Figuring out how much collagen you should take can be quite the journey. Sorting through myriad sources, comparing products, listening to stories of trial and error from friends and family - it can be overwhelming!
Since collagen stepped into the limelight as an essential health supplement, curious consumers have been subject to the same (often intimidating) process of trying to determine how much collagen they should take.
If you are wishing for a simple, fact-based review on proper collagen usage, you are not alone.
In order to understand how we came up with the perfect collagen dosage, you must first learn how and why collagen is essential for the body.
What is collagen, and why is it important?
Collagen is the most plentiful protein in our bodies, making up about 33% of all protein that helps build, maintain, and restore our connective tissues (like muscles, ligaments, and tendons). It’s also in vital organs and material like bones, blood vessels, intestines, eyes, spinal discs, and teeth.
Collagen is crucial in supporting the strength and elasticity of our tissues. It is also a necessary component of healthy skin, hair, and nails - and has even proven helpful when it comes to reaching your weight loss goals!
Factors that deplete our natural collagen stores
Medical experts say supplementing daily with collagen protein is a safe and effective way to combat the depletion of collagen in our bodies. This process is a normal part of day-to-day life and is caused by multiple factors:
Once we hit our 30s, our body starts naturally producing less collagen (and what it does produce can be of lower quality). This loss intensifies as time goes on.
When we expose our skin to the sun, free radicals are produced. These destructive, unpaired electrons inhibit our skin’s ability to produce collagen, threatening its moisture, elasticity, and overall regenerative capabilities (increasing the prevalence of wrinkles and cellulite).
Unfortunately, that magical carb that makes things taste so sweet isn’t doing our collagen stores any favors. Sugar breakdown in the body impairs collagen’s reparation abilities – yet another reason to eat less sugar.
Too little sleep
When we don’t get enough shuteye, our body doesn’t get adequate time for regenerative work. Sleep is an essential time in which the body repairs cells, balances hormones, strengthens the immune system, flushes unneeded elements - and produces collagen.
Recall an image of someone whose skin appears aged beyond their years due to a smoking habit; that’s because toxins consumed while smoking inhibit the skin’s collagen production abilities.
Have you noticed that many people’s faces get flushed, or that you feel warmer when drinking alcohol? This is because alcohol dilates blood vessels and creates a histamine reaction in the skin, causing redness and a heated sensation. These inflammatory responses are a key obstacle in collagen production.
People living with lupus, collagen vascular disease, autoimmune rheumatic disorders, and others experience issues producing, maintaining, and repairing collagen.
3 benefits of taking collagen
Collagen supplementation can help counteract various factors that interfere with collagen production and maintenance. It can improve the health of your joints, muscles, bones, and skin.
There are 2 types of collagen supplements you’ll see on the market. The first actually contains collagen, which must come from animal sources. The second type aids our bodies’ ability to produce its own collagen, by supplementing with vitamins and minerals, but doesn't contain any collagen itself.
The latter type is often used by individuals who prefer not to consume animal products. However, if you want to get the full benefits of collagen itself, we recommend the former. Here are three reasons why:
1. Collagen may help your joints and fibrils
Consumer Lab noted that taking collagen supplements daily for just two to six months provided reduced joint pain and increased flexibility in individuals with osteoarthritis. A clinical study found that just 10 grams daily of collagen over 30-90 days significantly increased comfort in knee joints.
Another study concluded that ingesting collagen had a positive effect on the size and composition of collagen fibrils in the Achilles tendon, an effect that would likely improve ankle strength and function.
For a group of men aged 65+ who experienced significant declines in muscle strength, supplementing with collagen while engaging in resistance training provided significant improvement in their muscle mass and strength after 3 months.
2. Collagen may strengthen your bones
Bone brittleness often occurs as we age, partly due to deficiencies in vitamin D and calcium, so it’s encouraging to know hydrolyzed collagen (a form of collagen we’ll discuss later) has been shown to strengthen bone health.
Research shows that low protein intake decreases the absorption of dietary calcium and impacts the rates that bone builds and deteriorates. Adding collagen to your daily routine is a low-effort way to ensure you get adequate protein.
For older women, higher protein intake has been shown to support the maintenance of bone density.
3. Collagen may help improve your skin
Collagen doesn’t just ensure our internal systems operate efficiently, it’s also essential for healthy skin.
In a “gold standard” (double-blind, placebo-controlled) study, there was a clear causal relationship between daily hydrolyzed collagen consumption and significant improvements in skin elasticity, structure, and moisture.
There have been many systematic reviews demonstrating collagen’s positive impacts on skin health, confirming both short- and long-term benefits.
So, how much collagen should I take?
Just as there are many factors causing depletion of body collagen, there are others that must be considered when determining how much collagen you should take in a day.
Understand the different types of collagen
I mentioned above that the type of collagen you consume will impact how well it is absorbed by your body, and therefore how much it benefits you. Taking a non- or partially hydrolyzed supplement would require significantly higher doses to provide the same effects as fully hydrolyzed collagen. It is never a good idea to take more than the recommended dose of any supplement.
