Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food and nutrition. He operates leading natural health website DrAxe.com and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health supplement company. He’s also author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, Keto Diet, Collagen Diet and Ancient Remedies.
By Dr. Josh Axe
Collagen powders are among the most sought out supplements for supporting healthy, elastic and smooth-looking skin, but did you know that you can also take collagen for hair growth?
Within collagen protein, which is a complex protein that helps give structure to various parts of the body, you’ll find amino acids that support the health of connective tissues, skin, bones, muscles and hair.
So can collagen really make your hair grow? The health and thickness of your hair ultimately depends on a number of factors, such as your age, genetics, diet and lifestyle.
However, it’s thought that collagen supplements — such as Multi Collagen Protein powder — in conjunction with other products may help to promote healthy hair growth by providing your body with protein that hair follicles require.
Does Collagen Work for Healthy Hair Growth?
Thick healthy hair is a common interest that many adults have, especially men over the age of 30, but aging women as well.
How does collagen support healthy, thick hair exactly?
Having healthy hair really comes down to having healthy hair follicles — and these follicles require protein and other compounds to keep hair healthy and growing strong.
The greatest benefit of collagen for hair is that it boosts your protein intake. This may help support the hair’s structure — boosting its resilience, shine and strength.
Hair strands are primarily made up of protein, specifically the type called keratin, which is built from smaller units called amino acids that are found in collagen foods and supplements. It’s estimated that about 80–85 percent of your hair is composed of keratin protein. For keratin to be maintained your body needs amino acids; otherwise, chains of fibers in your hair may break up leading to brittle and dull hair.
A natural result of the normal aging process is that the body’s internal collagen production slows down. Therefore, consuming more protein and collagen via help from collagen supplements and a healthy diet are two ways to support your body’s own collagen production and nourish your hair, skin and nails.
What Type of Collagen Is Best for Hair?
Which type of collagen is best for hair? It’s believed that collagen types 1 and 3 are most beneficial for hair and skin health. However, acquiring various types of collagen (did you know that there are over a dozen types?) is always a good idea, since this supports the integrity of different types of tissues, such as joints and those in your gut.
When it comes to absorption, ideally you want to consume the type of collagen supplements that contain hydrolyzed collagen peptides. These smaller peptides are generally thought to be easier for the body to absorb and utilize, which helps you reap the most benefits.
Within Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein powder you’ll find five types of collagen, including types 1 and 3. This unique formula is powered by a clinically studied fermented collagen process that can promote healthy hair thickness and growth while reducing hair breakage.
How Much Collagen to Take for Hair
A general recommendation is for adults to consume between 1 and 3 servings of collagen protein powder daily, or about 10 to 30 grams of collagen per day.
People who have bigger body sizes and who are very active tend to generally require more protein in general, so a higher intake of collagen may be appropriate in these cases.
Of course, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to starting any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including dietary supplementation.
Try adding one scoop to 8 ounces of water, coffee, a smoothie or any beverage, or add some to recipes like pancakes, oatmeal or cookies.
Collagen vs. Biotin
Is collagen or biotin better for healthy hair growth? Biotin, sometimes also called vitamin B7, is an essential water-soluble vitamin that helps to support healthy hair, nails and skin. Some of the ways it does this is by helping to support your body’s keratin infrastructure, and by playing a role in how your body converts and uses nutrients, including fats (which turn into oils that healthy skin and hair need).
Collagen works differently than biotin for hair health because its main role is increasing protein intake and providing amino acids. This means that it’s beneficial to consume adequate amounts of both collagen and biotin ideally, which together may help promote healthy hair thickness, shine and strength.
Foods Brimming with Collagen for Hair
Collagen can be taken in powdered supplement form, which is highly convenient considering these products are usually unflavored. You can also consume collagen from certain foods, as well as “collagen boosters” that help your body make its own collagen.
Some of the best food sources of collagen include:
- Bone broth — bone broth is also available in a Bone Broth Protein powder form for convenience
- Collagen co-factors include foods high in vitamin C (like leafy greens, berries, citrus fruits, peppers, kiwi) as well as foods rich in zinc, manganese and copper
An added benefit of eating a varied, nutrient-dense diet is that you’ll obtain other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that nourish healthy hair and skin, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, B vitamins, iron and folate.