Collagen has been growing in popularity in recent years - with good reason! It is thought to play a significant role in the connective tissue in your body, offering support to bones, cartilage, muscles, skin and tendons. As collagen can decline with age, boosting intake via dietary supplements may be of benefit.
If you are wondering how long it takes for collagen supplements to work or what benefits they could have for you, we’ve got you covered! To take the mystery out of collagen supplements, we have compiled this comprehensive guide that will equip you with everything you need to know.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein that is composed of the three amino acids, glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. These form a triple-helix structure that is key to the framework of cells and tissues in your body.
There are around 28 known types of collagen, however, these four are the most common:
- Type 1 - this is found in all connective tissue (making up around 90% of the human body) and is thought to play a big role in skin ageing
- Type 2 - the main constituent of cartilage, which is located between your joints and between intervertebral discs
- Type 3 - found in your skin and blood vessels this type is the main component of reticular fibres, which support the soft tissue in the body
- Type 4 - believed to aid in healing wounds, this type of collagen also helps your kidneys and other organs function properly
Ultimately, collagen acts as your body’s scaffolding, providing structural support to vital tissues and helping to maintain healthy cell functions.
What Are The Benefits of Collagen?
Collagen has many purported health benefits, especially for your skin, bones and joints.
Could Improve Skin Health
As your body ages and collagen levels decline, skin becomes dry and wrinkles begin to form. However, supplementing with collagen can help keep skin strong and hydrated for as long as possible.
In fact, several studies by dermatologists indicate that taking supplements containing collagen may slow skin ageing, improving elasticity and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Might Benefit Bone Health
As collagen levels in your body decrease as you get older, so too does bone mass. This can sometimes lead to osteoporosis, which is characterised by low bone density, which can increase the risk of bone fractures.
May Support Joint Health
Similar to bone mass, as levels of collagen decrease, your risk of degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis could increase.
Scientists have theorised that collagen could help to improve joint health and alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis. The supplement could potentially provide relief from joint pain and inflammation, as well as better joint support.
How Can I Boost My Collagen?
As previously mentioned, as you get older, collagen production naturally declines. When you get to your forties, your body will stop producing collagen relying on what you already have stored instead. From your fifties, the levels in your body may decline as much as 40%, with the remaining collagen becoming fragmented and more loosely dispersed throughout your body.
These changes in levels and distribution may be detrimental to your skin, bones and joints, as the body may not have enough resources to allow them to function optimally. To combat these changes, it may be worth introducing collagen-rich foods or supplementing your diet with a collagen peptide.
Collagen in Food
Some of the best foods that contain or support collagen production include:
- Bone broth - the broth made from bones and ligaments contains gelatin, which provides the body with amino acids to aid the creation of collagen within the body.
- Eggs - collagen can be found in the yolks and eggshell membranes.
- Berries - the ellagic acid found in most berries helps to protect collagen from harmful UV rays that could cause premature ageing.
- Citrus fruit - vitamin C is believed to support healthy collagen production in the body.
Adding collagen-rich foods to your diet could help to improve levels and encourage health benefits.
A significant increase in your body’s collagen concentration may not be possible from diet alone.
The collagen within the caplets has been hydrolyzed, which is the result of a process called hydrolysis, that breaks down the collagen protein into smaller particles to allow for optimum absorption.
How Long Will it Take to See Results from Collagen Supplements?
While our collagen supplements are hydrolyzed for fast absorption, most clinical trials suggest that it takes a minimum of 90 days before any skin or joint health benefits are noticed.
Research on the effects of collagen on bone health has concluded that it may take at least 12 months of continued use before any benefits can be seen.
Dietary supplements are never quick fixes, and any benefits will not occur overnight. However, consistent use paired with a healthy diet and lifestyle will help to support prospective results, particularly with collagen.
If you do take any medications, it is important to check with your healthcare provider before supplementing your diet.