Can Collagen Powder Upset Your Stomach?

Can Collagen Powder Upset Your Stomach?


Taking a high-quality collagen supplement is an easy way to provide your body with collagen peptides that can be used to improve skin texture and appearance.

Like all supplements, there can of course be side effects and these are different for each individual. Any potential side effects can also be dependent on the type of collagen powder you take and your usual diet.

At Two Islands, our Marine Collagen Beauty Capsules are premium quality so you notice results. Our collagen capsules contain hydrolysed marine collagen and vitamin C which means it’s all-natural and very easy to digest.

What is collagen?

We’ve already written extensively about collagen, however, just to give a quick recap before discussing potential side effects and benefits, here is a little bit of info about collagen and what it is.

Collagen makes up about 75-80% of our skin’s structure, providing a sort of scaffolding support to keep our skin plump, firm and hydrated. As we age, our body’s ability to naturally produce collagen declines. From around our mid-twenties, production drops by around 1% per year, with a 30-50% total loss in women by post-menopause.

You can read more about collagen in our Why collagen? post.

Types of collagen

There are at least 16 types of collagen found in the body, however, 80-90% of the collagen in the body consists of three types – Types I, II and III. Let’s take a close look at each of those collagens and their roles in your body:

  • Type I - This type accounts for the majority of your body’s collagen and is made of densely packed fibres. It provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue and teeth.
  • Type II - This type is made of more loosely packed fibres and is found in elastic cartilage, which cushions your joints.
  • Type III - This type supports the structure of muscles, organs and arteries.

You can read more about the different sources of collagen in our blog - What should you look for in a collagen powder?

At Two Islands, we use Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) approved collagen meaning it is from a verified sustainable fishing source. 100% of the collagen found in marine collagen is Type I. Marine collagen is absorbed up to 1.5x more efficiently in the body making it a superior option to bovine or porcine collagen.

Side effects of taking collagen - FAQ

Taking collagen supplements is generally considered to be extremely safe, however, you should always consult your doctor before starting any form of supplementation to ensure there are no potential issues that could affect your health.

In general, the side effects from taking collagen powder are extremely mild but they can include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloating
  • Rashes
  • Histamine intolerance

Here are some of the frequently asked questions when it comes to the side effects of taking collagen powder:

Can collagen powder give you diarrhoea?

The most common side effect reported from taking collagen powder supplements is an upset stomach or diarrhoea. This, however, is usually caused by taking collagen in gelatin form or by taking a collagen supplement that has not been broken down to a small enough size to be easily digestible.

Collagen in powder form is usually hydrolysed, which means the collagen has been broken down, making it easier to absorb. This is important to understand as there is a lot of misinformation about the benefits of collagen supplements and a lot of this stems from a misunderstanding about the absorption of collagen due to its molecule size.

Hydrolysation is the process that breaks down the molecule size so it is small enough for the body to absorb and is measured in Daltons (Da). The smaller the Dalton, the easier the collagen will be digested and absorbed in the gut.

When considering a collagen supplement, 3,000 Da or less is optimal. 

Seldomly, some people may still suffer from an upset stomach when taking a collagen supplement, however, most will be perfectly safe to take and can in fact lead to improved gut health.

Can collagen powder cause bloating?

In a similar way to collagen powder causing diarrhoea or an upset stomach, for some people, taking a collagen supplement can also cause bloating.

Again, this is usually dictated by the hydrolysation of the collagen and the molecule size. The more the collagen is broken down and absorbed, the less likely it is to cause bloating in the stomach.

Can taking collagen cause a skin rash?

In some cases, collagen has been known to cause allergies and rashes, however the cases of this are very rare. Collagen helps to tighten the skin and this is a potential cause of itching, rashes and sensitivity on the skin. This impacts on people in different ways and if you do discover you develop a rash when taking collagen, you can speak to your GP or try a different type of collagen.

Can collagen increase histamine levels?

Collagen is naturally high in histamine so it is possible that taking a collagen supplement can lead to an increase in histamine levels. This in itself is not an issue for most people, however, individuals that already have a high histamine intolerance may suffer an adverse reaction from taking a collagen supplement. Side effects of increased levels of histamine can include headaches or migraines, fatigue, hives, digestive issues, nausea and vomiting. If you know about a pre-existing intolerance to histamine, we recommend talking to your GP before starting with a collagen supplement.

Is collagen powder hard to digest?

In some formats, collagen can be hard to digest, however, in powder form, it is typically much easier to digest and more readily absorbed. As we have already mentioned above, the ‘digestibility’ of collagen powder depends on the molecule size which is measured in Daltons (Da). The smaller the Da, the more digestible the collagen powder.

Benefits of collagen powder

Whilst this post is about the potential side effects of collagen powder, we wanted to end by talking about some of the benefits.

Here are some of the key benefits of collagen supplements:

  • Can improve skin health
  • Helps to relieve joint pain
  • Could prevent bone loss
  • Could boost muscle mass
  • Promotes heart health
  • Can help strengthen hair and nails
  • Could promote gut health

You can find out more about the benefits of taking collagen powder in our Why collagen? blog.