There are numerous reasons why you might be taking a collagen supplement. From arthritis, to skin health, to post surgery healing, a quality collagen supplement can do wonders for your body. But does collagen have any side effects, and can collagen cause headaches?
As with any supplement, collagen supplements do have some potential side effects, especially when taken in excess. Of those side effects, there has been a recurring theme among many collagen users asking: can taking collagen cause headaches?
While we have no reports of ProT Gold users experiencing headaches or migraines after using our collagen products, preliminary research into the topic suggests that there may be a correlation between some collagen supplements and headaches.
Whether collagen can cause headaches or not often is dependent on the person taking the supplement, the dosage, the type of collagen, and the supplement quality itself.
If you suspect that your supplemental collagen can cause headaches or migraines, then exploring why you have this reaction and how to prevent it will be the first place to start.
Before we get into whether collagen can cause headaches, let’s look at the overall safety of collagen supplements in general.
Is it safe to take collagen as a supplement?
If you’re asking the question: “can collagen cause headaches?” You are probably also interested in other possible side effects of collagen, and if collagen is a safe supplement to take.
It’s hard to answer whether collagen can cause headaches and if the supplement itself is safe, simply because the FDA does not regulate most supplements.
Since there is such limited regulation of supplements on the market, this leads to immense skepticism regarding how safe they really are and what side effects they cause.
The lack of regulation when it comes to supplements versus drugs means that not all supplement companies necessarily have to prove their claims.
So, if they are simply trying to sell a product to the consumer, they do not have to have evidence to support whether or not the collagen supplement they are providing actually will benefit the consumer, or whether their supplemental collagen can cause headaches or other issues.
Still, the FDA does recognize ingestible collagen as “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS).
There have been specific collagen supplements that have been recalled by the FDA for safety reasons, which is why it is important to buy from a reputable brand.
For instance, our liquid collagen supplement, ProT Gold, is actually recognized as a medical food, which is why it has a nutritional label, not a supplement label.
Because of this, ProT Gold is also trusted by over 3,000 medical facilities and used widely for medical nutrition therapy.
Something that should be recognized about collagen as a supplement is that it is natural. Collagen is a protein that our body already produces, so when taking it in a supplement form, you are replenishing your collagen stores with animal-based collagen.
Since it is something that your body already recognizes and needs, the risk is relatively minimal and there are few health concerns about how collagen reacts within your body.
Now, this isn’t to say that there are no side effects, allergy concerns, or risks involved in taking a collagen supplement.
Introducing any new supplement into your diet should be done so with the consultation of a medical professional, especially if you are taking prescription medications, are pregnant, or have any underlying health conditions.
Every person taking a supplement may have a different reaction when introducing it into their diet. Still, the only real risk with collagen is knowing the source, quality, and reliability of the supplement company.
It is important to get to know the company you are buying a supplement from and to ensure that they are transparent about all of their ingredients and product sourcing.
If the company is not transparent, and you have no idea what is in the supplement, there is a higher chance the collagen can cause headaches and other issues.
Beyond the product itself and ingredients, dosage can also impact how safe it is to use collagen as a daily supplement.
As with anything, it is possible to take too much and have an adverse reaction. So, it is important to get to know proper dosage of collagen for your body and nutritional needs.
Collagen side effects
No matter the supplement that you decide to use, there is always a potential for side effects or adverse reactions. Part of this simply has to do with your individual body and the interactions it has with certain ingredients and substances.
How much collagen you take, when you take it, and the combination of other genetic factors or medications you take can also influence the severity of the side effects you may experience when taking a collagen supplement.
Through general anecdotal evidence, it does seem like collagen users often struggle with side effects, like headaches or bloating, when taking collagen supplements on a daily basis and when taking collagen in the whole form (i.e., bone broth).
Some of the most commonly reported collagen side effects may include:
- Digestive upset such as bloating and nausea
- Headaches and migraines
- Kidney stones
- High calcium levels
- Allergic reactions and general collagen sensitivities
- Tryptophan deficiency
- Skin rashes
So as you see, collagen can cause headaches and other issues in some people.
