Does Hydrolyzed Collagen really promote healthier, thicker and stronger hair?

Does Hydrolyzed Collagen really promote healthier, thicker and stronger hair?

Does Hydrolyzed Collagen really promote healthier, thicker and stronger hair?

Is it all just hype or is there substance to the claims?

Many hydrolyzed collagen products on the market today are promoted as enhancing the appearance of hair, skin, and nails. But does collagen really help improve the health, thickness, and strength of your hair?

Well, in this article, we’ve done a deep dive into all the available clinical evidence, and the answer to the question is YES, and the reason may be pretty simple!

Hair nutrition starts from within. The health of your hair and skin reflects the health of your body. What you put into it results in what you, and others, see on the outside.

There are a variety of risk factors that predispose an individual to a nutritional deficiency including age, poor diet, malabsorption, smoking, pollution, and medication use, causing hair fibers to become thinner and less resistant to stress factors.

Nutritional deficiencies lead to poor hair health and include changes to hair structure, texture, and natural shine.

The main ingredient of human hair is called keratin, which is also found in human skin, teeth, fingernails and toenails. Keratin is a protein, which in turn is made up of amino acids. The levels of the amino acids in your body has a huge bearing on what your hair will look like.

Keratin is composed of all 21 known amino acids and its these amino acids that help maintain hair health, tensile strength, hair density, and shine. The amino acid composition of human hair keratin may vary significantly among individuals without exhibiting obvious phenotypic differences.

Insufficient protein in the diet causes disturbed hair synthesis (hair fragility and brittleness), weakness and even hair loss [1], and, as we age, our hair decreases in the concentration of the amino acids such as aspartic acid, glycine, alanine, valine, isoleucine and lysine [2].

Oral ingestion of collagen peptides (CP) has long been suggested to exert beneficial effects on hair.

This study [3], published in 1976, was one of the first to investigate the effects of gelatin (the raw material from which collagen is produced) on growth and thickness of hair. Scientists found that the thickness of hair increased significantly after ingestion for 62 days, and more pulling force was required to break the thickened hair. The increase in hair thickness was more evident in women than in men, possibly because the initial thickness was smaller in women. Hair thickness returned to initial size when collagen ingestion stopped.

It wasn't until 2015, that scientists  found that giving hydrolyzed collagen to hairless mice for 6 weeks induced increased expression of keratin associated proteins in the skin.[4] In addition, collagen produced a unique dipeptide (a bonding of the amino acids Proline and Hydroxyproline) inducing an increase in the expression of keratin genes associated with the development of the epidermis and the hair cycle. This study presented new insights into the effects of CP on the skin, which links to hair growth.

From around the age of 25 our bodies progressively lose collagen. The loss of collagen can impact the quality of the hair follicle, causing hair fibers to become thinner and therefore less resistant to external impacts. The use of collagen peptides as a dietary supplement can help the restitution of the hair follicle and subsequently increase the strength of the formed hair.

Fig 1: Collagen Distribution in the Body

In 2017 scientists performed clinical trials this time on aged mice [5]. They concluded that oral ingestion of Hydrolysed Collagen increased the collagen content and antioxidant enzyme activities and improved the appearance and structure of skin. They also found that the colour, luster and quantity of hair was greatly improved.

In 2019, on the back of these previous studies, the findings of a new clinical study [6]  on the effects Hydrolysed Collagen revealed that the oral supplementation with a unique collagen peptide powder, Peptan, (available in Australia through CollagenX) significantly contributed to improving the overall appearance of skin and hair. This new study evaluated the characteristics of hair using a texturometer before and after Peptan supplementation clearly demonstrating an increase of the mechanical strength of the hair by 13% in the Peptan group compared to the placebo group. Mechanical strength is linked to improved properties of the hair cortex, which can be especially beneficial for aging hair.

Now, in this latest study [7]  published in 2021 the effects of Hydrolysed Collagen intake on hair thickness and metabolism are finally undisputed. The study was conducted on 44 healthy women aged between 39 and 75, who each received a daily dosage of 2.5 g collagen or placebo. After a treatment period of 16 weeks, hair thickness was determined and compared with the thickness at the beginning of the trial. The data showed a statistically significant increase in the cell proliferation rate of 31% compared to the controls. The measurement of hair thickness showed a statistically significant increase in the Collagen group compared to placebo. Over the course of the collagen peptide treatment, hair thickness increased significantly, whereas a slight decrease in hair thickness was measured in the placebo group. This clearly demonstrates the positive effect of Hydrolysed Collagen on hair thickness and follicle cell proliferation.
Much research has been done by Dr. Zeev Pam MD,[8] a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, on the effects of consuming gelatin.

He demonstrated that Gelatin supplementation is beneficial in the early stages of androgenic alopecia, a common form of hair loss in both men and women, by dilation of the peripheral blood vessels and supplying the necessary amino acids for the hair follicle and delaying the worsening of the androgenic alopecia stages.

He proposed the therapeutic effect of oral gelatin on hair loss in both men and women and based his findings on:

1.Gelatin exhibited one of the highest specific dynamic effects of any food which is caused by increase peripheral blood flow. Increased blood flow had been shown to increase the growth rate of some tissues in both animals and men.

2. Gelatin causes vasodilation of peripheral blood vessels therefore improving the hair follicle blood circulation.

3. Gelatin is composed of 18 amino acids, including high concentrations of L-Lysine, which are delivered via the blood stream to the hair follicle and are the building blocks for hair follicle growth.

4. The hair follicle stays a longer time in the anagen stages (when the hairenters a state of active growth) due to increase availability of the amino acids provided by gelatin consumption.

5. Delaying the progression of the miniaturization of the hair follicle in androgenic alopecia by mechanisms mentions above. It Is possible that there are changes of signals with the milieu of amino acids in gelatin, through change of proteins produced and released within the hair follicle that promotes and stimulates hair growth in the anagen stage.

 So, to wrap up, it is clear that healthy hair requires your body to produce ample supplies of keratin and collagen provided through a nutritious diet, and one that supplies sufficient amino acids (in particular the Pro-Hyp dipeptide gained through CollagenX Hydrolyzed Collagen supplementation).

Through boosting the availability of key amino acids involved in the production of keratin and collagen, it is possible to combat hair loss and stimulate new hair growth.

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1 comment
  • Thankyou for this very accurate & informative article. Very interesting. As I get older (67) my skin hair & nails feel & look undernourished even though I keep a very healthy diet because I am a coeliac. I’m eager to learn more. Thankyou.

    Pam HARKIN on

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