When it comes to smoothing your complexion from the inside, there are two main schools of thought: Some people swear it’s best to sip on your liquid collagen or pop a supplement pill in the morning, when your stomach is empty (stomach acid, some say, will break down the collagen, making it ineffective). Yet others believe you should take it at night because your skin works its rejuvenating magic (which includes collagen production) while you snooze.
Both arguments are convincing—but which is true? I spoke with two experts to find out.
Keep reading for the best time to take your collagen supplement.
The collagen pros I polled are in agreement… It doesn’t actually matter when you drink your collagen. (Gasp!)
“Collagen can be taken at any time as long as you get the daily dose of collagen peptides,” says Louise Marchesin, global head of marketing at Skinade, a liquid hydrolyzed collagen drink. “It’s been proven that the fibroblasts—collagen factories in our skin—will fire up when you consume between 5,500 and 6,500 milligrams of collagen peptides.” They might start working at an even lower dose: One 2015 study found 2,500 milligrams of collagen was effective at reducing the appearance of cellulite in women.
And that idea that your collagen supplement will be degraded by digestive acid in the stomach? It’s a myth. “Your stomach acid actually decreases with food. So if you needed to protect the supplement from acid, then you would take it with food,” says Hadley King, MD, a dermatologist at Skinney Med Spa in New York City. “Collagen supplements are in fact usually broken down by your stomach acid—with or without food—into amino acids that are then used to build collagen.”
Dr. King also doesn’t think there’s enough evidence to back up the belief that you should take the supplements at night to sync with your body’s natural repair time. So, your skin will thank you whether you prefer to stir your collagen into your Bulletproof coffee (a la Busy Philipps) or a relaxing, nighttime smoothie.
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Originally published on September 18, 2017; updated on July 28, 2018.
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