The benefits of collagen supplementation are so rich and varied, collagen can seem like a miracle....
How Long Does It Take for Collagen Supplements To Work?: Understanding Your Supplement
When you start learning about the many benefits of collagen, you can’t help but wonder, “How long does it take for collagen supplements to work?” Collagen supplements can produce powerful results, but on what kind of timeline?
The answer isn’t cut and dry for a few reasons. First, scientific research on collagen supplements is still young, and most of it is focused on the overall efficacy. However, the timeframes of these studies provide valuable insight on when you can start seeing significant effects.
Beyond that, the support you’re looking to get from collagen, different biological factors, and the kind of supplements you use can all play a significant role in how long it takes to see results.
Generally, how long does it take for collagen supplements to work?
If there’s not a hard time frame, you might wonder, “How long should I take collagen supplements?”
The biggest factor here is why you’re taking collagen. How long does it take for collagen supplements to work on muscle soreness after exercise? Just a few days. Bone density, on the other hand, can take a year or more to show significant differences.
Overall, you can start seeing results in a few months, but again, this timeframe will vary based on why you’re taking collagen.
The benefits of collagen supplementation don’t always happen in a perfectly straight line, either. You may notice benefits you weren’t expecting before you notice the changes you began taking collagen for.
When to stop taking collagen
If it can take months or years to see results from collagen supplementation, when should you stop taking collagen?
Collagen is generally recognized as safe to take daily with no adverse effects. Some people do find that they experience mild stomach upset while taking collagen, and others may be allergic to some ingredients in their collagen supplement.
If you are allergic or experiencing stomach problems, that is when to stop taking collagen. At that point, talk to your healthcare team about whether collagen is the best choice for you.
Different supplements can also have different effects on each individual person’s body. If you haven’t seen any results from your collagen supplement in 6-12 months, try switching to a higher-quality, medical-grade supplement.
Testing different medical-grade brands can also allow you to find a combination that works for your body and your specific needs.
What can collagen support and how soon can you see results?
Collagen can support a whole range of needs throughout the body. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It contains 8 of the 9 essential amino acids our bodies need to survive, but can’t make on their own.
It also contains 11 non-essential amino acids. These are molecules essential to life, but which our bodies can synthesize from other foods. Even though our bodies can make non-essential amino acids, consuming them directly can provide a quick source of energy for the body and help with nutrient absorption.
Since collagen provides all these benefits in a single, neat package, it can support a wide range of functions in the body.
You may wonder, “But how long does it take for collagen supplements to work? How long should I take collagen?” Since it depends largely on what you’re supporting, let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons to supplement with collagen and the average timeframe for results.
In a medical setting, wound healing is what collagen is used for most often.
Collagen wound healing can come from supplementation or wound dressings containing collagen. Wound healing is a complex process, but since it involves regrowing or repairing skin and tissue, collagen can play a major role.
How long does it take for collagen supplements to work on wound healing?
Wound healing studies have largely followed up at predetermined milestones, often several months away from the beginning of the study. The strongest study on oral collagen supplementation and wound healing followed burn patients.
This study followed up with patients at week 2 and week 4, a smaller window compared to other oral collagen studies. At both week 2 and week 4, collagen patients showed increased healing markers compared to placebo patients.
Your gut is a rich microbiome, containing more than 100 trillion microbial cells. These cells have diverse needs and functions, and taking collagen for gut health can support the overall health of your gut’s microbiome.
This is primarily because collagen can help with leaky gut syndrome, a condition where the lining of your stomach and intestines is weakened. Weakened lining leads to the microbes in your gut becoming unbalanced, with some microbes leaking into your bloodstream.
How long does it take for collagen supplements to work for gut health?
In an 8-week study on the effects of collagen on gut health, participants took 20g of collagen daily. When they checked in at weeks two and eight, symptoms like bloating, stomach pain, and constipation had all improved.
At just two weeks, participants saw a significant improvement, and only a slight improvement over the two-week results at week eight.
Weight loss is an ongoing concern for many people in the US. Collagen is a protein, and protein, in general, can increase feelings of satiety and improve weight outcomes. Collagen supplements in particular are often low- or zero-calorie, making collagen supplements highly effective at aiding in weight loss.
How long does it take for collagen supplements to work for weight loss?
Weight loss is difficult to measure since weight can fluctuate day-to-day and week-to-week. A 12-week study on the effect of collagen peptides on body fat found significantly better fat and weight markers in participants who took collagen.
Building muscle mass is a priority for athletes, but muscle mass is also a concern for elderly adults. Muscle mass and function starts to fall off at a rate of 3%-8% per decade after the age of 30, worsening significantly after 60.
Collagen can support muscle mass because muscles are up to 10% collagen by dry weight. Your body produces less and less collagen as you age, but supplementation, combined with an active lifestyle, can slow the aging process of your muscles.
