When it comes to supplements, collagen is one of the most flexible and forgiving. It's generally considered safe for nearly any age and due to its many widespread health benefits, everyone can find value in it! Tailoring your collagen nutrition to your lifestyle, health goals, and nutritional needs is a great way to get started and reap all of its benefits. In this article, we'll review how to figure out how much collagen you should take based on your diet, lifestyle, and goals.
The Case for Collagen
Collagen is a great supplement for people of all backgrounds. It's a naturally produced protein that can be found in many of the connective tissues throughout the human body. Actually, it's not just humans that have collagen! Most mammals, birds, and fish have collagen as well! The benefits of collagen include decreasing joint pain, filling in fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin hydration, building muscle mass, improving gut health, increasing bone health, growing long, healthy hair, and supporting heart health to name a few. Despite this, collagen production does not remain steady for our entire lives. After about age 25, collagen production slows and common signs and symptoms of aging set in. At this time, bone health, joint health, body composition, skin elasticity, and blood vessel health all take a hit.
Luckily, when consumed, collagen supplementscan help to bring the amount of collagen in one's body back to the "glory days". There are many different sources or types of collagen, but the most common are bovine and marine collagen, sourced from cows and fish respectively. In order to take these supplements from skin and ligaments into a pure and effective collagen protein powder, it goes through a process called hydrolysis. The result is pure hydrolyzed collagen powder, or collagen peptides, which are easy to digest. When consumed, the collagen is then broken down into the amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline which trigger the body to ramp up collagen production again!
Does The Type of Collagen Matter?
There are many different types of collagen. Hundreds, in fact! There are also different animal sources that can contain more or less of a certain collagen type. For instance, bovine collagen is known to contain type I and type III collagen whereas collagen derived from chicken contains more type II collagen. Understanding the main collagen types as well as your desired results is important when choosing a supplement:
Type I collagen is by far the most abundant type of collagen in the human body; it makes up about 90% of It can be found in most of the connective tissues and is especially important for skin health, wound healing, and muscle building.
Type II collagen is the third most abundant collagen type and is important for joint health.
Type III collagen is the second most abundant collagen type and is found primarily in hollow organs such as the gut and blood vessels. For this reason, it is helpful for lessening arterial stiffness, improving heart health, and strengthening the gut lining.
Type V collagen is essential for creating types I and III collagen.
Type X collagen is especially important for increasing bone density.
Does the Form of Collagen Supplement Matter?
Once you have determined which types of collagen you'd like to choose, the next step is to choose the type of collagen supplement. Common forms of collagen supplements include loose powder, capsules, gelatin powder, gummies, pre-made drinks and foods, and topical skincare products. Certain types of supplements are more reliable than others. For instance, topical collagen products are rarely able to penetrate the skin barrier, so they go to waste. Gummies and some pre-made collagen foods have unnecessary flavors, sugars, and potentially irritating ingredients and do not deliver the same amount of collagen as a capsule or scoop of a collagen powder can.
Collagen powder can be inconvenient, as you have to mix it with a hot drink or soup and transfer it to travel-friendly containers to take with you to the gym or office. Ultimately, the form of collagen depends on your lifestyle. A safe bet is to start with collagen capsules, which you can take like you would a normal vitamin or supplement.
How Much Collagen Should I Take?
So you've got the collagen type, form, and source down. Next, it's time to determine what your daily dose should be! While there is no set daily recommended dosage, you can determine how much it should take to see your desired results.
For healthy adults, at least 1 gram of protein (not necessarily collagen alone) per kilogram of body weight per day is required to build and maintain muscle mass. If your activity level is higher, your protein needs will rise as well. For instance, people who are highly active should consume 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
If you have a health condition that you're looking to improve with collagen, consider speaking with a healthcare professional to find your ideal collagen intake. Otherwise, you can follow these guidelines to get enough collagen to achieve the following benefits:
Skin: 2.5 to 10 grams of collagen per day
Muscle growth: 15 to 20 grams per day
Decreased muscle soreness: 15 to 20 grams per day
Joint: 2.5 to 5 grams per day
Bone: 5 grams per day
You can also consume foods and supplements that are rich in vitamin C to enhance the collagen's bioavailability, the rate at which the supplement can be absorbed and used by the body. Unfortunately, there are few dietary sources of collagen but there are plenty of foods that contain essential amino acids and vitamins that can support your body's natural collagen consumption!
Because collagen is produced by the human body, the side effects and risk of allergic reactions are very low. Some people may experience stomach upset if they consume too much collagen. Otherwise, you can work your way up and begin adding more collagen to your diet as time goes on, under the guidance of a medical professional.
Promote hair and nail strength – Collagen is essential for hair and nail growth and strength. Oftentimes brittle nails are a sign of low collagen, but collagen supplements provide a convenient solution.
Support gut and skin health – In addition to making your skin look healthy from the inside out by boosting elasticity, collagen peptides also protect the lining in the gut for good gut health.
Strengthen joints, bones, and cartilage – Collagen provides the structure, strength, and elasticity necessary for our connective tissues, such as bone, skin, and ligaments.