- Global sales of collagen supplements are projected to reach $7.5 billion by 2027.
- Brands claim taking the protein can keep skin youthful, among other benefits.
- Dermatologist Melanie Palm told Insider there’s evidence to support this.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
In the US, collagen supplements continue to grow at an annual rate of 60%, and the global market is projected to reach over $7.5 billion by 2027.
Brands promise glowing skin, shiny hair, and strong nails as a result of adding a scoop of collagen powder to our daily diets. According to a dermatologist, research is limited, but it may have real skin benefits.
Brands claim collagen keeps skin youthful
Collagen occurs naturally in the human body, but our levels drop as we age, starting in the mid-20s.
Supplements come in different forms, but are most commonly made from bovine or marine sources and consumed in powder form. Users dissolve the supplement, which can be flavored or unflavored, into coffee or blend it into smoothies.
“Collagen supplementation works in two ways: It acts as a messenger protein and it supplies the body with amino acids,” Oliva Pelaez, Education Coordinator for Vital Proteins, told Insider.
“Collagen peptides may act as messengers to the cells and trigger the synthesis and reorganization of new collagen fibers, therefore supporting skin, nails, bone and joint tissue structures.”
Collagen brands recommend taking the supplement daily for several months to see results, however not everyone who takes it notices a difference, the New York Times reported.
Studies suggest collagen supplementation can improve skin
Melanie Palm, MD, board certified dermatologist at Art of Skin MD, told Insider there is evidence to suggest collagen supplementation can be a helpful raw source of pure protein for the body, which may have skin benefits.
A 2018 review of 11 studies found that people who took a hydrolyzed collagen supplement every day for at least a month saw increases in their skin’s elasticity and hydration level, Insider’s Madeline Kennedy reported.
In 2020, the first medical article demonstrating a possible benefit of collagen growth in the skin due to collagen supplements was published.
“As collagen supplements get broken down by the gut into elementary parts called amino acids, it is at our body’s discretion how it chooses to use those ‘building blocks,'” Palm said. “Collagen taken orally could end up helping to build muscle or bone or skin.”
As women tend to consume less protein than men generally, supplementation can be beneficial, according to Palm. But collagen is not a complete protein, so it’s important to consume a varied diet.
“Too much of anything can theoretically be a bad thing,” she said. “For example, if someone has kidney problems (renal insufficiency or failure), a high protein diet is not recommended.”
Vegan collagen may soon be available
Until now, vegans have had to make do with “collagen-boosting” products made of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. But Geltor, a bio-design company that works to create food and beauty products that are animal-free, is in the process of launching a new supplement called PrimaColl, which it says is “the world’s first and only real vegan collagen.”
“It’s a completely animal-free fermentation process which uses renewable, natural inputs and requires only a fraction of the land, water, and time that would be required to produce conventional collagen,” Geltor CEO Alex Lorestani told Insider.
A clinical study is currently underway.
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