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Ingredient Type: Constituent (Peptide), Supplemental Dietary Substance

Also Known As: Hydrolyzed Collagen Powder

Collagen is considered a form of protein that the body makes/manufactures on its own, given the right building blocks (Amino Acids: Glycine, Lysine, Hydroxyproline & Proline, as well as Copper, Manganese, Vitamin C & Zinc). The human body’s protein composition is made up of roughly 1/3 of collagen. While there are known to be numerous forms of collagen, the most prominent forms are divided up into three categories based on where they are found in the body. Type I Collagen can be found in the bones, internal organs, skin, teeth and tendons; Type II Collagen can be found in cartilage as well as the eyes; Type III Collagen can be found in blood vessels, bone marrow, lymphoid tissues, and the skin. Generally, collagen can also be found in hair, ligaments, as well as the protective barriers/membranes that line the organs of the body. (10).

In order for collagen to be properly utilized to support the body, any consumed form of collagen, whether in the form of a particular food or a supplement, must be further broken down into its constituent parts for proper uptake and utilization. Some of the foods that are known to help support collagen production are: foods high in protein, fruits and vegetables that increase Vitamin C intake, certain nuts, seeds and beans (3).


With our understanding of the importance and vital nature of collagen, it is no wonder that there is such an effort to maximize the levels within our bodies to ensure the health associated with ample levels of both collagen and its building blocks. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the substance, Ejiao, is derived from donkey-hide gelatine and had been used since ancient times. According to some historical records in China, around 192-232 A.D., a great Chinese writer was found to be invigorated by taking what was called Ejiao, an elixir. Around the time 618-907, it was known that Yan Yuhuan, who was said to have the fairest skin, had consumed Ejiao soup. This along with other well-known Chinese parties, including philosophers and ministers, incorporated Ejiao in their diet for good health (6).

According to Walker (16), about 4000 years ago, collagen was used by the Egyptians as an adhesive. Around 1,500 years ago, the Native Americans used collagen in their bows. While collagen is normally known to convert to gelatin, it was assumed that due to the rather arid climates, the collagen hardened and was useful in multiple areas. As it has been historically ascertained, due to collagen’s rather versatile nature, it is currently being used not only as a supplement but also in both the medical and dental industries for reconstructive procedures, cosmetic and oral surgery, as well as cosmetic applications.


Skin Health

One of the more well-known benefits of supplementing with or amplifying one’s own production of collagen is its inherent skin benefits. A mini review was conducted in order to ascertain exactly what some of those skin benefits can be. As aging occurs, more so towards the 3rd decade of life, although it starts at the 2nd, noticeable changes can be noted with regard to the integrity/ structural nature and function of the skin. Being that the skin’s main function is protection of the body against undesirable influences from the external environment, it is vital that its integrity is functioning optimally. Recently, it is recognized that supplementation with hydrolyzed collagen has resulted in health benefits without adverse effects, especially in those with collagen deficiencies (7). Upon review of various clinical studies, the research team recognized the following:

  • Bioactive Collagen Peptides from Porcine Skin (Type I): Reduced Cellulite & Skin Waviness
  • Bioactive I Collagen: Increase in Nail Growth
  • Marine Collagen Peptides with Plant-Derived Skin Targeting Antioxidants: Improved Skin Elasticity, Sebum Production and Dermal Ultrasonic Markers
  • Marine Protein, Vitamin C & Grape Seed Extract: Improved Skin Aging in Men
  • Fish Collagen Hydrolysates: Anti-Aging Effects
  • Chicken Sternal Articular Cartilage: Reduced Skin Dryness & Wrinkles

Upon general review, it was recognized that daily consumption of hydrolyzed collagen, in different doses depending on the individual need, collagen consumption can bring about many benefits not only to the skin, such as slowing of skin aging, but for general health as well (11).

A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinic study was conducted in order to assess the effectiveness of a specific form of bioactive collagen peptides (BCP) in the reduction of cellulite in both normal and overweight women. For 6-months, 105 women with moderate cellulite were treated with 2.5g of BCP. Evaluations were assessed at the start, 3-months and at the conclusion of the study, 6-months. The factors that were measured included, dermal density, skin waviness, and the length of subcutaneous borderline; all in effort to determine the degree of cellulite of the individual. Review of the results indicated that both the overweight and normal weight individuals noticed significant benefits from the treatment protocol when compared to the placebo group, specifically an improvement in dermal density, a reduction in skin waviness, shortening of the subcutaneous borderline and a general decrease of cellulite present. Although both groups noticed the significant changes, it is important to note that those who were overweight noticed less pronounced results when compared to those who women who were considered with normal body weight. Based on the observed data, it can be concluded that oral, long-term supplementation of BCP can positively impact skin health (14).

