Collagen supplements contain a structural protein found in connective tissues throughout your body, including skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments. Its primary function is to help tissues withstand stretching. As you age, your body makes less collagen. Some people attempt to restore collagen by taking collagen supplements.
Researchers have investigated the effects of collagen supplementation on aging skin, bone density, joint health, and other factors. While results are promising, more research is needed to fully understand whether or not supplementation is effective.
What are the types of collagen supplements?
Most collagen supplements are sourced from animals, particularly pigs, cows, and fish. The composition of supplements varies, but they typically contain collagen types I, II, III, or a mixture of the three.
They can also be found in these three main forms:
- Hydrolyzed collagen. This form, also known as collagen hydrolysate or collagen peptides, is broken down into smaller protein fragments called amino acids.
- Gelatin. The collagen in gelatin is only partially broken down into amino acids.
- Raw. In raw or undenatured forms, the collagen protein remains intact.
Of these, some research shows that your body may absorb hydrolyzed collagen most efficiently. That said, all forms of collagen are broken down into amino acids during digestion and then absorbed and used to build collagen or other proteins your body needs. In fact, you don’t need to take collagen supplements to produce collagen — your body does this naturally using amino acids from whichever proteins you eat.
Yet, some studies suggest that taking collagen supplements may enhance its production and offer unique benefits.
How long does it take for collagen supplements work?
There are several factors at play when determining the overall time required for a medication to fully digest and start working. The following factors all impact an individual’s sensitivity to and absorption of collagen:
• Time of day taken
• Level of physical activity
• Level of stress
• Content of stomach and PH level
• Presence of other medications
Gastric acids may prevent or slow the breakdown of certain medications. Additionally, when a medication is metabolized in the liver, its potency will decrease along with its effectiveness before the therapeutic reaches the bloodstream.
Generally, it takes around 4 weeks of daily supplementation before you can see the effects of collagen supplements. You will typically start to notice a few things: hair growth, skin hydration, and skin moisture, improvement in joint health and skin health, lessening of fine lines, and other possible anti-aging improvements.
However, it can take some months before you see the full effects of a collagen supplement. But, it is usually hard to say just how long it will take before you will see results from any collagen supplement.
What happens if you take collagen every day?
Collagen is generally considered to be a safe and nontoxic daily supplement for healthy individuals, and most people won’t experience adverse side effects. Still, some have reported symptoms, such as an unpleasant taste, feeling overly full, or other stomach complaints.
What are some collagen side effects and risks to be aware of?
In general, there aren’t inherent risks associated with collagen, it’s such an important component of a healthy body. But if you’re taking collagen supplements, know that dietary supplements do not need to be proved safe before they’re sold. If you’re interested in taking a collagen supplement, do your homework, and work with your healthcare team to choose a high-quality supplement from a trusted brand. It’s also worth noting that the source of the collagen matters. If you are allergic to eggs or fish, for example, you are at risk for a serious reaction to collagen derived from those foods.