If you've been making some changes to your diet and lifestyle lately, you might be wondering how long it will take to see the fruits of your labor. Adding a new supplement or protein powder like collagen protein or collagen supplements is no different — you want to know if it’s actually helping. How long does it take for collagen supplements to work?
Collagen plays an important role in your body, so "does it work?" is a complicated question. Let's discuss the ways your body uses collagen, why supplementing your diet with collagen powder is probably a good idea, and how long it takes for collagen supplements to work.
How Long Does It Take for Collagen Supplements to Work?
The time it takes to see results from a daily dose of dietary collagen supplements varies based on your own goals and metabolism. Your body tends to send nutrients where you need them most.
So, if your bones and joints need support, chances are the nutrients — in this case, collagen peptides — from your supplement will go there first, even if you're taking the supplement as a skin care strategy.
Luckily, the results of a number of clinical trials on collagen supplementation can help determine how long it might take for you to see results across the different potential uses.
- Increased muscle mass and strength:
- When combined with a strength training program, participants who took collagen showed significant muscle and strength improvements after 12 weeks than those who took a placebo. Both groups improved their strength and gained muscle, but the ones receiving collagen peptide supplementation did better than those who took the placebo.
- Joint health and pain reduction:
- One study gave participants who had minor knee injuries (but no arthritis) 40 mg of type-II collagen per day. The researchers measured range of motion (extension), pain, and the time it took for them to experience relief from joint pain after supplementing. The placebo group experienced no change, while the subjects taking collagen felt better and had a better range of motion after 120 days.
- Another research trial looked at adults with arthritis. Within 90 days of taking a daily type-II collagen supplement, subjects showed significant improvement in bone health and reduced joint pain. As the adults continued to take daily collagen after the 90- day trial, they reported more improvements for the next six months.
- Improved skin health:
- One study looked at signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, and sag. Participants showed improvement by up to 31.2% after 4 to 12 weeks.
- Another study showed that participants with visible photo-aging from sun damage experienced improvements in their skin within 24 weeks.
- A 2017 study by the Cosmetology Journal tested the change in nail health with the use of collagen peptide supplements. The women who took collagen peptide for 24 weeksThey took 2.5 g of "specific bioactive collagen peptides (BCP, VERISOL®)" once per day for 24 weeks, followed by four 4-weeks of not taking anything. After the first 24 weeks, the women in the study reported improvements across all metrics: surface roughness, raggedness, and peeling. Physicians also measured nail growth rate and frequency of cracking and chipping.
Note: Research on certain effects of collagen is limited, and more is needed. Bone density studies take at least a year to determine results because bone cells take a long time to turn over and change. However, there is some notable research on collagen and bone density.
On the brain health, and Alzheimer's front, there's still a lot left to uncover about collagen peptides. We shared one study, but medical professionals are still learning the nuances of neurological health and how different nutrients play a role in keeping them healthy. Only semi-recently have researchers learned that type-IV collagen is an important ingredient in neuron formation.
How Collagen Works in the Body
Collagen is a structural protein that's found all over the bodies of not just humans but many mammals. It's a substance in your connective tissue (skin, joints, ligaments, tendons), in muscle and bones, in organs (including your brain and digestive tract), and even in your hair and fingernails, making it the most abundant protein in your body.
Collagen is considered the "glue" that keeps your body structurally sound. It's also been called a fountain of youth because it plays a role in keeping you looking your best as you age. (And collagen production declines as we age.)
There are 28 known types of collagen, but the most prevalent ones are types I, II, and III.
- Type I collagen is found in tendons (the tissue that connects muscle to bone). Ounce for ounce, “type I collagen is stronger than steel.”
- Type II collagen is found in cartilage, the cushion between joints. As we age, this type of cartilage can suffer quite a bit of wear and tear, especially if you're super active. Supplementing it may help arthritis at bay and can help prevent joint inflammation.
- Type III collagen is a primary ingredient in softer tissues like skin, muscle, and organs. It helps with wound-healing and other tissue repair, so it's a great form of collagen to supplement your workout.
Collagen is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of all proteins. Different types of collagen offer different combinations and concentrations of amino acids, but they all include:
- Proline: Proline is important in wound-healing, protein metabolism, and immune response. It's also an antioxidant.
- Glycine: This is important for the healthy formation of fetuses, offers anti-cancer benefits, helps enhance sleep quality and treat metabolic disorders like diabetes.
- Hydroxyproline: Along with proline, this amino acid is the most prevalent in all mammals. It's also important for the healthy formation of fetuses, specifically embryonic stem cells — it helps determine what these cells will become.
Clearly, collagen is super important for a lot of things that go on in your body every day. But why supplement with collagen if your body already makes it? Do you really need more than what you've got?
Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Since collagen is key for your health and wellness, you might guess that adding more into your diet can help with each of those things. And you'd be right! There are many health benefits of adding a collagen supplement into your daily routine. Supplementing collagen can:
- Help promote healthy skin and skin elasticity
- Support healthy hair and nails
- Increase your strength and muscle mass when used like a protein powder (ideally right after a workout)
- Reduce joint pain and even help rebuild cartilage
- Increase bone density
- Potentially protect against Alzheimer's disease (more research is needed)
You might notice that some of these benefits apply specifically to older adults. That's because as we age, our ability to produce collagen decreases, and we lose some of the beneficial effects of collagen.
But that doesn't mean that only older folks should supplement. By keeping collagen levels high through your diet (even as a young person), you can maintain your hair, nail, and skin health, get and stay stronger, and provide protection for your joints in the long term. It can act as an anti-aging supplement and help maintain wellness/prevent future problems for people of any age.
How to Get Collagen From Your Diet
You can only find collagen from animal sources, but collagen is especially concentrated in bone broth (simmer bones — ideally bones with joints like chicken feet, wings, or beef knuckle — in water for at least 6 hours to release the collagen, or in an instant pot for 1 hour). Add it to soups or just sip it from a coffee mug.
If you've ever noticed, the rotisserie chicken from grocery stores has gelatin sitting at the bottom of the plastic container — that’s chicken collagen. Gelatin is just a form of cooked collagen. You can also get marine collagen by eating bone-in sardines or other skin-on fish.
If you’re looking for more convenient options, or just want a higher amount of collagen, you can supplement with Glow-Getter Collagen Powder. Simply add it to smoothies, soups, or semi-solid foods for a daily collagen boost.
Collagen for Your Overall Health
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and in the bodies of all animals, especially mammals. It's important for joint health, skin health, bone health, organ health, and muscle health.
There are tons of different kinds of collagen, but all the different types break down into amino acids your body can use to create collagen for what your body needs. And supplementing it — especially as you get older and start producing less — is a pretty good idea.
Collagen is easy to add into your diet because it comes either in capsules or in powder form, which can be added to smoothies, soups, and even your morning coffee.
Cira's Glow Getter Collagen is made from bovine collagen (cow hide) and dissolves in water at any temperature because it's hydrolyzed collagen. (That just means it won't turn to gelatin in your cold smoothie.)
Give one of our flavors a try: piña colada, strawberry kiwi, or go with the unflavored option for more flexibility in how you use it. Once you've added that to your shopping cart, take our quiz to find out what else you might need to help with your healthy lifestyle.