As the body’s primary protein, Collagen is a component of healthy skin, hair, and nails, as well as healthy joints, connective tissue, ligaments, cartilage, tendons, muscles, and arteries
Your body naturally produces Collagen with the help of key nutrients such as Protein, Vitamin C, Zinc, and Copper
With limited food sources of Collagen (primarily the skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments of animals), many people turn to Collagen supplementation to increase their intake
Is Collagen safe to take? Yes, it’s safe in recommended doses with no known side effects
Admit it, you’ve been drawn to the many ads for products touting the benefits of Collagen. After all, you you’re probably impressed to hear that Collagen plays a key role in hair, nail, and skin health. Who doesn’t want to look and feel their best?
How can you increase your Collagen intake? You can start by making sure your diet includes food sources of Collagen. While choices are limited, they consist primarily of animal protein sources such as bone broth, eggs, and chicken, pork, beef, or fish—primarily in the bones and skin. (Pig’s feet, anyone?) But if you’re a vegetarian or just don’t eat those foods, you might be considering a Collagen supplement.
Are Collagen supplements safe? What are the health benefits? Read on to learn all about Collagen and how it can help you.
What To Know About Collagen
You might not realize it, but your body naturally produces more than two dozen types of Collagen, making it one of the most abundant proteins in the body.  Type I Collagen is found in eggshell membranes, pigs, fish and other sources. Type I Collagen and Type III Collagen is also found in beef and may promote healthy skin, while Type II Collagen comes from chicken and may support joint health. 
The body produces Collagen by combining the amino acids – glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline (found in protein) with Vitamin C, Zinc, and Copper.  That’s why it’s important to eat a healthy diet that includes a variety of animal- and plant-based foods rich in these key nutrients to increase Collagen production in the body. You can also add different supplements to your diet, like a zinc tablet, to increase your intake, Here’s how these nutrients work together with Collagen to support healthy hair, skin, and nails:
Vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals in the body and plays an integral part in Collagen synthesis (Read More: Benefits of Vitamin C)
Beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, is a key nutrient for healthy skin
Biotin benefits as it may help support healthy hair, skin and nails for those low in biotin
Copper, essential for Collagen synthesis and skin support
Besides helping to ensure strong and healthy skin, hair, and nails, Collagen in your body serves as one of the primary building blocks of bones, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, organs, teeth—and even the gastrointestinal system. 
Once you hit your 20s, you slowly start losing Collagen—about one percent each year.  As you get older, these decreased Collagen levels may impact: 
ligaments and tendon function
Is Taking Collagen Safe?
Because there are few food sources of Collagen, you might be considering dietary Collagen supplement. If so, it helps to know what to expect from different Collagen products. In general, manufacturers make Collagen supplements from bones, connective tissue, and other parts of cows, pigs, chicken, and fish.  For this reason, you’ll find product packaging that might say “bovine Collagen” or “marine Collagen.”
Many Collagen supplements commonly contain Collagen peptides, also called hydrolyzed Collagen or Collagen hydrolysate. Because Collagen peptides are water-soluble, they’re easier for the body to digest, thus may help in Collagen absorption. 
What are the side effects in taking Collagen? Studies have not shown any negative side effects in people given Collagen. In fact, as long as you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients in the Collagen supplement (check the label), there are no known side effects of taking Collagen peptides.
Research shows that, taken in the proper doses, Collagen is not harmful. So, what is the recommended dosage? Studies indicate that you can safely take 2.5g -15g of Collagen peptides every day. 
The Bottom Line
Made from the amino acids of protein, Collagen is a component of healthy skin, hair, and nails, and plays a vital role in other important body functions. By combining key nutrients such as Protein, Vitamin C, Zinc, and Copper, your body naturally produces Collagen. However, Collagen production decreases as you get older. Collagen is primarily found in the skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments of beef, pork, poultry, and fish. Collagen supplements (often in the form of Collagen powder, gummies, or capsules) provide another option for people looking to increase their intake. Studies show that Collagen is safe to take in recommended doses with no reported side effects.
Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.
Lisa Beach is a seasoned journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Eating Well, Parents, AARP’s Disrupt Aging, Optimum Wellness, and dozens more. She also writes for a variety of health/wellness-focused brands. Check out her writer’s website at www.LisaBeachWrites.com.
Melissa is a registered dietitian (RD) and works in our Medical and Scientific Communications department as a Science and Health Educator. She has worked for Pharmavite for over 20 years educating consumers, healthcare practitioners, retailers and employees about nutrition, dietary supplements and overall wellness. Prior to joining the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Melissa launched and managed Pharmavite’s Consumer Relations department. Melissa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science, from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and completed her dietetic internship at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in East Orange New Jersey.
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