Support Healthy Skin, Hair and Nails with Collagen Supplements

Collagen Peptides for Healthy Skin

Collagen is an important building block for the skin [1].  It makes up to 30% of the protein of the living body and 70% of the protein that makes up skin.  Collagen ensures the cohesion, elasticity and regeneration of skin.  Skin tissue is composed of various molecules, some of which are amino acids, and these amino acids are essential for maintaining an even skin structure and thus healthy skin.  The dermis, which provides the foundation for the skin, is closely involved in the skin’s elasticity and flexibility.  Collagen is the main component of the dermis.  Maintaining the amount of collagen is the key to beautiful skin.  Glycine, proline, alanine and hydroxyproline are the main constituents of collagen; replenishing these constituent amino acids appears to be needed to maintain the amount of collagen at healthy levels.

Skin changes are among the most visible signs of aging. There has been a considerable increase in understanding how skin ages, along with significant progress toward reducing the visible signs of aging. Evidence of increasing age include fine lines, wrinkles and loss of elasticity such as sagging skin.  Skin changes are related to environmental factors, genetic makeup, nutrition, and other factors.  With aging, the outer skin layer (epidermis) thins, even though the number of cell layers remains unchanged.  Changes in the connective tissue reduce the skin’s strength and elasticity.  This is known as elastosis. 

Addressing these skin care concerns is a lifelong process.  Good nutrition and adequate fluids are helpful and can dramatically improve the youthful, healthy appearance of skin.  Maintaining the right amount of collagen is the key to beautiful skin.  Collagen is primarily composed of the amino acids glycine, proline, alanine and hydroxyproline.   These amino acids appear to be needed to maintain the amount of collagen at healthy levels and thus reduce the signs of skin aging.

A growing body of research is showing nutraceuticals can contribute to healthy skin [2].  While topical creams and cosmetic products can affect skin condition from outside, nutritional supplements taken orally can have an impact from within the skin.  Clinical research has shown that Vital Proteins' Collagen, a natural protein:

  • Promotes younger looking skin;
  • Improves skin moisture level;
  • Improves skin smoothness by reducing the number of micro-relief furrows;
  • Improves the signs of deep wrinkles
  • Improves skin suppleness.

Collagen Peptides are a natural bioactive ingredient that improves epidermis moisture content and prevents skin aging.  Several studies have demonstrated that collagen peptides are highly digestible.  If native collagen is very resistant and regarded as indigestible, collagen peptides can be easily attacked by proteolytic enzymes.  More than 90% of collagen peptides are digested and quickly absorbed after oral ingestion. [3], [4]  As a food ingredient, oral ingestion of collagen peptides has been reported as safe [5].  In order to be active, collagen peptides must have an excellent bioavailability.  This has been confirmed in animals and human after oral administration wherein 95% was absorbed within the first 12 hours.  These studies show that collagen peptides reached their peak value in cartilage after ingestion of collagen peptides and remained relatively high after 96 hours [6]

When collagen is digested, the peptides are attracted to cells that synthesize collagen in the human body, fibroblasts, and are the most common cells of connective tissues in the skin.  Collagen peptides may bring about the production and reorganization of new collagen fibers by stimulating the fibroblasts cells [7].  Furthermore, some studies show that collagen peptides increase the density and diameter of collagen fibrils in the dermis and may improve the strength of skin [8],[9], [10]

Decorin is a component of connective tissue and binds to collagen fibrils.  As skin ages, there is a lack of functional decorin, which results in disrupted collagen fibres and in a reduction in the strength of the skin. Some clinical studies have shown that the oral intake of 5g to 10g per day of collagen peptides may have a positive effect in increasing skin suppleness with the moisture content of skin increasing significantly [11].  This implies that ingestion of collagen peptides improves the function of the outermost part of the epidermis.

Taken daily, up to 12 weeks, clinical studies verify that regular intake of collagen improves the basic skin condition and structure. Studies have shown that taking collagen peptides showed a significant improvement in skin elasticity and skin moisture. [12]




[1]   Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 22.3, Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix.

[2]   Cosgrove, M.C., Franco, O.H., Granger, S.P., Murray, P.G. and Mayes, A.E. 2007. Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 86: 1225-1231.

[3]   Asghar, A and Henrickson, R.L. 1982. Chemical, biochemical, functional characteristics of collagen in food system. Advances in food research, 28 :231-372.

[4]   Iwai, K., Hasegawa, T., Taguchi, Y., Morimatsu, F., Sato, K., Nakamura, Y., Higashi, A., Kido, Y., Nakabo, Y. and Ohtsuki, K. 2005. Identification of food-derived collagen peptides in human blood after oral ingestion of gelatin hydrolysates. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 53: 6531-6536.

[5]   Wu, J., Fujioka, M., Sugimoto, K., Mu, G. and Ishimi, Y. 2004. Assessment of effectiveness of oral administration of collagen peptide on bone metabolism in growing and mature rats. Journal of bone and mineral metabolism, 22:47-553.

[6]   Oesser, S., Adam, M., Babel, W. and Seifert, J. 1999. Oral administration of 14C labeled gelatin hydrolysate leads to an accumulation of radioactivity in cartilage of mice (C57/BL). Journal of nutrition, 129:1891-1895.  Referenced from http://jn.nutrition.org/content/129/10/1891

[7]   Postlethwaite, A.E., Seyer, J.M., and Kang, A.H. 1978. Chemotactic attraction of human fibroblasts to type I, II, and II collagens and collagen-derived peptides. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 75(2): 871-875.

[8]   Minaguchi, J., Koyama, Y-I., Meguri, N., Hosaka, Y., Ueda, H., Kusubata, M., Hirota, A., Irie, S., Mafune, N. and Takehana, K. 2005. Effects of ingestion of collagen peptide on collagen fibrils and glycosaminoglycans in Achilles tendon. Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology 51:169-174.

[9]   Matsumoto, H., Ohara, H., Ito, K., Nakamura, Y. and Takahashi, S. 2006. Clinical effects of fish type I collagen hydrolysate on skin properties. ITE Letters on batteries, new technologies and medicine, 7(4):386-390.

[10]   Lochner K, Gaemlich A, Südel KM, Venzke K, Moll I, Knott A, Stäb F, Wenck H, Döring O, Böttger M, Gallinat S. 2007.  Expression of decorin and collagens I and III in different layers of human skin in vivo: a laser capture microdissection study; Biogerontology, 2007 June; 8(3) 269-82;

[11]  Puig A, Antón JMG, Mangues M. A new decorin-like tetrapeptide for optimal organization of collagen fibres. International Journal of Cosmetic Science. 2008;30:97–104.

[12]  Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(1):47-55. doi: 10.1159/000351376. Epub 2013 Aug 14. PubMed PMID: 23949208.