- 1 What Is Collagen, Exactly?
- 2 How Can You Take Collagen Supplements?
- 3 What Are the Main Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements?
- 3.1 1. Collagen Has a Natural Anti-Aging Effect on Your Whole Body
- 3.2 2. Taking Collagen Can Reduce Joint Aches and Pains
- 3.3 3. Collagen Supplementation Has Been Shown to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome
- 3.4 4. Collagen Supplements Help Boost Your Metabolism, Energy, and Muscle to Fat Mass
- 3.5 5. Collagen Supplements Can Improve the Health and Appearance of Your Nails, Skin, Hair & Teeth
- 3.6 6. Collagen Is a Natural Aid to Liver Health
- 4 How Much Collagen Should You Take?
- 5 How Long Will It Take for Collagen Supplements To Show Results?
- 6 Are There Any Collagen Supplement Side Effects to Watch Out For?
Collagen supplements are so popular today they are making news headlines around the country.
One of the primary questions many people have about taking collagen supplements is how long it will take before the results are visible. We are going to take a closer look at collagen supplements, how they work, where they work and how long it takes them to work.
What Is Collagen, Exactly?
Collagen is a protein that is one of the basic primary building blocks of the human body. It is the protein that connects the tissues in your body. In fact, up to 30 percent of your body's protein stores is made up of collagen.
But when your body already has so much collagen, you might be wondering why you would need to take supplements.
When you are young, your body produces collagen abundantly because you are growing so quickly. During youth and young adulthood, up to 75 percent of your skin is comprised of collagen protein. This is why young people have plump, glowing skin and no wrinkles.
But as you get older and the aging process kicks into gear, changes to your hormones causes a corresponding reduction in collagen production. As there is less collagen available to bind tissues, your skin can start to sag and wrinkle.
You may also notice your hair and nails become more dry and brittle as your body's collagen supplies are depleted. A reduction in collagen also causes a reduction in flexibility, which is often accompanied by joint stiffness and pain.
Many older adults also have trouble maintaining their muscle mass to fat ratio because of reduced collagen resources.
How Can You Take Collagen Supplements?
Collagen first become well known as an injectable to plump lips, erase wrinkles and lines and make skin look more youthful. Today, collagen is still used for this purpose (although not as frequently now that newer injectables are being developed) and also for many other purposes.
While collagen can be found in many foods, taking collagen supplements can enhance the amount of the protein you can get from your daily diet. The most common types of collagen supplements are powders, capsules, and tablets. Some manufacturers also offer chewable forms.
What Are the Main Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements?
Different people take collagen supplements for different appearance, health, and wellness goals. Because collagen is so important for your body's health, taking collagen supplements for any reason will provide a benefit to your whole body.
Here are the main recognized benefits of taking collagen supplements.
1. Collagen Has a Natural Anti-Aging Effect on Your Whole Body
In one exciting research study, female research participants who took a collagen supplement for eight consecutive weeks saw noticeable improvements in skin elasticity and hydration.
Another research study showed that taking collagen supplements for eight consecutive weeks experienced a visible reduction in skin wrinkles.
2. Taking Collagen Can Reduce Joint Aches and Pains
Because collagen is so vital to maintain healthy joints, ligaments, muscles, and bones, as well as to maintain the health and vitality of surrounding tissues, many older adults begin to experience joint aches and pains as part of the natural aging process.
In one review of several research studies using human and laboratory animal participants, results showed that collagen supplements were able to reduce joint aches and pains due to osteoarthritis and other joint diseases.
In another six-month story, athletes with joint injuries who added collagen supplements to their daily health regimen were able to walk and sit with far less pain.
Yet another research study demonstrated how collagen supplements can ease joint pain and discomfort in adults after just 70 days.
3. Collagen Supplementation Has Been Shown to Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut, or "intestinal permeability," is a health condition that is still not fully understood.
According to Harvard Health professionals, when the gut leaks, undigested food, bacteria, and other toxins can escape the intestines and leach out into the surrounding tissues.
This continual leaking can then cause bloating, inflammation and increased susceptibility to disease. Collagen and its amino acid glycine can help the body detoxify and fight inflammation systemically.
One research study published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology highlighted how collagen supplements can potentially supplement lower natural levels of collagen to support the intestine to repair itself.
4. Collagen Supplements Help Boost Your Metabolism, Energy, and Muscle to Fat Mass
It is not only athletes who want to maintain a high muscle mass to body fat ratio. Having a lower BMI (body mass index) is positively correlated with good health throughout life and especially as the body ages.
And yet the aging process itself can make maintaining an optimal muscle mass to fat mass index more and more challenging.
