Collagen Supplements: How Long Do They Take To Work?

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Collagen is a crucial component of your body. It makes your joints flexible, allowing you to move, bend, flex, and stretch. It also is part of your skin. The human body contains around 28 types of collagen, and each has its own unique role to play.

Collagen supplements are becoming fast popular in promoting certain important benefits. They are thought to help hair shine, reduce the signs of aging, and promote bone and join health.

But how effective are collagen supplements? How long do they take to offer a specific benefit? Here, we answer these queries and shed more light on the benefits and potential side effects of collagen supplements. Take a look.

Why Should You Take Collagen?

Collagen is produced by the fibroblast cells in the body. However, this production reduces with age, leading to wrinkles, sagging skin, among other issues. This is where collagen supplements are recommended. These supplements help keep your skin young and glowing for a long time. These are broken down into digestible forms of collagen.

Collagen supplements are usually found in a powdered form and are referred to as hydrolyzed collagen, collagen hydrolysate, collagen peptides, or gelatin.

Taking collagen has quite a number of benefits. Let’s discover them in the following section.

Health Benefits Of Taking Collagen

1. May Reduce Signs Of Premature Aging

Collagen density in the skin reduces with age. This leads to wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin, and reduced skin elasticity. This is where collagen products may help. Studies show that short-term and long-term use of collagen supplements may help in wound healing, increase skin elasticity and hydration, and boost collagen density in the skin.

2. May Help Maintain Joint Flexibility

Joints may lose their elasticity with growing age and reducing collagen. This may also lead to a rigid feeling and pain, making one difficult to move and triggering joint inflammation. Taking oral collagen supplements may help alleviate these symptoms and improve mobility and flexibility in all the body’s joints. A study conducted at Penn State University showed that taking collagen hydrolysate supplements may treat joint pain in those with osteoarthritis.

3. May Heal A Leaky Gut

Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease were found to have lower levels of type IV collagen. Oral collagen supplements might help treat leaky gut. However, more information is warranted in this regard.

4. May Boost Muscle Strength

Taking collagen supplements daily, along with resistance training, was found to promote muscle strength in the elderly. The supplements may also help repair muscle tissue and aid wound healing.

5. May Strengthen Your Hair

Collagen is found in different tissues, including your hair. Some believe that taking collagen supplements may promote hair strength. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

How Long Does Collagen Take To Act?

Listed below are the time periods collagen takes to offer a specific benefit:

  •  Better skin health and appearance: 1 to 3 months
  •  Improved muscle mass and strength: 3 months
  •  Reduced soreness after physical training: Within a few days
  •  Better joint health: 4 to 6 months
  •  Better tendon support (combined with strength exercises): 3 to 6 months
  •  Better bone density: 12 months
  •  Stronger nails: 6 months

The time collagen takes to act on specific tissues in the body varies.

For instance, collagen may take around 12 weeks to show its effects on skin, but may take twelve weeks to six months to show any effects on joints.

Effects on a localized area of a bone or a joint may take about 12 weeks or 90 days to show.

Collagen supplements take about 48 hours to bring about muscle recovery.

They may take 24 weeks to boost nail strength and reduce brittleness.

Collagen supplements may take about six to twelve weeks to show positive changes on skin. In some cases, a significant increase in skin elasticity was observed as early as four weeks. The longer the use of collagen supplements, the better the skin benefits.

Collagen is available in several forms. Which one should you take?

What Is The Best Form Of Collagen To Take?

Collagen supplements are available in various forms.

  •  Powdered Collagen

The powdered form of collagen is the most popular and most accessible. It is known to get absorbed quickly into the body and also provides best results. Among these powders, hydrolyzed collagen powder hydrolyses easily into any food and drink. You can add it to your morning cup of tea or your workout smoothie.

  •  Liquid Collagen

Liquid collagen supplements are also easy to be incorporated into your daily diet. However, measuring them could be a challenge. Nevertheless, they come in a variety of fun flavors and most people enjoy taking them.

  •  Collagen Capsules

Collagen supplements are also available as capsules or tablets that are pre-dosed or pre-measured. But their only downside is that one capsule is usually not enough for a day, and individuals may have to take at least two or more capsules. But the upside is they are convenient and easy to be carried with you. Certain collagen capsules are meant for topical application.

