What Are the Benefits and Side Effects of Taking Collagen Supplements?

If there’s a possible positive effect on health, there’s usually a supplement for it. Of course, supplements for your hair and skin exist, as well as supplements for your muscles. Collagen is a popular supplement that exists in the grey area between health supplements and cosmetic products.

Most people take collagen to help with their appearance, but there are a few other benefits. However, are the benefits worth the side effects? The side effects of collagen supplementation are rarely discussed, and thus can affect many people due to the lack of education on this supplement. What are the benefits vs. the side effects, and is taking collagen really worth it?

What Is Collagen?

Before we dive into the benefits and risks of collagen supplementation, let’s define collagen. Collagen is a protein; in fact, it is the most abundant protein in your body. Think of the tissues in your body – bones, organs, muscles, etc.; what holds them together? Collagen, of course!

Collagen is responsible for all of your connective tissue and physical elasticity, whether it be in your skin or other tissues. Collagen also gives structure and strength to your hair and nails. When considering a single nutrient that has a hand in hair growth, skin elasticity and other aspects of interior and exterior body processes, it’s no wonder there is an interest to supplement it.

Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplements

  • Blood circulation
  • Reduction of wrinkles
  • Hair Thickening
  • Arthritis relief
  • Injury recovery

There are several benefits to supplementing with collagen, as you’d expect. Collagen levels can deplete as you age, which can lead to wrinkly skin, cellulite appearance and thin hair. Here are more details about the benefits of collagen, and how it works:

Blood Circulation

Since collagen controls the elasticity of pretty much everything in your body, it’s no surprise that it controls the dilation and flexibility of your blood vessels. If your blood vessels are more flexible, more blood can move through them. Not only is this good for weight training (blood takes the nutrients to your muscles to give you that “pumped” feeling), it can lower blood pressure and help to regulate it. Blood pressure can be a serious concern for those over 40 or those with a history of high blood pressure.

Reduction of Wrinkles

Speaking yet again of elasticity, your skin loses elasticity with age just like your blood vessels. When you lose elasticity in your skin, gravity takes over and wrinkles form. Supplementing with collagen can slow the formation of wrinkles by supplying some elasticity back into your skin. This alone is enough for many people to start taking collagen supplements.

Hair Thickening

hair and collagen

Thinning hair can be one of the most embarrassing and difficult parts of getting older. This is also a side effect of decreased collagen levels. Supplementing with collagen will make your hair grow, but not in the way that most people think. Instead of new hairs popping up all over your head, supplementing with collagen actually thickens the strands (hair follicles) that you already have. This, in turn, gives the hair a thicker texture and appearance, which can be a huge confidence booster.



Arthritis Relief

Having limited joint mobility is a huge side effect of arthritis, and can be the source of a significant amount of pain throughout your day-to-day life. Taking a supplement that contains the protein necessary for joint mobility and elasticity makes perfect sense, and it works pretty well according to several studies that have been conducted. In fact, the majority of the research on the benefits of collagen centers around joint and bone health.

Injury Recovery

Collagen, because it is responsible for connective tissues and their flexibility, does a lot as far as healing bones and ligaments. If your collagen levels are getting low, your body’s ability to heal and rebuild those tissues becomes limited, this is where the collagen supplementation comes in. Bringing your body’s collagen levels back to normal will speed up recovery and get you back in the gym, back in the office or just back on track more quickly.

For example, if you have carpal tunnel, you may benefit greatly from getting one of the best Carpal Tunnel braces and supplementing with collagen.

Collagen Supplement Side Effects

  • Temporary stomach discomfort/digestive issues
  • Overly high calcium levels
  • Hypersensitivity for those allergic to shellfish or eggs

Most, if not all supplements have at least 1 or 2 negative side effects, it’s just the name of the game. You take in a surplus of whatever nutrient and you get benefits, but it may cost you momentary stomach discomfort, or you have to drink more water to process the supplement, then drink more water than you normally would throughout the day.

The benefits almost always outweigh the risks, which is why there is still a market for these supplements. But is collagen of that same camp? Do the benefits really outweigh the side effects? Let’s take a look at the side effects now and you can best decide if supplementing collagen is a good choice for you.

Bloating/Stomach Discomfort

stomach upset and collagen

By far, the most common complaint against collagen is that it causes stomach and digestive problems. Diarrhea, gas, constipation, and stomach cramping are the most common complaints. That’s because the amino acids in collagen are all broken down differently by the stomach. And while some of the amino acids, like glycine, are broken down effectively, some aren’t handled so well. This seems to be particularly true for those who are taking large collagen doses.


High Calcium Levels

One of the possible side effects of collagen supplementation is that calcium levels could get too high. Doesn’t sound like much of a problem, does it? Calcium is good for us; but, not in extremely high doses. If our bodies’ concentration of calcium is too high, symptoms include vomiting, bone pain, fatigue, nausea and constipation. Some pretty rough symptoms for ingesting too much of a good thing. Generally, when your body has too much of anything (except calories), it will try and discard it as waste, which can be very uncomfortable, depending on the severity of the nutrient or compound concentration.

