Collagen supplements are all the rage right now but is it possible to have too much of a good thing?
Currently, there are no set guidelines established for the recommended amount of collagen one should take per day. With that said, collagen is considered a safe supplement and there aren’t any concerns about overdosing.
However, there may be unpleasant side effects to consuming too much collagen, which include an upset stomach and feeling overly full.
If you aren’t sure if you are getting enough or if you even need to be taking collagen supplements, this article is for you .
Do You Need Collagen?
It may seem like you are going against the grain by not taking collagen supplements.
Although there are many established benefits to these supplements, the reality is that not everyone needs, or would benefit from, additional collagen.
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in our body that plays an important role in the structure of our skin, muscle, and connective tissues.
As we get older, our body begins to produce less of this protein which can result in fine lines and wrinkles, joint pain, and more.
Once you reach 40 years old, you begin to lose an average of 1% of your total collagen each year. This can be exacerbated by certain lifestyle choices such as smoking, excessive sun exposure, excessive alcohol intake, and poor diet [2, 3, 4].
Those who are younger and don’t fall into this category likely don’t need a collagen supplement. Their body is probably producing enough already and any additional collagen won’t provide any further benefits.
On the flip side, If you fall into the category of those over 40 with any one of the above lifestyle factors, you will likely benefit from a collagen supplement.
Unfortunately there is no way to test your collagen levels however, there are some signs that you might be low including loss of skin integrity such as sagging, creping, or wrinkled skin, joint pain, and stiffness, to name a few .
How Much Collagen Should I Take Per Day?
Since there are no set guidelines available on collagen dosing, the amount that you take is going to vary from supplement to supplement depending on the form it is in.
One of the most common forms of supplemental collagen is hydrolyzed. Hydrolyzed collagen is easily absorbed and is often made into capsules or powdered supplements.
Based on available studies, effective doses of this form of collagen can range from 2.5-15 grams per day.
Smaller doses, such as 2.5 grams, have been associated with an improvement in joint pain, stiffness, and skin integrity whereas larger doses of 15 grams are associated with helping to increase muscle mass [6, 7, 8]
Can You Take Too Much Collagen?
Because collagen is a protein that is naturally occurring in the body, there is no concern for taking too much of this supplement.
Collagen is considered safe and non-toxic, however, consuming large amounts may result in stomach upset and uncomfortable feelings of fullness.
Since most research available supports doses of 2.5-15 grams of collagen, it would likely be most beneficial to stay within, or close to, those ranges to avoid any gastrointestinal effects.
Are There Side Effect Risks With Collagen Supplements?
The most common side effects associated with consuming large amounts of collagen supplements are gastrointestinal in nature.
Side effects might include bloating, cramping, stomach upset, feeling uncomfortably full, and mild nausea, but these are quite rare.
Some consumers have reported also having a headache or fatigue from consuming high doses of collagen. Overall, the risks associated with consuming too much collagen are low.
Bear in mind that some collagen supplements may contain additional ingredients that can include allergens, cause side effects, or potentially interact with medications.
Always speak to your doctor or health care provider before adding any supplement to your routine, especially if you are currently taking any medications for a chronic condition.
Is it OK to Take Collagen Every Day?
If you do decide a collagen supplement is right for you, it’s important that you take it on a daily basis for the best results.
Just like taking multivitamins and other supplements, consistent intake of collagen helps to ensure you are building up your collagen stores and will likely provide the most benefit over taking them sporadically.
What are the Benefits of Taking Collagen?
The most notable benefits of consuming a collagen supplement include improvements in skin health and appearance, improvement in joint pain, increased muscle mass/improved body composition, helping to prevent bone loss, and improving heart health [9, 10, 11, 12, 13].
Although there is a fair amount of promising research on the potential benefits of supplemental collagen, there is still more research needed to support these claims.
Can Collagen Make You Gain Weight?
Collagen supplements themselves will not likely result in weight gain.
However, if you are consuming a collagen supplement that contains a significant amount of calories without adjusting your dietary intake, it’s possible that you might experience a small increase in weight.
Collagen alone is not considered a high-calorie food, but rather high in protein which is one of the most filling macronutrients.
Because it is so filling, it is possible that consuming collagen supplements in higher doses (such as 15g per day) may help to increase satiety and promote a healthy weight.
Can You Eat Collagen Rich Foods While Taking a Collagen Supplement?
It is safe to consume collagen-rich foods while also taking a collagen supplement if you enjoy those foods.
Currently, research is limited on the benefits of consuming collagen-rich foods versus supplements as dietary collagen has not been found to improve overall collagen levels.
Some examples of collagen-rich foods include bone broth, chicken skin, sardines, and organ meats.
If you don’t enjoy a lot of those foods, it’s better to focus on a collagen supplement instead of trying to force down food sources of collagen just because they contain collagen.
However, there is a difference between collagen-rich foods and foods that promote collagen production in the body, such as vitamin C-rich foods .
Research has found collagen supplements to be potentially helpful in improving skin health, joint health, bone health, and more. Although there is a lot of hype in the media surrounding collagen supplements, more research is still needed on these benefits.
If you are young, consume a healthy diet, avoid smoking, excessive alcohol, and sun exposure, you may be wasting your money on collagen supplements.
But those who are older might consider these supplements the holy grail for youthful skin and healthy joints.
If you do decide to go with a collagen supplement, always choose one from a trusted brand that offers third-party testing for quality. Be sure to speak to your doctor or healthcare provider before adding a supplement to your routine.