Collagen supplements are often featured in ads, search engines, television, and social media as a modern miracle to fight skin aging as well as other benefits. Consequently, many people have incorporated collagen supplements in their daily routine in hopes to support the health of their skin, joints, and hair.

But what exactly is collagen and are collagen supplements really as helpful as the claims indicate?

Even though the use of this “miracle” supplement is on the rise, most people don’t know what collagen is or what it does. With this blog we hope to help clear this up and help you decide if collagen supplements work for you or your patients’ health needs.

Collagen happens to be one of the most abundant proteins in our bodies and contributes about 30% of the body’s dry weight. It is comprised of many
amino acids, the most important one being glycine. Glycine allows collagen to have a tight configuration adding to its property of elasticity and ability
to withstand stress.

There are many types of collagens in the human body making up the white fibers of our skin, bones, cartilage, and other connective tissue.

All types of collagens rely on two micronutrients for synthesis: vitamin C and zinc.

  • Vitamin C serves as a cofactor to two of the enzymes required for collagen synthesis: prolyl hydroxylase which stabilizes the collagen molecule and lysyl hydroxylase which provides structural strength to collagen.
  • Zinc is essential for activating some of the amino acids required for collagen synthesis and serves as a cofactor for collagenase, which allows our cells to remodel collagen for wound healing.

As we age, collagen production will wane, it reduces about 1% every year after we turn 20 years old, which leads to reduced skin elasticity and susceptibility to skin damage among other problems.

Read on to find answers for some of the most common collagen related questions.

What are the potential benefits of collagen?

Collagen is a vital complex protein that makes up a large percentage of body composition. Maintaining healthy collagen synthesis is a goal many people aim to achieve either for aesthetic reasons and/or to support health and durability of skin, cartilage, and joints. To support collagen synthesis, a combination of healthy diet and lifestyle is likely going to have the greatest impact, although, collagen supplements may provide additional support.

For those who may be dealing with chronic wounds, any additional protein whether in the form of collagen supplementation or other protein supplements, can be a benefit to support healing.

Are collagen supplements effective and do they directly impact our skin and aging?

People may turn to supplemental pills or powder to incorporate additional collagen in the diet. Most are hydrolyzed, meaning the collagen has been broken down to make it easier to absorb.

It is important to keep in mind that collagen supplements are simply di- and tripeptides – amino acids or protein. There is no guarantee those amino acids, once broken down and digested, will be used for collagen synthesis in the body. If the body needs to make enzymes and other proteins out of it first, it will do so.  One cannot assume that collagen taken as a supplement will only make more collagen in the body.

That being said, numerous studies have been conducted which show an efficacy of collagen supplementation for skin elasticity, wrinkles, hydration, and wound healing as well while the supplementation is maintained.  In studies, the typical length of supplementation was approximately 90 days and results were maintained for up to 4 weeks.  Evidence on long term use of supplementation is limited and more research is warranted in the area.  Consultation with your medical provider would be ideal prior to starting any such supplementation.

Are collagen supplements safe?

As previously mentioned, collagen comes in a supplemental pill or powder form.  Collagen supplements are typically derived from bovine (cattle collagen byproducts), chicken, eggshell, or marine collagen which is broken down into it’s tri and di peptide form, being most bioavailable.  Ingested collagen supplements are more readily absorbed since they are further digested by the body before utilization.  Collagen in the form of lotions is not as effective, as the collagen is not able to be absorbed through the skin and utilized in the body as in the ingested forms.  Lotion forms are a good form of moisturizer to help prevent water loss but do nothing greater than this.

Research has not shown any adverse side effects from taking collagen supplements. It is always important to purchase supplements from a reputable company due to the concern for contamination or inaccurate labeling of contents and ingredients. Dietary supplements are not FDA regulated and should be taken only after consultation with a medical provider.

How can I add collagen to my routine to support skin health without supplements?

Foods rich in protein are ideal for increasing collagen formation in the body as they contain the building blocks for collagen.  These include eggs, dairy, meats, fish, poultry, legumes, and soy as well as broth made from animal bones which contain collagen and gelatin.

Let’s not forget that vitamin C and zinc are also vital in the body’s collagen formation.  Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, berries, tomatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kiwi, and cantaloupe.  Zinc is most abundant in shellfish, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.

Do environmental factors play a role in collagen synthesis and aging?

Our environment and stress have a direct impact on collagen and will contribute to skin aging.  Stressors such as UV light/radiation, smoking, and pollution can increase oxidative stress reducing collagen synthesis.

To learn more about how Patient Care America’s IDPN and IPN therapies can help boost protein to promote wound healing and skin integrity, check out the resources on our website listed below.

  • Clinician Login
    • IDPN Quick Facts
    • IPN Quick Facts
    • Wound healing handout
  • Webinar registration/link to wound healing
    • Webinar hosted in May 2022


  1. Wi, Marylyn; Cronin, Kelly; Crane, Jonathan S. (2021). Biochemistry, Collagen Synthesis. StatPearls.
  2. de Miranda RB, Weimer P, Rossi RC. Effects of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on skin aging: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Dermatology. 2021 Dec;60(12):1449-1461. DOI: 10.1111/ijd.15518. PMID: 33742704.
  3. Parrado, Concepcion et. Al. (2019). Environmental Stressors on Skin Aging. Mechanistic Insights. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 10(759), 1-17