How Long Does It Take For Collagen Supplements To Work?

Collagen supplements are a hot topic among the health and wellness industry as of recently, as collagen is touted for its powerful healing effects. 

From making skin and hair more youthful, to improving workout performance, and nourishing the gut lining, collagen’s list of health claims is quite long. 

However, many people ask the question: "how long does it take collagen to work?"

Just because you started taking collagen supplements doesn't mean you'll automatically start seeing results. This article will explain more about the benefits of taking collagen daily, as well as when you can start reaping the benefits it has to offer.

What is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and it's found everywhere including the gut, muscles, bones, skin, tendons, connective tissues, and even our internal organs. 

There are four types of collagen, but the most common types are Type I and Type II collagen. Collagen supplements can come from different sources and available supplements include marine collagen, bovine collagen, among others.

Collagen is composed of amino acids including glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine. 

There are several benefits you'll notice from taking a daily collagen supplement including firmer skin, stronger hair and nails, amongst many other major benefits like joint support and better gut health. 

Our bodies naturally produce collagen, but as we age the rate at which we make collagen decreases. As a result, people experience a significant reduction in the appearance of skin such as wrinkles, sagging skin, and reduced skin hydration.

Additionally, joint health and bone health can be impacted as well.

Research has found that people start producing 1% less collagen each in after the age of 20. Therefore, it is likely that most adults would benefit from taking collagen supplements, ideally in the form of hydrolyzed collagen.

What Are the Benefits of Taking Collagen?

While it is totally possible to get collagen from foods, taking a powder supplement ensures you are consuming enough to see a real benefit.

In this next section, we'll discuss a bit about the benefits of taking a daily collagen supplementation, and you'll see that collagen supplements has full body benefits.

Improved skin benefits

For one, collagen supplements have been shown to improve skin health.

People who are consuming collagen peptides daily may see improved skin hydration, increased skin elasticity, and may notice their skin is firmer and more youthful.

According to a study in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, those who took collagen peptides daily for two months saw significant improvement in skin elasticity compared to those who took a placebo (1).

Stronger hair and nails

Research also suggests that collagen supplementation may help strengthen hair and nails (23).

Collagen supplements may help increase the rate of nail growth, which can be particularly helpful if someone experiences brittle nails or frequent broken nails.

Although more research is needed, there is some evidence to also suggest that collagen intake from collagen powder or collagen rich foods can make hair stronger and shinier.

Gut health benefits

Collagen supplements have also been shown to improve the health of the gut lining. Not to mention, collagen is one of the main proteins that is found in the intestinal tract.

A stronger gut lining leads to a healthier digestive system and even improved nutrient absorption.

Plus, a strong digestive system is one of the most important factors in fostering a healthy immune system.

Joint support

Many people take collagen supplements because of their joint health benefits.

People with joint pain have experienced significant benefits from collagen such as improved joint mobility and reduced joint stiffness.

Especially when combined with resistance training, taking collagen supplements may lead to joint pain relief.

There is some evidence to suggest that athletes who supplement with collagen have reduced joint pain and therefore an improved performance. Not to mention, collagen can help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis, which makes it a common supplement for older adults where this condition is more common.

Bone density support

Collagen is found in our bones as well, providing a cross-linking pattern, giving way to our bones’ durability and strength.

What’s more, collagen supplements may boost bone density, in turn reducing the risk for osteoporosis, which is a condition where bones become porous and brittle. When combined with resistance training, collagen can make bones stronger and more durable.

However, if you're hoping to enhance bone density, research suggests that because bone turnover takes some time people likely won't reap the benefits in bone health until they have consistently taken collagen for up to a year.

Increased muscle mass

Because collagen is a protein, consuming it can help increase muscle mass. Keep in mind that collagen should not be the only source of protein you consume, as after all it does not contain all essential amino acids.

However, adding collagen supplements to your daily routine can help boost your overall protein intake and therefore boost muscle mass.

How Does Our Body Digest Collagen?

Before beginning to understand how long it may take for collagen supplements to work, it's important to take a brief look into the science behind how we digest, absorb, and metabolize collagen. 

Collagen protein – like all proteins – is composed of a link of amino acids. This link is called a peptide. 

Once we consume protein, hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes – specifically proteases from the pancreas – break down the protein into amino acids and smaller peptide chains. This broken down form of collagen is called hydrolyzed collagen.

These peptides and amino acids are then absorbed into the small intestine where they enter the bloodstream. 

When we consume collagen from animal products, the amino acids are not as readily available for our body to use, since we have to work to break down the protein and digest it. While of course we can still reap the benefits of collagen from food sources, it may not be absorbed as quickly.

However, hydrolyzed collagen peptides found in supplemental form are more bioavailable and easier for the body to use since it is essentially a pre-digested form of collagen. 

How Long Does It Take for Collagen to Work?

So how long does it take for collagen to start working?

Essentially, the time it takes for collagen supplements to start working depends on what you're using it for and also your current baseline collagen status.

Supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides is effective for various uses, but how long it takes to work depends on different factors.

It depends on collagen status

Once hydrolyzed collagen peptides are absorbed into the bloodstream, our bodies can use this collagen pretty quickly – even within an hour, collagen peptides can start working their magic in our cells. 

In general, the time it takes for collagen to work depends on the current collagen levels in your body. If you have low collagen levels, you may notice more of a dramatic difference once you start taking it. 

