There’s a good chance you’ve heard about collagen before, and maybe you’re already taking it.
But to really get the most out of your supplement, there are some important things you need to know.
First, how to choose the best type of collagen for your goals. And next, how much collagen per day to take to maximize the benefits. These factors can play a significant role in the results you experience from your supplement.
In this article, we’ll cover both of these topics plus some other frequently asked questions about collagen.
What Does Collagen Do?
Collagen has something to offer for nearly everyone. It’s one of the most versatile supplements because collagen works in so many different parts of the body.
Here are some of the areas where collagen has the most impact.
Supports Skin Health
Collagen is an important part of the structure of your skin. Not only does it contribute to its strength, but also its elasticity, firmness, and how supple it looks.
This is why collagen has exploded with popularity in the beauty industry. An increasing number of brands are using collagen as an ingredient in their products or creating a collagen pill or gummy supplement of their own.
Collagen may help improve the structure and permeability of the lining in the gut. This lining serves as a barrier to harmful bacteria and toxins, but is also important for the absorption of nutrients.
Joint Health Support
Having enough collagen is important for the structure of cartilage. As we age, cartilage tends to wear down, which often leads to pain and less mobility.
Certain health conditions like osteoarthritis (OA) lead to sometimes debilitating joint pain as well.
Taking hydrolyzed collagen(the most ideal form) may help support joint health by maintaining the cartilage in your body joints and lessening symptoms like joint pain and inflammation.
Strong Hair and Nails
Your hair and nails need structure just like your skin and bones. Collagen can help grow and strengthen your hair, as well as prevent brittle nails.
Can Collagen Support Lean Muscle Mass?
Up to ten percent of muscle tissue is collagen. Combining a collagen protein supplement with strength and resistance training could help increase lean muscle mass, leading to better control over your body composition.
Some research also suggests that specific collagen peptides help prevent sarcopenia, which is muscle wasting often associated with aging.
Now you may be wondering how much collagen you should take to gain these benefits.
Let's dive into that next.
How Much Collagen Should You Take Per Day?
Collagen protein 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. Like other proteins, collagen also helps promote satiety - in other words, feeling satisfied after eating.
For general health, most research considers 2.5 to 15 grams of functional collagen peptides per day as a safe dosage.
At 9.5 grams per one 1 scoop serving, our collagen peptides fall right into this sweet spot. It's also packed with an indispensable amino acid balance you need for your daily nutrition.
Collagen protein has been found to be helpful for skin hydration, elasticity, wound healing, hair and nail health, bone loss prevention, and osteoarthritis.
In this section, we’ll talk about how much collagen you need to target specific goals.
How Much Collagen Per Day for Skin Improvement?
You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need a huge dose of collagen each day to reap the benefits for skin health and anti-aging.
While the body naturally produces collagen, levels naturally start to decline by around age 30, so taking exogenous collagen may help combat this loss and smooth your skin.
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.
Another study concluded that 10 grams of collagen peptides taken as part of a fruit-based beverage were significantly more successful in decreasing the depth of existing skin wrinkles in middle-aged women compared to placebo after only 9 weeks.
Collagen Supplements 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.
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.
How Much Collagen for Gut Health?
There currently isn’t enough research to recommend a collagen dose to target gut health specifically.
However, animal studies suggest that doses on the higher end of general recommendations could affect gut microbiota and short-chain fatty acid metabolism. Both of these factor into more favorable conditions in the digestive tract and better gut health.
Daily Collagen for 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.
Multiple studies support this recommendation, finding that taking 15 grams of collagen per day helped participants build muscle mass, lose fat, and increase strength.
Foods That Promote Natural Collagen Production
You can also boost your collagen intake through food. It’s found in animal products, specifically in connective tissue.
Some good sources of collagen include:
- Chicken (with skin)
- Pork (with skin)
Bone broth is another popular source of collagen. It’s made by simmering animal bones over a long period of time, which releases gelatin and collagen.
There are also foods that don’t contain collagen but still boost the body's collagen production. Here are a few:
Egg whites - They Contain proline, which is an amino acid important for collagen production.
Fruit - Berries and citrus are high in vitamin C, which is essential to produce pro-collagen, the body’s precursor to collagen.
Leafy greens - Rich in chlorophyll, which helps produce pro-collagen.
Beans - Provide amino acids for collagen synthesis.
Nuts - Provide minerals like zinc and copper to help your body produce collagen.
What is the Best Type of Collagen Supplement?
Supplemental 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.”
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.
Collagen Powder vs Pill
Collagen supplements usually come in two forms: a powder or a pill. When it comes down to collagen powder vs pill, one is not necessarily better than the other.
The most important thing is to choose a supplement made with high-quality ingredients. Then, choose the type that is most convenient for you. This will make it easier to take consistently.
Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides
The best type of collagen to take as a supplement is hydrolyzed collagen peptides. This just means the collagen is already broken down for you to short chains called peptides.
It’s easier for your body to absorb peptides, meaning you will waste less of the supplement you’re paying for and be more likely to see results.
How Long Does it Take for a Collagen Supplement to Work?
Collagen gets to work in the body pretty much as soon as it’s absorbed. This can happen in as little as an hour.
However, seeing noticeable results takes longer. How long exactly depends on a few things. First, the current collagen levels in your body. Next, how much you’re taking, and your goals. Lastly, your lifestyle plays a role in how quickly you’ll see benefits.
People who take collagen for their skin often report results more quickly than people who take collagen to improve joint health.
Overall, it varies from person to person, but the process may be expedited with supportive lifestyle factors like a healthy diet.
What Happens if I 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.
We’ll go over the most common concerns with taking too much collagen in this section.
Are There Negative Effects of Taking Collagen?
Collagen is considered generally safe for 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.
Some people who have taken higher doses of collagen have reported gastrointestinal discomforts, like nausea and excess gas.
Is 20 Grams of Collagen a Day Too Much?
In the study mentioned in the previous section, 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.
According to this suggestion, 20 grams of collagen a day may not be too much for most generally healthy people. However, a dose that high may not be necessary for most people.
What is the Best Way 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.
Our favorite way to take collagen is in a smoothie made with Naked Collagen. Taking collagen with a source of vitamin C like fruit supports your body’s natural production of collagen.
To make your own, just blend together frozen fruit, milk, one scoop of collagen peptides, and an optional sweetener like honey.
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
Collagen is safe, easy to use, and has promising potential for health benefits.
Choose a high-quality collagen product paired with essential amino acids, like Naked Collagen, and take it in the dose that fits your needs, whether that’s for connective tissues, bone 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.