Collagen for Men: Benefits, Side Effects, Uses and Sourcing
Benefits of Collagen for Men
I had IBS and nasty achilles pain for 4 years until I found the right type of collagen.
Maybe you're starting to feel the effects of aging and you want to do something about it. You see your friends using collagen or heard about it online, but you don’t know where to start.
This article is for you.
There are so many bogus collagen health claims out there. It can be hard to separate fact from fiction. To make things more confusing, theres 1000s of products on the market that claim to do everything from prevent balding to make you look like a greek god.
How do you know which one is right for you? And once you find the right product, how do you use it correctly?
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about collagen for men. You will learn the benefits, side effects and uses of collagen, as well as how to find the best quality product.
Before we dive in, I'll mention that the single best source of collagen is a high protein, low sodium bone broth. The best one is the chicken bone broth powder from Bluebird Provisions.
Should a man take collagen?
Yes, men should take collagen. Consuming collagen comes with many benefits across the body for people of every sex. It improves skin and hair quality, supports heart health and muscle mass, and is safe with virtually no side effects or drug interactions.
Plus, there are multiple other reasons men should consider consuming more collagen beyond reducing the visible signs of aging such as longevity, bone health and improving overall function your joints, tendons and ligaments.
You might not care now about these benefits, but you will in a few year.
Collagen Benefits For Men
Collagen benefits for men include weight loss, hair growth, building lean muscle, reducing joint pain, fixing digestion, bone health, reducing inflammation, controlling blood sugar and reducing wrinkles.
Woah, those are a lot of benefits. Let's talk about each of them in detail to see how legitimate all of these are.
1. Weight Loss Benefits
The weight loss benefits of collagen for men work because it is all protein that keeps you feeling full. I have a voracious appetite and a bottomless pit as a stomach. Anything that helps is welcomed.
High protein diets are shown to decrease hunger hormones (ghrelin) while increasing fullness ones (glucagon-like peptide-1 and cholecystokinin) (1).
Also, gelatin, which is the protein found in bone broth helps suppress your appetite and reduce hunger up to 44% compared to casein protein (2).
I bring this up because gelatin and bone broth have the same amino acid profile as collagen. So you might get similar benefits.
2. Possible Hair Growth Benefits
While there is no research to support the hair growth benefits, many men swear by it. I thought they were lying but a simple internet search yields a ton of anecdotal case studies. You can search reddit or other forums and read people's experience using collagen.
The possible hair growth benefits of collagen for men include:
- Increased hair growth
- Shinier hair
- Thicker and stronger hair
3. Heals Your Painful Joints and Tendons
Collagen peptides have unique amino acids that help your joints and tendons build new, more resilient connective tissue. I used bone broth to heal a stubborn case of achilles tendonitis I had for four years.
Some studies show that it can improve mobility and reduce joint pain in both athletic and elderly populations (3).
If you're suffering from arthritis or a stubborn tendon injury, I'd recommend taking it or drinking a mug of bone broth 1 hour before you exercise, do rehab or something active.
You can learn more about collagen production for joints to see how the protocol works to speed up healing. It is what got me running ultramarathons again after four years of being injured.
4. Assists in Lean Muscle Mass
Something that helps with weight loss and builds muscle mass? Must be too good to be true.
While it may seem that way, 15 g collagen combined with 12 weeks of lifting weights led to an increase in muscle size and mass compared to those who did not take it (4).
The bonus of building muscle is that it speeds up your metabolism. Your body will naturally burn more calories throughout the day which could lead to a natural leaning out. This is because muscle burns more calories than fat.
5. Improve Digestion and Gut Health
Collagen protein supplements and bone broth specifically heal our damaged guts thanks to amino acids like glycine, proline and glutamine. These amino acids are natural anti inflammatories that heal the little holes and inflammation in your stomach and intestines.
These holes develop after years of eating inflammatory foods. They become a problem because we can no longer digest and absorb nutrients from food properly.
Little food molecules eventually seep through our porous gut tissue and into the bloodstream, causing inflammatory conditions like IBS, colitis, Crohn's disease and more.
These unique amino acids build new tissue that fills these holes and keeps your food out of your bloodstream (5).
6. Bone Mineral Density Benefits
Regular collagen in supplement form helps to increase bone mineral density, bone mass and bone growth. So if you're concerned about your bone broth, you can try it.
You don't need a ton, the studies use 5 g over one year (6).
7. Reduces Inflammation for Longevity
The amino acids found in collagen (glycine, proline) are among the most anti inflammatory nutrients in any food. They work inside your body to stop inflammatory cytokines at the cellular level.
This reduces inflammation in the cells, gut, joints and bones, which can help reduce aches and pains associated with it. Also, keeping these cytokines down decreases your risk of chronic diseases as you age.
8. Blood Sugar Control and Insulin
Collagen supplements can help to control your blood sugar and insulin response to foods because of glycine. I've written at length about glycine and it's amazing benefits.
It turns out that taking 5 g (what you get in 1.5 cups bone broth) helps to reduce blood sugar in type 2 diabetics. It is being used to help manage symptoms in many people with diabetes (7).
You can take it before meals as a hedge against the insulin release so that leads to an eventual crash later.
9. Skin Health and Wrinkles
We all want perfect, wrinkle free skin that glows naturally. Well I have news for you... skin health is largely genetic. Also, the people you see on TV have a ton of cosmetic surgery to help their skin.
That being said, bone broth and collagen can help to improve skin elasticity. One study showed a reduction in crow's feet or the tiny wrinkles around our eyes (8).
