Supplementing with collagen peptides may benefit older people and promote skin and bone health during aging.

Q: Is taking collagen a good thing for an older person? There seem to be so many pros and cons.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and it plays an important role in skin and bone health.

As you age, your body’s production of collagen declines, leading to signs of aging like sagging skin and wrinkles. The integrity of the collagen network found in the bones decreases with age as well, leading to a reduction in bone strength (2).

Studies have shown that supplementing with collagen peptides — broken down collagen that’s easier for your body to absorb — may be beneficial for older people and promote skin and bone health during aging.

One study in 102 postmenopausal women with reduced bone mineral density (BMD) found taking 5 grams of collagen peptides daily for 1 year significantly increased BMD of the femoral neck and spine, indicating reduced bone breakdown and increased bone formation (3).

Other studies have observed similar results, suggesting a positive relationship between collagen intake and bone health (4, 5).

Research has also shown that supplementing with collagen may improve skin health in older adults. A review of 11 studies found that taking 2.5–10 grams of collagen per day orally for up to 6 months improved hydration, elasticity, and collagen content of the skin (6).

In fact, there are few cons to older people taking collagen at all. Unlike many dietary supplements, oral collagen supplements have a solid safety profile and aren’t associated with adverse side effects.

Plus, taking collagen supplements can help boost your protein intake. Studies have shown that increasing protein consumption can help reduce age-related muscle loss and boost muscle function, which may improve your overall quality of life (7).

However, collagen supplements can be expensive at around $25–$50 each month, so this is something to consider.

Collagen supplements come in many forms, including powders, pills, and liquids. Collagen powder may be the best choice, as it’s flavorless and can be added to hot and cold foods and beverages for a protein boost.

Jillian Kubala is a Registered Dietitian based in Westhampton, NY. Jillian holds a master’s degree in nutrition from Stony Brook University School of Medicine as well as an undergraduate degree in nutrition science. Aside from writing for Healthline Nutrition, she runs a private practice based on the east end of Long Island, NY, where she helps her clients achieve optimal wellness through nutritional and lifestyle changes. Jillian practices what she preaches, spending her free time tending to her small farm that includes vegetable and flower gardens and a flock of chickens. Reach out to her through her website or on Instagram.