On the other hand, if you already have a good collagen status, you may not notice as dramatic of an effect. 

Essentially, the lower the collagen levels, the faster you'll likely notice a difference once you start taking collagen products. 

Skin improvement in weeks

If you're taking collagen for your skin, you may notice a difference in a matter of weeks.

According to a study by the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, collagen peptides substantially reduced wrinkles by over 30% after 3 months. Some participants in the study saw results even after just four weeks, so it may vary from person to person (4). 

Other studies showed significant improvement in skin elasticity in a matter of eight to twelve weeks after taking hydrolyzed collagen daily (56). 

Overall, studies consistently show that people have increased collagen density after just four weeks of taking collagen.

Joint health benefits might take longer

If you're taking collagen to reduce joint pain, it may in fact take a bit longer to notice improvements, as collagen density in the body's connective tissue can take longer to build up.

Athletes who took daily 10 grams of collagen peptides daily reported significant improvements in joint pain after 24 weeks. This is all the more reason to ensure you are consistently taking your collagen supplement to reap the most benefit. 

It may depend on how much you take 

Like with many things, the dose determines the effect. Collagen peptide supplements are no different. 

The body requires a frequent supply of collagen. After all, it is the most abundant protein in the body, so we need it in many places for optimal health. 

For example, if you have low amounts of collagen and you begin to consistently take 10 grams of collagen peptides daily, you would likely see a benefit relatively quickly.

On the other hand, if you only sporadically take collagen peptides, or maybe only take half of the recommended dose, it would only make sense that it would be a bit longer before you start noticing results. 

If you're hoping to see results sooner than later, it's ideal to start taking the recommended dose. However, more collagen is not always better as the body can only absorb and utilize so much collagen at one time.

Age plays a role 

As we age, our bodies naturally begin to produce less collagen. This reduction in collagen is one of the factors in why skin starts to sag and why we may experience joint pain when we get older. 

One of the main factors that influences the effectiveness of collagen supplements is age. 

When you're young, your body is producing plenty of collagen. 

If you begin taking a collagen supplement at a young age, you likely won't see any significant benefit. After all, you're making just what you need. 

The potential exception here is if you have a condition or auto-immune disease that interferes with how the body makes collagen. If this is the case, please consult with your physician to see if collagen supplementation is right for you. 

On the other hand, after our body's collagen production starts to decline, it is way more likely you'll notice a benefit from collagen supplementation. 

Ways to Boost Collagen Production

Luckily, there are ways people can naturally enhance their body's ability to produce collagen.

Eating a balanced diet and meeting your body's nutrition needs as well as engaging in regular collagen supplementation are two of the best things you can do consistently.

Eat vitamin C-rich foods

Additionally, focusing on consuming adequate vitamin C can be helpful to improve collagen production. Vitamin C is a precursor for collagen, meaning the body requires vitamin C to be present in order for collagen synthesis to occur.

Some foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, and spinach, for example. 

Take collagen supplements

What's more, research suggests that taking collagen supplements can actually increase the rate at which collagen synthesis occurs.

This means that taking collagen may help stimulate the body to make even more collagen.

Ensure a Healthy Lifestyle For Optimal Results 

It's important to keep in mind that no one supplement can make or break your health. While collagen supplements may help enhance your health, it is simply just an addition to your wellness routine. Oral supplementation of collagen cannot replace the necessity of a nutrient-rich diet and regular exercise.

Be sure not to discount the importance of a well-balanced, whole-foods diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats. 

Collagen peptide supplementation is a fantastic addition to a healthy diet to encourage healthy skin, hair, and nails, as well as supporting healthy joints and a strong immune system. 

However, if your diet is lacking in other areas, collagen can only do so much. 

Be sure to eat a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods. 

Also be sure to get plenty of adequate and complete protein sources, as collagen does not contain all essential amino acids.


Limit processed foods

Aim to limit your intake of added sugars, refined flours and oils, sodium, and processed foods, as these types of foods can impair skin, gut health, immune health, and increase inflammation. 

Essentially, a poor diet works against the benefits you are aiming to see by taking collagen in the first place. 

Reduce alcohol intake

Alcohol consumption can also interfere with collage synthesis, so it's a good idea to limit your intake.

Excessive alcohol intake regardless of collagen can take a toll on skin health, joint health, and can also impair gut health and the immune system.

Avoid smoking

In addition to dietary habits that can impede collagen status, lifestyle habits such as smoking and excess sun exposure can negatively impact how the body makes collagen.

Smoking leads to increased inflammation, which can cascade to the breakdown of collagen and elastic skin fibers. This leaves the skin duller, rougher, and less bouncy than it would be otherwise

Key Takeaways 

Many people take collagen supplements to improve the health of their skin, hair, nails, digestion, and more. There are many studies to support the effectiveness of taking collagen peptides, specifically, as these are more easily absorbed by the body.

This article explained many benefits of collagen and answered the common question: "how long does it take for collagen supplements to work?"

How long it takes for collagen supplements to work depends on many factors including age, dosage, diet and lifestyle, and individual collagen needs. 

In general, most people will see a benefit after taking 10 grams of collagen peptides daily for 4-12 weeks. However, keep in mind that this will vary from person to person. 

Most importantly, ensure to eat a healthy, balanced diet, rich in whole foods to reap the most benefit from your collagen supplement.