So, what's the deal with collagen?

Despite the popularity of collagen, I see very few folks I respect in the longevity field even talk about this. Is it similar to other dietary protein or is it indeed different in key ways? Does collagen really help with joint health?

Also, i’m a vegetarian and I keep my eye out for essential nutrients I may be missing in my diet. I still haven’t figured out of I should be supplementing with collagen, even if it’s in a cyclic or context- dependent manner.

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Brad Stanfield has a few videos on it, with summaries of the published research. I’ve always been extremely skeptical of collagen since intuitively it seems like it should just be broken down into constitutive amino acids like any other protein source, but apparently some of the peptides get absorbed intact and appear to have biological effects.

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Thanks! I did stumble upon these videos after my post here. But I wasn’t really convinced by the evidence for it. I guess it’s good to at least know that it can’t hurt (apart from $$) and maybe it’s worth supplementing with it every now and then, at least as a means to add to diversity to one’s diet – perhaps it might help at the gut microbiome level. :man_shrugging:

I was hoping to at least stumble upon some n=1 experiments where different markers of skin and joint health are tested on periods with and without collagen supplementation.

Btw, Brad Stanfield does seem to have good skin. So, there’s that. But my bias is to attribute it to his potential rapamycin consumption, retinol routine, and generally healthy lifestyle.

I’m not sold on it either, but it’s piqued my interest. Brad’s skin also looks good because he’s only 30 years old, wears sunscreen and uses Botox.

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At 34:00, Dr. Collin Ewald says he’s not yet convinced about particular benefits of dietary collagen as well, and is waiting for more trials as well.

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I use collagen as my daily longevity routine, together with probiotics, prebiotics and wheatgrass mixed with a glass of water first ting in the morning. I see (and others see to) that my skin is more radiant and glowing. I feel much better too. My gut has improved 1000%
If you buy some, get the ones with the most Glycine

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Then consensus seems to be maybe, to slightly positive:

Does collagen work?

Some studies show that taking collagen supplements for several months can improve skin elasticity, (i.e., wrinkles and roughness) as well as signs of aging. Others have shown that consuming collagen can increase density in bones weakened with age and can improve joint, back and knee pain. But many of these studies are small and funded by companies that make the product, increasing the opportunity for bias in the results.

It is possible that some of these benefits are attainable, according to a 2019 literature review in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. The review found some data from double-blind placebo controlled studies to support that collagen could increase skin elasticity, collagen density and overall hydration.

But a lot more evidence is needed. Dr. Bowe believes that the studies, “though small and preliminary,” show promise. She said she has begun recommending ingestible collagen to her patients and has witnessed noticeable benefits in terms of skin elasticity, firmness and hydration. (She often recommends powder basedsupplements.)

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A purely anecdotal assessment from an old guy:
I spent a fair amount of time and money taking collagen supplements of various types including liposomal variations. After several months I saw no, subjective, results. So, for me, the cost reward ratio just isn’t worth it.

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I took collagen supplements from pills to capsules to powder for years without noticing any benefit. But, of course, any benefit may have been so gradual as to be totally unnoticed. In the end, it was just a matter of how many supplements do I want to take each day and which ones actually have the most benefit. I’m not totally sure! However, I stopped taking collagen a year ago when I decided it was too much trouble. As for Brad Stanfield, I watch him, but he must create videos in order to maintain a YouTube Channel. I take that into account when I watch him or any other YouTube personality. Sure, he provides good content, but I have to be selective when adding or deleting from my supplement list.

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My wife and I have been using hydrolyzed collagen powder (marine) for over a year now and the results are great. We mix it in our coffee.
See also: FoundMyFitness Topic - Hydrolyzed Collagen

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Stoic, how many grams of hydrolyzed collagen powder do you take per day, and what results have you noticed? Thanks.

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Hi Brandy, my wife takes 6-8 grams every day. I take 10-15 grams.

We (friends & family as well) see significant reduction of wrinkles and a better skin condition overall - healthy, glowing, firm complexion.

Here is a study:

Just for your information, to get an idea of the product, we order this:

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Its definitely logical that collagen can support formation of collagen in the body , might especially be needed on overall low-protein diet. most likely will be including it eventually.

I wonder how hydrolyzed collagen powders vs collagen from things like animal cartilage in food compares.

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New research on Collagen:

The SCP supplementation led to a significantly (p = 0.002) greater increase in tendon CSA (+11.0%) compared with the PLA group (+4.7%). Moreover, the statistical analysis revealed a significantly (p = 0.014) greater increase in muscle thickness in the SCP group (+7.3%) compared with the PLA group (+2.7%). Finally, tendon stiffness and muscle strength increased in both groups, with no statistical difference between the groups. In conclusion, the current study shows that the supplementation of specific collagen peptides combined with RT is associated with a greater hypertrophy in tendinous and muscular structures than RT alone in young physically active men. These effects might play a role in reducing tendon stress (i.e., deposition of collagen in load-bearing structures) during daily activities.

