Does Collagen Make You Poop? Diarrhea, Constipation and Bowel Movements

Does Collagen Make You Poop?

When my friend told me to start taking collagen supplements to help with my dull hair, I was like, "Sure, why not?" I mean, it couldn't hurt, right?

But then something weird happened. I started pooping like crazy. Like, way more often than usual. At first, I thought my friend was playing some kind of sick joke on me. Like, "Ha! Gotcha! You're gonna be pooping your brains out now!" 

But then I did some research and found out that collagen actually contains an amino acid called glycine that can get your gut moving and promote regular bowel movements.

I guess I should be grateful, right? I mean, I'm getting rid of all the crap that was stuck inside me. And I have to admit, my hair does look a lot better now. But still, it's kinda weird to think that taking some supplement for my hair would end up making me poop so much.

I thought I’d do some more research into why, and here’s what I found out. 

does collagen make you poopWhat are digestive the benefits of collagen?

The digestive benefits are collagen are that it helps build new connective tissue in your gastrointestinal tract (GI), stomach and intestines. This results in a strong gut lining, reduced inflammation so that you can actually absorb nutrients from food to keep you healthy.

This new tissue reduces inflammation and makes your gut more resilient to digest incoming food. Many people with food intolerances, allergies and issues like reflux and bloating can get these benefits. But it does not work for everyone, you need to try it for yourself.

I'll explain each of the benefits in detail below.

1. A Strong Gut Lining

Collagen contains amino acids that are essential for the maintenance of a healthy gut lining. Your gut lining is the barrier that separates your digestive tract from the rest of your body.

When it gets damaged, it can lead to a condition known as leaky gut, which can cause inflammation and a range of digestive problems.

Collagen helps to strengthen our gut lining, making it less permeable to harmful substances. This, in turn, can help to reduce inflammation in the gut and improve digestive function.

2. Better Absorption of Nutrients

Collagen contains the amino acid glycine, which is involved in the production of stomach acid. Stomach acid is necessary for the digestion and absorption of protein and other nutrients. 

Without adequate levels of stomach acid, nutrients may not be fully absorbed, leading to nutrient deficiencies. By promoting the production of stomach acid, collagen can help to ensure that nutrients are properly absorbed.

3. Reduced Inflammation

Inflammation in the gut can cause a range of digestive problems, including bloating, gas, and diarrhea. A 2002 study by the National Library of Medicine found that collagen supplements could reduce bloating and relieve discomfort from mild digestive symptoms (1).

Collagen has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce inflammation in the gut and improve digestive function.

woman trying to poop

I mentioned above how it has glycine, but it also has another protein called proline. These two work together to give you potent anti-inflammatory effects.

Also, collagen supplements can help to stimulate the production of other anti-inflammatory compounds in the body, further reducing inflammation and improving gut health.

Collagen and Bowel Movements Research

It is important to note that there is no scientific research to suggest that taking collagen supplements will change your bowel movements.

This is not a study that would be high on the priority list of collagen companies to fund. That being said, many people experience constipation or diarrhea when they first start taking collagen, which could be due to a sensitivity to the supplement. More on that below.

Why does collagen make you poop?

There are four reasons why collagen makes you poop:

  1. Gut healing amino acids
  2. You're changing your gut biome and preparing it for proper digestion
  3. You're releasing toxins to set yourself up for long-term health
  4. You're body is learning to protein more efficiently

1. Gut Healing Amino Acids

Collagen is one of the only sources of unique gut-healing amino acids, including glycine, proline and glutamine, that can help to improve digestive function and promote regular bowel movements.

These amino acids can strengthen the gut lining, reduce inflammation, and improve nutrient absorption.

Glycine, in particular, stimulates the production of stomach acid, according to a study published in 2013 by Springer (3). When the gut is functioning properly and the gut lining is healthy, bowel movements are more regular and consistent. 

