Do Collagen Supplements Work? The Efficacy of Dietary Collagen Products
By Christopher Walker
If you have been a loyal UMZU follower up to this point, then you know we’re big advocates of collagen. This is why we’re always touting broth as a wonder food and explaining away the benefits of collagen. How about collagen as a supplement? Do collagen supplements work? Is it better to acquire collagen from whole foods instead?
Do You Need Collagen Supplements?
Should you take collagen in powder or pill form? Collagen supplements, after all, are found abundantly in vitamin stores. There are more than a handful of studies that validate collagen as an invaluable protein. Your body needs it for digestive health, rebuilding the joints, retaining skin elasticity and so forth. Science has proven that collagen does the body good.
Do they work, though? We must ask this question because consumers by nature are rightfully skeptical about dietary supplements.
First, let us say that obtaining your daily vitamin and mineral intake from real foods is always the optimal path… if you can do so.
We really have to emphasize that last part because most people don’t receive sufficient nutrients from food alone. A whopping 93 percent of Americans, for example, are deficient in vitamin E. Thirty-one percent are also deficient in vitamin C, despite the vitamin being plentiful in a number of fruits, vegetables and tubers.
In a perfect world, everyone would get their nutrients from whole foods; that is certainly nature’s intention. However, with prevalent vitamin and mineral deficiency on the rise in developed and underdeveloped worlds, you can see why collagen supplementation may be useful.
Collagen Supplements as a Viable Alternative
Can you take a collagen dietary supplement in place of food? We can’t really give you a straight “yes” or “no” answer. It’s one of those “it depends” scenarios with a lot of grey areas.
It comes down to the quality of the supplement. What’s inside the pill or powder? As you may know, UMZU is a huge advocate of the natural route. Unfortunately, many supplements on the market today are synthetically derived. Even if the collagen is from an all-natural source, it may contain inactive ingredients that greatly dilute the formula.
Do they really work? The answer is “yes,” but with an asterisk. It works just as well — if not better — than whole foods, provided that the following parameters are met:
- The collagen source is from organic, grass-fed livestock
- The collagen is hydrolyzed for best bioavailability. See our post on hydrolyzed collagen to learn about hydrolyzation.
- The product is free from unnatural active and inactive ingredients
- Any secondary active ingredients are also from organic and GMO-free sources
How Much Collagen Should I Take?
Since we have been writing extensively on collagen, our followers have been asking us: “How much collagen should I take?” Can you take too much collagen?
It’s tricky to establish a daily recommended dose. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not set forth a requirement. For a ballpark range, we would say anywhere from 10 to 20 grams daily for healthy individuals.
You can double the intake if you experience certain health issues, such as:
- Eczema, psoriasis or other skin conditions
- Irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive disorders
- Brittle hair or nails
- Joint pain
We don’t believe it’s necessary to keep exact count of your intake. If you regularly consume foods like bone broth, then that plus a single daily serving from a collagen supplement should suffice.
Can you take too much collagen by over-exceeding the recommended dosage? Since collagen is a natural protein that your body produces, we don’t see any harm in exceeding dosages. However, you may experience mild side effects. Some sensitive users have experienced prickly sensations on their skin or a lingering aftertaste in their mouth.
How Long Does It Take for a Collagen Supplement to Work?
It’s hard to give an exact timeframe. Results vary; some users will see results in as little as a week. Others may take a bit longer. It comes down to their body’s ability to absorb the protein and the reason for use.
If taking collagen via supplement, most users will usually begin to notice a difference by the time they finish a typical 30-day supply. Some may notice results before then; others may have to start their second bottle/package before seeing a difference.
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In any case, don’t expect a profound transformation overnight. Noticeable changes will occur on a gradual basis. Be patient and allow ample time for your body to adjust.
Only Use Trusted Supplements
To recap: Yes, collagen supplements do work; however, this does not apply across the board to all supplements. Only the ones that use the purest organic sources with zero synthetic derivatives are reliable. zuCollagen is one of the few supplements that meets all these benchmarks.
If making broth is too painstaking of a process (it is for most people), then make zuCollagen a daily implementation in your diet.