Collagen can come in many forms and from various sources. A recent clinical study assessed the effectiveness of marine-based collagen peptides (MCP) on skin health. One of the major concerns regarding the safety of MCPs is the risk of oxidative stress upon intake. Over a 2-month trial, 41 individuals participated in the study and were administered a combination of fish-skin MCPs combined with vegetarian derived skin-targeting antioxidants (MCP, Co-Q 10, Grape Seed Extract, Luteolin & Selenium). The parameters measured to determine the success of this study included the following skin properties: skin moisture, elasticity, sebum production, biological age, epidermal/dermal thickness and acoustic density. The values were measured three times during the study. Review of the results reflected significant improvements noted in skin elasticity, sebum production, as well as dermal ultrasonic markers. The researchers concluded that with the support or specific skin-targeting antioxidants, consumption of MCPs can be an effective and safe alternative for skin improvement without the risk of oxidative damage (5).

The extracellular matrix of the dermis, or lay of the skin, is where changes can be observed whether due to aging or clinical pathologies, such as certain skin conditions. This particular study assessed the effects of a dietary supplement, BioCell Collagen ® (BCC), on those presenting with visible signs of natural and photoaging of the face. BCC contained a natural occuring matrix of collagen type II, along with hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate. For 12 weeks, 26 health females who displayed with qualifying skin aging were supplemented with 1g of BCC. Upon conclusion of the study, the results noted a significant reduction in skin dryness/scaling and global lines/wrinkles. Following 6 weeks after supplementation, it was also noted that there was an increase in hemoglobin and collagen when compared to the baseline levels prior to the start of the study. Preliminary data suggests dietary supplementation with BCC may support benefits in slowing the aging process of skin on the human face. Further studies are necessary to verify the aforementioned observations (15).

Joint Support

In this systematic review, the effects of collagen were studied to ascertain whether there was any benefit to the prevention and treatment of those with osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. The reviewed databases included LILACS, PubMed, Medline and SciELO, reviewing articles published between 1994 and 2014. The sample that this review was comprised of included 9 experimental articles with in vivio and in vitro models. The review of these articles specifically looked at the various doses utilized in treatment of collagen hydroxylate and whether there were any associated benefits such as the maintenance of bone composition and strength or proliferation and cellular growth of cartilage. It was concluded that hydrolyzed collage had a positive therapeutic effect on osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, noting potential increases in bone mineral density, protective effects on articular cartilage, as well as symptomatic relief of pain associated with these conditions (12).

This particular study was conducted to assess how oral consumption of hydrolyzed type 1 collagen (hCol1) positively affects inflammation and chondrocyte function in individuals with osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) is considered a degenerative joint disease that has little to no therapies for disease improvement. The aim of the study was to focus specifically on the tissue and cellular levels to ascertain if and how consumption of hCol1 affects the targeted tissues. Mice subjects were utilized in this study in order to induce a meniscal-ligamentous injury to test the effectiveness of the hCol1. According to the study, at various points, assays were performed on blood samples to confirm delivery of hCol1. Joints were additionally harvested for tissue and molecular analyses. Review of the findings revealed a preservation of cartilage, an increase in the number of chondrocytes, which are responsible for the formation of cartilage, along with a reduction in inflammatory proteins and cellular death. These results indicate the chondroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties of oral consumption of hCol1. Although the further research is needed to assess the exact pathways of activity, hCol1 can be suggested as an alternative in supporting symptom relief of those experiencing OA (4).

In this final study, researchers investigated the effects and activity of collagen hydrolysate relative to joint pain in athletes who are physically active with no current evidence of present joint disease. According to current research, collagen hydrolysate is known to exhibit an anabolic effect on cartilage tissues, therefore being beneficial in individuals with osteoarthritis. To further understand the mechanisms, this randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study was conducted, specifically assessing the following parameters related to supportive effects on cartilaginous tissues: join pain, mobility and inflammation. The parameters were measured using a visual analogue scale during the 24-week study window. Subjects randomly were either assigned to group one, receiving 25mL of a liquid formulation containing 10g of collagen hydrolysate and group two, receiving a placebo, containing 25 mL of liquid containing xanthan. Conclusion of the study yielded significant results in pain remediation in the treatment vs. placebo group. Although the study is limited in size and duration, the researchers recognized based on the well-received results, that supplementation with collagen hydrolysate may be a beneficial option for supporting joint health with possible reduction in joint deterioration in high-risk groups (2).

