FYI: This Is Why Your Collagen Supplement Isn't Working
When you invest in supplements like collagen, it's tempting to look for results right away. However, many collagen supplements take a few weeks (perhaps more, depending on the benefit you're hoping for) to show visible results—so remember, patience is key.
Still, it's only fair to ensure your supplement is actually putting in the work. In short: If your formula has a clinically backed dose and a hydrolyzed form, you should be set. Unfortunately, many brands engage in what we call, "fairy dusting," which can seriously dampen a supplement's efficacy. Allow us to explain.
What "fairy dusting" means in supplements
You may have heard the term "fairy dusting" in the world of skin care before. This simply means including ingredients at such a small amount that they don't really have much of an impact yet advertising them as the hero ingredient.
Take, for example, a peptide serum that's 99.99% glycerin and only 0.01% peptides. (That's an exaggeration, but you get the point.) This same concept can apply to the world of collagen supplements as well. Meaning, a brand might market their collagen as potent, yet the actual dose does next to nothing.
What to look for
So when you're shopping for collagen supplements, you want to make sure you're getting enough of the good stuff, especially hydrolyzed collagen peptides (aka "no fairy dusting" of the main ingredient).
The recommended dosage varies depending on what benefit you're looking for, so keep the following information in mind:
- Skin: Studies show that a range of 2.5 to 10 grams per day can be beneficial for skin support1.
- Muscle: Studies show that 15 to 20 grams per day can help muscle mass2, muscle strength3, and soreness after exercise4.
- Joint: 2.5 to 5 grams per day has been shown to help joint support5—however, if you are taking UC-II specifically, you only need 40 milligrams per day6.
- Bone: The available research suggests that 5 grams per day provides bone support7.
These nuances can be a lot to juggle when you're searching for a collagen supplement. Good news: We did the work for you! Start here, with a curated list of the best options on the market, all backed by a nutrition Ph.D., and no fairy-dusted ingredients.
To avoid "fairy dusting" in collagen supplements, make sure your pick has a large enough dose for the benefit you're after, and always look for a blend that contains vitamin C. (Plus, make sure to actually take it daily, as the research-backed benefits come from daily use.) Want to learn more about why collagen supplementation can be beneficial? Here's a full list of perks.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including skin care, women’s health, mental health, sustainability, social media trends, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends and innovations, women’s health research, brain health news, and plenty more.