Collagen is one of the primary proteins in your body. Comprising amino acid chains, it’s an important part of structural components and connective tissues like skin, tendons, muscles, ligaments, and blood vessels, as well as parts of your eyes and teeth.
Collagen also helps with blood clotting, wound healing, and protecting the nervous system.
Certain foods, including bone broth, beef, fish, chicken, dairy, and eggs, either contain collagen or help your body produce it on its own by providing essential amino acids and other nutrients needed to do so.
Because your body is capable of producing all of the collagen you need if you eat a balanced diet, supplements may not be necessary for everyone. Still, you may choose to do so to reap certain health benefits or help treat collagen deficiency or other conditions.
This article examines how much collagen you should take per day.
What collagen is used for
As your body ages, it loses collagen. By age 40, you can lose up to 1% of your body’s collagen each year.
Other factors like diet, regularly smoking, consuming alcohol, and sun exposure also affect collagen loss.
Loss of this protein is one reason why your skin loses structure and begins to wrinkle as you age. It may also affect the strength of your bones, joints, and more.
Thus, some common applications of collagen supplements include:
- skin structure preservation
- wound healing
- anti-aging support
- osteoarthritis, a common cause of joint pain
- bone loss prevention
- muscle mass improvement
- hair and nail health
Summary: Collagen is a protein in your body that makes up many tissues and organs. Supplementing with the protein may help preserve skin health, muscle mass, bones, and joints.
Types of collagen
Collagen is an abundant protein, with 28 types having been identified to date.
Types I, II, III, IV, and V are the most common in the human body.
It’s believed that the various types of collagen serve unique purposes. For example, older research has identified that types I and III present together in the organs and skin, while type II is typically found in joints and cartilage.
As such, different types of collagen are typically advertised as part of collagen supplements.
Nonetheless, keep in mind that more research is needed to better understand how the various types of collagen in supplement form may influence human health.
Forms used in supplements
Similar to how your body contains different types of this protein, so do many collagen supplements.
The most used types include:
- Hydrolyzed collagen (collagen hydrolysate). This type is derived from bovine (cattle), marine (seafood), poultry (often chicken or eggshells), pigs, and other animal sources, and it’s broken down into smaller and easier-to-absorb peptide particles.
- Undenatured collagen. This is raw collagen derived from chicken cartilage.
- Gelatin: This is cooked collagen, usually derived from animal sources.
The type used in your supplement of choice could influence the supplement form and its dosage instructions.
Note that there aren’t any vegan substitutes for collagen. Supplements may be free of dairy, gluten, or sugar, but collagen is only available from animal sources.
Summary: The most common types of collagen used in supplements are hydrolyzed collagen, undenatured collagen, and gelatin.
Proper collagen dosage
Currently, health authorities haven’t provided any official guidelines regarding how much collagen to take per day.
Thus, the amount of collagen you should take depends on which form you’re taking and why you’re taking it.
Hydrolyzed collagen is one of the most common forms used in supplements, as it’s absorbed more readily than other types. It’s often sold in capsule or powder form, the latter of which you can add to hot and cold beverages, soups, and even baked goods or other foods.
Suggested read: Collagen — What is it and what is it good for?
A 2019 review of clinical studies found that taking 2.5–15 grams of hydrolyzed collagen peptides each day may be safe and effective.
A smaller daily dose of 2.5 grams could benefit joint pain, skin health, and hydration.
Increasing this dose to 5 grams per day has shown the potential to improve bone density.
Lastly, larger daily doses of 15 grams of these peptides have mostly been used to improve muscle mass and body composition.
Some human studies have suggested that doses of 10–40 mg of undenatured collagen per day may improve joint health.
Gelatin is less often sold as a supplement. Rather, this type of cooked collagen is typically used as an ingredient in gelatinous desserts.
It can also be added to sauces, soups, smoothies, and other foods for an extra boost of collagen proteins, although limited research is available to support specific dosage recommendations for this use.
Thus, it’s best to reference the serving size listed on the package before using it as a supplement.
Suggested dosage from the manufacturer
Most collagen supplements have a suggested daily dosage printed on the packaging.
Powdered supplement packaging often suggests taking 1–2 scoops (or tablespoons) daily, while a pill or gummy supplement may recommend 1–2 pieces.
Depending on the supplement, these servings can vary significantly in collagen content, so check the nutrition facts label for detailed dosage information.
Summary: A 2.5–15-gram daily dose of collagen appears to be safe and effective. The amount you should take depends on the particular supplement and why you’re taking it.
Can you take too much collagen?
Collagen is generally considered to be a safe and nontoxic daily supplement for healthy individuals, and most people won’t experience adverse side effects.
Still, some have reported symptoms, such as an unpleasant taste, feeling overly full, or other stomach complaints.
Thus, it’s best to check with your healthcare provider if you plan on taking more than the recommended dosage of these supplements.
Suggested read: Top 9 impressive health benefits of NAC (N-acetyl cysteine)
Summary: Collagen supplements appear to be safe and effective for the general public, although some people may experience mild side effects with their use.
Collagen is a plentiful protein that’s part of many structural and connective tissues in your body.
It’s also isolated from a variety of animal sources and processed into supplements that some people take to offset age-related collagen loss.
While most adults who eat a balanced diet that includes adequate animal sources of protein can make enough collagen, some people choose to take a collagen supplement to support muscle growth, bone and joint health, and/or skin and hair health.
Many types of collagen supplements are available, and the type you choose determines how much you should take.
As with any supplement, it’s best to talk with your healthcare provider before adding collagen to your diet.