Interactions and Contraindications - When Collagen Supplements Can Be Risky

Interactions and Contraindications - When Collagen Supplements Can Be Risky

Our bodies naturally produce collagen, the building block of our skin, tissues, and muscles, giving them structure, luster, and form. With age and for different reasons, the body's capacity to naturally produce collagen diminishes over time. This is when supplements and even topical alternatives become essential.

When Collagen Supplements Can Be Risky

Though generally safe, some may face side effects* for different reasons. From pre-existing health issues to clash with daily medications - the reasons are varied. Hence, starting collagen supplements after a professional consultation and considering all the side effects* on health is necessary. Read on to learn in-depth all about the uses of collagen supplements and the contraindications you must know about.

What Are Collagen Supplements?

What Are Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplements are ingestible collagen products designed to substitute natural collagen production as required. They are prepared through hydrolyzation, which breaks them down into peptide forms that are easier for your body to digest and absorb. The supplements can be in powder form, capsules, and tablets. Generally, supplements are made with the bones and cartilage of cattle, pigs, and eggshells, and they come in flavored and unflavoured variants.

What Are The Benefits Of Collagen Supplements?

Collagen supplements help keep the muscle structure intact and maintain skin elasticity and youthfulness. Alongside, it offers several other benefits as follows:

Prevent skin thinning

With age, the epidermal layer keeps thinning and losing moisture due to reduced sebum and collagen production. All these together lead to skin thinning and dryness. Collagen supplements replenish the necessary nutrition to delay this process, keeping your skin elastic and healthy for longer.

Prevent the onset of wrinkles

Wrinkles have a direct correlation to skin thinning. As collagen supplements improve the skin's health and maintain its elasticity, the onset of wrinkles also gets delayed. The skin's natural moisture is also maintained with the supplements.

Benefits of Collagen Supplements

Improved joint support

Collagen is an integral part of our cartilage that protects the joints. With age, it loses elasticity as natural collagen production in the body diminishes. Taking supplements can also prevent this issue and keep joint problems away.

Better bone health

Collagen gives structure to the bone and keeps it strong. With collagen supplement intake, you can render the bone more robust and healthier. It also helps to keep joint pain and similar age-related bone health problems at bay.

Hair and nails

Taking collagen can strengthen the nails and also stimulate nail and hair growth. It prevents brittle nails and improves their overall health.

Increased muscle mass

Last but not least, collagen supplements contain amino acids that are the building blocks of muscle mass. Collagen supplements mainly work for anyone losing muscle mass due to age.

Who Can Safely Take These Supplements?

Collagen supplements are generally safe for all consumers unless the doctor advises you against them. Overall, healthy adults can ingest the supplement to boost their bone and muscle health and skin elasticity. Matured adults who are facing muscle, bone, and skin aging would benefit the most from collagen supplements. Collagen supplements are typically not recommended for children and are only advisable on a nutritionist's recommendation in specific cases. People on chronic medication or kidney problems should also consult the doctor before taking any collagen supplement. Anyone allergic to the ingredients used in these supplements should also avoid them.

Does It Interfere With Any Other Medications?

Though collagen supplements typically do not interfere with other medications, it is wiser to stay cautious about general side effects* and be mindful of reactions with ongoing medicines and treatments. Here are a few potential contraindications that you must be aware of:

Blood thinning medication

Collagen supplement risks are particularly noted among consumers who are on blood-thinning medications such as warfarin or heparin. It is important to closely monitor the clotting levels as collagen can enhance the effects of medications.

Diabetes medicines

Diabetic patients have several lifestyle restrictions to observe, making it essential to consult their doctor before including anything new in the diet. Especially since collagen can influence blood sugar levels and insulin responses, individuals must monitor their blood sugar closely before starting the supplement intake. The diabetes medicine dosage may need to be adjusted accordingly.

Calcium supplements

Often collagen supplements contain calcium which means, in combination with your regular calcium supplement, you may exceed the daily recommended dosage level. This adds to the risk of hypercalcemia and kidney stones.

Vitamin C supplements

Generally, vitamin C and collagen supplements together help with better protein synthesis. However, excess vitamin C dosage aggravates collagen intake risks like increased absorption of iron. This is particularly an issue for patients with hemachromatosis.

When Not To Take The Supplements?

Individuals with kidney problems and chronic digestive diseases may face collagen supplement risks more than others. Lactating mothers and pregnant women are also recommended to continue the supplement only when advised by the doctor. Those allergic to fish, eggs, or meat should also consult their doctors before starting the supplement intake.