Collagen also comes in capsule, liquid, and powder form. While any of these forms provide benefits (as long as the collagen has been hydrolyzed), the most versatile and concentrated way to take collagen is as a liquid.
Liquid collagen can be added to countless recipes and beverages. Plus, it spares you powder’s chalky texture and the hassle of swallowing capsules.
Whatever you choose, remember to follow the label’s dosage instructions. In addition to reviewing the label, review the manufacturer. Some collagen supplements contain glyphosate, a toxic chemical that accumulates in the bones and connective tissues of animals. A reputable collagen product will test pure.
Think about your health goals
There are many reasons to take collagen, and different forms and dosages will impact people differently. It’s important to talk with your doctor before starting a collagen regimen.
Depending on your health goals (like improved skin or joint health, or wound/post-surgery healing) and any health conditions you have, there will be different dosage recommendations for how much collagen you should take.Your doctor can provide guidance and help you create an individualized supplementation plan.
There are some general industry recommendations for different health goals as well.
For healthy skin, the recommended dosage is 5 to 8 grams of collagen up to 3 times daily.
For people hoping to lose weight, gain muscle, or supplement their exercise regimen, a dose of 10 to 15 grams up to 3 times daily is suggested.
While the higher doses may be a bit hefty for some, a recent study showed even a low dose of 2.5 grams daily provided a notable increase in skin health and wound healing.
Consider your lifestyle
How much collagen you should take a day is also impacted by your lifestyle. If you have engaged in any of the collagen-depleting activities discussed above (smoking, alcohol or sugar consumption, sun exposure, poor sleep habits) you may require more frequent or higher dosage of hydrolyzed collagen than others.
Again, do not exceed the recommended dose on a product’s label.
Learn about the best timing
There are many opinions floating around about the best time to consume collagen.
Some people think it’s best absorbed when eaten in conjunction with certain nutrients, or that collagen’s compounds are destroyed by acids in an empty stomach.
Others say taking collagen before bed is best so that it gets broken down and utilized during sleep’s regenerative processes.
The reality is that there is some truth in each of these claims, but they haven’t got the science entirely correct. Fortunately, the timing of when to take collagen is flexible.
It is a myth that stomach acid degrades collagen peptides and makes them useless; they will be broken down in the stomach with or without the presence of food, and the essential elements will remain intact.
There is no reliable evidence to show that consuming collagen alongside certain foods is necessary, but it is important to make sure you get enough vitamin C, iron, and Omega-3 fatty acids in your daily diet. The former two nutrients are essential for collagen production, and the latter helps prevent deterioration of collagen in the body.
In terms of overnight regenerative processes, there is no conclusive evidence to support the claim that it is best to consume collagen before sleeping.
What really matters is what works for your personal routine: If you love a daily morning coffee or smoothie, add a dose of liquid collagen to start your day well.
Maybe you’re someone who doesn’t consume anything until the afternoon – supplement your lunch by adding collagen to your drink or meal.
Is your schedule too diverse and busy to pencil in a meal or coffee break at a certain time each day? Make collagen part of your bedtime routine, adding it into a cup of hot tea to help you wind down for the night.
Remember: the form of collagen you take matters
Not all collagen is created equal.
For example, you have likely heard about collagen’s benefits for your skin. While the ease of rubbing a product onto your skin may be appealing, there exists very little evidence to support the restorative claims of many of those products.
Bear in mind, our skin is just another organ: Like our other tissues, skin benefits most from holistic care, which is provided most effectively from the inside out.
Consuming nutrients is the best way to ensure they are being absorbed to the fullest extent possible. By adding collagen to our diets we not only benefit our skin, but all our body systems that require collagen to remain healthy.
Additionally, when considering collagen supplements it’s important to choose one that’s been fully hydrolyzed. Hydrolyzation means the amino acids of the collagen have been broken down into their smallest form, so the human digestive system can absorb them completely.
This is necessary to ensure all elements needed to build and restore collagen-dependent tissues are available for the body’s use. Non- or partially hydrolyzed collagen will pass through your system before supplying the numerous possible benefits. Therefore, supplementing with a hydrolyzed form will reduce how much collagen you need to take.
A second important factor is choosing a hydrolyzed collagen that’s medical grade. This ensures your dosage is accurate and easily measured, which isn’t possible when using collagen supplements like powdered bone broth.
You’re ready to succeed
While collagen supplementation is generally safe for most people, medical professionals advise going slow when you first introduce collagen to your diet. When starting out, side effects could occur depending on how much collagen you take. Lower doses (or lower frequency) can help avoid digestive upset, such as bloating and gas.
It’s also important to note that people adding collagen to an already protein-rich diet may experience some digestive discomfort. It may take some time and experimentation to find the right dosage of collagen to fit your body and lifestyle.
Armed with a solid understanding of collagen’s numerous vital roles in the body, benefits of supplementation, and factors influencing daily dosage, you are well prepared to find the right collagen supplement for you!
Remember that a fully hydrolyzed form is key, so choose a product with high purity from a reputable manufacturer.ProT Gold liquid collagen is trusted by thousands of medical professionals and used in health facilities across the globe. No matter your health goals or lifestyle, ProT Gold can provide the high-quality collagen supplementation you need to achieve your goals.