Benefits of Collagen Supplements

by Shelley Moore

Collagen occurs naturally and commonly in the body. It is essential for the structure of muscles, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and bones. Collagen also supports the skin. Many people take collagen supplements for health benefits, because anecdotal reports speak of various improvements. However, there is little scientific research to support the idea that these supplements actually work.

Joint Pain

Collagen is purported to help people with arthritis and other joint-related problems by increasing mobility and reducing pain.

Cosmetic Benefits

Producers of collagen supplements also claim that they improve the appearance of hair, skin and nails.

Topical Products

Topical collagen products also are available for improving skin appearance.

Collagen Injections

Injection of collagen by plastic surgeons is a common procedure for correcting skin indentations and wrinkles, and plumping up lips.

Lack of Research

According to Ray Sahelian, M.D., little research indicates that collagen supplements can treat medical conditions, and that topical collagen cannot penetrate the epidermis because the molecules are too large and complex (see Resources).

Chicken Collagen

Sahelian does cite two studies indicating that chicken collagen supplements can be effective at treating pain, stiffness and swelling from rheumatoid arthritis.

Favorable Study

Another favorable study cited by Sahelian indicates that a supplement containing collagen and a collection of proteins and amino acids helped improve joint mobility and flexibility in athletes.

About the Author

Shelley Moore is a journalist and award-winning short-story writer. She specializes in writing about personal development, health, careers and personal finance. Moore has been published in "Family Circle" magazine and the "Milwaukee Sentinel" newspaper, along with numerous other national and regional magazines, daily and weekly newspapers and corporate publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.