2. You're Laying the Foundation for Proper Digestion

When you consume collagen, you are laying the foundation for proper digestion. For a while at least, that may mean more poop! It did for me anyways. But it may be that I was never pooping as much as I should have been.

toxins in your gut

When your body is properly digesting and absorbing nutrients, waste is efficiently eliminated from the body, leading to regular bowel movements. You can read more about bone broth detoxes here.

Gut lining that’s strong and healthy allows waste to pass through your digestive system more easily, leading to more regular and consistent bowel movements.

Honestly, I'm pretty happy about it now. Not only do I feel less bloated, but I also feel more energized. It's like my body's finally able to get rid of all the junk that's been weighing me down.

Also, my hair and nails do look great. I'm definitely gonna keep taking collagen supplements and see where this goes.

Speaking of which, if you're looking for a recommendation, read by guide to collagen supplements for skin.

3. You're Getting Rid of Toxins to Reduce Inflammation

Collagen can help to improve bowel movements by getting rid of unwanted toxins from your body. Toxins can build up in your body, leading to inflammation, which can cause a range of digestive problems, including constipation.

Collagen is a potent source of rare amino acids like glycine, proline and glutamine, which can help to clear out toxins from your body.

Glycine, in particular, plays a critical role in this process by promoting the production of bile acids, which are necessary for the breakdown and elimination of toxins.

When toxins are eliminated from the body, inflammation is reduced, and digestive function can improve. This can lead to more regular and consistent bowel movements.

4. Your Body is Learning to Use More Protein

Collagen is a rich source of protein, which can help to support healthy digestion and bowel movements. However, you may poop a bit more as your body gets used to a protein-rich diet. 

Protein builds and repairs tissues, including those in the digestive tract. When you consume more protein, your body is able to build and repair these tissues more efficiently, which can lead to better digestive function and more regular bowel movements.

woman with brain fog

How to fix diarrhea caused by collagen?

Most people (like me) just poop more when they take collagen supplements. Some people, however, have other digestive issues. It may be because the source of collagen doesn’t agree with you, or you may just have too high a dose.

woman on toilet with diarrhea caused by collagen

Either way, here are some techniques to get things solid again. 

  1. Reduce your collagen supplement intake: Try reducing the amount you are consuming or taking a break from collagen supplements altogether.
  2. Stay hydrated: Diarrhea can cause dehydration, so it is important to drink plenty of fluids to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. Water, chicken bone broth and sports drinks (just make sure there's not added sugar can help to replenish lost fluids.
  3. Eat a bland diet: Stick to a bland diet consisting of foods that are easy to digest. Plain rice, bananas, and toast are classic examples. Avoid spicy or greasy foods that can further irritate your digestive system.
  4. Try probiotics: Probiotics can help to restore the balance of good bacteria in your gut, which can help to alleviate diarrhea symptoms. You can try consuming probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut or kimchi.
  5. Speak to a healthcare professional: If your diarrhea persists or is severe, it is important to speak to a healthcare professional. It’s unlikely collagen supplements are still at play if you’ve stopped taking it. They may recommend further testing or treatment to help alleviate your symptoms.
  6. Avoid other potential triggers: If you suspect that something other than collagen is causing your diarrhea, try to identify other potential triggers such as food intolerances or allergies, stress or medication side effects. Avoiding these triggers may help to alleviate your symptoms.

Get Collagen From These Real Food Sources to Avoid Diarrhea

A combination of different collagen-rich foods is the best way to prevent and avoid diarrhea that may be caused by hydrolyzed collagen peptides.

Whole food gives you nutrients in their pure form, without processing and with extra vitamins and minerals that assist in digestion.

