Some people with pre-existing medical conditions may wonder if they can take dietary supplements like collagen. The million-dollar question in their heads is probably, “Do collagen supplements interact with medications?”
Given its many health and dermatological benefits, we understand why you might be interested in supplementing with collagen. But the answer is more nuanced than a simple Yes or No.
Ahead, we explain what makes up a collagen supplement and dive deep into the scientific literature to uncover collagen-drug interactions (if there are any). Read on so you can make the best dietary decision possible.
Collagen Supplements 101
To understand whether collagen supplementation has undesirable drug interactions, we first need to understand what makes up a collagen supplement.
Common Collagen Types & Forms
There are three main types of collagen supplements, with each benefiting different parts of the body:
- Type I collagen: Skin, bone, teeth, tendon, ligaments, vascular ligature, and organs
- Type II collagen: Cartilage
- Type III collagen: Skin, muscle, and blood vessels
These dietary supplements usually come in the form of:
- Hydrolyzed collagen peptides: Also known as hydrolyzed collagen, these short-chain amino acids are the most ideal for optimal digestion.
- Gelatin: Collagen gelatin is a natural thickening agent to add texture to your foods and drinks. (Check out our comparison guide on collagen versus gelatin powder to decide which one you should get.)
Collagen usually comes from different animal sources, of which the top three ones are:
There’s also collagen powders and pills to suit everyone’s needs.
What Makes up Your Collagen Supplement?
Some collagen supplements feature only one ingredient in their formulation.
An example would be Zen Principle’s Marine Collagen Peptides Powder, which consists solely of hydrolyzed marine collagen peptides from wild-caught cod, pollock, and haddock free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Meanwhile, certain collagen supplements include added nutrients, like vitamin C and herbs. The more complex the ingredient list, the more potential there is for the various ingredients to interact with medications you’re currently taking (more on that later).
Do Collagen Supplements Interact With Medications?
If you need to consume medication for an underlying health issue but still want to enjoy the health benefits of collagen, you might be wondering, “Do collagen supplements interact with medications?”
The good news is that there’s little evidence in recent years indicating collagen-drug interactions. Of course, this will largely depend on a case-by-case basis as different collagen supplements have distinct formulations.
It also depends on the dosage of your collagen supplements. After all, collagen is a protein, and there’s some research highlighting that a high-protein diet may interact with specific drugs.
Possible Interaction With Warfarin
Warfarin is an oral medication that treats blood clots and stops new ones from forming. It’s usually used to help manage health issues like heart attacks and strokes.
According to a 2011 article published in the Oman Medical Journal, there’s a “possible interaction between warfarin and a high-protein diet.”
In this case, if you’re currently taking warfarin, it’s best to speak with your primary doctor if you should supplement your dietary needs with collagen to ensure you aren’t overconsuming proteins.
Possible Interaction With Antihypertensive Drugs
As the name suggests, antihypertensive drugs are blood pressure medications that help to lower high blood pressure.
Higher-than-normal blood pressure increases your risk of life-threatening medical conditions such as:
- Coronary artery disease, which makes you vulnerable to heart attacks
But how do collagen supplements interact with antihypertensive medications? A 2012 study using mouse models shared their findings.
In this study, mice with high blood pressure and normal blood pressure were supplemented with jellyfish collagen peptides. The results showed that:
- Long-term collagen supplementation reduced the blood pressure of mice with high blood pressure
- Long-term collagen supplementation had no effect on healthy test subjects
What this means for humans:
- While the findings are primarily based on animal models, there’s a chance that similar results may be replicated in human models.
- If that’s the case, consuming collagen supplements with antihypertensive drugs may reduce your blood pressure to a level that’s lower than advisable.
- The lower-than-normal blood pressure may lead to a slew of troubling health symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
How To Minimize the Risk of Collagen-drug Interactions
As the science isn’t wholly conclusive on the risks of collagen-drug interactions, there are steps you can take to minimize said risks if you’re on medication.
1. Choose a Single-ingredient Collagen Supplement
As mentioned earlier, some collagen supplements only contain collagen peptides or collagen gelatin in their ingredient list.
We believe this may be the best choice to minimize collagen-drug interactions. Think about it — if your collagen supplement also contains other micronutrients like vitamin C, calcium, iron, and zinc, there’s a greater possibility for unwanted drug interactions.
If you need more proof, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) specifically warned consumers against taking warfarin and vitamin E supplements together as that “may increase the potential for internal bleeding or stroke.”
2. Speak With a Licensed Medical Professional
As with any dietary supplements, and particularly if you’re taking drugs to manage a pre-existing health condition, speak with your primary doctor or a licensed healthcare professional about whether collagen supplements are right for you.
If you get the green light from your doctor, ask for a list of recommended collagen supplements. Or share with them the health product(s) you’re interested in. Your doctor will likely check the ingredient list and recommend how much collagen you should take per day.
P.S. If you need some help on specific dosage, read our post on “How much collagen should you take per day?”
3. Do Your Due Diligence
Collagen supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. That means it’s highly recommended that you do your homework when researching which supplement you should go with.
Thankfully, brands like Zen Principle have made it easy with high-quality collagen supplements. All of our collagen supplements are also rigorously and regularly tested for heavy metals to ensure they are made safe for human consumption.
We are always transparent with what goes into our dietary supplements on the product packaging, so you can have peace of mind when consuming them.
Last but not least, our supplements are packaged in a USA facility that’s GMP-compliant (Good Manufacturing Practices) to ensure safety and consistent quality.
Get the Best of Both Worlds With Zen Principle
You know the saying, “Can I have my cake and eat it too?” Well, the answer is yes, in the context of collagen supplements and medications, as long as you check in with your healthcare provider first.
Generally, there don’t seem to be any significant collagen-drug interactions. But it’s always advisable to consult your doctor before adding it to your diet.
If you’re on the lookout for quality collagen supplements, check out Zen Principle’s collagen collection.