Hypersensitivity Reactions

Collagen supplements generally obtain their collagen from food products – mainly shellfish and eggs. If you have an existing food allergy to either one of these foods, the collagen supplement very well may trigger a reaction. Make sure to check the source of collagen on the package and check for any ingredients in ANY supplement that could interfere with your allergies.

Collagen Reviews

While there are many choices on the market, you’ll want to be picky about your collagen supplement. In talking about collagen, WebMD suggests that you choose wisely. Look for sources that are as clean as possible, and keep an eye out for cage-free and antibiotic-free animal sources. Also, look for 3rd party verification from USP or NSF.

BioCell Collagen

This is probably the most popular collagen supplement. BioCell Collagen is a hydrolyzed mix of collagen type II peptides, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid. This mix is actually patented. It’s great for most people because it doesn’t include GMOs, gluten, soy, shellfish, fish, egg, milk, peanuts, or sugar.  This seems to be one of the best collagen supplements out there, especially for joint pain and issues. As long as you take the correct dose with plenty of water, you should see positive effects.

Other Collagen Reviews

Vital Protein Collagen Water

This Vital Proteins Collagen Water has a berry based blend for its collagen source. It works well as a sports drink, but may not work too well as a supplement.  

Collagen Peptides Powder

The Collagen Peptides Powder is an unflavored powder that can be added to any drink or food. It has type I and type III collagen, is gluten-free, and is made from all-natural bovine peptides. It’s one of the highest rated collagen supplements out there.

Final Thoughts

For many, supplementing with collagen can be something of a mild fountain of youth in how it affects the body. Somebody with skin starting to wrinkle, hair starting to thin, arthritis pain and poor circulation will benefit greatly from collagen supplementation. Even if few health benefits are gained by the user, cosmetic improvements can boost confidence, which will not only transfer over and be reflected in the person’s performance at the gym but will reflect in their day-to-day life.

So – is collagen worth it? As long as the supplementation is monitored and the supplementation is done safely, collagen is definitely worth it.

49 thoughts on “What Are the Benefits and Side Effects of Taking Collagen Supplements?”

    • I m a high blood pressure patient and on medication for last many years . Will collagen supplement increase any risk of heart failure or organ failure. Is it safe for me. I m in my fifty plus.

    • Bloating if you take the wrong one! I am so happy I read this article. I have recently begun taking a different collagen than the listed ones and My abdomen has been so blown up and I’m also so gassy.

      Honestly, I can’t even fit in my clothes. I thought It was weight gain. I was taking the collagen Peptides in this article forever and just tried a new one. I would’ve never put this together with the collagen until I read this!!! Thank you Jesus!!!!

      • I am on Boniva tablets and started taking collagen powder but am having constant stomach ache and bloating, headache and constipation as well as nausea. I am on treatment for hypertention and am allergic to shellfish and iodene and I am also asthmatic. I am worried about continuing with the collagen powder.

        • I just started taking Great Lakes Collagen and am finding it to be pretty mild unless I don’t dissolve it in enough water or other food (I put it in my morning coffee after it has cooled a bit and in yogurt). It’s collagen hydrolysate and contains over 90% protein and is easily absorbed. The collagen contains glycine, lysine, and proline and it’s 100% bovine, grass fed and pasture raised and I think it’s pretty reasonably priced. I think I can already see a big difference in my hair. I’m experiencing damaged hair and some hair loss due to my recent keto diet and getting my hair colored from student beauticians. (I lost 40 pounds on that diet this past year, yay).

          I’m not a doctor or scientist so I make no claims in knowing what I’m talking about, I’m just relating my experience. I’d be very concerned about an allergy to iodine, that is really problematic for your thyroid, it could cause hypothyroidism. I definitely think you should get this checked out by a doctor.

      • I read your post and identified with the bloating. I think the significant bloating I am experiencing is likely from recently starting collagen peptides. Would like to continue though because is already helping certain issues.
        Could you share the brand that was causing you bloating and be more specific about the brand you mentioned that did not cause you bloating?

      • Hi what is the name of the new collagen product you switched to? I’m have serious stomach issues and would like to try. Thank you in advance for your response

      • I just started taking Collagen peptids as well and did not put it together until now. My stomach has been so bloated and gassy i couldnt figure out why. Now i guess i know. You said you changed the brand and now its better??? Could i know the brand oyu are now using please??

          • I’m having issues with Multi Collagen Complex 3300mg 2times per day.I’m burping bloating and feel awful in stomach

        • Hi Carol,

          I’m so glad to trip upon this site! VERY informative to me!