Here are the foods you should try now:

  1. Bone broth: Made by simmering bones and connective tissue of animals for an extended period of time, bone broth is rich in collagen because the slow simmering process causes the collagen from the bones and connective tissue to break down and dissolve into the broth.
  2. Pork rinds: A snack food made from fried or roasted pork skin, this yummy treat is also a great source of collagen. Collagen is found in the skin and connective tissue of pigs, so this is a rich and tasty source of it.
  3. Salmon: A type of fish rich in healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is healthy in many ways. Make a stew or leave the skin on since collagen is in its skin and bones.
  4. Sardines: A type of small, oily fish that is packed with nutrition, sardines contain collagen in their skin and bones, so eat the whole fish. 
  5. Gelatin: A protein derived from collagen that is commonly used in desserts and confectionery, gelatin is perfect if you want to get your collagen in a sweet treat. It’s rich in collagen because it is made from the collagen-rich connective tissue of animals like cows and pigs
  6. Chicken wings: This delicious snack is great fried, baked, grilled, you name it. Chicken wings contain a high concentration of connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments that are rich in collagen.

How fast does collagen heal the gut?

There is no fixed timeline for how fast collagen can heal the gut. For me, stools became more regular and I noticed less bloating, within days.

Other people don’t experience changes for weeks or ever. It depends on various factors such as the severity of gut damage, individual differences, and the type and amount of collagen consumed.

A study published in 2022 by the National Library of Medicine found that women found improvement in bloating within about two weeks (3).

In general, collagen peptides can start to support gut health and promote healing within a few weeks to a few months of regular consumption. However, it is important to note that collagen powder should not be considered a quick fix for gut health issues. 

It should be used in combination with other gut-supporting practices such as a healthy diet, stress management, and regular exercise. 

If you want a product recommendation, read by guide to selecting the best collagen powders.

Can too much collagen be bad for you?

While collagen is generally considered safe, consuming too much collagen may have some potential negative effects on the body. Excessive collagen intake may cause digestive issues such as bloating, diarrhea and constipation.

Collagen peptides can be safely taken at quite high doses, however.

Collagen supplements may contain high amounts of amino acids, including hydroxyproline, which may increase the risk of kidney stones if consumed in excessive amounts. Consuming excessive collagen supplements may also interfere with the absorption of certain minerals such as calcium, which can lead to mineral deficiencies over time.

In rare cases, some people may be allergic to collagen or other ingredients in these products.

Does Taking Collagen Help With Constipation?

Taking collagen pills or powder may help with constipation as collagen has glycine and other amino acids that can support gut health and promote regular bowel movements.

Collagen can hold water in the intestines, which helps to keep the stool soft and makes it easier to pass.

As I mentioned above, collagen is full of glycine, which can stimulate the production of stomach acid and make your gut move more smoothly and consistently. It can also help to repair the gut lining and reduce inflammation, which can contribute to improved gut function and regular bowel movements.

A study published by Science Direct in 2019 found that biscuits made with marine collagen supplements had multiple health benefits, including antioxidant potential that may help the gut function better and reduce constipation (5).

Do Collagen Supplements Make Your Poop Smell?

Collagen supplements are not typically known to make your poop smell. There’s no direct evidence to suggest that they do. If anything, I noticed my poop smell less as it became more regular and often. 

However, it is possible that certain types of collagen supplements that are combined with other ingredients or fillers may cause changes in bowel movements and odor.

Closing Thoughts

If you're considering taking collagen, be aware that they may cause some digestive upset, including diarrhea, constipation and bowel movements.

However, this is usually only temporary and should improve as your body adjusts to it. Be sure to read my guide to collagen supplements to find the right one for you.

Leave a comment and let me know if you had issue when you started taking it.

Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9198822/
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00726-013-1493-1
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35639457/
  4. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/5/1079
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0023643819303561 

 

2 comments

Hi Zoila,

Sorry to hear about the issues. I would stop using this supplement if it is causing those issues. It seems like you might be having a more severe reaction to it.

all the best!

connor

Connor at Bluebird Provisions November 04, 2023

Hi 👋
I’m taking Primal collagen for 4 days
Abdominal cramping frequently stools
Started right 1hour after I took it and have not stop . 5 to 6 stool on the day and 3 to 4 at night I haven been able to sleep for 2 days not sleeping at all. I also have spasms on my guts the stool is mustard color!
Is not diarrhea is soft stool .
I took 1/2 of the scoop this morning I hope that will help.
Thank you for your time .🙏

Zoila Cummins November 04, 2023

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