What Are The Side Effects* Of Collagen Supplements?

Collagen supplements are widely taken and generally, they are well-received. But like any other dietary supplement, collagen supplement risks also prevail. Here are a few such side effects* you must be aware of and take precautions against before taking such supplements:

Digestive discomfort

Though these supplements are made with hydrolyzed collagen broken down into peptides, they may still pose difficulty in digestion for some individuals. Some may face digestive issues like bloating, heartburn, and a feeling of fullness, especially when taking the supplements on an empty stomach.

Allergic reaction

Though rare, collagen intake risks like allergic reactions are not unheard of. Especially if you are allergic to shellfish, bovine, chicken, etc. these supplements will not work for you. Symptoms like itching, breathing difficulty, rashes, and swelling around the mouth after intake, indicate an allergic reaction to calcium.

Intolerance of taste and smell

Some individuals find the taste and smell of collagen supplements repulsive. This is not a side effect* per se but an individual perspective. This can be solved easily by taking a different form of the supplement or choosing a different brand.

High calcium levels

Some collagen supplements come with calcium blended with them which can cause side effects* like elevated calcium if taken in large amounts. Health problems like hypercalcemia can also occur in such a situation. The symptoms are excessive fatigue, vomiting, abnormal heart rhythm, etc.

Skin reaction

Again another rare symptom is that individuals may get rashes and skin eruptions after taking collagen supplements. This may be the result of allergies or any other issues as per their medical history.

Feeling sluggish

Collagen can make some people feel very sluggish and heavy right after intake due to its protein nature. This is a rare side effect* but does happen.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, collagen supplement risks are real even though they are celebrated for their health benefits. They can potentially interact with blood thinners, affecting clotting mechanisms, and may also impact blood sugar levels, posing a risk for those on diabetes medications. Individuals with allergies to the source of collagen need to be cautious to avoid adverse reactions.

Moreover, excessive intake can lead to elevated calcium levels, especially with marine-based collagen. It's important for anyone considering collagen supplements to consult with a healthcare provider, to ensure that these supplements are safe and effective given their specific health circumstances and current medications.

At BioOptimal, we have a wide range of collagen supplements made with the finest ingredients. When consumed in the recommended dosage, they have shown promising results for most individuals. Check out our range to find the best choice as per your needs.

*For side effects - When in doubt, please contact a healthcare professional for medical advice.


  1. Are collagen supplements safe for lactating mothers?
    Collagen supplements are generally considered safe, but for lactating mothers, it's crucial to proceed with caution. The safety of collagen during breastfeeding has not been extensively studied. Therefore, it is advisable for nursing mothers to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement to ensure it does not affect milk production or have any adverse effects on the baby.
  2. Can you take collagen supplements during pregnancy?
    The use of collagen supplements during pregnancy is a topic that requires careful consideration. While collagen is a natural protein and vital for many body processes, the impact of supplemental collagen during pregnancy hasn't been thoroughly researched. Pregnant women should discuss any supplements with their healthcare provider to ensure they are safe and beneficial for both mother and baby.
    1. Source: Collagen can be derived from various sources, including bovine (cow), marine (fish), chicken, and porcine (pig). Consider any dietary restrictions or allergies.
    2. Type: There are different types of collagen (Type I, II, III, etc.), each beneficial for various body parts. For example, Type I is good for skin and bones, while Type II benefits joints.
    3. Form: Collagen supplements come in powders, capsules, and liquids. Choose a form that fits best with your lifestyle and ease of consumption.
    4. Certifications: Look for supplements that have certifications from third parties like NSF or USP to ensure product quality and safety.
  3. Does collagen supplement interfere with diabetes medication?
    There is no widespread evidence that collagen supplements directly interfere with diabetes medications. However, since supplements can affect glucose levels and insulin sensitivity, individuals with diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar levels closely when adding any new supplement to their regimen. Consulting with a healthcare provider is recommended to ensure the supplement does not conflict with diabetes management.
  4. Are collagen supplements suitable for anyone on chronic medication?
    While collagen supplements are generally safe, their interaction with chronic medications varies depending on the type of medication and the individual’s overall health condition. It is crucial for anyone on chronic medications to consult with their healthcare provider before starting collagen supplements. This is to ensure that there are no interactions between the supplement and their medications that could impact their health.
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