Collagen is often referred to as the “glue” that holds many vital parts of our body together. And for good reason! It’s actually the most abundant protein in the human body.
Collagen acts as the main structural component of many parts of our bodies, from our skin to our muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Collagen plays a key role in things like supporting the structure of your skin and maintaining bone strength.
Unfortunately, as we age, the collagen production in our bodies starts to decrease more and more. This process can even start as early as age 30 for some people, depending on your lifestyle and genetics. It’s no surprise that collagen supplements have become increasingly popular, especially for people looking to boost their skin, hair, and joint health.
But shopping for collagen supplements can sometimes be confusing. In many collagen supplements, you may come across something called hydrolyzed collagen. This basically means that the protein has been broken down and made easier for your body to absorb. Hydrolyzed collagen is also referred to as collagen peptides.
Collagen supplements come in many different forms. Some people prefer to use it in powder form (like our Keto or Primal Collagen) by mixing it with drinks. It can even be added to your morning coffee, tea, or smoothie! Others prefer to take collagen supplements in capsule form. Finding the option that works best for you is more likely to lead to better results, as you'll be more likely to be consistent with taking collagen.
Does taking collagen really work?
This is a question you might be asking yourself. An important thing to bear in mind is that we all adapt to supplements and lifestyle changes differently. Some people may notice significant changes, while others less so. These changes are likely to occur at different rates as well. Each of us is unique!
Maybe you've already been taking collagen supplements for some time or are just interested in learning more.
Either way, it's normal to wonder: Exactly how long does it take for collagen supplements to work?
We’re going to break down some of the different factors that can play a role in determining when you might expect to see some results when taking a hydrolyzed collagen supplement.
Factor 1: The Type of Collagen in the Collagen Supplements
Even though we collectively refer to this protein as just "collagen" in general, there are actually many different types. There are even up to 15 types that are currently known to science.
Out of these, there are four to five main types of collagen, categorized according to where you can find them in the body. These are:
- Type 1: This type is mostly present in bones, tendons, skin, and organs
- Type 2: Found mostly in cartilage (the connective tissue in your ears and nose, for example)
- Type 3: A key part of reticular fibers, another form of connective tissue. It can be found, for example, in the skin and intestinal wall.
- Type 4: This type is found in a specific type of connective tissue.
- Type 5: The fifth type is typically found in hair, cell surfaces, and the placenta.
You can read more about collagen and where it comes from here.
People who take collagen supplements often have a wide variety of health goals. Some may take it because they find it helps them minimize fine lines and wrinkles, promote healthy skin, support joints, or strengthen their hair and nails.
You are generally more likely to see the expected results faster if you take a collagen supplement that includes the type of collagen that best suits your individual needs.
Generally, it’s quite common to find collagen supplements that are a mix of types 1 and 3 because one of the more sought after benefits of collagen is its effect on skin health. People looking to use collagen to help with something like skin elasticity, for example, might benefit from this type of collagen supplement.
Factor 2: The Part of Your Body
The time it takes for collagen supplements to work can also vary depending on where in your body you want the collagen to take effect.
For example, some people might be trying to strengthen their hair because they feel that it is thin and fragile. Collagen contains amino acids which might be helpful in boosting hair health. This may be because amino acids are the building blocks of keratin, the protein that your hair is made of. These amino acids may help to make your hair feel stronger and more elastic, as well as support the natural hair growth cycle.
Because all of our bodies are unique and adapt differently to supplements, the exact time it takes to see results may vary from one person to another. In some cases, some people may find that they notice a difference in their hair structure and scalp health after several weeks or about a month of use. Others who take collagen daily for about two months, might be able to notice a more significant change.
Factor 3: What You Are Taking Along With Collagen Peptides
It is worth knowing that taking collagen along with other nutrients may impact the amount of time it takes to see results. Some nutrients might interact with collagen in a beneficial way. For example, collagen peptides might be absorbed by the human body more effectively when they are combined with proper nutrition, especially:
- Vitamin C. This vitamin is famous for its many health benefits, but not everyone knows it may also play a role in boosting the effects of collagen supplements. You can help increase your vitamin C intake by eating fruits and vegetables like citrus fruits, peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and potatoes.
- Copper. Having sufficient amounts of this mineral can be helpful in the absorption of collagen, one study suggests. It can be found in foods like cashews, liver, lentils, and sesame seeds. Cocoa is also a great source of copper, creating the perfect excuse to enjoy that piece of dark chocolate!
- Amino acids. Eating a diet rich in amino acids could also impact the results of taking a collagen supplement. Foods such as seafood, tofu, meat, and dairy are all a good source of amino acids.
Factor 4: Your Age and Lifestyle
Age is also one of the most important factors that might determine how long it takes for collagen supplements to work as you expect. When you are very young, your body naturally produces more collagen peptides. This means that some young people may not see a super drastic change when they begin taking a collagen supplement.
By the time you are 70 or older, your body's ability to produce collagen has dropped pretty significantly. Those in this age group might still see some of the benefits of taking a collagen supplement, for example in their skin, joint, or nail health. Those in an older age group should also consider other health factors that may impede how quickly they see results from a collagen supplement.
Another key factor that can impact how quickly you might see results is your overall lifestyle. Following a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of rest can make a big difference. Basically, if you follow a poor diet and sleep only two hours a night, you’re likely to see very different results than someone with healthier lifestyle habits.
In a nutshell, there are a few factors you might want to consider if you’d like to see the results of taking a collagen supplement as soon as possible. Combining the supplement with a healthy lifestyle can help to increase your intake of other vital nutrients in your diet, such as amino acids, copper, or vitamin C.
Also, remember that the amount of time it takes may often depend on the body part you’re targeting. It’s helpful to choose the type of collagen depending on if your main concern is your skin, joints, or another area. Another crucial factor to keep in mind is that consistency is key. You are more likely to see optimal results if you take your collagen supplements on a regular basis.
Before starting any new supplement, it’s a good idea to check with your physician to see if the supplement is suitable for you. Always remember to follow the instructions on the supplement bottle and never go beyond the recommended dosage. This will not help you see daily results and may cause more harm than good.
Because every individual is different, it’s hard to give an exact time estimate of how long it will take for a collagen supplement to begin working for you. However, with consistency, a healthy lifestyle, and a little patience you’re more likely to be on the right track to seeing the results you expect.
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