Many people wonder how long it takes to see all the amazing benefits of hydrolyzed collagen.
How long does it take for collagen supplements to work?
The answer to this question depends on the benefits you’re looking for. I’ve broken down some of the peer-reviewed scientific studies on hydrolyzed collagen into a handy chart for when we should start to see individual benefits.
I’ve been purchasing Vital Proteins brand hydrolyzed collagen lately because it is one of the best priced brands on Amazon, and it is also available in whole foods who I know have high standards for the products they allow on their shelves.
Now let’s talk about the research:
4 weeks to start seeing it work
12 weeks for max results
I’m starting here because one of the first things you’ll notice when supplementing with a collagen supplement such as gelatin hydrolysate (another way of saying hydrolyzed collagen) will be skin improvements (followed closely by stronger hair growth.)
Collagen can work wonders to improve skin. Since skin improvements are the effects that kick in first collagen supplements are often targeted at people specifically looking to improve their skin. If you look at the marketing for some of the most popular brands such as Neocell capsules you’ll see they call the product “beauty builder” etc.
I prefer to look at hard science than product advertisements to determine what will work – so here goes:
In 2015, a series of studies published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that taking collagen peptide supplements resulted in marked decreases in the hallmarks of skin aging. These benefits including decreases in wrinkles and a substantial increase in skin moisture. These benefits were dose dependent, meaning that greater results were observed when participants drank more of the collagen. This tremendous beauty boost should play a big role in every woman’s daily beauty routine.
The study showed minor results as early as 4 weeks and major results at 12 weeks with collagen fragmentation (wrinkles) being reduced by up to 31.2%
The publication also cited two studies with related results. One showed an increase in dermal collagen density at 12 weeks and another clinical trial detected an increase of procollagen and elastin in skin lymph fluid after 8 weeks of oral supplementation.
Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2006 found that Hydrolyzed Collagen supplements in combination with a topical application of the vitamin astaxanthin repaired damage caused by ultraviolet radiation and reversed photo-aging over the course of 24 weeks.
So it’s true, collagen IS a beauty builder and an effective way to combat aging. It takes at least 4 weeks to start helping and the results get better as you continue consistently taking the supplement.
3 months for healthy individuals with sports related injuries
3-6 months for osteoarthritis
A 2013 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found significant improvements in joint mobility and reduction at 120 days of supplementation with only 40mg of type II collagen. This study was performed on healthy subjects who had no prior history of arthritic disease or joint pain at rest but experienced joint discomfort with physical activity. The study concluded that type II collagen supplementation both prolonged how long one could exercise before joint pain occurred and shortened recovery time after exercise.
A 2009 study in the International Journal of Medical Science found that subjects with arthritic knees showed significant enhancement in daily activities after 90 days of supplementing with 40mg of type II collagen, suggesting an improvement in their quality of life. The effects were a substantial improvement over supplementation with glucosamine/chondroitin. Notably results continued to improve over time.
Since hydrolyzed collagen does not always contain type II collagen I want to go ahead and cite one more study.
Another 2009 study in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that 6 months of supplementation with powdered hydrolyzed collagen resulted in a significant improvement in knee joint comfort as assessed by visual analogue scales to assess pain and the Womac pain subscale. Those who benefitted most were individuals with the most joint deterioration and the least intake of meat proteins in their regular diets.
If you are looking for a hydrolyzed collagen that contains type I, II, and III specifically for joint pain you should check out Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Collagen.
I like them because they are also stocked at whole foods, which means the quality control people at whole foods approve of the brand. I also like them because they contain type I, II, and III (all of which are good for joints) without adding type V and X which are not supported by research and may actually be bad for you (I’m shaking my finger at you Dr. Axe multi-collagen!) It’s also vanilla flavor which works really well in coffee.
It is worth noting that there are many other peer-reviewed published studies citing the benefits of hydrolyzed collagen for joints and osteoarthritis. I have come across several blogs in my research on collagen where writers claim to debunk claims that hydrolyzed collagen supplements improve joint pain. Please, rely on real scientific research which is incredibly optimistic about this supplement.
Collagen peptides (also known as hydrolyzed gelatine or collagen) can provide remarkable health, healing, and strengthening with long term supplementation. However, you’re not going to see results within the first few weeks. Some results may even take up to 6 months.
This is unfortunate for many suppliers on review-heavy sites like amazon who get negative reviews and returns by customers who expect results too quickly. If a recommended brand has some negative reviews on these sites always look closer. If those bad reviews are customers who were disappointed in their lack of results in the first few weeks, consider giving the brand a shot anyway.
This doesn’t bother me as I personally plan to take hydrolyzed collagen for the rest of my life. My nails are stronger, my hair has never been in better shape, my skin has markedly improved, and longterm back and knee pain are noticeable decreased. Anecdotally, this supplement has practically been a miracle for me and my entire immediate family. That’s why I’m so obsessed with reasearching and writing the truth about it here.
I believe everyone should have the chance to benefit from collagen hydrolysate. For more information on this supplement, and suggestions for the best available brands, please see my main hydrolyzed collagen information page.
Asserin, J., Lati, E., Shioya, T. and Prawitt, J. (2015), The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. J Cosmet Dermatol, 14: 291–301. doi:10.1111/jocd.12174
Yoon HS, Cho HH, Cho S, Lee SR, Shin MH, Chung JH Supplementating with dietary astaxanthin combined with collagen hydrolysate improves facial elasticity and decreases matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -12 expression: a comparative study with placebo. J Med Food 2014;17:810–6.
Lugo JP, Saiyed ZM, Lau FC, Molina JP, Pakdaman MN (2013) Undenatured type II collagen (UC-II®) for joint support: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in healthy volunteers. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 10(1):48. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-48.
P. Benito-Ruiz, M.M. Camacho-Zambrano, J.N. Carrillo-Arcentales, M.A. Mestanza-Peralta, C.A. Vallejo-Flores, S.V. Vargas-López, R.A. Villacís-Tamayo & L.A. Zurita-Gavilanes. A randomized controlled trial on the efficacy and safety of a food ingredient, collagen hydrolysate, for improving joint comfort. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. Vol. 60, Iss. sup2, 2009
Crowley DC, Lau FC, Sharma P, Evans M, Guthrie N, Bagchi M, Bagchi D, Dey DK,Raychaudhuri SP. Safety and efficacy of undenatured type II collagen in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: a clinical trial. Int J Med Sci. 2009 Oct 9;6(6):312-21. PubMed PMID: 19847319; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2764342.