In one research study of male athletes, those participants who took collagen supplements while undergoing a 12-week exercise protocol built and retained more muscle mass than participants on a placebo who also exercised using the same protocol.
Collagen supplements can not only help to boost muscle mass but can also aid in repairing damage to muscles and ligaments and surrounding tissues.
5. Collagen Supplements Can Improve the Health and Appearance of Your Nails, Skin, Hair & Teeth
With all of the products that exist today that claim to help improve the health and appearance of your hair, nails, teeth and skin, the most effective are still the products that include collagen supplements.
This is because collagen is the protein the body needs most to maintain the health of hair, nails, teeth and skin as well as repair damage due to toxins, pollution, ultraviolet light, wind and weather.
Several research studies support the use of collagen supplements for improved hair, skin, nails and teeth health.
Collagen is one building block of keratin, which is the primary building block of hair and nails.
Collagen is also a natural antioxidant and fights skin damage, especially at the sub-dermal level where the root of each hair follicle is found. Collagen's antioxidant properties are also thought to slow down hair graying and age-related hair thinning.
6. Collagen Is a Natural Aid to Liver Health
Glycine, the main amino acid found in collagen, is a fundamental building block of your liver. When your liver sustains damage, it needs more glycine to repair itself and restore full function.
Research demonstrates how the combination of collagen and glycine can help the liver fight back against inflammation and damage from toxins such as alcohol and other damaging lifestyle choices.
How Much Collagen Should You Take?
The recommended collagen dosage may depend on the form of collagen you are taking as well as your age, weight and height, stage of life and desired outcome.
When in doubt, it is always wise to talk with your doctor or holistic healthcare provider before adding collagen or any new supplement to your daily health regimen.
This is especially the case if you are trying to conceive, already pregnant, lactating or are taking any medication for an ongoing health condition.
Start out by taking the lowest dose recommended by the manufacturer until you see how your body reacts. Then you can slowly increase your daily collagen supplementation until you find the dose that achieves and maintains your goals.
Be sure to pay attention to any other manufacturer dosing recommendations, including how and when to take your chosen collagen supplement.
How Long Will It Take for Collagen Supplements To Show Results?
As you may have noticed from reading through the various research studies highlighted here, collagen takes time to build up in your body.
As well, when you take a collage supplement systemically in the form of a powder, capsule or tablet, you may have many areas in the body that will benefit from additional collagen.
So if you are taking collagen specifically for more youthful-looking facial skin, it can take some time for you to supplement with enough collagen to impact your skin and other areas that are busy absorbing collagen!
In most of the research studies, there was a minimum time period of two to four weeks before study participants were re-tested and evaluated for the results of collagen supplementation.
In some studies that focused on more serious issues such as chronic joint pain or liver rehabilitation, it took up to six months to see the full impact of collagen supplementation.
It is also important to support your choice to take collagen supplements by following an overall healthy diet and lifestyle daily.
By getting enough hydration and good quality and quantity of sleep, exercising regularly, managing your stress and avoiding toxins like junk food and alcohol, you will see results of collagen supplementation faster.
Are There Any Collagen Supplement Side Effects to Watch Out For?
Collagen is a naturally-occurring protein in the human body. As you age, your body will produce less collagen, which is what often produces corresponding health symptoms such as thinning hair, reduced muscle mass and joint pain.
However, just because your body is demonstrating the effects of reduced natural collagen production does not mean you won't experience any temporary side effects when you start supplementing with collagen protein.
Here are the most common patient-reported temporary side effects from taking collagen supplements.
Gas And Bloating
Taking protein supplements in large concentrations can sometimes cause gas and bloating. To reduce this temporary side effect, be sure to take your collagen supplements with plenty of water.
Sometimes taking protein supplements can temporarily dehydrate the body. Excessive thirst is your body's way of telling you that you need to drink more water, which will also help decrease any issues with gas or bloating.
Bad Taste In Your Mouth
Some people find that collagen supplements leave a temporary bad taste in their mouth. Changing the form of supplement or using an unflavored supplement may help correct this.
If you experience any ongoing side effect that is bothersome, it is always best to talk with your doctor before continuing collagen supplementation.
Now that you know the main benefits you can get from collagen supplements and the average time period before you will start to see those benefits, it is time to dive in and experience them for yourself.
This is a lot of information to take in all at once, but try not to let it overwhelm you. Rather, just pick one type of collagen supplement and start taking it according to the manufacturer's instructions.
For example, you might choose to add a scoop of collagen powder to your morning smoothie or take a collagen supplement capsule before bedtime. By taking one step at a time, you will begin to enjoy the benefits of adding more collagen back to your body.