Collagen is one of the primary proteins in the body
Since collagen makes up about 90% of your hair, skin and nails, collagen works to support healthy hair, skin and nails
People might turn to collagen supplements because collagen is found only in limited food sources, such as animal skin, bones, and tendons
While experts haven’t yet recommended a standard dosage, research shows that how much collagen per day to take depends on the form of collagen and the reason you’re taking it
Are you considering adding collagen to your daily regimen? After all, with collagen the shining star in so many beauty products, you might wonder what the fuss is all about.
As a naturally occurring protein in the body, collagen plays a vital role in healthy hair, skin, and nails. In fact, the body produces more than two dozen types of collagen, making it one of the primary proteins in the body.1
But collagen does more than just support healthy hair, skin and nails. Collagen’s important roles in the body include: 1,2
make up the building blocks of bones, connective tissue, fibrous cartilage, ligaments, organs, skin, teeth, and tendons
support healthy joints
support healthy arteries, organs, and muscles
In fact, specific types of collagen work in different parts of the body. For instance, types I and III collagen make up 90% of your hair, skin and nails, supporting the strength of your hair and nails. Type I collagen is characterized by being extremely strong and able to stretch without breaking. Type III collagen is found alongside type I collagen in the skin and is important for the development of skin. Type II collagen supports the strength and elasticity of your joints and cartilage.
You might be unpleasantly surprised to learn that as early as your 20s, you start losing about one percent of collagen per year, causing skin to sag, wrinkle, and feel and look dry.3 The news is even worse for older women, who can lose as much as 30% of collagen production in the first five years of menopause.4
So, while your body keeps producing more collagen, the collagen levels in the body deplete at the same time. It makes sense, then, to wonder, “Should I take collagen?” And if so, how much collagen per day has been studied?
Let’s find out.
How Much Collagen Should You Take A Day?
While you should always look to healthy food sources first to get the nutrients you need, getting adequate collagen regularly through your diet might pose a challenge. Why? Because collagen food sources are somewhat limited. Collagen comes from the skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments of animals and fish—with the highest amounts often in animal parts not typically consumed in the Western diet (think ligaments, organ meats, and tendons). Since only a few animal foods naturally contain collagen, you’ll need to eat a variety of animal- and plant-based foods that support collagen production in the body, including foods high in protein, vitamin C, zinc, and copper.1,5-6
That’s why many people turn to supplements. But how much collagen should you take? Health experts have not yet offered any official guidance regarding a collagen daily dose recommendation. And how much collagen to take depends a lot on the supplement’s form, such as powder or gummy, and your reason for taking it based on the research that is out there.
The Main Forms of Collagen in Supplements
Also known as collagen peptides, hydrolyzed collagen is commonly found in many collagen supplements and collagen-enriched foods, often in the form of powder or capsules. Why? Because the body absorbs this type more easily than others. Recent studies show the following results:
Taking 2.5–15 grams of hydrolyzed collagen peptides daily could be effective and safe.7
Taking 2.5 grams may support skin hydration and elasticity and support joint health.8-10
Taking 5-15 grams per day may support bone and joint health.11-13
Some research shows that taking 10–40 mg of undenatured collagen daily may support joint health.14
The best advice for how much collagen to take per day? Follow the supplement’s package Suggested Use instructions which spells out how much collagen to take.
When it comes to timing, should you take collagen in the morning or night? Read our article, When Should I Take Vitamins? for more information on timing your supplements.
How Much Collagen Is Too Much?
Collagen supplementsare generally well tolerated and considered safe and have been used for up to 5 months in clinical studies. Despite what you may have heard, collagen does not cause you to gain weight, damage your kidneys, or any other adverse effects. Of course, this means sticking within the recommended dosages on the product packaging.
The Bottom Line
If you want to help support healthy hair, skin, and nails and support joint health, as well as provide structural support for your bones, tissue, cartilage and tendons, collagen is a critical element in all of these roles.† While your body naturally produces collagen, production declines as you get older. And since only a few animal foods naturally contain collagen, a supplement might be the way to go. How much collagen per day to take depends on its form and why you want to take it. Studies show safe ranges of 2.5-15 grams of collagen per day. Your best bet? Follow the package directions.
Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.
Nutrients. “Significant Amounts of Functional Collagen Peptides Can Be Incorporated in the Diet While Maintaining Indispensable Amino Acid Balance.” May 15, 2019. Accessed on: August 6, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31096622/
Nutrients. “A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study.” October 17, 2019. Accessed on: August 6, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31627309/
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology. “Oral intake of specific bioactive collagen peptides reduces skin wrinkles and increases dermal matrix synthesis.” December 24, 2103. Accessed on: August 6, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24401291/
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. “Effect of the novel low molecular weight hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract, BioCell Collagen, on improving osteoarthritis-related symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” April 25, 2012. Accessed on: August 6, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22486722/
Journal of Medicinal Food. “A calcium-collagen chelate dietary supplement attenuates bone loss in postmenopausal women with osteopenia: a randomized controlled trial.” March 2015. Accessed on: August 6, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25314004/
Nutrients. “Specific Collagen Peptides Improve Bone Mineral Density and Bone Markers in Postmenopausal Women-A Randomized Controlled Study.” January 16, 2018. Accessed on: August 6, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29337906/
The British Journal of Nutrition. “Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial.” October 28, 2015. Accessed on: August 6, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26353786/
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. “Undenatured type II collagen (UC-II®) for joint support: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in healthy volunteers.” October 24, 2013. Accessed on: August 6, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24153020/
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.
As a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Sandra educates healthcare professionals and consumers on nutrition, supplements, and related health concerns. Prior to joining Pharmavite, Sandra worked as a clinical dietitian at University of Chicago Medicine in the inpatient and outpatient settings. Sandra received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science, with minors in Spanish and Chemistry from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. She earned her Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from RUSH University in Chicago, IL. As part of her Master’s program, Sandra performed research on physical activity participation and correlates in urban Hispanic women.
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