Twitter Commentary:

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I take collagen peptides because the potential benefit-to-harm ratio is high but very wary of heavy metals which is heavily dependent on sourcing. If you’re so inclined take it and do a crossover with laser confocal microscopy and blood tests. I’m doing that currently.

Yes, the trials are all industry-sponsored like most supplements. I have no affiliations with any collagen company.

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Ultimately, skin may seem vain but is super important to get right because it is literally first line of defense - my feeling is generally men tend to blow skin issues off too quickly and avoid skin related prevention strategies until it gets too late and end up spending more on bandaid strategies, as I have literally never seen men at the dermatologist I go to - yet almost all (>90%) of all old folks I see have something “non-cosmetically” wrong with skin. Even Botox isn’t necessarily only for cosmetic reasons - it helps to visualize wrinkles due to skin aging easily for tracking purposes that Botox doesn’t prevent well. Although I caution getting Botox dosing just right to sustain the effects over decades isn’t an easy thing to research because clinics generally will market higher doses (and a bunch of upselling trying to capitalize on insecurities) based on billing practices even if you’re younger.

Pressure ulcers, greatly slowed healing and increased infections are huge problems in aged skin. Skin is actually an incredibly complex organ that ties in heavily with complex immunology and endocrinology (i.e. melatonin, DHEA, Thyroid hormones, IGF-1, estrogen and testosterone matter heavily). How that applies to me (may not apply to others) is I personally try to avoid antibiotic use unless absolutely necessary (i.e. if you’re in septic shock with positive bacterial cultures it would be incredibly foolish to avoid them as opposed to a mild URI that is most likely of viral etiology) by simply enrolling in a large amount of experimental vaccine trials (my physician dad manages some of these trials) to avoid getting sepsis from any possible infection sites in the first place.

Here’s how it could apply to older folks that are on high doses of rapamycin. Imaging getting a bacterial infection simply because your skin is too thin and you’re bed bound for a while - you may not want to be extra cautious on rapamycin - there is multicenter RCTs that shows oral collagen peptides has this increased healing effect for geriatric patients with pressure ulcers and there are weak recommendations for its use in Japan for pressure ulcers. (and of course, the industry paid for expenses and honorarium)

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I take 10 g of collagen daily. I mix it in my morning coffee with my glycine and it is like creamer (collagen) and sugar (glycine), except healthier. I have noticed fuller (puffier) skin and some wrinkles have disappeared. Now if only the long ones on the forehead would disappear.

In all honesty, the skin on my face improved more when I started using a good cleanser and moisturizer. Take it for what it’s worth…

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Cleanser (gentle) and moisturizer is a big part - and incredibly low cost low hanging fruit if you avoid marketing/MLMs.

Cleaning out air pollution (outdoor and indoor) that can generate ROS and RNS is a significant “exposome” factor. This of course includes shampoo for the scalp.

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Thoughts on skin aging from 81 years of experience:

There are literally tens of thousands of various skin creams and compounds reported to beautify your skin.

Here’s what has worked for me:

Tretinoin: The gold standard as far as I am concerned for producing nice skin and reducing fine wrinkles

Amlactin 12% Lactic Acid Daily Moisturizing Lotion: Almost as good as tretinoin at reducing fine wrinkles and better than tretinoin for clearing up many skin conditions and produces a nice soft complexion and keeping your skin moisturized.

Aloe Vera: A distant third, but wonderful for cooling overheated skin and reducing many blemishes.

I have never had acne problems, even with rapamycin, so I have never used any of the “OXY” creams or lotions

Meh! Category:

Other daily moisturizing lotions with hyaluronic acids, retinols etc.: some smell good, some feel good, and I use a hyaluronic-based one when I am not using Amlactin.

When it comes to price vs results, these fall in the poor category
Hyaluronic acid and collagen supplements. They may do something but, as I can attest, very little for the amount of money spent.

I have high hopes for rapamycin applied externally, long term. It certainly has had a very significant effect on my sun-damaged skin after eight months of oral dosing.

While I consider rapamycin a wonder drug, it certainly isn’t a miracle drug.

Two main things to do for your skin while you are young if you want to look good when you’re old:

1: Stay out of the sun. Tremendous evidence indicates it is not your friend. Get your vitamin D from supplements.
2: Do not allow yourself to become significantly overweight, and by that I mean do not become obese. Besides obesity shortening your life it will stretch your skin to the point that it may not be able to recover. Skin, unfortunately, begins to lose elasticity over the age of ~25 years.

"Experts have found that skin aging typically starts around age 25. In our mid-20s, our bodies gradually start to stop producing as much collagen as before which causes our skin to lose elasticity. "
While you can’t turn back the clock, early prevention is key. You can slow down skin aging and keep your skin healthier for longer.” I disagree with this statement. You certainly can turn back the clock on fine lines and blemishes.

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Yep in terms of cost effective strategies, avoiding UV + topical tretinoin cream 0.025% partially reverses photoaging changes - 90% of the visible stuff.

The severity of photoaging starts increasing rapidly after the age of 30 even though it may not be apparent.

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