Collagen supplements have long been a go-to for skin, hair, and nail health - but can collagen affect menstrual cycles, too?
When you’re trying to improve your health, the last thing you want is to make one problem worse to solve another. The good news is that collagen won’t make you trade beautiful skin for a healthy cycle.
That being said, collagen and hormones are closely linked, so taking a daily supplement may naturally have an effect on your cycle. But just how can collagen affect menstrual cycles, and is that effect positive or negative?
Let’s take a closer look at what collagen is, how collagen affects your hormones, and how collagen can affect your menstrual cycle in turn.
What is collagen?
Before we jump into the many collagen benefits for women, let’s take a minute to review what collagen is. At its simplest, collagen is a form of protein. Actually, it’s the most abundant form of protein in the human body. That’s why taking collagen can have so many different benefits.
You can think of collagen as a kind of frame or foundation for your cells and tissues. Collagen holds everything together so that specialized cells can do what they do best. There are 28 kinds of collagen, and they all work to support, stabilize, and heal your body.
Since collagen exists all over your body, it’s no wonder that the link between collagen and hormones is so strong. The link between collagen and everything is pretty strong!
With that in mind, can collagen affect menstrual cycles? Of course. The question is: What kind of effects can collagen have? And at which points in the menstrual cycle?
Most women will deal with hormonal imbalances and problems with their period at some point in their life. So can collagen improve those issues? Or will it make it worse? Let’s take a look at how collagen can affect menstrual cycles in all four phases.
Collagen and hormones in the 4 phases of the menstrual cycle
When most women think of their “cycle”, they usually think specifically of their period – the part of their cycle where they bleed. But your period is actually only one part of your menstrual cycle.
There are 4 phases of your menstrual cycle, and each phase uses different hormones in different amounts, which produces varying effects on your body.
How can collagen affect menstrual cycles? It depends on the phase you’re currently in. Let’s take a look at collagen and hormones throughout each of the 4 phases of your cycle.
Phase 1: Menstruation - 3 to 5 days
The first phase of your cycle is the one you’re likely most familiar with. During menstruation, your body sheds the lining of your uterus. This is because the extra tissue, blood, and mucus are there to sustain a pregnancy. No pregnancy means there’s no need for the lining, simple as that.
During menstruation, the hormones estrogen and progesterone both drop sharply. They drop for the same reason that the uterine lining sheds: Your body needs less of them when there’s no pregnancy.
At the same time, the amount of prostaglandins in your body rises. Prostaglandins are a special kind of hormone that cause inflammation and contractions in your blood vessels. So if you get bad cramps, you can thank those prostaglandins!
How can collagen affect menstrual cycles during menstruation? You might have a guess already, but it’s all about prostaglandins and inflammation. Studies show that collagen can reduce inflammation significantly.
So can taking collagen affect your period? Women's hormone health is a complex field, so this question has a complex answer.
It all depends on what kind of effects you’re thinking of. There’s nothing to suggest that collagen will stop your period or interrupt your normal menstrual cycle in any way.
There’s also no research that demonstrates a loss of fertility, uterine or ovarian fibroids, or any other significant negative side effects.
Can taking collagen affect your period in a good way, then?
Collagen may help alleviate some of the negative symptoms you experience around your cycle.
Menstruation is the hardest phase for many women due to the high levels of inflammation in the body during this phase. Collagen supplements can relieve some of this inflammation and help your body move smoothly into the follicular phase.
The best collagen supplements for women help reduce the uncomfortable symptoms you experience during your periods, such as cramps, tender breasts, muscle aches, or even acne!
Phase 2: Follicular - 10 to 16 days
Can collagen affect the menstrual cycle during phase 2? Yes and no. This phase of your menstrual cycle overlaps with your period, so the anti-inflammatory properties of collagen will help here, too.
This phase begins on the first day of your period and lasts until phase 3 of your cycle. During the follicular phase, your ovaries are getting ready to release an egg.
Your ovaries create about 5 to 20 “follicles,” which are little sacks containing immature eggs. These hormones will all compete to grow as quickly as possible. Whichever one of them reaches maturity the quickest will be released during phase 3.
During the follicular phase, your body releases a hormone aptly named “Follicle Stimulating Hormone” (FSH). This hormone helps your ovaries form follicles, and the presence of those follicles prompts your body to produce more estrogen.
How can collagen affect menstrual cycles during the follicular phase? Frankly, there’s not much that can affect the follicular phase. FSH runs this show! However, FSH overlaps with other hormones, so taking natural hormone balance supplements regularly will help you see the best results.
Phase 3: Ovulation - 12 to 24 hours
The next phase of your cycle is probably where you’ll look and feel your best. Ovulation occurs when the mature egg is released from its follicle in the ovary. Then, it travels down the fallopian tube and into your uterus.
FSH causes your body to create more and more estrogen. That estrogen peaks during ovulation, but progesterone stays low. That’s why you feel so good in the days leading up to and right after the ovulation stage.