Wound Healing Support

Collagen is considered one of the most abundant animal proteins that is utilized across multiple industries. From supplements to skin grafts, collagen’s natural structure is intrinsically biocompatible, biodegradable and non-toxic in exogenous applications. These attributes, along with the highly organized biological structure of collagen makes is an excellent choice for tissue engineering and wound healing applications. The following are examples of applications depending on the form of collagen biomaterial (1):

Gel: Cosmetic Skin Defects, Vitreous Replacement, Surgery, Bio prostheses

Sponge: Wound Dressing, Hemostatic Agent, Skin Replacement

Hollow Fiber Tubing: Nerve Regeneration

Membrane: Wound Dressing, Dialysis, Tissue Regeneration, Corneal Shields, Skin Patches

Rigid Form: Bone Repair

Sponge: Wound Dressing, Skin Replacement

In response to the success of collagen and its ability to exhibit anti-inflammatory as well as regenerative properties, a recent study was conducted to assess the effectiveness and compatibility of plant-derived human collagen for skin tissue engineering. While tissue engineering scaffolds are commonly retrieved from animal-sourced protein, certain risks associated with hypersensitivity and pathogenic contamination make it higher risk option. Scientists have since sought to engineer recombinant human proteins from alternative plant sources, reducing the risk of disease transmission and bio-incompatibility. The study involved comparing a plant-derived human collagen sample (PDHC) with a bovine hide collagen sample in their ability to form into the structures necessary for the engineering of skin tissue. Results indicated that the PDHC yielded lower processing time with equivalent or higher level of human cellular attachment and proliferation than that of the bovine material. While both materials promoted appropriate maturation and differentiation of the engineered skin, the PDHC version proved to be a less risky option as it relates to allergic response or disease transmission (17).

Rather recently, the bioactive properties of marine collagen have been demonstrated as it relates to general chemical features and biocompatibility. Less is known about the biological effects of marine collagen hydrolysates (MCHs) for biomedical and cosmetic applications. This particular study assessed the in vitro toxicity, antioxidant, wounding-healing and photoprotective properties pf the marine collagen hydrolysates sourced from marine sponge C. reinformis. Upon further analysis of the results, it showed that MCHs have no degree of toxicity on the analyzed cell lines and were also able to stimulate cellular growth, increasing proliferation speed of cellular tissue while supporting in the protection of UV-induced cell death. It was concluded that MCHs may act as an alternative material in drug and cosmetic applications for damaged or photoaged skin repair (13).

This observational study focuses on the activities of an oral application of bioactive collagen peptides following surgical procedures. One of the largest factors in a successful surgery is the final wound healing. While a surgery may go extremely well without fault, the wound healing and undisturbed closure is just as vital for the health and safety of the patient. With there being greater use of oral application of specific bioactive collagen peptides, more research is available on the success and further positive effects on structural synthesis and skin physiology. This particular trial investigated two groups of patients. Group 1 consisted of 22 postsurgical patients who had recently undergone a surgical procedure while group 2 consisted of 20 patients with badly healing wounds. In both groups, half of the participants received the bioactive collagen peptide treatment while the other half received a placebo. Upon final observation, it was recognized that the patients who received the biologically active collagen peptides had significantly better wound healing when compared to the group of patients who received the placebo. According to the researchers, there were no associated side effects or issues of intolerance during the study. It was concluded that bioactive collagen peptides can be safely utilized to improve the wound healing process as well as for the use in achieving a more optimal aesthetic outcome (8).


While collagen supplement consumption is generally considered safe and well tolerated, it is recommended to communicate with your healthcare professional prior to consuming collagen as the sources of collagen vary and may made with or contain common food allergens such as eggs, fish and shellfish.

Due to the increased demand/consumption of collagen, a study was conducted to assess the safety and toxicity of marine collagen peptides. Sprague-Dawley rats were utilized in this 24-month feeding study where they received varying concentrations of collagen within their standard diet. The food intake and bodyweight of the individual animals were recorded along with blood and urine samples throughout the study period. There were no toxicologically significant issues that arose during the study when considering survival rate, body weight, food consumption, urinalysis and biochemistry parameters. It was concluded that there was no higher risk of chronic toxic effects in the subjects consuming the marine collagen peptide preparations (9).


At this time, there are no known side-effects associated with the consumption of collagen outside of mild feelings of fullness, bloating and heartburn. Such side effects can be common with the consumption of protein, depending on the source and individual tolerance levels.


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