How long does collagen take to work?

by Hannah de Gruchy August 10, 2022

How long does collagen take to work

Collagen is a protein that helps to maintain structure in the skin and connective tissues. The most abundant protein in the human body, collagen is most known for its role in keeping the skin lifted, plump, elastic, and youthful. It’s also vital for the health of the joints, where it helps to maintain the structure of the cartilage, keeping the joints well lubricated and supple. Collagen can support the health and strength of muscles and bones too.

From around the age of 25, we begin to gradually lose our natural collagen reserves. Although this isn’t serious and is all part of the normal ageing process, over time, this does lead to some of the visible and physical signs of ageing. These signs include sagging, less supple skin, fine lines, wrinkles, and stiff, uncomfortable, often painful joints.

For this reason, some people choose to take a collagen supplement to help to maintain their natural collagen levels. If you decide to take supplements, you may be wondering how long it will take to notice results.

How long does collagen take to work: fast facts

  • Collagen is a protein that provides structure and support to the skin, connective tissues, joints, muscles, and bones.
  • Our collagen levels naturally decline as we age, resulting in fine lines, wrinkling, sagging of the skin, and stiff, painful joints.
  • Supplements are a popular option for helping to keep our collagen reserves topped up.
  • Depending on the reason you’re taking collagen, it could take between one and twelve months to notice the benefits of taking them regularly.

What happens to your body when you start taking collagen?

Couple in water

Numerous studies have been conducted on the effects of collagen supplements on the body. Studies show that collagen can indeed reduce the visible signs of ageing by helping to improve density, “suggesting an increase in the formation of new collagen fibres”. Collagen can also “improve skin hydration, elasticity, roughness and density”.

Good quality supplements can also have an impact on the joints. Studies have found that active people can reduce the pain and discomfort of overworked joints, by taking a collagen supplement. This could lead to more beneficial workouts, increased muscle mass, and strength.

Other studies have found that collagen can positively impact cells called osteoblasts that are responsible for synthesising bone. Which in turn helps to form more bone tissue and denser, less brittle bones. This has led researchers to put collagen forward as a potential treatment in conditions such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

How long should I take collagen supplements before I see results?

Skin details

The process of manufacturing collagen is slow. Therefore, it’s likely to be several weeks or months of taking supplements before you start to see any real benefit.

Studies suggest that it can take at least eight weeks of continual daily supplementation with collagen before there are any noticeable benefits in the skin and joints. Other studies suggest it can be less than this with the effects thought to develop over time. One such study reported a minor reduction in skin wrinkles after four weeks and a major reduction (up to 31.2%) after 12 weeks.

Research has also found that collagen can help significantly improve knee joint pain and function after six months of daily supplementation. This was backed up with MRI scans that found improvements in the cartilage within the knee joints.

Separate studies, looking into the benefits of collagen for bone health, tend to look at the results over 12 months to conclude that collagen supplements can increase bone mineral density, bone formation, and decrease the rate of bone degradation.

How do you know if collagen is working?

Woman taking a selfie

There is no one test to see if collagen supplements are working. Instead, it’s often subjective, because scientific studies use professional measuring equipment that’s out of reach for people at home. One way to see if collagen supplements are having a beneficial effect on your skin is to take regular photos of your face and look at the progress over time.

You may notice that the visible signs of ageing begin to improve. Take the photos at the same time each week, in the same light, with a bare, makeup-free face for best results.

Also, take the time to think mindfully about your joints. If you had aching, stiff joints, does exercise feel any easier on the ankles, knees, and elbows after a few months of taking collagen?

If you have noticed visible and physical improvements, then it’s well worth continuing with collagen to help maintain these results.

Are collagen supplements right for me?

Taking between 2.5g and 15g of collagen each day (in a hydrolysed, peptide form) is considered safe and could benefit your skin, joints, muscles and bones.

Since it could take at least four to eight weeks to begin to see gradual changes in your skin and up to a year for changes to become apparent in your bones, it’s a supplement that can take time to reveal its benefits.

But take collagen supplements every day and you could be benefiting within a few months. If you would like to find out more about collagen and the products we sell, feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation.

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Hannah de Gruchy
Hannah de Gruchy

Author

Health and wellness author and biologist specialised in sustainability, nutrition and eco-living.


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