How Long Does It Take for Collagen Supplements to Work?

How long does it take for collagen supplements to work: elderly couple jogging

How Long Does It Take for Collagen Supplements to Work?

Collagen is a type of protein found throughout your body. Although you’ve probably seen it touted as an anti-aging ingredient in skincare products, it has multiple health benefits — no matter what your age.

With all the hype around collagen, you might be wondering: Do collagen supplements really make a difference? What can they do for me? And how long does it take for collagen supplements to work? Let’s explore the answers to these questions and more.

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the human body and is especially critical for healthy skin, muscles, organs, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons — basically all your connective tissue. In fact, collagen is essentially the glue that holds the body together.

As with all proteins, your body produces collagen by combining amino acids — especially proline and glycine — in a process known as protein synthesis. These amino acids are found in many common foods. 

For example, you can get proline from dairy products, egg whites, and cabbage, and glycine is found in gelatin and chicken skin, as well as many other protein-rich foods. Protein synthesis also requires vitamin C, so including foods like citrus fruits and strawberries in your diet will help.

Why You Might Need a Collagen Supplement

As you get older — in fact, just on the other side of 20 — collagen production decreases, which is why you start to see fine lines, wrinkles, and then, later on, other signs of aging, such as brittle bones. Unless you’re younger than 20, you may well need to take a collagen supplement to make sure your body has what it needs to stay strong and healthy.

Collagen isn’t only useful for counteracting aging though. It’s also very helpful for athletes who are training intensively and therefore putting extra strain on their joints, muscles, and tendons, and for anyone who suffers from joint pain. It also seems likely that collagen can help with gut health and weight loss, although these areas aren’t as well researched. 

Let’s look at how collagen supplements can improve, or at least help maintain, your general health and well-being.

Benefits of Collagen Supplements

People take collagen for many different reasons, often expecting fast results. However, it can take a while to see the effects of collagen supplements. Exactly how long it takes depends on what you’re taking them for and the state of your health, as well as other factors such as your age, diet, lifestyle, and genetics. 

Let’s explore some of the benefits of collagen peptide supplementation and how long it takes to see results. 

Collagen for Joint Health and Bone Health

How long does it take for collagen supplements to work: athlete with knee pain

Our joints naturally contain collagen type II and whether you’re an older adult or an athlete suffering from joint pain (or sore tendons or ligaments), a collagen supplement can be extremely helpful. Studies show that taking collagen supplements can support joint health and reduce the risk of osteoarthritis. Bone density is also improved although it takes longer as bone turnover is slow. 

How long does it take for collagen supplements to work?

  • Joint health: 3 to 6 months
  • Tendon support: 3 to 6 months
  • Bone density: 12 months

What can help: Make sure you’re eating enough protein in general and regularly doing resistance exercise.

Collagen for Muscles

Muscles naturally consist of up to 10% collagen. So it makes sense that supplementing with collagen could increase your muscle mass and strength, especially when combined with resistance exercise. As a bonus, collagen also reduces muscle soreness after training.

How long does it take for collagen supplements to work? 3 months for muscle mass and strength, but only a few days to reduce muscle soreness

What can help: Resistance exercise plays a big part here. Also consider supplementing with other proteins too, like a high-quality whey protein or a plant-based protein.

Collagen for Skin

Collagen supports skin health, helping to maintain skin elasticity and thereby reducing skin aging. It also helps to retain skin moisture, reducing the appearance of wrinkles that can make you look older. 

How long does it take for collagen supplements to work? 1 to 3 months

What can help: Eat plenty of antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables, and remember that hydration is crucial for skin, so drink enough water. Also, protect your skin from the sun with high-SPF sun cream and/or a hat. Sun-damaged skin will take longer to show results when you’re taking collagen supplements.

Collagen for Hair and Nails

Studies show that collagen strengthens nails and speeds their growth. Hair growth also benefits from collagen as hair contains keratin. To build keratin, your body uses several amino acids, many of which are found in collagen.

How long does it take for collagen supplements to work?

  • Nails: 6 months
  • Hair: Unknown 

What can help: Once again, a healthy and balanced diet plays a vital role. Also, avoid harsh soaps and keep your hair and nails well conditioned and moisturized. 

What Kind of Collagen Should I Take?

Collagen powder and pills beside a glass of water

Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, you need to choose the right type and form of collagen if you want to see results.

Types of Collagen

While there are many different types of collagen protein, the most common are types I, II, and III. Some types work better for particular purposes than others. For example, type II collagen is best for joint health, while types I and III are the most useful for skin, gut, and general health. If you want overall health, it’s a good idea to take all three. It’s also worth noting that you can choose bovine or marine collagen in your supplement.

Form of Collagen

Collagen comes in several different forms. Collagen itself is quite a large molecule as it’s a complex protein made up of three chains of amino acids. When that molecule is broken down into shorter chains — or collagen peptides — the collagen is more easily digested and absorbed by the body. That broken-down collagen is called hydrolyzed protein, and that’s what you’re looking for in a supplement.

Also, note that collagen is just one of the many proteins you need for optimal health. Make sure you’re also eating a diet rich in other high-quality proteins, such as beef, chicken, fish, quinoa, hemp, and legumes, and if need be, supplementing too.

How Much Collagen Powder to Take

To see a significant difference, it’s important to take the right amount of collagen protein. A dose of between 2.5-15 grams of collagen has been shown to be generally safe and effective. 

Read the dosage instructions though as it does depend on the product, for example, if the collagen is particularly high-quality, like Glaxon Wonder Collagen Protein, which contains Ingredient Optimized ioCollagen. 

Ingredient Optimized technology enhances absorption, so you need less to achieve the same results as non-optimized collagen. 

When to Take Collagen

How long does it take for collagen supplements to work: elderly couple practicing yoga at home

This is a somewhat controversial subject. If you take collagen supplements first thing in the morning, it will help keep you full for longer and do its work during the day. Try adding it to breakfast smoothies, shakes, or a cereal like oats.

If you take it at night, it can help rejuvenate your body while you get a good night’s sleep. You could add it to soup, stews, or even a calming cup of tea before bed.

The best thing to do is experiment to see what works best for you, and if in doubt, consult a nutritionist.

How Long Does It Take for Collagen Supplements to Work?

The answer to this question depends on what you want to achieve, as well as many different factors, including your age, diet, and general state of health. The type and form of collagen you take also make a difference.

There’s no doubt that a collagen supplement can support your overall health as you mature or if you’re taking part in regular, intensive athletic activity. It’s not an overnight process, and you may need some patience, but adding a high-quality collagen supplement to your daily routine definitely pays off in the long run.