          As for me I am using NEOCELL SUPER COLLAGEN – 10G of Collagen – 2 scoops in my coffee each morning. Walmart and CVS sells this. Like others, I am really happy about how thick my hair is growing back! HOWEVER, I have been getting very bloated, gassy daily, and now pains in my stomach. Enough pains that I was starting to think I had a stomach virus. I still hurt, probably because I’m still taking the NEO every morning.

          Because this is the newest thing I have been taking, I started suspecting it was the NEOCELL SUPER COLLAGEN. Hence, the reason I started researching this product. I don’t want to stop it because of the incoming hair growth, but apparently I need to try another brand.

          If someone is taking a different brand and NOT getting bloated or gassy, I’d like to know the brand.

          Thanks for any help!

      • Please share which brand you are currently using. I also, have trouble with bloating with my current brand. I thought it was weight gain as well.

      • I also experience bloating and gas to a point where it is unbearable. I am taking the brand Vital Proteins collagen, is this the brand you where taking that caused your bloating? What brand do you use now? Thanks

      • which one are you taking now that doesnt cause stomach upset? im really sufferibg with stomach cramps & diarrhea on the marine collagen powder that jennifer aniston recommends

      • I am wondering that as well.
        I have been taking college powder in my water for almost two weeks and I am having high blood pressure readings now.I want to keep taking this but I am worried

  1. I am using collagen peptide powder for 1 week and started to get a runny tummy? Is the dose too high? Must I halve and see how it goes?

    • collagen peptides have affected my GI system too. I am taking a 5 day break of not consuming to see what not happens and getting back to normal. Perhaps I need to drink more water if I start again. The benefits are fantastic.

  2. Roxana M Holland. I am insulin dependant but a very healthy energized eater who is almost 6’3 inches tall and in excellent shape…..does the callagen powder have any carbohydrates in it…and how will it help my hair and i dont want to loose weiggt …im trying to gain weight …is there something to take in addition to this so it wont suppress my appetite at all

  3. Since starting on collagen, I’ve had two episodes of what I would describe as muscle pulls. Stiff sore neck lasted almost a week and now back discomfort from picking up about a 10 # watermelon. Does this sound related to the collagen?

    • I am wondering if you ever found out if your muscle pulls/ stiff neck were related to consuming collagen. I started taking it about 3 weeks ago and have suffered a stiff neck and two muscle pulls in my back since. Yours is the only post that I have found via a search to see if this is a side effect.

    • I am not sure but I would like to know as well, My blood pressure has gone up a lot since on this and I get lightheaded as well. Does anyone know that can help us.

  4. I have taken Collagen pills and for some reason, I break out and my joints have been popping a lot more. Are these normal side effects?

  5. I have found out I have three blood clots on my cerebellar and had three strokes.. I have been taking collagen for a long time and take maybe 5 to 8 a day.. can this course my blood to thicken up??? And course these health problems??

  6. Is it safe to take fish based collagen and calcium supplement. I am taking prolia and am supposed to take calcium supplement daily.

  7. I have been taking collagen peptides powder for about two weeks can you tell me if I should maybe cut back on the dosage since I get digestion issues with it? I have been taking one scoop day.

  8. i took1 bottle of collagen 2days ago
    but the day after i feel discomfort in my stomach
    do i need to continue to drink collagen?

  9. I started taking collagen a couple of weeks ago and have a stiff neck and headaches. I can hear my blood rushing in my ears like I have high blood pressure. Is everyone else having this, taking hydrolised collagen pills? I bought them from a popular health shop in the UK. This should be looked into!!! Dan

  10. I started taking Organika Enhanced Collagen peptides powder yesterday. It’s supposed to be one of the best. Antibiotic free, grass-fed cows, non GMO, etc. Directions say to take 2 heaping tablespoons daily mixed in your fav drink (that seems like a lot) So I did. I had thee worst bloating, gas and cramps I have ever had in my life. Then all night long I couldn’t even sleep because I was having to run to the bathroom every 20 minutes with liquid poops. It was absolutely brutal. Now this morning I am still experiencing discomfort and cramps. If this is what taking collagen does to me then it can’t be worth it.

  11. I started taking collagen about two months ago. I absolutely love it.
    My chronic neck and shoulder pain have completely gone, I have lost weight, my hair is stronger and my skin looks dewy and plumper.
    I am 44 years old and over the moon with my progress.

  12. Having read this I believed it was rather informative.
    I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this information together.
    I once again find myself personally spending way
    too much time both reading and commenting.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  13. Do you recommend the capsules over the drink? Your help will be greatly appreciated. I’ve been drinking the SkinnyFit collagen for a while and have terrible gas and stomach rumblings.

  14. I just started taking collagen burn 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening also drink the powder one scoop to 8 oz of milk is that bad for me since I am a diabetic and I take heart medication will this interfere with my heart Nancy from DeKalb


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