Should Men Take Collagen? Your Simple Guide

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    Collagen has become increasingly popular among men. Let’s take a look at why.

    What is collagen?

    You can think of collagen as the glue that holds your body together. It’s the most abundant protein in the body, and its fiber-like structure makes connective tissue. It’s a major component in skin, bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments.

    What does collagen do?

    Collagen essentially helps hold the body together, forming connective tissue that, as the name suggests, connects our body’s tissues.

    Collagen production as we age

    As we age, the body’s production of collagen decreases. And furthermore, the collagen our bodies do produce tends to break down more quickly. Have you noticed how our skin tends to sag and wrinkle as we age? That has to do with a decline in collagen production. Declining collagen production is also connected to sun exposure, aging, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and diets high in sugar and processed foods.

    Collagen supplements are designed to boost collagen production we lose as we age. According to available research, it seems that collagen can be beneficial in a number of ways. Still, more research is needed.

    Types of collagen

    There are five common types of collagen. They are:

    • Type I: Bone, skin, dentin, cornea, blood vessels, fibrocartilage, and tendon
    • Type II: Cartilaginous tissues
    • Type III: Skin, ligaments, blood vessels, and internal organs
    • Type IV: Basement membrane in various tissues
    • Type V: Blood vessel wall, synovium, corneal stoma, tendon, lung, bone, cartilage, and skeletal muscle

    Our bodies mostly consist of type I. In supplement forms, types I and III are intended to support skin, hair, and nails, while type II is more commonly linked to joint health.

    Foods that contain collagen

    There are several tasty food options that contain collagen, including pot roast, brisket, and chuck steak. These are tough cut meats that are full of connective tissue. That said, doctors don’t recommend that you eat too much red meat, as doing so isn’t healthy in the long term. Bone broth, which you’ll find in most any soup aisle, is also rich in collagen. Gelatin is another form of collagen, made by boiling animal bones, cartilage, and skin for hours and then allowing the liquid to cool.

    There are some other foods that, while not rich in collagen themselves, are thought to promote healthy collagen production, since they are rich in the amino acids that support the formation of collagen. Some of these foods include poultry, fish, meat, dairy, eggs, soy, and legumes. Collagen production also benefits from zinc, which is found in shellfish, legumes, meat, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. And for proper collagen formation vitamin C is needed, which you can find abundantly in berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, tomatoes, and bell peppers.

    What are collagen supplements made from?

    Collagen supplements are usually made from animal products, such as bone broth made from pigs, fish, and beef. The market for vegan collagen supplements has grown in recent years, and some options are now made from yeast and bacteria that have been genetically modified. Care/of offers an animal-based and vegetarian option made from eggshell membranes.

    Since the body can’t absorb collagen in its whole form, the ideal version of collagen supplement will be hydrolyzed, which means that collagen is made into shorter chains of amino acids (a.k.a. peptides). Collagen peptides are turned into the pills and powders that you can mix with your various food and drink options: water, smoothies, oatmeal, you name it.

    Are collagen supplements safe for men?

    Yes, collagen supplements are safe for men. Studies have shown that collagen supplementation has limited side effects.

    How much collagen should men take a day?

    The scientific research for collagen dosing is somewhat varied, but the key is consistency. Some studies have looked at 2-3 g per day and others have gone up to 15 g per day. If you have questions, you can talk to a medical professional about the right dose for you. You can check out our deep dive into how much collagen to take per day for more information.

    Benefits of collagen for men:

    Collagen supplements have recently been gaining popularity among men – and there are good reasons why. Let’s take a look at some of the possible benefits of collagen supplementation for men.

    Boosts muscle mass and muscle recovery

    Studies have shown that collagen supplementation may support muscle mass and muscle recovery. This study, for example, found that collagen peptide supplementation combined with resistance training increased muscle strength in elderly adults. Meanwhile, this study of young German men found that those who resistance trained while taking 15 g of collagen peptide daily had a more of an increase in fat-free mass than those who took placebos.

    Supports heart health

    Studies have found that collagen supplements can help support healthy blood vessels, thereby promoting overall heart health.

    Bone and joint health

    Some studies have found that collagen supplementation can help promote bone and joint health.

    Gut health

    Collagen can support the microbiome in your gut and support gut barrier function, helping to promote healthy digestion, nutrient absorption, and supporting gut health overall. This study of healthy women found that collagen supplementation can support gut health and maintain healthy digestion, though more research is needed.

    Hair health

    We all like to keep our hair healthy. Collagen can help us do exactly that. One way it can do so is by helping to combat damage from oxidative stress to hair follicles. However, according to a study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, there’s not enough research to prove that collagen can address hair loss. That said, there’s no question that collagen is important to the overall health of your hair. Collagen is a source of amino acids needed to build protein for hair. This review explains how the hair follicle has a layer called the dermal sheath which is made of collagen which suggests potential for collagen to play a role in maintaining hair health. However more research is needed.

    Skin health

    Most studies of the effectiveness of collagen supplements on skin health have focused on women. However, these studies have yielded promising results, and there’s no reason to suppose that men wouldn’t benefit similarly. This study found that after 12 weeks, women who’d taken 1,000 mg of oral collagen peptide had superior results in skin hydration, elasticity, and appearance of wrinkles than the people who took the placebo.

    Supports weight management

    Collagen supplements have been shown to support the building of fat-free muscle mass, when combined with high intensity training.

    Potential side effects or risks of collagen supplements

    Collagen supplements are considered safe to consume. Like any supplement, though, they can sometimes come with some side effects. Among the rare side effects associated with collagen supplements digestive issues or gas. To make sure you’re getting a top-notch collagen supplement, you should be sure to get your collagen from a reputable company and check to be sure that your supplement is third-party tested. Of course, Care/of products are third-party tested, so you know that you’re getting exactly what’s written on the label.

    Final takeaways

    Collagen is the connective tissue that helps hold our body together. Since we start to produce less of it as we age, it’s become an increasingly popular supplement – first for its cosmetic benefits, but increasingly for its benefits for other areas of health. In recent years, especially, men have taken an interest in collagen’s potential benefits. More research is needed to conclusively determine collagen’s effectiveness, but the existing research is very promising. You can also boost your collagen intake from eating foods rich in collagen and foods that aid in collagen production. Some of these foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and high protein foods. Other ways to enhance your collagen production include certain lifestyle tweaks, including stopping smoking, spending less time in the sun or wearing sunscreen), getting enough sleep, managing your stress levels, and regularly exercising.

    If you’re interested in a collagen supplement, you can try Care/of’s Collagen powder, which is made from grass-fed bovine and seamlessly blends with coffee, tea, and smoothies. You can also try our vegetarian option that contains collagen and hyaluronic acid, made from eggshell membranes. You should talk to your doctor before adding any new supplement to your routine.

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Our Editorial Staff
    Freelance Contributor
    The Care/of Editorial Team is made up of writers, experts, and health enthusiasts, all dedicated to giving you the information you need today. Our team is here to answer your biggest wellness questions, read the studies for you, and introduce you to your new favorite product, staying up to date on the latest research, trends, and science. Each article is written by one of our experts, reviewed both for editorial standards by an editor and medical standards by one of our naturopathic doctors, and updated regularly as new information becomes available.