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April 7, 2022
How Long Does Collagen Take to Work? 2 Key Steps to See Benefits Faster
It’s a scientific fact: Collagen can transform how you look, feel, and move—but how long does that transformation actually take?
Not all of collagen’s amazing results arrive on the same timeline, and not all collagen supplement routines are created equally. To get the results you want, you need to make sure you’re taking the right amount at the right times.
If you’re asking yourself, “Well, how much collagen should I take then—and WHEN?” Here’s what to know…
A Quick Refresh: The Benefits of Collagen
Collagen boasts a wide range of potential health perks: Stronger bones, decreased joint pain, glowing skin, thicker hair, stronger nails, and increased muscle mass (1, 2, 3).
Collagen is particularly beneficial for women who are post-menopausal, or those who are still going through it.
Well, at this stage of life, the body’s natural collagen is lower than it’s ever been. As you age, your body’s collagen production slows down. Starting as early as your 20s, collagen production decreases by 1% each year. So by the time menopause rolls around, you’re already down to about HALF of the collagen your body once had (4, 5).
This results in a whole array of health issues: Bone-on-bone pain, crepe-like skin, irregular digestion, thinning hair and nails, a low DEXA score, and more.
But wait—don’t be discouraged yet!
Supplementing with collagen during or after menopause can REVERSE that steep collagen loss—and combat signs of aging, too.
For starters, collagen can help protect and increase your bone density. In a 2018 study, women with low bone mineral density (BMD) found that taking collagen peptides daily for a year increased the bone density of their neck and spine (6, 7).
Collagen can also help alleviate creaky joints—and the aches and pains that come with them (8, 9).
If your goal is to have plumper, healthier-looking skin, collagen can help make that happen too…
A 2019 review of 11 different studies showed that supplementing daily with collagen for up to 6 months can improve your skin’s elasticity, hydration, and overall collagen level (2).
Now comes the question: Which TYPES of collagen should you take in order to experience the same results as the women from the studies above?
Which Types of Collagen Deliver the Best Results?
Did you know that there are a whopping 28 different types of collagen in your body, all with different jobs (1)?
That said, 90% of your body’s collagen is made up of just three types: Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3 (10).
Collagen Type 1 and 3 are especially powerful, as they make up the main components of what’s called the “interstitial matrix”—the material that surrounds your cells and fills the spaces between them.
Here’s where things get tricky: If a collagen supplement contains Type 2 Collagen, it can actually inhibit your body from absorbing Type 1 and 3 (11). So if you want to see results, your collagen supplement should contain only Type 1 and Type 3 collagen.
But what exactly do Type 1 and Type 3 Collagen do for the body?
Type 1 Collagen: Strong Bones & Skin
Type 3 Collagen: Glowing Skin & Health From the Inside Out
Type 3 collagen is the key component of your reticular fibers (the fibers in your connective tissue), namely your skin and blood vessels (1).
Type 3 collagen may improve your skin health, blood vessel health, and the health of your heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys (16).
When choosing a collagen supplement, make sure you read the label to confirm that you’re taking the right collagen types to get the results you want.
How Much Collagen Should I Take? The 2 Phases of Starting Collagen
At NativePath, we suggest that anyone starting collagen for the first time begins their process in phases to see the most beneficial results…
The first phase—Collagen Loading—is meant to swiftly increase your body’s collagen to the level it needs to be to experience the benefits. The second phase—Collagen Maintenance—is all about keeping those levels high for the long term.
To ensure you’re taking the correct amount of collagen you need for each phase, make sure you have a good measuring scoop in your kitchen. (If you’re using NativePath Collagen, the scoop included with our supplement is a 10-gram scoop.)
Phase 1: Collagen Loading
The Collagen Loading Phase is when you’ll skyrocket your body to better health. In this phase, you’ll want to take 20 to 40 grams of collagen daily for 6 to 8 weeks. During this timeframe, your focus is on bringing your collagen levels back up to where they need to be—likely after years of deficit.