That being said, we want to point out that these side effects are not common. Most collagen users do not experience any adverse effects when taking a high-quality collagen supplement at the proper dosage.
The source of the collagen is also a huge factor in whether or not collagen can cause headaches and other side effects.
For instance, many bone broth based collagen supplements are very high in sodium and potassium, not to mention the collagen in that type of supplement is harder to digest.
So, these additional things are more often associated with certain side effects like an upset stomach.
The source of the collagen itself should also be a consideration, primarily for those that have a fish or shellfish allergy of any kind. Some collage supplements do source from these animals, so when taking them, you’re likely to have an allergic reaction of some kind.
Can collagen cause headaches?
The question of whether collagen can cause headaches or not is somewhat subjective, but the short answer is yes. Collagen supplements have the potential to cause both headaches and migraines.
According to a few case studies on using collagen to treat osteoarthritis, when participants were using the collagen supplement, they did report a lower pain level in their joints but among the most commonly reported side effects was a headache from time to time.
It is good to know that collagen can cause headaches for some users, but how can collagen cause headaches? What exactly is the reason collagen can cause a headache?
The reasons why headaches are a potential side effect of collagen are variable and not necessarily conclusive, as more research is needed on this topic.
However, one common trend we found in our research for this article is that the type of collagen and quality of the supplement itself contributes a lot to the potential for side effects like headaches.
It has been considered that collagen may cause headaches for some users because it can raise your calcium levels. Having high levels of calcium in your blood is also known as hypercalcemia and seems to be more predominantly an issue in women.
Too much calcium can also cause some skin rashes and other symptoms overlapping with side effects with collagen.
One way to determine if calcium is the cause of your headaches or if taking a collagen supplement is raising your blood calcium levels is to get a blood test for calcium. Other supplements like magnesium may also have a similar effect to too much calcium.
Most collagen users benefit from the additional boost in calcium absorption as it can improve bone density among other things. However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
If calcium is the cause of your collagen-related headache problems, then a simple change in collagen supplement dosage may be in order to reduce the likelihood that your collagen can cause headaches.
How to avoid collagen-related headaches
If you are worried about or already are experiencing headaches from your collagen supplements then it is best to consult a medical professional. Then, we recommend you evaluate the supplement itself along with the dosage you have been using.
Not all collagen supplements are created equal and whether collagen can cause headaches may have more to do with the type of collagen you use and its bioavailability to you.
When looking at the quality of a collagen supplement, first and foremost check to see if the company can back up their claims.
If a company is making any kind of result claims regarding collagen’s ability to help resolve issues (especially medical issues) then they need to have resources, case studies, and other research to back up these claims.
Since the FDA does not regulate collagen supplements as closely as they should, a lot of this is left up to the consumer to identify and sift through. One thing that you can look for is a medical grade collagen supplement like ProT Gold.
It is still a possibility that you may experience some side effects with any collagen supplement. When following the proper dosage with a high-quality liquid collagen, though, you are less likely to experience adverse side effects.
Whether collagen can cause headaches or not is a great question to be asking, especially when trying to decide which supplements are right for you and your body. However, the likelihood of a headache due to collagen may be minimal in comparison to the many benefits of collagen.
What to look for in a collagen supplement
When looking for a collagen supplement, check the ingredient label and see what the absorption rate is. The ingredients list is going to be very telling when looking at any supplement.
Consider if there are several additives or unnatural ingredients. These types of ingredients and additives found in supplements can also be a reason why someone gets a headache versus the collagen molecules themselves.
Next, looking at the absorption rate can help you avoid other side effects like bloating or an upset stomach. The easiest way to narrow down the absorption rate of a collagen protein is to see if it is hydrolyzed or not.
Hydrolyzed or nano hydrolyzed collagen protein supplements, like ProT Gold, are easier to digest because the molecules are smaller and easier for your body to break down.
The less your body has to work to break down the collagen when you consume it, the less likely you are to get a stomach ache or other unwanted side effects.