How can collagen affect menstrual cycles during the ovulation phase? Collagen and estrogen are shown to be closely connected. High estrogen can cause your body to absorb collagen more easily, but your body makes less of it.
Collagen supplements can help you take advantage of your extra-sensitive collagen receptors during ovulation. In this phase, your skin and muscles are most at risk of being damaged because of slow collagen production, and taking a collagen supplement can offset that.
After ovulation, collagen supplements may help reduce PMS symptoms like sluggishness by helping your body out while it returns to normal levels of collagen production.
Phase 4: Luteal - 12 to 14 days
Can collagen affect menstrual cycles after ovulation? After ovulation, you may feel a bit of a “crash.” You might feel sluggish, moody, or have difficulty sleeping. This is because estrogen production slows significantly during your luteal phase.
While the estrogen drops, progesterone levels start to rise. High progesterone has been linked to depression, and it’s a big player in PMS - which also occurs during the luteal phase.
Mood-boosting supplements may be helpful to counteract the negative emotional effects of progesterone during the luteal phase.
Progesterone also causes your body to start building up the uterine lining. If an egg has been fertilized and you’re pregnant, progesterone will keep climbing. This hormone is crucial to sustaining a pregnancy, which is why it’s so high between the ovulation and menstruation phases.
Can collagen affect menstrual cycles during the luteal phase? During the luteal phase, your body is coming down from the “high” of excess estrogen. This means that collagen production is starting to return to normal.
Collagen supplements may help reduce some of the sluggishness or discomfort you feel during this phase since your body won’t have to work as hard to return to a baseline.
“Can collagen affect menstrual cycles” is often used to ask about periods specifically, but as you can see, collagen can affect your menstrual cycle in positive ways in the majority of the phases.
How to improve your menstrual cycle with collagen protein
Collagen can affect menstrual cycles in a positive way. The decreased inflammation and sluggishness mean that you should feel better overall. The question is: How can you get the most out of your collagen supplement?
The important thing to remember is that collagen isn’t a painkiller, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Taking collagen only when you’re experiencing symptoms won’t help you much, because your body will need to expend more energy to process it.
Similar to a daily multivitamin or an iron supplement, you’ll see the best results from collagen if you take it daily. This way, your body will already have ample stores and will be used to processing the collagen efficiently and effectively.
Also, taking collagen daily can affect menstrual cycles and symptoms at every stage. If you only take collagen during menstruation, you’ll miss out on the benefits it could provide during the follicular, ovulation, and luteal phases!
How much collagen do you need to improve menstrual cycles?
The correct dosage of collagen needed to affect menstrual cycles will depend on the severity of symptoms you’re looking to relieve. Collagen can affect menstrual cycles in a range from 2.5 to 15 grams per day.
Typically, smaller doses of collagen are used for minor aches and pains and to improve skin health. If you’re looking to correct some breakouts, alleviate minor cramping during menstruation, or prevent sluggishness, a small dose may take care of the issues.
If your symptoms tend to be more severe, a larger dose of collagen might help. For example, if you’re dealing with more intense exhaustion, cramping, headaches, or skin problems, you may want to supplement with closer to 15 grams of collagen per day.
Larger doses of collagen are often used to treat deeper muscle issues or care for wounds. Your body has a different “strategy” to get nutrients to your ovaries and uterus compared to your skin or hair. This is why a higher dose of collagen can affect your menstrual cycle when your body is recovering from menstruation or ovulation.
When you take collagen, bear in mind that protein is one of the ways your body detects fullness, so trying to take collagen with a meal may leave you feeling uncomfortably full. Instead, take collagen with a lighter meal or snack.
Many people prefer to take it in the morning with a smoothie or as part of a nighttime snack. However, taking collagen at different times of the day has no bearing on its effectiveness. Just do what works for your body!
What kind of collagen should you take for better menstrual cycles?
First of all, don’t bother with topical collagen supplements like lotions, conditioners, or masks. Your body creates and processes collagen internally, so external application is sort of like rubbing carrots on your skin to get vitamin c – your body just can’t use it that way!
This means ingested supplements are the way to go. You can find collagen in pill, powder, and even liquid forms. The variety of ways to take collagen makes it easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
The important thing to look for isn’t the form it takes, but what kind of collagen it is. If you want to get the most out of your supplement, it’s best to look for hydrolyzed collagen (also referred to as collagen peptides).
The term “hydrolyzed” means that the collagen has been broken down into easily digested amino acids through a chemical process. This makes the supplement more bioavailable.
When you’re taking collagen to affect menstrual cycles, easily digestible is always better! You’re trying to make things easier for your body, not harder.
One of the best options for improving your cycle is ProT Gold collagen supplements. ProT Gold uses a medical-grade formula that has been nano-hydrolyzed. This means the collagen has been hydrolyzed more than once, making it especially easy to digest.
In fact, both the powder and liquid forms of ProT Gold collagen protein have been proven to fully digest in just 15 minutes - swiftly give you all those benefits to ease you through your entire cycle.