Collagen For Hair Growth and Preventing Loss
You’ve been noticing more hair in your brush than usual and less hair on your head. Your once luscious locks are now looking limp and lifeless. You’re beginning to feel like you’re losing the battle against thinning or balding.
You’ve tried every shampoo, conditioner, and oil on the market. Your hair is still thinning and maybe you’re even starting to feel hopeless.
Collagen is being touted as the next big thing for hair growth. But can it really help with hair loss?
I've done the research for you and have found that it may, when used the right way.
Before we dive in, I'll mention that that bone broth is commonly used for hair growth because it has more natural collagen than any other food.
The best one with the most collagen and amino acids for hair is the bone broth powder from Bluebird Provisions.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most common protein found in your body because it makes up all of you connective tissue including skin, ligaments, tendons, joints and cartilage. It literally holds our bodies together.
Our bodies make it naturally, but our production slows as we age, leading to hair loss and wrinkles. Many people turn to supplements or foods to try to boost their levels.
Supplements are a decent option if you are desperate. But keep in mind that the quality of most collagen peptide supplements are notoriously low. More on that near the end of this article.
It is way better for hair growth to get it from real foods like bone broth. I'll discuss the best strategies around when to use it, how to use it for best results below. Timing matters to maximize your benefits.
Does collagen increase hair growth?
According to collagen users, it does help with hair growth, strength and volume when used correctly. While there is no direct research backing up these benefits, many people say it helped them thicken their hair, stop hair loss and even regrow hair.
Those are some lofty claims aren't they? Some people go so far as to say that it helps delay greying.
Nowadays, you see many large supplement brands promote hair growth as the main marketing message to get you to use their products.
What they don't show is the disclaimer at the bottom of their webpage, that looks like this.
This covers them legally from making health claims that do not have scientific evidence to support. Meaning that they can say that their product does anything and everything for you, without proof.
What is the impact of collagen on hair growth?
Collagen supplements are often marketed as a way to improve hair growth, but there are no scientific studies that support these claims. That being said, there are some mechanistic benefits that suggest collagen containing foods could help with hair growth.
That is because hair follicles are largely made of collagen. For this reason, brands spend billions of dollars to convince you taking collagen will turn things around for your locks.
That is what 'big pharma' is clinging to when they try to get you to use their products. They prey on our most vulnerable desires: our appearance.
There are amino acids like glycine and proline found in it that help to increase skin hydration and accelerate healing, but it is difficult to extend these benefits to hair.
A recent 2022 review showed that there are some skin healing benefits to collagen, but that "dermatologists need to be wary making claims and promising results to patients when it comes to collagen (1)."
Collagen For Hair Growth Possible Mechanisms
Just because there is no research confirming collagen helps with hair growth directly, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't try it. Tons of people swear by it for growing hair. Often times scientific research is behind what actually works in the 'real world.'
And if it works then who cares if there are placebo-controlled, double-blind studies to support it? Here are a few reasons why it could help you.
1. Stimulates Hair Roots to Form
The unique protein in collagen may promote hair growth by replacing damaged hair follicles on your scalp. This helps to bolster the existing and build up new follicles so that it appears fuller and more voluminous.
2. Amino Acids and Hyaluronic Acid For Healing
Glycine and proline are two unique amino acids that help with wound healing, gut health and the production of new collagen throughout our bodies.
These amino acids help to build new proteins and tissues in our guts, skin, ligaments and maybe hair (2).
The problem is that we lack these two amino acids in a typical 'western diet.' You need to drink bone broth or eat animal skin to get enough of them.
Some dermatologists think that they are essential for keratin production. Keratin is a type of protein that makes up much of our hair, teeth, skin and nails. The idea is that by stimulating keratin production, they can help with hair growth.
3. Reduce Inflammation to Improve Scalp Health
Many skin issues are due to systemic inflammation in the body, your scalp included. There is some evidence that glycine helps to reduce inflammation. The problem is that is doesn't do this in specific areas (3).
