Are collagen supplements beneficial?

Collagen supplements have became very fashionable, but they're not a one-stop shop for good skin, hair or nails. At best, there are some anecdotal, small scale studies supporting their use – but these are funded by supplement companies.

Collagen is a type of protein that is naturally produced in the body from dietary protein sources. Even if collagen is not eaten, your body will naturally produce it for when it is needed.

When any protein source is eaten, the proteins found in the food are broken down into their amino acid components. The body then uses its amino acid pool to synthesise whichever protein it needs the most. Put simply, you can’t eat collagen and direct your body to utilise that collagen for erasing wrinkles or to help with your nails. 

The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK has criticised advertisements that suggest consuming collagen contributes to youthful skin, due to the lack of evidence supporting oral consumption of collagen. Plus, the European Food Safety Authority ruled that there is insufficient evidence for collagen supplements and improvements in skin health.

In light of current evidence, it's best to stick to tried and tested methods for healthy ageing and skin, nail and hair health:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes quality protein from multiple sources – Purition for breakfast is a great start!
  • Include plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, as vitamin C is needed for collagen production.
  • If you smoke, try to stop, if you can.
  • Consume alcohol in moderation.
  • Use SPF daily.