When you add a new supplement to your repertoire, it’s important to identify how to best incorporate it into your daily routine (after all, if a supplement fits seamlessly into your lifestyle, you’re likely more willing to make it a habit). This includes deciding when to take it, whether that be early morning, midday, or before bed.
While you may base your decision on ease and personal preference, some supplements are better suited for specific times of day (for example, experts suggests taking magnesium supplements within an hour or so before bed for better sleep). But when it comes to collagen, which time of day should you choose? We wrote up a quick explainer for you.
The best time of day to take collagen supplements.
Many people believe that you should take a collagen supplement first thing in the morning, as your body is better able to break down proteins like collagen when you take them on an empty stomach. However, this is actually a myth—it doesn’t really make a difference whether you take collagen on a full or empty stomach.
Firstly, “The bulk of the breaking down of proteins actually happens in the small intestine, so full stomach, half-full stomach, or empty stomach—there will be little difference,” registered dietitian Scott Keatley, R.D. once told mbg.
Secondly, as mbg’s vice president of scientific affairs, Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN explains: “Hydrolyzed collagen peptides are exactly that, hydrolyzed (aka broken down) into peptides. Thus, once the protease and peptidase digestive enzymes in the small intestine interact with these collagen dipeptides and tripeptides, these tiny peptides and constituent amino acids are efficiently digested and absorbed by our gut—to then be utilized throughout the body, for benefits like skin hydration and elasticity.”*
On the flip-side, some people claim that you should take collagen supplements at night so that your body will process it during the REM cycle (a recovery period during your sleep), making it more effective in the body. Fact check: There’s no evidence to suggest that. “Think of collagen as more of a general in-your-system-type supplement,” says Keatley. And when collagen enters the body, it goes through the stomach and eventually reaches the small intestine.
While food may be broken down by stomach acid, collagen survives this journey, thus leading to its absorption in the small intestine. This means that it takes anywhere from three to five hours, Keatley says, to absorb the supplement. Given this gap of time between consumption and absorption, it would be pretty difficult to synch up this process with your REM cycle.
Furthermore, Ferira adds this insights from clinical research: “Collagen peptide supplementation research, including robust randomized controlled trials, did not study a nighttime collagen regimen in their study design. The positive effects that science demonstrates for collagen peptide supplements and the skin, gut function, and even cardiometabolic health largely involved daytime consumption of the protein.”* (And at mbg, we let the science inform and guide our recommendations).
With that said, Ferira shares that it would not be counterproductive to take collagen in the evening. “Whether morning, midday, or night—the most important common denominator is regular collagen consumption of a high-quality product to reap the benefits.”
So it’s safe to say that collagen can be taken any time of day and won’t have any more beneficial effects one way or the other. (Want more nuance on the matter? Read our guide to when to take collagen here.) This is especially true for sugar-free collagen supplements like the mbg beauty & gut collagen+ (yes, even the chocolate variety is free from added sugars thanks to the organic cocoa and organic monk fruit). With a sugar-free product, you’re free to take it any time of day, even later at night, without having to worry about a spike in blood sugar, which can keep you awake for longer.
If you want to fit a new supplement into your routine, you’ll have to decide which time of day to take it to ensure the habit sticks. While some supplements should be consumed exclusively in the morning or evening, collagen supplements can be taken at any time of the day. Now that you know this, feel free to dive deeper into the benefits of collagen supplementation and check out our all-time favorites.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.