How long does it take for collagen supplements to work on muscle mass?
Changes in muscle mass have been observed at 12 weeks, but that was within a 12-week study. Anecdotal evidence suggests that you may notice collagen’s impacts on your muscle mass in as little as 6 weeks.
Joints and ligaments
Where muscles are up to 10% collagen by dry weight, joints can be up to 60% collagen by dry weight, and ligaments up to 80%. This means that collagen is crucial in the health of your joints and ligaments, especially when age begins to break down those same joints.
Taking collagen for joints can support your ligaments, as well. In knee health, and especially osteoarthritis of the knee, ligament health can significantly improve knee pain and function.
How long does it take for collagen supplements to work for joint and ligament health?
Improvement in knee osteoarthritis symptoms, one study observed, began after just 30 days of supplementation. When the study ended at 90 days, the improvement was more significant than at 30 days.
Bone density is another important health marker in the elderly. Osteoporosis increases the risk of broken bones, making even slight falls serious hazards. Like muscle mass, bone density falls off with age and can begin as young as 40.
Our bones are partially comprised of collagen, but collagen also encourages the body to increase bone formation and favorably impacts mineral density.
How long does it take for collagen supplements to work on bone density?
Bone is understandably difficult to measure and observe. However, the same study that found collagen-increased bone formation was able to see a significant improvement in bone density after 12 months of daily supplementation.
Collagen exists at every level of the skin, but is found primarily in the dermis. The dermis is the “middle” layer of skin, where your skin cells are formed. Collagen supplementation supports your body’s natural production of collagen and can improve skin elasticity, density, and hydration.
How long does it take for collagen supplements to work on skin health?
Improvements in skin health have been observed at just four weeks, including fewer wrinkles and higher natural production of collagen and elastin.
A majority of studies cite significant differences occurring at 12 weeks, with several studies citing differences at the six- and eight-week marks, as well.
Hair and nails
Collagen’s effect on hair and nails is the least well-studied of all collagen’s uses. By and large, the positive effects of collagen on hair and nails come from our understanding of the body. Hair is formed in the dermis, and is made up of several amino acids that can be found in collagen.
Nails, similarly, require arginine to grow. Arginine is found in collagen, so supplementing with collagen may help with nail growth and strength.
How long does it take for collagen supplements to work on hair and nails?
According to one study, participants saw an increase in hair volume, thickness, and scalp coverage after 90 days. Additional improvements were seen by the 180-day mark.
What can impact the efficacy of collagen supplements?
Collagen isn’t a magic bullet. There are a few things to consider when answering, “How long should I take collagen supplements if I’m not seeing results?”
Many of the benefits of collagen come from its ability to support and enhance. This means that some genetic factors or lifestyle choices can impact how long it takes for collagen supplements to work.
Age, gender, and genetics
Your body doesn’t only produce less collagen as you age, its ability to use collagen also slows. This means that how long it takes for collagen supplements to work may increase since your body is naturally slower at processing the collagen.
Gender can also impact how much collagen your body produces, and consequently, how well it can use an influx of collagen. Like with weight, height, or stamina, your individual genetics will also play a role.
So how long does it take collagen supplements to work for your specific age range, gender, and genetic makeup? Start by observing changes that have been measured by other studies and adjust as you go.
Lifestyle habits and dietary choices
Lifestyle habits like smoking, exercise, sun exposure, stress, and rest time all have a profound impact on our overall well-being. This includes your body’s ability to produce and use collagen. And in some cases, your lifestyle choices can outweigh the help that collagen can provide.
Dietary choices make a difference, too. How long it takes for collagen supplements to work also depends on whether you have other high-quality protein and nutrients in your diet.
If you’re looking at when to stop taking collagen due to an stomach upset, review your whole diet. Make sure you’re getting protein, vitamins, and minerals from sources outside your collagen supplement as well.
Supplement quality and dosage
When you start taking collagen to support your health, you may wonder, “How much collagen should I take?”
Studies have shown results with as little as 2.5 grams a day, or as much as 15. The company you purchase your supplements from should also have dosage guidelines for their product.
How long does it take for collagen supplements to work at different dosages? This actually isn’t the most important thing to look for in the supplement itself. Supplement quality matters. Look for supplements that are clear about their ingredients and the source of your collagen.
Next, make sure you’re using hydrolyzed collagen, or “collagen peptides”. This means the collagen has been broken down to make it easier for your body to absorb. Collagen that isn’t hydrolyzed is a molecule that’s too big for your body to absorb, so only a fraction of it makes it through your digestive system.
OP2 Labs uses nano-hydrolyzed collagen, breaking collagen molecules down to make it completely digestible within 15 minutes and highly bioavailable. This means your body can use collagen immediately to accelerate your results for the healthiest you as quickly as possible.