Reviewed by Jaimee Gooley, R.D.
Written by Hannah Marchese
Collagen supplements can have a different effect on everyone, but it is widely reported to be a miracle worker when it comes to your skin, hair, nails, and joints. With little to no side effects (the worst reported being an upset stomach), collagen is an extremely safe and effective supplement that is likely suitable for everyone. With plenty of different types and varieties, you have tons of options to see what works for your body. The collagen type that gives you results may not be the one that works for someone else, and that's ok. Dietary supplements can be tricky, and you may need to try a few different varieties at first. Collagen is a protein found in our bodies, and it is formed through chains of amino acids. It's largely found and used in our skin, joints, and connective tissues. The main types of collagen in supplements include type I collagen, type II collagen, and type III collagen. The varieties include collagen peptides, collagen protein, hydrolyzed collagen, collagen pills, and collagen powder. The benefits of taking collagen can include weight loss, relief from joint pain, strengthening your connective tissue, glowing skin, and assistance with several other health problems and beauty concerns. Since people often take collagen supplements to address a specific issue or a specific part of their body, it's important to take into consideration its effect on various body functions and parts. Something you don't often hear about in relation to collagen is your kidneys. Kidney function is essential for the overall function of our bodies, so read on to learn if collagen does indeed have an effect on them.
Can collagen supplements cause kidney stones?
Collagen contains hydroxyproline amino acids, which can increase amounts of the waste product oxalate in the body. Oxalate can cause kidney stones, but the amount of hydroxyproline in collagen is unlikely to significantly increase your risk. If you're already at a high risk for developing kidney stones, collagen isn't recommended. Otherwise, the recommended dose of collagen supplements should not cause kidney stones. As we discuss later in the article, there are some instances where you should not take collagen due to kidney-related issues, but that has to do with your protein intake. Your protein intake is a separate issue. When there are high levels of crystal-forming substances in your kidneys, such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid, your urine may not be able to dilute them. Similarly, your urine could also lack the substances that prevent crystals from sticking together. Either of these issues can lead to kidney stones forming. It is extremely important that you always stay hydrated, which is one of the best things you can do to prevent kidney stones from forming.
Can supplements cause kidney problems?
From chronic kidney disease to renal disease, kidney stones and unhealthy renal function, there are plenty of issues that can occur with our kidneys. If you are having issues, or think you are, you can have a test done that measures your glomerular filtration rate (GFR). This basically tells you how well your kidneys are or aren't functioning, by measuring how they filter blood and remove waste. Therefore, those with high blood pressure have higher risk factors for kidney-related issues. While many supplements are helpful for those with kidney problems, there are some that should be avoided as well. Supplements that are fat soluble, like vitamins A, D, E, and K, should be taken in moderation or at low doses, because they are more likely to build up in your body. There are a lot of herbal supplements that might need to be avoided, such as turmeric, noni, stinging nettle, coriander, kelp, flaxseed, creatine, and many others. These supplements are high in either phosphorus or potassium, or they are not compatible with unhealthy kidneys. There are also some supplements that can interfere with medication, such as echinacea, garlic, ginger, and St. John's Wort. However, everyone is different, and so is every medicine. Some of these things may be just fine for you to take, and others may be potentially dangerous.
Is collagen safe for kidneys?
First, let's discuss our kidneys and what they do for our body. Your kidneys filter out waste and excess liquids out of your bloodstream; these filtered items are then turned into urine. Kidneys filter a lot of blood every single day. Your kidneys can increase or decrease the GFR in response to your daily protein intake. As we previously discussed, collagen is a protein, and therefore counts towards your daily protein intake. The amount of protein you should have per day varies depending on your body mass and weight. However, on average, you should have 46-56 grams per day. Again, this can vary significantly based on many contributing factors. If you already have a kidney-related issue, then you may want to consider eating less protein or right at your daily recommended amount. Those who are otherwise healthy and have no issues related to their kidneys should have no issue taking collagen, as collagen is essential for addressing the issues we previously discussed. If you have no health issues, collagen is great for overall daily maintenance and giving you glowing skin. That being said, you should always consult your doctor if you are unsure about a supplement and how it could affect your body. Generally speaking, collagen is extremely safe and helpful for almost everyone.
Can too much collagen be harmful?
Like we discussed, those who eat a high protein diet and have kidney issues may want to consider eating less protein. Under normal circumstances, and for those issues which collagen is known to help improve, too much collagen is not harmful. Typically, you should have 12-15 grams of collagen per day. If you are highly active or have specific issues you are trying to address, then more collagen is completely fine. It is a natural supplement, and collagen is naturally occurring. What you need to focus on is how much collagen is right for your body. Collagen is used by countless people on a daily basis, and has some of the lowest reports of any side effects. If, for example, you are an athlete, you'd likely need more than 12 grams each day. Due to the fact you are constantly active, your body needs more protein to function. This can be compared to someone who is mostly sedentary during the day, and therefore 12 grams would be sufficient. A great way to make sure you get your daily collagen and a great source of protein is through our Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars. Each bar contains 8 grams of marine collagen, and 11-13 grams of protein. They also contain other beauty boosting ingredients such as sweet potato (containing betacarotene, a precursor to vitamin-A), and cocoa butter. Some of these ingredients can even help to boost your natural collagen production. So whether you have kidney issues, are perfectly healthy, or are looking to get glowing skin, collagen is a great way to get the protein you need in smaller or larger amounts, depending on your needs!
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.Sources: