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The Daily Tonic: The Collagen Conundrum

The Daily Tonic is a two to five minute read sharing science backed health news and tips, all while getting you to crack a smile or even lol on occasion.

Collagen products are everywhere these days. Whether you are walking into a crunchy health food store, a Whole Foods supermarket, a CVS Pharmacy, or a Walmart, there will be a handful of collagen peptide powders for you to choose from. 

The collagen market in the U.S. is worth over $2 billion, making it one of the top selling supplements in the space. Leading brands claim that collagen supplementation can help improve joint health, speed up recovery, and most importantly for some, help with healthy hair, skin, and nails to help us defy age and look our best. 

It is no wonder this stuff is selling like hot cakes — which brings us to the million (or $2 billion) dollar question: is collagen worth the hype?

Collagen makes up one third of the total protein in the human body and plays a primary role in maintaining connective tissue and skin health. However, that does not necessarily mean that supplementing with collagen will have a positive impact on those areas of the body. 

Collagen is worth adding to your diet, but it shouldn’t be considered a ‘miracle supplement’

According to a recent systematic review of 15 studies, it does seem that collagen supplementation can be beneficial for improvements in joint pain and functionality. Collagen synthesis can aid with hair, skin, and nail health, and even potentially aid in muscle recovery. 

Now, it is important to note that some of these studies have their limitations. It is also important to note that most of the studies showed these benefits when collagen supplementation was taken in conjunction with exercise and a relatively healthy diet. 

This should go without saying, but there isn’t a supplement in the world that should in any way replace a healthy, whole foods-based diet, regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and appropriate hydration. If those things are not in place, supplementation with collagen is simply not going to make a difference. 

The key takeaway? While there are many products out there making bold claims that lack any sort of scientific backing, collagen isn’t one of them. A quality collagen peptide supplement can have some very real benefits… when combined with a healthy diet and active lifestyle. 

At the end of the day, it’s just super important to hammer this point home. Overall calorie intake, dietary protein intake, and protein quality are still most important for making substantial body composition improvements. Sure, supplements can help, but just keep in mind what matters most before you start shelling out cash on any new powder.

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