The human body is full of collagen. It’s the most abundant type of protein in our body but as we age, our system produces less of it. The good thing is that you can take collagen supplements independently. In this article, you’ll know how long it takes for collagen supplements to work in your body.
If you’re interested to know how long it takes for collagen supplements to work, keep reading.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Collagen?
The numerous benefits of collagen supplement intake daily include improving your skin health. Collagen is a type of protein that can help create new skin cells to replace dead skin cells for better-looking and healthy skin.
Aside from your skin, collagen can help build bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage which can enhance your joint health and relieve joint pain.
Preventing bone loss is also a benefit of taking collagen supplements as it stimulates the cells that contribute to bone formation.
While your bones receive assistance, collagen also helps create muscles that can be beneficial for those who are concerned with taking care of their physical health.
Collagen also promotes heart health as it aids in creating blood vessels for stronger blood circulation in the body.
The protein in collagen is not the only thing with benefits. The amino acids that a collagen supplement contains also strengthen hair and nails.
Precautions and Side Effects
While there are many benefits to collagen supplements, there are also side effects. Most collagen supplements come from the skin, scale, and bones of fishes. People with allergies to fish, shellfish, and eggs, must be careful of hydrolyzed collagen peptides.
These hydrolyzed gelatin products also have minimal side effects on your gastrointestinal health where you can feel bloated or have an unpleasant aftertaste.
Do Collagen Supplements Work?
Collagen intake has been around for centuries as most Chinese women consume pig’s feet and shark fins for firmer skin and stronger hair. Nowadays, you’ll find powder formulas and supplements with a variety of flavors to suit your preference.
In a 2014 study, 69 women aged 35 to 55 years old were asked to intake 2.5 or 5 grams of collagen daily for 8 weeks. Results show significant improvement in skin elasticity as compared to those who didn’t take any.
There is also a study on 53 men in their 70s who experienced muscle loss from aging but were able to gain more muscle and lose more fat after taking 15 grams of collagen daily for three months. The collagen supplementation was accompanied by lifting weights.
If you’re wondering how effective collagen can be for skin health, another study of 89 long-term care residents with pressure sores or bed sores was able to heal their wounds faster.
How Long Does It Take for Collagen Supplements to Work?
Collagen supplements provide improvements in skin, nails, muscle, and joint health. These changes will become apparent after three to six months of regular supplementation. Although, the results will highly depend on various factors such as age, nutritional status, and overall health.
So, how should you intake collagen supplements? Should you take it on an empty stomach? Can you intake too much collagen? There are many myths about collagen supplementation we’re here to bust them for you.
Should I Take Collagen on an Empty Stomach?
There is no scientific basis on whether the acid on your empty stomach can help process collagen better. The acid on your empty stomach cannot substitute the amino acid tryptophan that collagen lacks.
When the collagen enters our digestive system, the protein is absorbed, processed, and distributed to where our body needs it the most. So whether your stomach is full or not, it’s safe to intake collagen.
Can You Intake Too Much Collagen?
Collagen supplementation has a limit. The recommended dosage is 20 to 40 grams per day. However, you should still consult with your doctor to know what’s best for your nutrition.
Taking collagen supplements beyond what your body needs can have adverse effects such as headaches, digestive issues, and fatigue. This is caused by an imbalance in the amino acids that your body should have.
What Results Can Be Felt When Taking Collagen?
Our body’s natural collagen acts as a glue for our muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, organs, and skin. It also has three types.
Type I collagen is responsible for building skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments while type II helps make cartilage or the flexible tissue between bones and in your ears and nose. Collagen also assists in creating muscles and blood vessels. Type III is in charge of this task.
As we age, our body’s collagen production decreases. With lesser protein and essential amino acids, our system experiences trouble restoring muscles.
By taking collagen supplements, reports show improvements in skin aging, joint, knee, and arthritic pain, osteoarthritis symptoms, muscle mass, and strength. This has also been the reason why collagen supplement intake has become popular.
Which Collagen Results Can Be Felt First?
Collagen supplementation initially gives enhanced nail strength and skin elasticity. Most information on these are anecdotes from other people who use collagen and are not necessarily verified by science.
Improvement of collagen supplements on joints, bones, and muscles may take a longer time to effect and there are limited studies on this topic. Most scientific studies conducted have stated which results the participants felt, but not what they have felt first.
How Long Do Skin Benefits Take?
Skin benefits from a hydrolyzed collagen supplement have more data and in a recent meta-analysis in 2021, reduced wrinkles and improved skin elasticity and hydration have been apparent in 1,125 participants ages 20-70 for only 90 days.
Although, this doesn’t mean that your body will have a steady collagen production after three months. Our bodies continue to produce enzymes that break down collagen. You must sustain regular intake of collagen supplements
How Long Do Joint Results Take?
As for joint health, a white paper published by Complementary and Alternative Medicine stated 250 patients with knee pain showed significant improvement in knee joint function and pain after daily hydrolyzed collagen supplementation for six months.
How Long Does It Take To Get Additional Benefits?
Collagen supplements’ additional benefits on tendons and muscle mass may take more time unlike the effects on nail health, hair texture, and skin moisture.
In a study on twenty runners with Achilles tendon injuries, the patients were able to return to running after taking 2.5 grams of collagen peptides twice daily.
Collagen supplement on body mass, on the other hand, can take 12 weeks according to a study on recreationally active men who took 15 grams of collagen peptides an hour before training daily.
Taking collagen supplements daily will vary from person to person. Studies show results but there are limited references on the timeframe. Technology has also offered many collagen supplement forms: collagen powder, collagen peptides, collagen pills, and formulations with vitamin C.
There are also more opportunities for scientists to explore what benefits taking collagen daily has for people with different nutritional needs. Before taking collagen supplements, consult your doctor to match the dietary supplements your body needs.
It can take three to six months for collagen supplements to take effect in your body. There are various forms of collagen available on the market like collagen peptides, collagen powder, pills, and other formulations with vitamin C, but it will be up to you if you need more collagen.
The recommended amount is 20-40 grams daily, and taking too much also has risks on your gastrointestinal health and may also cause fatigue.
Overall, taking collagen is not such a bad idea when taken in moderation and if approved by your doctor. Don’t forget to consider lifestyle factors such as daily exercise and a healthy diet to enjoy the most out of collagen supplements’ health benefits.
If you liked this article, you might want to read our other articles at ExpertFitness.org.
Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
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