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Collagen Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

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Collagen represents a group of proteins which are naturally occurring inside organisms, particularly in the connective vertebrate tissues and flesh. It is, in fact, the major fibrous protein of the human body and the most abundant that can be found in nature.

It is a part of the muscular tissue in percentages that vary from one to two and represents six percent of the weight of tendinous muscles. The first presence of collagen with a regular atomic structure in the scientific area was accounted in the 1930s. It was discovered that, with age, collagen levels drop and, because of this, individuals begin to experience a thickness of the skin which further determines the body to become weaker and disease-susceptible while also decreasing bones mass and resulting in a general weakening of the organism. Due to this feature, it is important that with aging, people introduce this fibrosis protein inside their bodies by using some other ways.

Furthermore, there are a series of mutations that were observed in collagen production and may lead to some severe diseases that appear on a tissue level and include Chondrodysplasias, Alport syndrome, Osteoporosis, Osteogenesis imperfect, and Knobloch syndrome.

Collagen Functions & Benefits

Collagen has a wide array of applications in various levels. People may easily recognize this ingredient because it is often utilized in surgical reconstruction or by women who desire to have a younger face. However, it also possesses some medical properties and because of this, it was included in certain dietary supplements mostly as an additional component in some mixtures. The collagen that is generally utilized comes from chicken.

Its main positive effects have been noticed in areas like joint pain treatment, decrease of arthritis symptoms, neck pain, back pain, or pains that follow surgery. Basically, the reason why this ingredient works is because it helps the organism produce a series of substances which fight inflammations and pains. Due to the fact that it also features two chemicals named glucosamine and chondroitin, it may also offer help in cartilage rebuilding.

On the other hand, the main area in which collagen is utilized is for skin care or enhancement, mainly because the industry has evolved and people desire to look younger after they reach thirty years of age. Although there are twenty nine types of collagen that have been identified so far, there are four which are abundant and named according to their ease of localization. For instance, type one is found in vascular, tendons, skin, organs, ligature, and bones, while type two is a part of the cartilage and three of the reticulate fibers. Type four is also important because it helps with formation of cellular basement membranes.

From all these types, the most utilized is the first one because it’s responsible for maintaining the skin’s elasticity and strength and its degradation within the organism can be easily noticed because of wrinkles, a decrease in smoothness, and fine lines. In order to avoid these unaesthetic characteristics of the skin and to regain balanced collagen levels inside the body, people have turned to some dietary supplementations which promise these things. Those who don’t want to try surgery, of course.

The research conducted on this ingredient is still in development and because of this, there are interesting new combinations such as fish peptide form. In order to make sure of its effectiveness on a general level, further studying is needed, as well as testimonials from individuals who try certain remedies featuring collagen, no matter the source of its provenience.


When the collagen is injected directly in the skin, there are some side effects that may appear such as allergic reactions, skin necrosis, or uneven skin texture. Furthermore, some collagen based products like gelatin or bovine collagen determined some allergic reactions as well, even when consumed orally.

Because chicken collagen features glucosamine and chondroitin, when taken in high quantities and on long periods, there are some unwanted effects like heartburn, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, and skin reactions which may occur. Due to the fact that there isn’t sufficient information related to the safety of consuming dietary supplements for females that are either breast-feeding or pregnant, it is better for them to avoid its utilization during those periods in order to keep a healthy infant. However, people who are usually allergic to egg or chicken products should definitely avoid the utilization of chicken collagen due to its associations with severe allergic reactions.

The evidences of any potential medicinal interaction between collagen and another treatment followed alongside is thick, it is better to consult a personal doctor prior to beginning its usage in form of natural remedies in order to avoid potential harmful complications.


As a natural forming fibrous protein, collagen is found inside organisms from animals to humans. It is in fact the fibrous protein that is the most common found in nature. Unfortunately, with age, the production of this ingredient is lowered, thus individuals are somehow obliged to appeal to either injections or some natural remedies that feature this ingredient in order to maintain the quality of the skin. Sometimes, if collagen production is too low inside the body, there can be some severe problems.

Despite the fact that it is mostly known on the surgical area due to being usually used for men or women who desire to regain the elasticity of their skin that was partially destroyed by aging, collagen also possesses other medical uses. For instance, it can help with pains and inflammations, particularly those linked to the joints. However, these uses are pretty rare and in most of the cases, the provenience of collagen is important because its effects may not be better than the possible side-effects, specifically for people who are hypersensitive in general or allergic to certain animal based products. Because of this, it is better for people to carefully decide whether they desire to take any type of supplementation based on collagen or go through collagen based surgeries and they can do this by consulting a personal healthcare. If any undesired effect appears, the treatment has to be immediately stopped.