Laing S, Bielfeldt S, Ehrenberg C, Wilhelm KP. A dermonutrient containing special collagen peptides improves skin structure and function: a randomized, placebo-controlled, triple-blind trial using confocal laser scanning microscopy on the cosmetic effects and tolerance of a drinkable collagen supplement. J Med Food. February 2020;23(2):147-152. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2019.0197.
Oxidative stress – whether from environmental agents or as a natural consequence of aging – can induce changes to structural components of the skin that lead to dryness and wrinkle formation. Collagen peptides may work synergistically with other dermonutrients to stimulate the endogenous production of the extracellular components in the skin, improving its appearance. The purpose of this randomized, placebo-controlled, triple-blind trial was to investigate the cosmetic effect of an oral collagen supplement on the appearance of skin in healthy women.
Sixty females aged 40-70 years were enrolled in the study. Exclusion criteria for study inclusion were as followed: active skin disease at the measurement site, use of immunosuppressive drugs, antiphlogistic agents, analgesic drugs, antihistamines, antibiotics or topical medication at the measurement site before or during the study, and use of skin care products at the measurement site before the study. The participants were instructed to maintain their habitual living habits and not begin or change hormone therapy. The authors provided no information on their recruitment methods.
The participants were randomized to receive 84 drinking ampoules that contained 25 mL of either the test product (n = 30) or placebo (n = 30). They were delivered in identical drinking ampoules and were to be taken by the participants before or with a meal daily for 12 weeks. The test product (Elasten; Quiris Healthcare GmbH & Co. KG; Gütersloh, Germany) contained 2.5 grams of short-chain collagen peptides, 666 mg of acerola (Malpighia glabra, Malpighiaceae) fruit extract, 80 mg of vitamin C, 3 mg of zinc citrate, 2.3 mg of vitamin E, and 50 µg of biotin. The test product also contained potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, carboxymethylcellulose, citric acid, natural aroma, and water. The placebo also contained these ingredients but did not contain any nutrients.
Assessments were performed before the first intake (day 1) and the day after 12 weeks (day 85). Compliance and tolerability were assessed monthly. The primary outcome was the change in collagen structure, and the secondary outcomes were the participants' subjective assessment of the product's traits and effectiveness on skin quality.
The mean age of the 60 participants was 54.4 ± 7.5 years. Assessed by confocal laser scanning microscopy, a significant improvement in collagen structure of the facial skin was demonstrated with the test product. While there was no significant difference detected in collagen structure for placebo, there was a nonsignificant deterioration of the collagen structure on day 85 compared with day 1. For the analysis of subjective assessments, the test product favored significant improvements regarding skin moisture (P = 0.035), suppleness (P = 0.024), and softness (P = 0.043), compared with placebo. The participants noted a superior effect of the test product compared with placebo on all body parts (face, hands, décolleté, neck, backside, legs, belly), but noted the best subjective ratings for backside, legs, neck, and belly. No adverse effects were reported in either group.
Based on their results, the authors conclude that a supplement containing collagen peptides and other dermonutrients demonstrated measurable cosmetic effects on skin quality and collagen. The authors report that their findings are in line with previously published studies that have investigated the effects of collagen supplements on the extracellular matrix of skin.
The authors report no conflict of interest.
–Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD
Peer Reviewers Comment
The authors refer to “synergistically acting dermonutrients”, but do not attempt to demonstrate synergy. Vitamin C is a known required cofactor for collagen synthesis, so inclusion in the supplement is logical. No chemical characterization of the acerola fruit extract is provided, but typically, this plant is considered a rich source of vitamin C when fresh, so this may be the intended role of this lone botanical in the supplement.