  •  In Skin Care Products

Collagen is increasingly being used in skin care and beauty products. However, when applied to skin, collagen does not penetrate it. Topical application of collagen only gives short-term radiance, glow, and a youthful appearance. It is best to take collagen orally for long-term results. In addition, some ingredients like vitamin C that are found in anti-aging and anti-wrinkle creams stimulate collagen production in the skin.

  •  Collagen Injections

Collagen injections contain bovine collagen as they resemble human collagen. These injections are commonly used as fillers under the eyes, lips, etc., to give them a fuller look. They also help reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and scars.

Taking the right dose of collagen supplements is crucial. One scoop of collagen powder is usually recommended for healthy skin and can be added to your smoothie or morning drink. You will start noticing effects after two weeks. Marine collagen is preferred for skin health.

You may take 15 gm of collagen daily for muscle strength, and 11 gm of collagen per day to maintain bone metabolism.

However, these dosage values are based on anecdotal evidence. Consult your doctor for more information regarding the same.

What Is The Best Time To Take Collagen Supplements?

You can take collagen supplements anytime during the day. However, following are certain guidelines you can keep in mind:

  •  For skin healing and muscle repair: Take collagen in the evening as complete restoration and healing occur at night. Taking collagen in the evening can also supplement the body’s natural healing and repair process.
  •  For weight loss: The best time to take a collagen supplement for weight loss and management is in the morning, preferably before you workout. Collagen may boost metabolism and give you an energy boost throughout the day.
  •  For treating body pain and inflammation: Consume 1-4 spoons of collagen supplement spread through the day.

Are There Any Side Effects And Risks Of Taking Collagen Supplements?

Collagen supplements are usually safe as collagen is already a part of the body. However, taking more than three scoops per day may result in certain side effects. These include:

  •  Discomfort in the body in the form of gas or bloating. These symptoms can occur when you take a high dose of collagen.
  •  Excess thirst may also. If you feel too thirsty, drink as much water as you can.
  •  Some people may experience headaches, dizziness, or sleeping problems.
  •  Other side effects people might experience include uneasiness in the stomach, diarrhea, and skin rashes.

Precautions To Take

Collagen supplements are popular, and many people consume them along with other plant-based and food-based protein powders. However, consult with your doctor before taking collagen in any form if you have kidney disease. This is particularly important if you have kidney stones.

The Takeaway

Many people wonder if they should take collagen supplements. While they seem to offer some benefits, research is still underway to further determine their long-term effects. Hence, always speak to your healthcare provider to determine what supplement is best suited for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you take collagen daily?

Collagen is a safe substance and can be taken as a daily supplement. However, it is best to consult with your doctor before taking these supplements.

Can collagen supplements damage kidneys?

Collagen supplements are safe and do not directly cause kidney damage. However, these supplements are not recommended to those having pre-existing kidney conditions, including kidney stones. While moderate amounts of collagen consumed in the diet are not harmful, additional supplements can aggravate a pre-existing condition.

Is collagen good or bad for the liver?

Collagen contains glycine, an amino acid that is thought to protect the liver from toxins. However, more research is warranted to understand the role of glycine in collagen in promoting liver health.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. The Collagen Family
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3003457/
  2. Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30681787/
  3. 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18416885/
  4. Serum laminin and collagen IV in inflammatory bowel disease
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14600124/
  5. Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4594048/
  6. The effect of a hydrolyzed collagen-based supplement on wound healing in patients with burn: A randomized double-blind pilot clinical trial
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  7. Daily oral supplementation with collagen peptides combined with vitamins and other bioactive compounds improves skin elasticity and has a beneficial effect on joint and general wellbeing
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  8. The effects of collagen peptides on muscle damage
    inflammation and bone turnover following exercise: a randomized
  9. Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28786550/
  10. Oral Intake of Low-Molecular-Weight Collagen Peptide Improves Hydration Elasticity and Wrinkling in Human Skin: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29949889/
  11. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind placebo-controlled study
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23949208/
  12. The Collagen Family
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3003457/
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