I'm a bit dubious about some of these claims, but it does seem to help my skin a bit. I get lots of comments about my skin. I don't use any face wash or do anything aside from drink about 1 cup of bone broth every two days for the last 5 years or so.
Collagen For Men Side Effects
The side effects of using collagen for men include digestive issues, allergic reactions, bloating, headaches, dizziness and possible weight gain. Below I will explain each of these to you in layman's terms.
1. Digestive Problems
Collagen is generally well digested because it has been broken down into small amino acids, some men get bloating, heartburn and indigestion.
My opinion is that the heavy processing that goes into making collagen gives some men issues. If you experience gut issues, you can stop taking it and try a low sodium bone broth instead like the one from Bluebird Provisions.
2. Nausea and Vomiting
Similar to the point above, some males experience nausea when taking it. Vomiting is dangerous because it leads to dehydration and long-term GI issues.
Stop taking your supplement if you have these issues and learn more about the downside of collagen.
3. Headaches and Dizziness
Collagen powders may tigger immune-like responses if you are sensitive to certain proteins that are found in beef, chicken or fish. It depends on the source the product is made from.
Also, some people who are sensitive to histamines may get headaches as well. Stoping taking it if this is you.
4. Weight Gain
There is some evidence to suggest that men taking collagen supplements gain weight. How does this work? Long-term use helps increase bone mineral density, can increase water retention and can stimulate the growth of new tissue around your joints and tendons.
In theory, this new bone and ligament tissue could cause a tiny increase in weight. I would argue most of these are benefits and not negatives, so you need not worry about it.
What collagen is best for men?
A high quality bone broth is the best and safest option for men because of the natural electrolytes, glycine, proline and glutamine. You don't get these extra nutrients from a hydrolyzed collagen supplement.
So you are leaving extra benefits on the table by not using a high protein bone broth. Bone broth has the following:
- More gut healing glycine, proline and glutamine.
- Up to 400 mg potassium per cup plus magnesium and phosphorus for hydration and sustained energy.
- Tastes better and is more versatile in the kitchen.
If you're curious, you can learn the full differences between collagen and bone broth.
Best Collagen Supplement For Men
The best collagen supplement for men is the chicken bone broth powder from Bluebird Provisions. You may be confused as to why I am recommending a bone broth in place of actual collagen.
This is because the protein in bone broth is more bioavailable than in collagen because it is in its natural, whole food form. Collagen peptides go through heavy processing using high heat, chemical solvents and enzymes.
These methods strip many of the beneficial nutrients from the peptides before you get a chance to consume them. Locally sourced and non-GMO bone broths go through none of this. You can find the Bluebird broth on Amazon or on their website.
Your protein should take like the animal it came from, not like vanilla or chocolate.
The sourcing of collagen is also notoriously difficult to trust. Most of them are made from animals raised in South America or Asia. The environmental and animal welfare standards are much different in these areas than in North America or Europe.
As a result, your collagen supplement likely comes from a cow that was pumped full of hormones and antibiotics while living on an industrial feedlot eating corn and soy. No the prettiest picture is it?
Now if you are dead set on a supplement, I put together a collagen powder buyers guide you'll want to look at.
Does collagen increase testosterone?
There are no studies that show that collagen increases testosterone levels. One study shows an increase in muscle mass, strength and body composition in elderly men who take collagen combined with weight training (10).
But there is no mention in this study about testosterone. You might get some muscle gain benefits from taking it, but it will not increase any of your sex or androgen hormone levels.
How much collagen should a man take?
A typical man should aim for 15 g of total collagen per day from real, whole food sources like bone broth, small fish, tough cuts of meat and gristle and animal skin (chicken, salmon, pork ,etc).
Our typical 'Western or American' diet is devoid of these foods, so our health declines faster than those who eat more balanced, whole animal approaches to food.
This is the reason for collagen peptides and supplements. But I would argue that you don't get the same benefits from supplements as you do from real food. Real food has collagen as well as all the other nutrients needed to properly absorb it while it goes through your gut.
What age should men take collagen?
Men of all ages should take collagen if they are striving to look, feel and perform better. It helps keep your joints and tendons strong, digestion working properly, blood sugar under control and inflammation in check.
These are benefits anyone should take advantage of. The earlier you start, the less you need to take long-term because it helps to delay the natural collagen decline as you hit 40+.
Side note: you get a better results if you combine collagen containing foods with these collagen boosting strategies.
Is collagen good for balding?
There is no scientific evidence that collagen is good for balding, however, many people swear it helped them keep their hair from thinning. Sometimes it takes years for the science to catch up to real world practise.
In terms of mechanisms, there is some evidence to suggest it helps with fibroblasts on your scalp. This is a fancy way of saying it can boost the hair follicles surface area on your scalp to provide the nutrients for growth.
So you can certainly take it and see if it helps. There are countless reviews, testimonials and case studies of people reporting fuller hair from using Bluebird Provisions bone broth.
There are no real risks if you are not sensitive to it and can afford it, so why not give it a try?
If you're a man looking to improve your health, vitality, hairline or reduce joint pain so you can move better, collagen is a great place to start. It has a wide range of benefits with few side effects.
Bluebird Provisions bone broth is the single best source of collagen because it gives you more amino acids and electrolytes than a typical collagen supplement. Plus, it tastes delicious and is easy to add to your diet.
And if you want collagen that bad, read my guide to the best collagen supplements.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not medical advise. Consult your doctor or primary care physician if you have questions about anything related to collagen, food, consumption or health. The statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, USDA or CFIA.