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Collagen As a Supplement

Collagen As a Supplement


Collagen protein is part of your bodily and optic structures. Those fibers break down with age. Wrinkles form in the skin and joints become painful. Injectable collagen fillers for the face were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in July 1981.

At first the collagen injections were popular, but in 2007 statistics showed a 70 percent drop in the number of injections performed from the number in 2000. And topical collagen creams did not absorb well because the collagen molecules were too large to penetrate the skin. After further worldwide research, collagen arrived on the market in 2008 as an oral dietary supplement.


Collagen fibers in the body cross-link to form a matrix of connective tissue to support cartilage, ligaments, bones, skin, blood vessels and other tissues. The primary types of collagen molecules are described as I, II and III. Type I is the most abundant in skin, bone, tendons and heart valves. Type II is the basis for articular and hyaline cartilage, and for gel in the discs between the vertebrae. Type III occurs in skin, blood vessels and organs.

As adults age, the body slowly loses collagen; thus the cartilage around joints can weaken causing pain, the gums are vulnerable to periodontal disease, and the skin can sag and wrinkle. Although several nutrients, including food protein, vitamins C, B, A, and minerals, copper and zinc may improve signs of aging, researchers have aimed to create a collagen supplement that can be absorbed and used by the body.


By November 2006, published research validated that oral collagen hydrolysate had been absorbed intestinally with accumulation in cartilage, according to a study in the journal "Current Medical Research Opinion."

In 2009, a study published in the "International Journal of Medical Science" compared osteoarthritis patients treated with collagen type II against patients treated with glucosamine and chondroitin. Pain was measured after daily activities. The collagen type II-treated patients showed a greater reduction in pain compared to the glucosamine and chondroitin group.

Also in 2009, a large clinical trial with rheumatoid arthritis patients showed that collagen type II is effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, according to a report in "Arthritis Research Therapy."

Collagen hydrolysate is sometimes called collagen peptide. According to an April 2009 study, in "Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry," ingestion of collagen peptide suppressed ultra-violet-B sunlight-induced skin damage.


In 1999, the United States Food and Drug Administration confirmed the GRAS, or generally recognized as safe, status for the hydrolyzed form of collagen.


Past collagen preparations contained large molecules that were not able to be absorbed, until in 2004, BioCell Technology, LLC, discovered how to produce small bio-available molecules. Beginning in 2008, that company provided patented collagen type II under licensing, to manufacturers for use in liquids, tablets, capsules, soft gels and powders.

Consequently, major health food stores sell many of those collagen type II supplements, and other similar ones, labeled "for joint health and skin."


A standard dose for collagen type II is two or three 500 mg capsules daily. A large person may need to take eight capsules per day, according to a report by "Vitamin Research Products" in 2009.


Besides ingesting collagen in a dietary supplement to improve skin image, you might also take a vitamin C supplement, which will stimulate collagen production. Consuming vitamin C and glucosamine sulfate will improve cartilage in osteoarthritic joints. These topics of skin and cartilage are documented in the "Textbook of Natural Medicine, Third Edition."

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