Collagen: What it’s About and How Long it Takes to Work

The quest for a proverbial ‘fountain of youth’ is a powerful, driving force that prompts many people to look for products and services that promote better health. Collagen, as a dietary supplement, seems almost like a miracle in disguise, and there are certainly those that claim that it is.

Considering the enormous amount of attention that Collagen has received as of late, when we look at the many benefits that it touts, it’s natural that prospective users want to know if it can really deliver on its promises. Even more so, they want to know how long it’ll take to see results.

In this article, we’ll discuss what Collagen is, the pros and cons associated with its use, where it comes from, where to buy it, and how long it might take to see results.

The Benefits Provided by Collagen Use

Collagen itself is a protein. In fact, it’s one of the most common proteins found in the human body. It’s actually the glue that holds everything together. Under normal conditions, your body creates collagen, and over time production can wane. In fact, one telltale sign of a possible collagen deficiency is the formation of cracks and lines on or in the skin.

Health professionals agree, collagen provides smoother, softer skin, improving skin elasticity and lessening tissue wrinkle depth. In addition, it offers stronger, more durable nails and contributes to shinier hair as it delivers a more youthful look. Even more importantly, it’s been said to actually improve the overall health of many who use it.

Although not readily visible to the naked eye, healthier joints, leaner muscle mass and healthier bones also are a byproduct of this unique dietary supplement. It’s said to boost metabolism, make improvements in the body’s connecting tissue, as it promotes a healthier cardiovascular system and supports the growth and repair of bone throughout the body.

The best part is, collagen is readily available to everyone without a doctor’s prescription. It’s affordable and the results derived are relatively long lasting when implemented as part of a long-term health-improvement program.

The Other Side of the Collagen Success Story

There are many good reasons to consider implementing collagen in your diet, but there are some negatives that you should be aware of before you start. First, Collagen is not FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved, which in and of itself does not preclude the rejection of its use. But it’s important to keep this in mind when approaching the subject of long-term use.

Having both sides of the story is important for many reasons. For example, in the past, this miracle of nature has sometimes adversely reacted to people’s allergies.

“Collagen supplements or skin products can produce an allergic reaction, which could, in rare cases, be life-threatening. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include itching or tingling in the mouth or area of skin where collagen is applied, swelling of tongue or skin, wheezing, abdominal pain, nausea, and/or vomiting,” says Dr. Samuel Malloy, medical director at Dr. Felix (drfelix.co.uk). “If you experience any of these symptoms you should stop taking/using collagen immediately and seek medical attention.”

Collagen also has reportedly been responsible for causing constipation, a general reduction in appetite, as well as headaches due to collagen sensitivity. Even more serious is the allegation that it may cause kidney stones and promote sleeping disorders. Pregnant women and those breastfeeding should especially exercise caution.

“It’s always best to speak with your doctor when adding new supplements to your regimen, particularly in an effort to avoid medication interactions,” says Meghan Lyle, MPH, Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, and Arivale Coach.

How Long Does It Take to See Results?

The short answer to this question is ‘four to 12 weeks’ for skin and bones. The truth is, collagen is a long-term solution that requires an equally long-running commitment. It requires conviction, dedication, and the right type of collagen (there are five basic types to consider) in order to attain a desired result. But no one can predict with certainty how long it will take to see results.

Here are several reasons why:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Lifestyle
  • Environment
  • How fast the body metabolizes Collagen
  • Dietary factors
  • Smoking, drinking and/or drugs
  • Sleep

One of the environmental issues that helps determine length of time until results can be seen is your exposure to harmful Ultraviolet (UV) sunlight. Dietary factors to consider also involve high-sugar intake, which can slow the body’s natural collagen production. Also whether you eat a lot of fatty foods and how well you care for your skin are additional issues to consider. In other words, do you make every effort to hydrate your skin?

Types of Collagen and Where to Find Them

There are 28 types of Collagen found in the human body. The first five are the ones that generally mean the most:

  • Type I: Comes from cow byproducts, marine life, chickens, and eggshells. It comprises tendons, skin, cartilage, bones, and connecting tissue. This type of Collagen makes up approximately 90 percent of the human body.
  • Type 2: Comes from chickens and sometimes cows. It’s found mostly in cartilage and often is taken by individuals suffering from osteoarthritis and joint/muscle pain.
  • Type 3: Comprises connective tissue associated with the liver, spleen, female uterus, blood vessels, and various internal organs. It’s also found in muscles. Type 3 commonly accompanies Type 1.
  • Type 4: This type of Collagen comprises the thin layer around cells. It essentially gives the cell its structure. Type 4 also can be found in the liver, kidneys, other internal organs, as well as the skin.
  • Type 5: Helps form cell surfaces and is associated with hair. And for pregnant women, it’s involved in the formation of the cells that comprise the placenta, which is a baby’s lifeline to its mother.

There are several sources where you can get collagen, such as in the foods you eat and the nutrients you take. As a dietary supplement, collagen comes in a powder, tablets, and capsules. Fundamental sources, as previously mentioned, includes things like cow byproducts, such as bones and hides; marine life; chickens; and eggshells.

Collagen supplements are available worldwide. Be sure to look for a verified seller of collagen when you do buy. Examples include, but are not limited to Holland and Barrett or Amazon. You can always visit a health food store where you can look at product labels. Be sure of the source(s) of Collagen you buy before you get it. And, by all means, avoid collagen sources that fail to list the exact ingredients.