Phase 2: Collagen Maintenance
After your first 6 to 8 weeks of taking collagen, it’s time to move on to the Collagen Maintenance Phase. From this point on, you’ll want to take 10 to 20 grams of collagen daily. This phase is indefinite—the goal is to keep your collagen levels where they need to be for continuous results.
An Exception: Collagen for Bone Health
If you’re taking collagen for bone health, your Maintenance Phase will look a bit different. To increase bone density or ease achy joints, you’ll want to take 30 to 40 grams of collagen daily, indefinitely.
During each phase of your collagen routine, you can take the collagen any time of day in any format you’d like. You can add your collagen to your morning coffee or tea, mix it with water or a smoothie, or even add it into yogurt or oatmeal. You can even bake with your collagen! Just be sure not to bake at temperatures over 575° F or 300° C to protect it from deteriorating.
So, How Long Does Collagen Take to Work?
Let’s say you’re well into your Collagen Loading Phase and things are going smoothly—how soon should you start seeing results?
First, a reminder that every body is different. Your timeline for results—and even which types of results you see first—are unique to you. If you start taking collagen at the same time as a friend, your experiences may not be identical. Everyone absorbs natural supplements at a different pace. Patience is key!
In general, you’ll start to see visible results of collagen turnover within 1 to 2 months, and those results can increase as the months go on. Most studies use at least 8 weeks as a minimum baseline before measuring collagen’s effects on the body, so the majority of existing research gives us insight on what to expect from 2 months onward (2).
In most cases, you’ll start to feel your results even faster than you’ll see them. You can expect to experience less post-workout soreness, decreased aches and pains, and better digestion even before visible results turn up.
When To Expect Collagen’s Most Popular Results
While you’ll start to see visible results as early as 1 to 2 months into collagen supplementing, those results will continue to improve and increase by the day. With that said, here’s when you can expect to reach collagen’s peek benefits, according to current research…
- Post-Exercise Soreness: a few days (17)
- Skin Health: 1 to 3 months (16)
- Muscle Strength: 3 months (18)
- Joint Health: 3 to 6 months (17, 20, 21)
- Bone Health: 12 months (19)
An important note is to keep taking your collagen daily even after you start to see optimal results. Remember, natural collagen production decreases each year after age 20. If you increase your collagen levels through supplements, they won’t stay high on their own—unless you continue to give your body that daily boost.
The Bottom Line
In a matter of weeks (and in some cases just days), you’ll start to FEEL the benefits of collagen (17). In 1 to 2 months, you’ll start to SEE results.
From there, each new day, week, and month of taking collagen is a surprise and delight as the results begin to soar to their peak.
Consistency is key! Taking your collagen daily, even after you start to see results, will maintain your improved quality of life for the long term. Make collagen an enjoyable part of your routine so you never forget your daily boost.
At NativePath, we offer a variety of different ways to squeeze collagen into your day for this exact reason: We know that everyone’s daily routine is unique…
For those of you who’d rather “set and forget” your collagen, we offer a pure unflavored collagen supplement. If you’re more interested in adding a little taste to your collagen or incorporating it as a recipe ingredient, we offer flavored collagen in varieties like chocolate, wild berry, and peach. If you’re more of a night owl and have trouble sleeping, you can get your collagen fix with Collagen PM, our nightly supplement that combines collagen with other doze-inducing ingredients like GABA, L-theanine, melatonin, and magnesium.
Improving your health should fit easily into your day, not the other way around. So choose whichever type of collagen supplement works best for you, stick with it, and get ready for life-changing results.
As a writer, editor, and wellness seeker, Claire has written for Self, Health, Prevention, CNN, Mic, Livestrong, and Greatist, just to name a few. When she's not writing, she specializes in traveling, getting lost in health-related research rabbit holes, and finding new ways to spoil her cat.
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.