From giving you smoother skin to stronger joints and bones, collagen is quickly becoming one of the most popular supplements to take among men and women alike. It even claims to give you better gut health.
While research supports the positive effects collagen can have on your gut, many of us who have used or are thinking of using collagen can’t help but ask: Does it make you poop?
Collagen supplements regulate digestion. Better digestion helps to keep you regular and keeps your gut healthy and strong.
So, the simple answer is yes, collagen can increase the frequency of your bowel movements, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Does Taking Collagen Supplements Make You Poop?
How Collagen Affects Gut Health
Collagen is made up of proteins and is found everywhere in the body, from your skin and bones to the connective tissue that makes up your digestive tract. Collagen also contains essential amino acids that are important for gut health, including glutamine, glycine, and proline.
Glutamine is a fuel source for the cells that line your intestines, which would otherwise waste away without proper glutamine levels. Glycine and proline are amino acids that serve to build and strengthen the digestive tract’s connective tissue.
Strong connective tissue in the gut is important to avoid weak gut lining. This can cause the lining to become permeable and allow food particles and bacteria to pass through it, leading to inflammation and leaky gut syndrome.
The amino acids contained in collagen also make up the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. An increase of these amino acids can help to reduce symptoms like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, and other uncomfortable stomach irritants.
On top of collagen’s makeup, it’s also a hydrophilic molecule. This gives collagen the ability to maximize contact with water and acidic molecules found in the gut.
The body naturally draws from all available fluids to help food move through your digestive system, which is why staying hydrated is important when taking collagen supplements.
Collagen peptides increase the amount of fluid drawn by the body and help to break down undigested foods along with stomach acid.
Staying hydrated also helps to regulate your bowel movements and prevent constipation.
For patients who suffer from stomach-related illnesses, proper hydration combined with collagen’s water-loving properties can help to ease symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms are often the main causes of fluid loss in the body.
When collagen attracts water in the gut, food can be moved more easily through the digestive tract.
How Collagen Could Affect Bowel Movements
Knowing how collagen benefits the gut can be helpful in understanding why it seemingly makes you ‘go’ more than usual.
Collagen aids in digestion, making it easier for food to be broken down and passed through the intestines. This can be helpful in keeping you regular and free of bloating because of undigested food.
To feel the full benefits of taking collagen, it’s important to complement the supplements with a healthy diet. This means removing any food intolerances that cause discomfort. These food intolerances could also be a contributing factor to gastrointestinal issues.
By removing food intolerances and adding gut-healing foods to your diet, collagen makes a fantastic complimentary supplement to ensure proper gut health.
Gut-healing foods are foods that introduce healthy bacterias, natural probiotics, and fiber into your diet to further heal the gut and encourage the natural digestion process.
Foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso paste, garlic, ginger, and even bananas are considered gut-healing foods.
Collagen also contains gut-friendly ingredients that support gut health and maintenance, like protein sources and bone broth.
Side Effects of Collagen Supplements
There are almost no cases of collagen users experiencing gastrointestinal side effects. Some have reported cases of diarrhea or constipation after using supplements containing collagen.
Some users who already take prescription medications could be experiencing this because of how their medication interacts with collagen supplements. You should always consult your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen.
Discomfort can also be a result of the ingredients found in collagen supplements. Some additives can cause bloating, nausea, and could cause you to make a few more trips to the bathroom than usual. Similarly, this could be a result of taking too much collagen.
Adverse side effects could be because of allergic reactions to the ingredients in the supplements.
Collagen is extracted from connective tissue found in chickens, cows, fish, and eggshell membranes. If you have food allergies, it may be common to experience stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea as a result of taking collagen supplements.
Some forms of collagen make you feel gassy or bloated, but taking a supplement made from collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen isn’t likely to produce these same side effects.
Collagen peptides and hydrolyzed collagen are already broken down, making them easier for your body to process and absorb without feeling any stomach discomfort.
If you follow dosage instructions and consult your doctor, collagen is completely safe to take and is one of the few supplements with almost no known side effects. Studies have shown that collagen can actually prevent diarrhea and reduce constipation.
Overeating is a common cause of constipation because of the time it takes for excess food to be broken down in the body and expelled.
Does Collagen Make You Poop?
In short, yes. Taking collagen will increase the frequency of your bowel movements. At least, in the early stages of adding collagen to your diet.
Preliminary evidence suggests that increasing your collagen intake through supplements could stop you from overeating. Collagen can make you feel more satisfied after meals and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
All in all, collagen seems to be able to regulate your bowel movements through better digestion, build stronger connective tissue within the digestive tract, and provide your body with three of its essential amino acids.
Having to go to the bathroom more often than usual is a minor side effect considering all the benefits to your joints, bones, and skin. In fact, it’s more than a minor inconvenience, it’s a sign that your supplements are having the effect they’re intended to.
Can Collagen Cause Bloating?
Certain forms of collagen can cause bloating and gas. This is usually due to the additives in the type of collagen you are using. To avoid bloating, look for a collagen product that uses hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides.