When you first saw your friends jump aboard the collagen supplement trend, you decided to play it cool for a little bit: after all, who knows if drinking collagen can really give you younger-looking, firmer skin. But now that they’re all sporting a 24/7 glow (think: a JLo-esque complexion) … you can’t help but feel like you’ve missed out. And now that you’re furiously stirring collagen powder into anything you can – your coffees, juices, and smoothies – there’s only one question on your mind: “When will I see results?” Or, in other words, “How long does it take for collagen supplements to work?”
It depends. But on what? Well, that’s what this article is for. Before diving into the details, though, let’s first cover the basics.
Why should you take collagen?
Collagen is a type of structural protein found in the connective tissues in your body, which means it’s in your skin, hair, muscles, bones, and even blood vessels. While 28 types of collagen have been identified, types I, II, and III are the primary ones found in the human body – making up 80 to 90% of your total collagen. Types I and III are mainly found in your skin and bones, while type II collagen is primarily found in the joints.
Ultimately, you can think of collagen as the "glue" that holds everything together. But there's a problem. The amount of "glue" your body can naturally produce decreases as you age, with collagen levels dropping by roughly 1% per year past the mid-twenties mark. The resulting weaker structural support in the body can (and, in most cases, do) translate into wrinkles, sagging skin, cellulite, creaky joints, and a whole host of issues. That’s where collagen supplements come in. Research has shown that collagen supplementation supports skin elasticity, improves joint stiffness, enhances bone density, and boosts nail and hair health.
How long will it take for my collagen powder to work?
So. When can you expect to reap all these benefits from your collagen powder?
Many of the studies available suggest that you'd be able to noticeably see improvements in skin elasticity, hydration, and density anywhere between 6 and 12 weeks of regular collagen supplementation. For example, this recent 2020 study measured various skin markers at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks – but only found noticeable results at 6 and 8 weeks. That said, it’s worth noting that many of these studies used lower doses of collagen (anywhere between 3 to 10 grams of collagen).
The low dosage amount used in these studies could be a contributing factor toward the longer time frame needed to see results. Our Premium Collagen Peptides deliver 15 grams of collagen per serving, we’ve consistently received feedback from many customers that they’ve seen improvements in skin texture, tone, and brightness in as little as 2 weeks.
Joints and Tendons
Struggling with creaky, achy joints? Studies suggest that you may start experiencing relief from these bothersome symptoms anywhere between 12 weeks to 6 months – with the shorter period offering more localised joint support (i.e., better joint mobility) and the longer time frame enhancing joint health on the whole. What about tendons and ligaments? It’ll be anywhere between 3 to 6 months.
Once again, note that many of these studies involved low dosages of collagen. Take, for example, this 2012 study. The participants took 2 grams of collagen daily – and were only able to see a significant reduction in joint pain after 2 months. On the other hand, our customers have told us that they’ve been able to see improvements in joint pain and ligament strength in as little as 4 weeks!
Here’s something you need to know about your bone cells. Most of them have a half-life of 25 years, and they could live as long as 50 years. So, given how long the physiological timeline for bone turnover is, current research suggests that you won't have any improvement in bone health till you've taken collagen consistently for up to a year (or sometimes beyond). For instance, this 2018 study published in Nutrients found that postmenopausal women only showed enhanced bone density at 12 months after consuming collagen peptides daily. Yes, read that again: “daily”!
Hair and Nails
It’s common for our customers to notice enhanced nail strength (i.e., bye, easily-chipped nails!) and thicker, healthier-looking hair at the 2-4 week mark of regular collagen supplementation. However, do note that this is a lot faster than what is usually indicated in studies. For instance, this 2017 clinical trial found an improvement in the nail appearance of participants after 6 months. However, the reason for this becomes clear once you dive deeper into the study’s methodology: the participants were only given 2.5 grams of bioactive collagen peptides daily. That’s one-sixth the amount you’d get from our collagen products! And what do you get when you divide 6 months by 6? That’s right. Suddenly, 2-4 weeks to see results doesn’t seem like such a far-fetched idea after all.
Scrutinise your collagen powder’s ingredient label
So, there you have it. Both scientific studies and anecdotal evidence show that collagen supplements really do work. That said, it’s crucial to note that results may vary from person to person. Some people may see improvements super quickly, while others may not.
Another thing to note? Collagen supplements aren’t created equal. Here are a few things you'll need to look out for:
- Types of collagen: Different types of collagen have different functions throughout the body. That's why you'd need to look for a supplement that stimulates all 3 types of collagen – so you can reap the overall full-body benefits.
- Amount of collagen per serving:As highlighted by numerous studies earlier, taking a lower dose of collagen translates into a long wait for the various benefits realisation (e.g., skin elasticity and nail health). You can look for a collagen supplement that contains more than 10 grams of collagen per serving to speed up the process.
Form of collagen: Collagen by itself is too large of a molecule to be absorbed by your body. So, always look for hydrolysed collagen peptides. This way, the collagen fragments can be better absorbed as is – and circulate throughout your body to exert their effects.