Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is a doctor of chiropractic, doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author with a passion to help people get well using food and nutrition. He operates leading natural health website DrAxe.com and is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, a health supplement company. He’s also author of the books Eat Dirt, Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, Keto Diet, Collagen Diet and Ancient Remedies.
By Dr. Josh Axe
Years ago, when I was running my clinic as a chiropractor and doctor of natural medicine, I noticed that nearly all of my patients were what I called “collagen bankrupt,” meaning their diets included hardly any of this valuable protein. Many were looking to help support their joint, digestion and skin health.
I explained that collagen protein, the most abundant type of protein in the human body, offers support for healthy skin, joints, hair and also gut function. Therefore, in addition to an overall healthy diet and lifestyle, I often recommended a “collagen loading protocol” for just those looking to help get on track.
What is collagen loading? As explained in more detail below, it’s when you consume up to three servings of collagen per day, most often from collagen powder or capsule supplements.
I’ve seen firsthand how this approach can help people benefit from improved joint comfort and mobility, enhanced exercise recovery, healthy gut function, skin improvement and much more.
Of course, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including collagen loading.
What Is Collagen Loading? Does It Work?
Collagen loading is a supplement plan that involves consuming collagen protein daily, usually about three servings of collagen powder or capsules, for a designated period of time.
Does collagen loading really work? Like any supplement or diet plan, it depends on the individual and their overall lifestyle. However, the addition of collagen to many people’s diets can go a long way in promoting joint, digestive and skin health.
Collagen is a unique protein because it’s brimming with certain amino acids that are not very abundant in proteins like meat or dairy, including glycine, proline and arginine.
The average person today doesn’t consume much collagen from their diet, if any at all. That’s because collagen is only available in very few foods, most notably bone broth (made with collagen-filled animal bones, connective tissues and skin), which is no longer a mainstay in the modern diet like it used to be centuries ago.
This helps you to obtain an array of amino acids that your body requires for maintenance of healthy tissues that help form your gut lining, joints, cartilage, ligaments, skin, hair and nails.
By now you’re starting to understand why collagen is so valuable. Here are other benefits associated with collagen supplements, particularly Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein, Multi Collagen Capsules, Collagen Peptides and Vegetarian Collagen Peptides powders or tablets, taken as part of a collagen loading protocol:
- Provides support for healthy hair, skin, nails, joints, and gut
- Reduces joint discomfort and helps joints recover faster
- Supports exercise recovery
- Promotes healthy hair thickness and growth, and reduces hair breakage
- Improves the appearance of crow’s feet after 4 weeks of use
- Reduces knee stiffness at 7 days of use
Collagen Loading Protocol
Ready to get started? Here’s an example of how to follow a collagen loading protocol:
Consume 1 to 3 servings of collagen protein each day, aiming for 3, if possible.
For reference, a serving of Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein, which is unflavored, is 1 scoop of Multi Collagen Protein powder or 3 capsules of Multi Collagen Capsules (see below to find out more about these products).
If using Collagen Peptides, adults can take 2 scoops with 12 ounces of your favorite hot or cold beverage.
Take 1 to 3 servings of collagen powder or capsules everyday. A general recommendation for adults is to take 1 scoop of collagen powder per day with 8 ounces of your favorite hot or cold beverage one to three times per day
Try stirring or blending it (a frother can work wonders) into your daily coffee or smoothie, or adding some to pancakes, oatmeal or cookies for a boost in protein.
For how long:
Generally speaking, collagen loading can last for about one to two months (at least 30 days). This is typically enough time to start seeing results, such as improvements in joint comfort and your skin’s appearance.
Even though 30 days of collagen loading is a great goal, you will likely start seeing results even sooner, such as after one to two weeks of use when it comes to joint comfort.
What to do afterwards/maintenance regimen:
How often can you collagen load? You can continue taking collagen daily for as long as you want, per the suggested use on the label. After loading up on it for a month or two, take a break for at least a couple months. Afterwards, consult your healthcare professional once again, if you wish to collagen load in the future.
Because collagen is typically easy to digest and generally well tolerated, you can continue to consume daily and according to product use directions. For the best results, use collagen supplements along with a healthy diet that includes protein from other sources, plus plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well as a healthy lifestyle.
Best Collagen Products
Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein products provide you with a whopping 10 types of collagen from four real food sources. This is the best way to provide a broad spectrum of collagen benefits, since each type has its own function in the body.
Ancient Nutrition is the only leading collagen brand on the market currently made with a proprietary fermented collagen ingredient backed by human clinical studies, proven to provide real results as early as day one after you start using them!
This collagen formula is also enhanced with clinically-studied ingredients like 100 percent of your daily value (DV) of vitamin C, as well as 2 billion CFU* (*at time of manufacture) of the probiotic called Bacillus coagulans. These ingredients are added to support absorption and for extra support for a healthy immune system, gut health and digestion.
Our Multi Collagen Protein comes in a variety of superfood formulas designed for specific interests (like joint support, gut support and more). You can choose to either take them as a powder or capsule form.
We now also offer another type of collagen, Collagen Peptides, which features hydrolyzed collagen, meaning the collagen and amino acids are broken up into smaller units that are easy for your body to digest and use. Like Multi Collagen Protein, Collagen Peptides offer support for healthy nails, gut, joints and skin thanks to our proprietary fermented eggshell membrane collagen and bovine collagen.
Lastly, we now also feature vegetarian collagen called Vegetarian Collagen Peptides. The collagen found in this formula is sourced exclusively from eggshell membranes derived from sustainably raised chickens in the U.S. The collagen is also fermented to create a hydrolyzed product that is easier for the body to absorb and utilize.