Collagen supplements have become more popular for their various benefits. They offer a convenient way to try to boost your skin, hair, joint, and gut health. If you are taking collagen or planning on adding collagen supplements to your routine, you might be wondering how long it takes for collagen to start working. Read on to discover some of the common factors that can impact how long it may take to see results after you start taking collagen supplements.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is the main protein in your body, making up to 70-80% of your dry skin weight. It comprises essential amino acids and is the major component of skin, bones, and connective tissues. Collagen acts kind of like a scaffolding that helps to hold your body together. Our bodies produce collagen naturally. But as we age, the amount of collagen produced decreases. That’s why collagen supplementation is essential for maintaining the level of collagen needed so the body can keep performing the way it has been. However, like with most supplements, you probably won’t notice the results overnight. It may often take some time for collagen supplements to work.
The Benefits of Collagen
At first, collagen was mainly celebrated for its benefits amongst those in the beauty industry. There’s been a lot of talk about how the consistent use of collagen could potentially help with skin-aging by making the skin look firmer, clearer, and more radiant. It may also promote stronger and thicker hair and nails. With time, a growing body of research has shown many other benefits of collagen supplements on health and wellness. Regular supplementation of collagen may help to improve gut and heart health. It might also help reduce joint discomfort and bone degradation, as well as boost immune responses and metabolism. Collagen supplements are generally considered safe to use and don’t cause adverse side effects for most people.
So How Long Does It Take for Collagen Supplements to Work?
There is no concrete answer. Like any other supplement, the time varies for each individual due to different factors. But don’t worry, we are here to break down these factors that might affect how quickly collagen supplements will work.
Age, lifestyle, and environmental factors are the top things contributing to collagen degradation. The current state of your skin’s health and the ability to absorb collagen might impact the time it takes for collagen to show the expected results.
Age Plays a Crucial Role
Your age and genetic features determine the state of collagen in your skin. Skin aging depends on intrinsic factors such as the speed of collagen break down, skin cell regeneration and recovery rate, and the ability to keep your skin moisture. These factors are unique for each person, which is why the time it takes for collagen supplements to show noticeable improvement on your skin, hair, and nail condition can vary.
In addition, as you age, your natural collagen production also decreases. After 25, the human body produces less than 1% collagen per year and up to 30% after 5 years of menopause. That’s why taking collagen supplements might show the best result for people around the age of 25-65.
Lifestyle and Environmental Factors
Your lifestyle habits, diet, and environmental factors may also influence the results you can see from collagen supplements. You may be taking collagen to help improve your overall health and wellness. But if you keep doing things that work against it, there’s the chance that you won’t necessarily get the best results from the supplements. Or it may end up taking longer for the collagen supplements to work. Some external factors that may damage the collagen production in the body are:
- Exposure to the sun and pollutants
- Smoking or drinking alcohol
- Unhealthy diet
- Stress or lack of sleep
The Amount of Intake
How much collagen you take may also affect how long it takes for collagen supplements to work. Some clinical trials used different doses and types of collagen and observed varied times for the effects. If you take collagen irregularly or in lower doses than suggested, it may take longer to see the desired result. So consistency is key.
But a lot does not necessarily mean better. If you take too much than your body needs, it would just pass through it. Every collagen supplement has a different recommended dosage. The best option is to follow the recommendation, listen to your body, and adjust according to your own personal needs.
The Type of Collagen and Your Desired Effects
There have been 28 types of collagen identified so far. Several main types of these are Type I, II, III, and V. Type I makes up 90% of your body and is found in your skin, hair, nails, bones, organs, and tendons. Type II is a building block of cartilage and your gut lining. It helps in maintaining the digestive and immune systems, in addition to promoting joint health. Type III helps to support the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries which is important for heart health. This type is often found alongside Type I and together they make a perfect mix to help improve skin and bone condition. Type V supports the structure of hair and cell surfaces.
Every collagen supplement contains different types of collagen. It might make sense to choose your collagen supplement based on what the different types are able to offer and match these to your needs.
The time it takes for you to notice the expected effect may vary according to the type of supplement you have chosen. For example, users who take these multi collagen supplements found in our buying guide may experience the following. After 1 month of taking collagen daily, their customers noticed a slight increase in the thickness of hair and nails and less joint stiffness in some cases. After 2 months, many of their customers reported noticing that their hair and nails appeared stronger and thicker. Many also reported more glowing skin and slight changes in wrinkles and fine lines. After more than 3 months of daily usage, some customers reported experiencing more skin elasticity, fewer wrinkles, less joint stiffness, and improvement in digestive health. This is just an example of some results and the time frame in which they might become noticeable.
Clinical Research and Overall Measures
For the skin, clinical trials of a 10g daily collagen intake in one study suggested that taking a collagen supplement significantly improved the skin condition of participants in as little as 4 weeks. They reported that it helped to increase skin hydration after 8 weeks. Another study indicated that collagen peptides may have helped to reduce wrinkles after 4 to 8 weeks. Another study observed the same effect in 12 weeks for participants who took 1g of collagen supplement every day.
For joint health, one study showed an improvement in activity-related knee joint discomfort for young adults who took 5g of collagen peptide daily for 12 weeks. Another clinical trial reported an improvement in joint problems for athletes who took a 10g dietary hydrolyzed collagen supplement daily for 24 weeks.
These numbers may help to give an estimated idea of the time it may take for collagen to begin working. However, it’s important to bear in mind that they are not the benchmark and every individual is different. As research indicates, the time may vary for each person and may depend on a number of factors, including the health of the user and the dosage they take.
- The time it takes for collagen to work depends on many individual factors such as age, dosage, type of collagen, your desired results, lifestyle, and diet.
- Consistency is key. Most collagen supplements require you to take it daily for 4 up to 12 weeks to see results. This varies from person to person.
- Adopt a balanced and healthy diet by reducing your sugar intake, eating more veggies and whole foods. Combine dietary changes with an active lifestyle supported by reducing smoking and alcohol consumption. These types of changes may help you to reap more benefits from your collagen supplements.
- Follow the dosage instructions of the collagen supplements you use. Observe how your body reacts and adjust accordingly.
- Be patient if you don’t see immediate results after a few days or a week. Remember that miracles don’t happen overnight.