Side effects of collagen supplements

Written by heather garcia
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Side effects of collagen supplements
Side effects aren't as common with the topical cream form of collagen. (Getty Images)

Collagen is a protein that naturally occurs in bones, connective tissues and the skin of mammals. As ageing occurs collagen begins to break down resulting in the loss of elasticity, thus leading to wrinkles and sagging skin. On a quest to look younger, some choose to rely on collagen supplements. These supplements come in the form of oral collagen, injections and topical creams, but looking younger, firmer and trimmer does not come without side effects.

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Allergic reactions

Allergic reactions do occur in some users of all forms of collagen, though most reactions reported come from injectables. Some allergic reactions include nausea, flu-like symptoms,fever, rash, hives and skin peeling. Red bumps can appear and lead to lacerations, which can often cause scarring. Lumps around the injection sites have been reported as have uneven texture in the skin, cold sores and eyelid drooping. Less common, but more dangerous allergic reactions that occur are bacterial infections, blurred vision, shortness of breath, low blood pressure and chest pains.

Pain occurring at the injection site

When using the injectable forms of collagen supplements, pain can occur at the site of the injection. Aches, tingling and bruising have been reported by persons using this form of collagen. Itching and red, swollen skin is not uncommon. Less likely but still possible side effects are hardening of the tissues around the injection and sensitivity in the surrounding areas.

Other rare, but serious side effects

A small percentage of collagen users, mostly those using injections or oral collagen, have reported much more serious side effects. Urinary tract infections, urinary retention and bladder infections are reported in some. Blood in urine, worsening of incontinence, rare abscesses and open sores are also possibilities for side effects that everyone should be aware of when making a decision on whether or not to use forms of collagen.

Before starting a routine that involves collagen

Before deciding on a form of collagen to use, or whether you want to use it at all, it is wise to speak to your physician. While the benefits of rejuvenated hair and skin tone, decreased appetite and increased nail strength can be appealing, it is also important to weigh the possible negative outcomes as well. On average two out of every 100 people will experience a side effect from collagen, though most will see the symptoms disappear in a matter of months. Also note that the benefits of collagen only last temporarily -- one to six months in most, up to two years in some cases -- so this is not a permanent solution.

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