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August 18, 2022
Can You Take Too Much Collagen? Here's What Researchers Say
With collagen showing up in protein bars, coffee creamers, powders, gummies, drinks, and more, people are beginning to wonder, Is it possible to take too much collagen? How much should I really be taking each day?
In this blog, we reveal the potential dangers of taking too much collagen and if it’s possible to build up a tolerance to collagen, along with other commonly asked collagen questions.
Do Collagen Supplements Lose Effectiveness Over Time?
You know how certain supplements or medications may lose their effectiveness over time because your brain gets desensitized to them? Well, you may be wondering the same thing about collagen.
To clear this up, there are two important things to know…
1. Collagen makes up one-third of the protein in your body. It’s what gives support and structure to your bones, ligaments, tendons, connective tissue, gut lining, and blood vessels, as well as your skin, hair, and nails (1).
2. Starting in your 20s, your body’s natural collagen production begins to decline by 1% each year (2). (This is why aches and pains, thinning hair, brittle nails, and wrinkles start showing up with age.)
Because collagen makes up a substantial amount of your body’s protein, AND because it begins to decline in your 20s, collagen is something that you will always need. It’s a vital component of human life.
That said, it will not lose effectiveness over time.
In fact, it will do just the opposite—its unique amino acid profile will support and strengthen your bones, ligaments, tendons, connective tissue, gut lining, and blood vessels, as well as your skin, hair, and nails (1).
When it comes to how much collagen you should take a day, we recommend two phases…
Phase 1: Collagen Loading
This is a 6-to-8-week phase that consists of 20 to 40 grams of collagen daily. This will replenish your body’s collagen levels back to a healthy level. From there, you’ll transition into the Collagen Maintenance phase...
Phase 2: Collagen Maintenance
This is an indefinite phase that consists of 10 to 20 grams of collagen daily. This will keep your collagen levels where they need to be. Since humans lose roughly 1% of their natural collagen each year, collagen maintenance is critical for the upkeep of bones, joints, hair, skin, and nails (2).
Does Everyone Need to Supplement With Collagen?
Supplementing with collagen isn’t a matter of life or death. It’s just a matter of whether you want to age gracefully, and a little more pain-free…
Because collagen is largely found in your skin, hair, nails, arteries, digestive lining, bones, and joints—and because collagen declines with age—you’ll notice that certain parts of your body begin to deteriorate. In your 30s, a few wrinkles may appear. Or your hair and nails may feel thinner and more brittle. In your 40s and 50s, your joints may creak when you squat down or get out of bed. In your 60s, you may receive a low T-score on your DEXA scan, signaling that your bones are losing strength.
These are all signs of low collagen levels. Which means one thing: You need more collagen.
Is Collagen Supplementation Safe?
The risks surrounding collagen supplementation arise from one thing: The quality of the product.
Before buying a collagen supplement, you want to make sure that it comes from a pure, grass-fed source, is produced in a Good Manufacturing Practice Certified Facility, and comes with a Certificate of Analysis (this verifies the heavy metal and toxin count is at a level safe for consumption).
Can I Take Too Much Collagen?
Since collagen is a protein—and the average person needs around 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day—it would be pretty difficult to take too much collagen (3).
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you’ll need to consume approximately 110 grams of protein daily. And since we recommend taking between 10 and 40 grams of collagen peptides per day, collagen would barely make up half of your protein needs.
Wondering how much protein you need each day? Use the chart below to calculate how many grams you need…
Low Protein Serving: For those with larger amounts of body fat to lose
Body Weight in lbs x .65
Moderate Protein Serving: For those aiming for recomposition or fat loss that isn’t more than 15 to 20 lbs
Body Weight in lbs x .875
High Protein Serving: For those who exercise or lift weights 5 times per week, aren’t trying to lose weight, and want to maintain muscle mass.
Body Weight in lbs x 1
Heavy Protein Serving: For elderly individuals.
Body Weight in lbs x 1.1
Are There Any Risks to Taking Too Much Collagen?
When it comes to collagen (and most things in life), more isn’t always better.
These toxicities can arise in the form of nausea, digestive issues, headaches, and fatigue. More serious symptoms include a loss of coordination, low mood, and irregular sleep. While this is pretty uncommon, it’s still important to keep an eye out for these symptoms.
In addition to this, there are certain conditions that can be aggravated by amino acids. These conditions include Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), maple syrup urine disease, chronic alcoholism, and branched-chain ketoaciduria. It’s also recommended that pregnant women avoid amino acid supplements—though this serves as more of a preliminary caution than due to any specific health risk.
How to Choose the Right Collagen Supplement for You
The way our ancestors got their daily dose of collagen was by simmering the bones and ligaments of beef, chicken, fish, and lamb. This created a nutritious, collagen-rich bone broth to drink or add to soup.
However, most people don’t want to drink heaping amounts of bone broth to get their daily dose of collagen. In fact, one study ruled that bone broth is not a reliable source of collagen compared to actual collagen supplements (5).
That’s where a collagen supplement comes into play. Here are 7 things you should look for in a supplement:
- Look for Type 1 and Type 3 Collagen (these two types make up around 90% of the collagen in your body)
- Make Sure It's Grass-Fed and Non-GMO
- A Serving Size of 10 Grams or More
- Look for “Hydrolysate”, “Hydrolyzed”, or “Peptides” on the Label (these words all mean the same thing)
- No Artificial Ingredients, Chemical Ingredients, or Filler Fibers
- No Added Sugar or Artificial Sweetener
At NativePath, we take the quality and purity of our collagen seriously…
To us, this means that it’s 100% grass-fed. Hydrolyzed. Contains Type 1 and 3 Collagen. And contains none of the following: Artificial ingredients, chemicals, filler fibers, sugar, artificial sweetener, or allergens. Choose from unflavored collagen, peach collagen, wild berry collagen, or even chocolate collagen. Each of these powders has 10 grams of grass-fed collagen peptides per scoop—making collagen maintenance a breeze.
The Bottom Line
Whether you take your collagen supplement religiously or you’re still on the fence about this whole wellness routine, there’s one question that may be going through your mind: Is it possible to take too much collagen?
Because collagen is a protein, and the average person needs over 100 grams of protein per day, it would be very hard to consume too much collagen a day. We recommend consuming between 10 and 40 grams of collagen peptides daily—depending on your age, gender, and reason for taking it.
Scroll down to the comments below and tell us...how many grams (or scoops) of collagen do you take each day?
Certified Health Coach and Head of Content at NativePath (aka I’m the gal responsible for ensuring that every blog we publish helps you live life a little more #OnThePath).
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.