Collagen is the most abundant structural protein in the human body. It helps to rebuild connective tissue found in tendons and ligaments. You can think of it as the “glue” that keeps your body together.
Your body produces collagen naturally, but unfortunately, once you turn 25, collagen production decreases by about 1.5% per year. When levels drop, you may have symptoms such as joint pain, muscle weakness, or stiff tendons and ligaments.
Athletes who are looking to prevent injury, as well as those looking to promote rapid recovery, can significantly benefit from collagen supplementation.
Whether you’ve already started taking a collagen supplement or are still on the fence about it, you may question how long does it take for collagen supplements to work?
In this article, we dive into the benefits of collagen and tell you how long it may take for you to see noticeable results after beginning your supplement.
- Collagen supplements can boost muscle mass, promote healthy skin, support a healthy gut lining, and improve joint stiffness.
- The time it takes collagen supplements to work can vary by individual and their unique health goals. Most users will begin to notice improvements within eight weeks of use.
- Patience and consistency are key for reaping maximum benefits when taking collagen protein powder. You’ll also want to choose your supplement from a reputable company and ensure each serving contains at least 10 grams of collagen peptides.
THE BENEFITS OF TAKING A COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENT
- Muscle Benefits
- Gut Health Benefits
- Joint Support Benefits
- Skin Health
Collagen supplements are all the rave these days and for very good reasons! Studies have consistently shown that taking collagen supplements may offer quite a few benefits, especially for athletes.
Collagen is the major structural protein in skeletal muscle tissue. In fact, it accounts for up to 10% of muscle mass.
In combination with strength training, collagen has been scientifically proven to improve muscle mass.
For example, a newer study from 2020 found that oral collagen supplementation can increase skeletal muscle mass. The study looked at 19 older adults who were admitted to rehab for three months following a stroke or fracture.
The intervention group was given 10 grams of collagen daily. At the end of the study, the intervention group experienced significantly higher fat-free mass and skeletal muscle mass compared to the control group.
Collagen is also high in arginine and glycine, which are both essential for creatine synthesis. Creatine supplementation is known to improve both muscle mass and muscular function.
Collagen is not, however, considered a complete protein. This is because it’s missing tryptophan, one of the nine essential amino acids.
So, although collagen can help increase muscle mass, it’s not as effective as taking a whey protein supplement, which is a complete protein.
GUT HEALTH BENEFITS
Collagen contains large amounts of the amino acids glutamine, glycine, and proline that can benefit the digestive tract.
For example, glycine and proline can help heal the stomach lining and intestinal wall.
Although research is limited, many experts believe that taking a collagen supplement can also treat leaky gut syndrome because it can seal and heal the gut lining.
Studies have also found that people with digestive issues have lower collagen levels. Researchers believe there is an association between inflammatory bowel disease and decreased serum collagen levels.
JOINT SUPPORT BENEFITS
The majority of scientific evidence to date links collagen supplements to joint health. Collagen comprises nearly 60% of cartilage, which is a firm, thick tissue that acts as a protective cushion between bones and joints.
As we age, the natural decline of collagen production can lead to loss of cartilage and joint pain. Several clinical trials have demonstrated collagen’s ability to effectively build cartilage tissue and reduce joint pain. Researchers believe collagen may also reduce inflammation.
One 24-week trial found that athletes with joint pain who were treated with 10 grams of collagen peptides experienced significant improvements in joint pain.
Collagen is also the most abundant protein in the skin, making up about 75% of the skin’s support structure. It is what provides strength and elasticity to the skin. As collagen production decreases with age, it can lead to wrinkles and skin sagging.
Several studies suggest collagen powder can improve skin elasticity due to skin cell regeneration. It can also increase hydration and collagen density in the dermis.
Collagen powder may also promote the production of other proteins like elastin and fibrillin that help provide structure to your skin.
SO, HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTS TO WORK?
Similar to other supplements, collagen protein powder can take time to work. It’s important to be patient and continue consistently taking collagen daily to reap the benefits.
The amount of time it can take to see noticeable results from collagen supplementation can vary depending on your goals. However, generally speaking, it takes at least eight weeks of consistent collagen supplementation until you notice the discussed benefits.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTS TO WORK ON MUSCLE MASS?
For muscles, the amount of time to see results can vary quite a bit. For example, improvements in muscle soreness following strenuous exercise can be seen within just 48 hours.
It usually takes collagen supplements a little longer to work on muscle mass.
You can expect to see improvements in muscle mass within about three months of consistent collagen use. For best results, you’ll want to pair it with regular strength training.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTS TO WORK ON GUT HEALTH?
How quickly collagen supplements begin to work on gut health depends heavily on your diet and body.
Because research is limited, we need more studies to determine the amount of time it takes for collagen peptides (hydrolyzed collagen) to begin repairing your gut.
However, generally speaking, it can take up to three months before collagen powder begins working on gut health.
Because diet plays a large role in gut health, be sure to follow a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTS TO WORK ON JOINT HEALTH?
If you are looking for joint support, you’ll likely notice improvements within 3-6 months of starting a collagen supplement.
One study found improvements in joint mobility after taking collagen supplements for just 12 weeks. However, it may take closer to six months of taking a collagen supplement to notice improvements in overall joint health.
When it comes to repairing tendons and ligaments, you can expect to start seeing improvements within 3-6 months of taking collagen peptides combined with exercise.
If you choose to use a collagen supplement for joint pain relief, most experts recommend taking at least 10 grams of collagen supplements daily.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTS TO WORK ON SKIN ELASTICITY AND OVERALL HEALTH?
You can expect to see noticeable skin improvements after taking collagen supplements for around three months.
One study from 2019 conducted over twelve weeks found improvements in skin moisture, elasticity, roughness, and density after collagen supplementation.
However, some studies suggest that you may begin to see improvements much sooner. For example, this study found that older women experienced significant improvements in skin elasticity within just four weeks.
Collagen is a protein that plays a protective role in the body. It’s found in the connective tissues, tendon, cartilage, skin, and bone. Unfortunately, collagen production slows down as we age, which can contribute to wrinkles, joint pain, and other age-related issues.
Anyone can benefit from taking a high-quality collagen supplement.
However, athletes especially can benefit from collagen to prevent injuries, support lean muscle mass, and improve gut and skin health.
It can take time until you see positive results. Most people will begin to notice improvements within 8-12 weeks. However, this can vary by person and individual goal.
The key to reaping all of the great benefits associated with taking a high-quality collagen supplement is being patient and consistently taking it on a daily basis.