You’ve probably heard about collagen before, and maybe you’re already taking it.
But to really get the most of your supplements, it’s time to ask the next level of questions: what type of collagen is best for me? And how much collagen per day do you need to take to maximize its benefits?
In this article, we’ll cover that second question and dive into ideal dosage for collagen supplements.
Because collagen has so many uses, it can be tricky for consumers to know how much is best to take. Likewise, it can be difficult for companies to decide what dosages to recommend on their labels.
To sum it up, taking about 2.5 to 15 grams of collagen protein per day is the right amount for most people’s needs. A hydrolyzed version is ideal because it is already broken down into easily digestible components called “peptides.”
However, you can further tailor your collagen regimen depending on your personal health goals.
Take note that research about these specific dosages is still emerging, but we’ve put together a rundown of what is available.
If you’re taking collagen to improve your skin, joints, or muscle mass, read on for more guidance.
How much collagen is beneficial for overall health?
Most research considers 2.5 to 15 grams per day as a safe, functional collagen dosage to reap the benefits of collagen (1).
At 9.5 grams per one 1 scoop serving, our collagen peptides fall right into this sweet spot.
Collagen has been found to be helpful for skin elasticity, wound healing, hair and nail health, bone loss prevention, and osteoarthritis.
Like other proteins, collagen also helps promote satiety - in other words, feeling satisfied after eating.
Collagen is arguably one of the most important proteins in the human body, making up our skin, bone, teeth, tendon, ligaments, organs, cartilages, muscle, and blood vessels.
How much collagen is needed for skin improvements?
To reap the benefits of collagen for anti-aging, you do not need a very high dose.
Collagen naturally starts to decline by around age 30, so taking exogenous collagen may help combat this loss and smooth your skin (2).
One study found that dosages as low as 2.5 to 5 grams per day for 4 weeks were successful in increasing skin elasticity in elderly women (3).
Another study concluded that 10 grams of collagen peptides taken as part of a fruit-based beverage was significantly more successful in decreasing the depth of existing skin wrinkles in middle-aged women compared to placebo after only 9 weeks (4).
What about collagen for joint health?
If you’re seeking pain relief from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or a similar condition, studies have found that hydrolyzed collagen dosages as low as 8 to 12 grams per day can provide improved plasma collagen levels and symptom relief (5, 6).
Other research has shown that higher dosages (up to 40 grams per day) for 90 days are appropriate and useful in improving joint flexion and extension in people with a history of arthritis.
Participants in the test group receiving supplemental collagen also reported a significantly later onset of joint pain during exercise after 120 days of supplementation (7).
How much collagen helps with building muscle mass?
If your goal is building muscle mass and improving your body composition, taking 15 grams per day of collagen might be a useful target.
What is the best type of collagen supplement?
Collagen comes in several forms, including gelatin, undenatured collagen, and hydrolyzed collagen.
Hydrolyzed collagen is the ideal form to use because it is broken down into easily absorbable pieces called “peptides” (10).
While proteins are long chains of peptides and amino acids, peptides are short chains that are more readily usable by the body.
Hydrolyzed collagen comes from bovine (cow), porcine (pork), or marine (fish) sources.
Because collagen is made from the connective tissue of animals, there are no vegan collagen supplements. Collagen is naturally dairy, soy, and gluten-free.
Foods that promote natural collagen production
Eating foods that naturally contain collagen is not required for your body to make collagen of its own, but it might be helpful.
Let’s quickly recap how the human body makes collagen: like any other protein, collagen is made from a specific combination of amino acids.
These amino acids come from protein that you have eaten and digested. If you’re eating a wide variety of protein of any kind, you should have the amino acids available to synthesize collagen.
Collagen protein contains 19 different amino acids total, with hydroxyproline, glycine, and proline as the top three. Hydroxyproline is actually unique to collagen and not found in other proteins.
Eating foods that naturally contain collagen may be helpful to ensure that hydroxyproline is available for your body to synthesize collagen.
Foods that contain the most collagen include beef, fish, chicken, dairy, and eggs.
Slowly cooking connective tissue or bones to make dishes like bone broth is a particularly helpful way to get dietary collagen.
Can you take too much collagen?
Supplements can become “too much of a good thing” if you’re not careful, so noting the safe upper limits of collagen is important. You might also be wondering if collagen contributes to weight gain or other side effects.
Collagen is considered generally safe for the most people. However, there is no standardized upper limit for collagen.
A recent study suggests that collagen is safer in much higher doses than the 2.5 - 15 g/day recommendation that most studies support (11).
These authors suggest that up to 36% of our protein needs can be met with collagen without any negative consequences.
What does 36% of daily protein needs look like in real life?
A 150 lb person who is mildly active requires about 55-70 grams of protein per day. That 20-25 grams per day of that total protein could be collagen.
Some people who have taken higher doses of collagen have reported gastrointestinal discomforts, like nausea and excess gas (12).
Can collagen make you gain weight?
Collagen is unlikely to cause weight gain - in fact, it may actually help with weight loss.
Weight gain occurs when calorie intake exceeds the amount of calories your body actually needs and uses. Collagen does not pose a huge issue for weight gain because it is relatively low in calories.
Naked Collagen offers 9 grams of protein and 0.6 g of branched chain amino acids for only 35 calories per serving.
If you choose to consume collagen supplements in a beverage or food formulation, make sure you are aware of what other ingredients are involved.
While collagen itself is relatively low in calories, calories can add up quickly when combined with sweeteners and other additives. It’s helpful to take this into consideration if you are looking to lose or maintain your weight.
How is it best to take collagen?
There is no one right way to take your collagen supplement, which means you can pick what best fits your lifestyle.
Collagen is virtually tasteless and highly soluble. Many people find collagen supplements appealing because the powder can be easily dissolved into coffee, tea, smoothies, and other foods.
When it comes to supplements, consistency is key. Here are a few tips for never forgetting your daily dose (or doses):
- Pair taking your collagen with another activity you regularly do, like brewing coffee or putting together breakfast
- Set an alarm on your phone to prompt you to mix up your collagen and take it
- Keep one container of collagen at home and another at your office (or wherever else you spend a significant amount of time) so it’s readily available
Make the Most of Collagen
Collagen is safe, easy-to-use, and has promising potential for health benefits.
Choose a high-quality collagen product and take it in the dose that fits your needs, whether that’s for joint health, skin health, or just daily maintenance.
Pairing your collagen with a nutrient-dense diet (including plenty of vitamin C, which aids in collagen synthesis), adequate rest, and varied physical activity will make your gains go even farther.