Collagen vs Biotin: Compared by Nutritionist

When it comes to beauty supplements, collagen and biotin are at the top of the list. 

Although these supplements are associated with many different benefits for health, what is the difference between the two, and which ones work best? 

Let’s find out. 

Key Takeaways: Collagen vs Biotin

  • Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the human body and is found mainly in our connective tissues, tendons, bones, and cartilage.
  • Biotin is a B-complex vitamin known for its role in energy production but is also a very popular beauty supplement for radiant hair, skin, and nails.
  • Your body can produce collagen on its own while you must obtain biotin from your diet. 
  • One supplement is not better than the other. They both provide their own set of benefits. 

What is Collagen?

Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the human body. It is made from the amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline and can be found in our connective tissues, tendons, bones, and cartilage [1, 2]. 

Additionally, collagen plays an essential role in a variety of body processes including immunity, tissue repair, and maintenance. Although our body makes collagen on its own, we can also get it from foods such as bone broth, chicken and fish skin, and collagen supplements. 

As we age, we produce less collage and what we have begins to break down. Although this is unavoidable, certain lifestyle factors can increase collagen breakdown, such as smoking, excessive alcohol intake, excessive sun exposure, and poor diet  [3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

Collagen supplementation is popular to help target and treat signs of aging by boosting hydration and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen supplements may even help to treat joint pain, improve bone health, and boost muscle mass when combined with resistance training [8, 9, 10].

Collagen Health Benefits

  • One of the most popular uses for collagen is for skin health. Studies have found that collagen supplementation can help to improve skin appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the skin's hydration and elasticity. Collagen supplements may also boost collagen production along with the production of other important compounds for skin structure, such as elastin and fibrillin [8, 11].
  • Collagen supplementation may help to keep the cartilage that protects your joints healthy and lubricated. It’s also believed it may help stimulate collagen production in the joints which can reduce inflammation, stiffness, and pain in those with conditions such as osteoarthritis [12].
  • Collagen may also help to boost the strength of our bones. One study conducted on post-menopausal women with decreased bone mineral density found that collagen supplementation helped to increase this when taken consistently over the course of a year [9].
  • Because collagen is a protein, taking collagen supplementation along with regular resistance training can help to boost lean body mass. Although effective, collagen supplementation isn’t any different than supplementing with whey protein supplements [10, 13].

What is Biotin?

Biotin is a B-complex vitamin, also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H. This vitamin is known for its role in energy production but is also a very popular beauty supplement for radiant hair, skin and nails. Additionally, biotin is an essential vitamin during pregnancy to help with fetal development [14, 15].

It is recommended that adults get between 30-100 micrograms of biotin daily. You can get this from biotin-rich foods such as meat, fish, organ meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, and sweet potatoes. 

Symptoms of biotin deficiency include hair loss and dry skin which is why many companies might recommend taking a supplement. However, deficiencies in this nutrient are rare [16, 17]. 

Biotin Health Benefits

  • Biotin deficiencies can result in hair loss and dry, scaly skin. Supplementation during this time may help to improve these symptoms however, there is currently no strong evidence to suggest any benefit to taking biotin supplements for improving hair, skin, and nail health in healthy individuals without a deficiency [18].
  • Biotin is an essential vitamin for fetal development during pregnancy. Although it’s rare, some pregnant women may become deficient in biotin therefore during this time it is encouraged that women take prenatal vitamins that contain biotin during pregnancy [19].
  • Some research suggests biotin supplementation may help to improve blood sugar management in those with type 2 diabetes however, further research on this is warranted [20].

Which is Better for Skin: Collagen or Biotin?

Both nutrients play an important role in overall health. However, your body can produce collagen on its own while you must obtain biotin from your diet. 

When it comes to skin health, collagen supplementation will likely provide greater benefits than biotin for healthy adults as biotin deficiency is rare. Additionally, older adults may notice a greater impact from collagen supplements as collagen production begins to decrease after the age of 30.

Is Collagen or Biotin Better for Hair?

Both collagen and biotin can help to improve the health and appearance of hair. However, biotin supplementation may provide the most benefit if a biotin deficiency is present. 

One study found that biotin may help to boost hair growth in those who suffered hair loss as a result of rapid weight loss or biotin deficiency. This study suggests that biotin supplementation can help improve hair growth in those with and without a deficiency in this nutrient however, it is limited to a small sample size and further research is still needed [21].

Collagen supplementation may help promote strong, healthy hair by helping to protect damage to the hair follicles by acting as an antioxidant. Because it helps with skin elasticity and strength, it may help to prevent thinning hair by supporting a healthy scalp [22, 23].

For overall hair health, one is not better than the other but instead they both provide their own set of benefits. 

Collagen or Biotin for Nails?

As mentioned above, both collagen and biotin come with their own set of benefits. When it comes to nails, collagen contains amino acids that are essential for nail growth while biotin may help with nail strength. Because collagen and biotin function differently, it’s not a matter of which is better but instead ensuring you have adequate amounts of both [24]. 

What Foods are Rich in Collagen?

There are only a few foods that are rich in collagen, bone broth, organ meats, and chicken and fish skin. However, there are many foods that are believed to help promote the production of collagen, specifically those that are rich in vitamin C, zinc, and copper. Some of these foods include:

  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Egg whites
  • Garlic
  • Leafy greens
  • Beans
  • Bell peppers
  • Tomatoes 

What Foods are Rich in Biotin?

Biotin deficiency is rare however, if you aren’t sure if you are getting enough biotin in your diet, consider incorporating more of the following foods into your diet [16]: 

  • Liver
  • Legumes
  • Nuts 
  • Seeds
  • Egg
  • Bananas
  • Spinach 
  • Milk
  • Oatmeal 

How Much Collagen Should I Take Per Day?

Collagen supplements are very popular and studies show that supplemental collagen is more effective at boosting collagen production in the body than consuming dietary sources alone. However, there are no current recommendations for collagen dosing in supplementation.

If you are considering adding a collagen supplement to your routine, most research studies support taking 2.5-15 grams consistently for at least a few months to see results [25].

How Much Biotin Per Day?

It is recommended that adults get between 30-100 micrograms of biotin daily. To avoid deficiency, most biotin supplements contain the daily recommended intake. Because Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, any that your body cannot use is excreted through the urine and toxicity risk is low [16].

Can I Take Collagen Every Day?

Collagen supplements are considered safe and can be taken daily. In fact, for best results it’s recommended to take collagen supplements consistently over a long period. Even if your body is not low in collagen, taking a supplement will not cause harm as collagen is a protein that can be used, just like dietary sources such as meat and dairy, by your body.

Supplements With Collagen and Biotin

If you are interested in adding collagen and biotin supplements to your beauty routine, consider a supplement that contains both to get the most bang for your buck, such as Naked Nutrition’s Ella Daily Beauty Protein powder. One serving contains 30 mcg of biotin (100% of the recommended daily intake) and 20 grams of protein from grass-fed collagen and organic seeds.

When choosing a supplement, be sure to choose one from a trusted brand that provides third-party testing for quality and purity. Avoid products that contain high amounts of added sugars or artificial ingredients. 

Always speak to your doctor or healthcare provider before adding a supplement to your routine, especially if you are taking any medications for a chronic condition.