How Much Collagen Should You Take Per Day?
You’ve probably heard of collagen supplements by now, being recommended by nutritionists, celebrities, and physicians alike. What’s the big deal?
This abundant protein is naturally produced by our bodies, right? So, why do we need a collagen supplement?
Collagen offers tremendous benefits for our skin, hair, nails, muscles, teeth, and more! It’s almost like an age-fighting protein with all of the parts of our body it supports. While it won’t truly keep us young forever, it can help battle the natural effects of aging.
If that’s the case, let’s use up ALL of the collagen!
If that’s what you’re thinking, we totally get it! However, there are certain recommended dosages that you should follow, and going straight to a supplement that has collagen paired with other helpful nutrients is the easiest (and most beneficial) way to do it.
You can take collagen supplements every day but it is important to be familiar with how much per day you can or should use.
Collagen is one of the most prominent proteins within our body. It’s found in connective tissues throughout the body and makes up anywhere from 25-35% of our body’s natural protein.
Collagen is found in skin, cartilage, bones, ligaments, and tendons. It has a different role and even a different form in each of these areas, but it is important to each area all the same.
One good way to view collagen is as a connector -- it holds everything together. There are four main types of collagen and 16 total types:
- Type I – 90% of the body’s collagen is Type I. This type of collagen is tightly packed fiber that provides substantial structure to teeth, cartilage, skin, tendons, bones, and connective tissue.
- Type II – While Type I is tightly packed, Type II is more loosely packed fiber. This has more elasticity and is prominent in some cartilage as well as around your joints to act as a cushion.
- Type III – This particular collagen type is designed to provide support to arteries, muscles, and organs throughout your body.
- Type IV – The final type of collagen is found in the various layers of your skin. Its job is to help with providing structure and retaining moisture and elasticity.
Our bodies do naturally produce collagen but the levels it produces decrease as we age. That sagging skin you noticed in the mirror or the weakness in your joints could quite likely be directly related to a decreased collagen supply from your body.
Benefits of Taking Collagen
Collagen supplements are not designed just to be taken when you’re older. Taking them consistently even when you are young can help to proactively support your body as a whole as you age.
You can purchase a variety of powders, capsules, oils, and more that are made specifically to boost your collagen, but you can also eat foods that contain collagen.
Let’s take a deeper look at some of its best benefits!
Supporting Skin Health
Collagen works to restore and renew our skin. It helps our skin maintain both elasticity and hydration.
What does this mean? Well, it essentially means that the use of collagen can help reduce the appearance of sagging, loose skin, and wrinkles by providing structure and stretch alongside helping our skin to retain moisture.
Supporting Joint and Muscle Health
Collagen types II and III are more directly related to protecting our joints and muscles. This is where cartilage comes into play. If you experience joint or muscle pain, it could essentially be due to a lack of collagen.
This is very common with athletes who tax their bodies to the max, and it can be true of aging effects as well. Taking collagen might help to improve joint and muscle health by restoring lost levels of collagen and working to support what our natural collagen helps to structure.
Supporting Bone Health
As we age, our bones tend to become weaker and more fragile. This is another indication that our bodies are not producing as much collagen as they did in our youth. It is the collagen within our bones that helps maintain structure and keeps them strong.
Unfortunately, as we age, our bones deteriorate. Because of this, aged individuals are more likely to experience fractures, breaks, and unexpected falls.
Collagen supplements have been tied to improving overall bone density, making for a safer, stronger body as a whole.
Supporting Heart Health
Remember, collagen is found within our arteries. Our arteries weaken over time, particularly as our bodies produce reduced levels of collagen.
Ultimately, without collagen, our arteries become weak and they may not be able to do their job as they are supposed to, leading to issues like heart attacks, strokes, and more.
Taking a collagen supplement can help replenish depleted collagen, especially in the heart and the rest of the cardiovascular system where it’s arguably needed the most.
How Much Collagen Should You Take?
Did you know that skin elasticity actually begins failing us in our 20s? It seems crazy that a protein that our body so critically needs starts diminishing in production so young.
Luckily, collagen supplements are widely available, and you can also get collagen from eating a balanced diet.
Some of these foods contain collagen while others work to help your body produce more collagen:
- Bone broth
By the time you reach age 40, it is possible that you will be losing 1% of collagen each year. This number can vary and it is dependent upon things like smoking, drinking, dietary habits, and sun exposure.
Remember that there are 4 primary types of collagen. Most collagen supplements will be geared towards specific types of collagen. They may contain some of each type, or perhaps a mixture based on what that supplement is trying to support.
Dosing collagen is somewhat unmasked territory. There are some recommendations, but it does vary depending on your purpose for taking collagen as well as the type of collagen you are taking.
Here’s a breakdown:
Hydrolyzed Collagen: This is one of the most common supplemental forms of collagen you will find or possibly use. Our bodies absorb this type easily. Hydrolyzed collagen is typically found in either capsule or powder form. Powder collagen can be mixed into drinks, shakes, and other foods. When using hydrolyzed collagen, it is recommended that you consume 2.5 to 15 grams per day. The lower doses are used for hydration, skin health, and joint support, while the higher doses are used for bone density, muscle mass, and total body composition.
Undenatured Collagen: Undenatured collagen is raw collagen that comes directly from chicken cartilage. It is recommended to use anywhere from 10 to 40 mg per day. This particular collagen type is primarily for joint health support.
- Gelatin: Gelatin is more commonly found in gelatinous desserts than in various collagen supplements. Gelatin collagen is also popular for adding to sauces, soups, smoothies, and similar foods. There is not a recommended serving size at this time as there is little research available on the use of gelatin collagen as a supplement and it’s more so for food texture.
You can begin taking collagen at 21 or you can begin taking collagen at 40, and it will still offer health benefits for your whole body and help support you as you age. Taking it younger helps to prepare your body for aging as collagen production reduces, though, so we’ll always recommend to start as early as you can!