This is similar to weight loss. You can't spot reduce fat in one area. It happens throughout your body. Meaning that drinking bone broth to get more collagen and glycine will help reduce inflammation. But whether it does this specifically in the scalp remains a mystery.
4. Boosts Antioxidant Status
Free radicals are harmful molecules that cause oxidative damage throughout your body and can damage your hair and skin. While free radicals and oxidants are a natural byproduct of a healthy body, too many of them leads to chronic health issues.
Most of us are deficient in antioxidants because of environmental pollution, poor air quality, mould, stress, aging, GMO's... you name it.
One of the unique benefits of collagen containing foods like bone broth is that they stimulate the bodies' production of antioxidants. And not just any antioxidants. The most powerful one of all: glutathione.
This helps you fight off infection and deal with inflammation that may mess with your hairline.
Collagen for Hair Loss
Collagen likely works better for delaying hair loss than it does for hair regrowth. This is because it reduces inflammation, restores antioxidants and provides amino acids that may prevent the breakdown of your follicles in the first place.
That being said, there is no specific evidence to prove this hypothesis.
Are there any risks associated with taking collagen supplements for hair growth?
The risks of using collagen for hair growth include digestive issues, diarrhea, bloating, allergic reactions, heartburn, bloating and kidney stones.
While the odds of suffering one of these side effects are low, I mention them because they are documented and do happen. I would urge you to eat more collagen containing foods before you consider a full on supplement.
The supplements are notoriously poor quality because most of the raw materials to make it (cow hides) come from South America and Asia.
The production and animal raising standards are much different in these areas, making it difficult to tell whether you are getting product sourced from GMO and factory farmed animals.
You can learn more about the nasty side effects of collagen supplements.
Best Collagen For Hair Growth
There is no best collagen for hair growth. There is no scientific evidence that it works, but lots of case studies and anecdotal reports. This means that you can try it and see, but don't expect massive results.
In terms of getting started. I always recommend getting your collagen from whole foods like bone broth.
One cup of Bluebird Provisions bone broth gives you 10 g of collagen plus other nutrients like potassium, magnesium, glycine and glutamine that you don't get from collagen.
I always recommend it in place of supplements or peptides because you get more nutrients that could assist in hair and skin health.
How much collagen should you take for hair growth?
Aim for at least 15 g collagen per day for hair growth or to prevent loss. You can easily get this by drinking one mug full of a high protein bone broth.
The timing doesn't really matter, just do your best to get at least 15 g (up to 30 g).
What are the best foods for collagen production?
The best foods for collagen production are beef and chicken bone broth. These give you up to 12 g of collagen per serving along with amino acids like glutamine, proline and glycine to reduce inflammation and optimize production.
You also get hydrating electrolytes, which provide stable energy throughout the day.
Beyond that, you can add in foods like animal skin, chicken wings, slow cooked cuts of beef like oxtail, short ribs and chuck roasts.
These cuts have more gelatin than cheaper cuts like steak and chicken breast.
How long does it take for collagen to work for hair growth?
If collagen is going to work for hair growth, it will take 2-3 months for it to begin to show effects. Keep in mind this is a big 'IF.' You don't know if it will work for you, and results are largely different among different people. It my take twice as long to see any effects and it may not work at all.
Is collagen or biotin better for hair growth?
There is not enough research to say for certain whether collagen or biotin is better for hair growth. They are both individual components in the process, but separating one from another has not been studied.
They work together and are best used with a bit of vitamin C to heal with collagen synthesis.
So, can collagen help with hair growth? While there’s no scientific evidence that they can, many people report anecdotally that they’ve experienced benefits using bone broth in particular because of the amino acids in it.
If you're looking for something to help with your hair loss, consider giving bone broth a try. The best brand for hair, teeth, skin and nails is Bluebird Provisions. You can find them online or on Amazon.
Have you tried using collagen for hair loss or growth? Did it work? Leave a comment and let me know. I would love to hear from you.
Disclaimer: this information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the FDA or CFIA. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult your primary care physician for advise on any of this.