How Much Collagen Should I Take Daily for Joint Pain?

how much collagen should i take daily for joint pain

Disclaimer: Initially drafted by AI, this article was edited by a human author to ensure accuracy and quality.

TL;DR Article Summary

Collagen is a key building block in our body that helps to alleviate joint pain. The studies on its effects for joint pain, however, are still inconclusive and fairly thin. The optimal daily dosage varies from 1.2 grams to 10 grams, depending on your goal. A dosage as low as 40mg can work for joint pain, but for repairing joint tissues, up to 10g per day is better. For some people, higher isn’t better, because high doses of collagen can increase oxalate load which can be hard on the kidneys if they are sensitive. [1] Collagen supplements are just one part of a big picture of joint health. The picture should also include a balanced diet, low-impact exercises, and weight control to lessen pressure on your joints. There are also other joint supplements you should consider if your goal is to reduce joint pain. Such as curcumin, omega-3s, and MSM.

A Bit About Collagen

Collagen is a structural protein that, as we said in the summary, acts as a building block for various tissues in your body. Including the skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Collagen essentially gives these structures strength and elasticity.

The problem with collagen is that it goes down with age. This leads to issues such as joint stiffness and pain.

Collagen supplements are a popular choice for fighting this decline. In most cases you’ll find that these supplements are made from the connective tissues of animals and come in different forms, such as powders and capsules.

Powders are better in our opinion when it comes to collagen because you can easily achieve higher doses than with small capsules.

The great thing about collagen is that it doesn’t just support joint health, but it also has the potential to improve your skin quality, bone strength, and nails and hair.

Collagen and Joint Pain, What’s the Connection?

Research shows a promising but still “unstable” relationship between the two. As joint discomfort is often the result of deteriorating cartilage (a tissue rich in collagen), supplementing with collagen could theoretically help replenish this lost collagen, thus improving joint health. [2]

Several studies have looked into this and found that it actually works. For example, two studies done by Bernardo et al. and Benito-Ruiz et al. showed improvements in joint pain and function after 6 months of collagen supplementation.

But there’s still a lot more human research needed to say it’s conclusive evidence.

How Much Collagen Should You Take?

So, we’ve given you a short answer above, but let’s delve a bit deeper into how much collagen is best for your specific case.

As you’ve seen, there is no one-size-fits all answer, especially with collagen.

The aforementioned Bernardo et al. study reported improvements in joint pain and function after giving 1.2 grams of hydrolyzed collagen daily for six months. On the other hand, Benito-Ruiz et al. used a substantially higher dose of 10 grams per day, also demonstrating improvements in joint pain and function. [1]

The higher dose of collagen supplements may work better in repairing actual cartilage tissues and promoting long-term joint health. Whereas lower doses seem to be better for managing pain linked to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as improve skin health.

In both cases, though, you’d need to take a collagen supplement powder, especially in the case of 10 grams per day. However, taking this much daily is not realistic for most people, and the long-term benefits (and side effects) of taking this much are not well studied.

The only case where a collagen capsule supplement could be enough is if you just want a reduction in pain. It’s been shown that doses as low as 40mg can work for that purpose.

Possible Side Effects and Risks

Like any supplement, there is a risk with collagen, albeit small. Some people get minor side effects such as bloating, diarrhea, or a bad taste in the mouth, but this can resolve over time.

The biggest issue is if you have allergies. Collagen is often sourced from common allergens like fish and eggs, or even shellfish.

The ultimate goal with collagen is to find the lowest effective dose for you. E.g. 100mg per day. If it works for joint pain it’s great because this low of a dose shouldn’t pose any risk at all.

On the other hand, doses of 10g per day may not be ideal for long-term supplementation, because one part of collagen converts to oxalates in your body, and oxalates can be hard on the kidneys if you have a kidney condition (in this case, speak with your doctor before taking high doses of collagen).

Conclusion

The bottom line is, collagen can work for joint pain, but you’ll need to experiment with the dosage. The safe upper limit is, according to what little evidence we have, 10g per day. Studies have also used lower doses such as 1.2g, and in some cases, even 40mg per day can work for joint pain.

But for long-term joint repair and skin health, higher doses seem to work better.

There are many other supplements besides collagen you should incorporate if you want to address joint function from multiple angles. Glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM are good starting points.

Further Reading:

References

  1. Martínez-Puig D, Costa-Larrión E, Rubio-Rodríguez N, Gálvez-Martín P. Collagen Supplementation for Joint Health: The Link between Composition and Scientific Knowledge. Nutrients. 2023 Mar 8;15(6):1332. doi: 10.3390/nu15061332. PMID: 36986062; PMCID: PMC10058045.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10058045/
  2. Martínez-Puig D, Costa-Larrión E, Rubio-Rodríguez N, Gálvez-Martín P. Collagen Supplementation for Joint Health: The Link between Composition and Scientific Knowledge. Nutrients. 2023 Mar 8;15(6):1332. doi: 10.3390/nu15061332. PMID: 36986062; PMCID: PMC10058045.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10058045/

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