It's normal to be a bit excited. Unfortunately, collagen turnover takes time. You'll have to wait at least eight weeks before you start noticing some results. Some benefits like bone development take longer to materialize (Around one year or so).
How do we know this?
We looked into some scientifically approved collagen studies and research. Most of them noted collagen's effects after the 8th week.
That said, you'll still experience some noticeable and encouraging changes along the way. Continue reading for more on how long collagen takes to exert its effect and what you can do to speed up the process.
How long for collagen's muscular growth?
Collagen's muscle benefits are perhaps the easiest to notice. A review reported that collagen has recovery effects after a good workout session.
As early as day two, participants experienced relief from muscle soreness (The relief was more profound than when they didn't use collagen supplements). Nevertheless, collagen-related muscle growth will take around 3 months to materialise. Of course, you'll also have to engage in resistance training.
But not everyone takes collagen supplements to gain lots of muscle mass－Collagen intake can also improve the body’s natural composition for a rounder and fuller appearance.
In 2019, researchers studied collagen's effect on pre-menopausal women. After around 12 weeks of daily intake, the women who coupled collagen intake with resistance exercise experienced significant improvements in fat-free body composition. Also, their grip strength was better.
Researchers also recorded similar results in a study that involved older men.
How long does collagen take for skin benefits?
Most people take collagen supplements to improve their skin quality.
According to most personal accounts, users start experiencing better skin after the 12th week. There is one study where subjects noted significant improvements in skin hydration and elasticity.
Another study investigating collagen's effects on wrinkles reported that subjects experienced lesser wrinkles in the 6th week. However, the results were more profound after the 12th week.
Some people might experience collagen's skin benefits earlier than others (As early as the 4th week). Nonetheless, weeks 6 and 8 are the sweet spots for most people. But don't stop there. Experts advise us to continue using collagen skin supplements for at least 3 months.
How long does it take for collagen’s tendon and joint benefits?
As you might have expected, collagen’s tendon and joint benefits take longer than skin benefits.
You’ll have to consistently take collagen for around 12 weeks to 6 months before you experience significant improvements.
For better support in areas like knees and ankles, you might have to wait at least 12 weeks. A study reported that most subjects experienced better joint mobility after the 12th week. The improvements were even more noticeable in the 13th week.
For better overall tendons and ligaments, you'll have to wait until 3 to 6 months have passed. A study confirms this. According to its review, some participants testified to better tendon performance after around 3 months.
Note: Collagen supplementation alone isn't enough to improve joint, tendon, and ligament performance. You'll also have to include strategic strengthening exercises.
How long does it take for collagen take to work on skeletal bones?
To have an idea, you have to consider how long it takes to experience bone turnover－It is a natural bone replacement process with little to no changes in shape.
Human bone turnover usually takes around 12 months. Therefore, you'll have to wait at least one year to experience collagen's bone benefits.
A review studied collagen’s effects on the bones of postmenopausal women. After consuming collagen peptides for one year, researchers noted enhanced bone density.
How long does it take for collagen to work for hair and nails?
Unfortunately, there aren't many studies on collagen's hair benefits. However, there is a particular one that showcased collagen's potential for hair care. The participants took a supplement that contained collagen peptides. After six months, they experienced better hair growth, volume, and thickness. Three months later, the subjects' hair was even better.
Collagen works for nail quality. A study on collagen's effect on nails noted that the group reported better nails after 24 weeks. Not only did the nails look good, but they were also stronger and less brittle.
How to make collagen work faster
Not all collagen supplements are the same. Likewise, all our bodies are different－Don't expect a particular product to work on everybody. That said, there are some factors within our control.
Below are some of the ways you can optimise your collagen supplementation.
Take the right dosage for you: Like other supplements, there isn't a specific dose that works for the majority. Unfortunately, supplements aren't as regulated like pharmaceutical drugs. Nonetheless, there is a dosage range that has worked for the people in clinical studies and reviews. For most people, daily collagen of 10 to 20 grams is enough to experience significant improvements－Your diet critically affects your dosage. If you take less collagen-rich foods, the higher your dosage should be.
Stay consistent with your collagen intake: Most people who take supplements aren't strict with their consumption. They treat them as one-time wonders and expert quality results. As with any other supplement, you must take your collagen peptides daily.
Eat a collagen-rich diet: Remember, supplements can never replace a good and balanced diet. If you feel you need this unique compound, take foods rich in collagen. Prime examples include bone broth, wildly caught fish, beef from grass-fed cattle, and chicken meat. Vegan collagen doesn't exist. Instead, we only have vegan supplements that boost the body's natural collagen production. Besides collagen, you'll also benefit from other proteins－Even though collagen is crucial, it still lacks one essential amino acid. Thou shall not live on collagen alone.
Choose the right collagen type that matches your needs: As you eat your natural protein-rich diet, you should take supplements with types of collagen peptides that address your issue. There are 28 types of collagen. However, collagen type I is the most abundant in the human body. Studies have shown that type II is best for joint health. For general full-body benefits, experts advise people to look for products containing types I, II, and III collagen.
How to choose the right collagen supplement
Always go for hydrolysed collagen from reputable brands.
Collagen is naturally a long-form protein with three amino acid chains. Your body can't efficiently digest and absorb it in that state. Therefore, quality brands usually break down the long protein chains to collagen peptides that are easier for the body to absorb.
Hydrolysed collagen supplements also reach the bloodstream faster since they avoid first-pass digestion.
While you are at it, look for quality collagen supplements with Vitamin C. Research has consistently shown that Vitamin C critically helps with collagen absorption.
There are a lot of factors that determine how long it will take to start experiencing collagen's benefits. We all have unique bodies that react differently to collagen supplementation. Also, the time frame will vary with your intended results.
Nevertheless, it will approximately take anywhere from six weeks to one year before you start noticing collagen’s benefits.