.

    It’s funny, but one of the Ortho doctors told me there isn’t a lot of clinical evidence but she noticed a lot of mobility improvement with her elderly dog when she gives it to him consistently.

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