Most people can benefit from taking a collagen supplement: It’s required in myriad areas of health, from joint function to beauty, so it can be valuable for many types of lifestyles.* It also doesn’t hurt that high-quality collagen is safe and well tolerated.
Any differences in collagen needs typically come down to dosage. That’s because collagen is a protein, and protein dosage is determined by factors like body mass and activity level. Specifically, if you’re a healthy adult, you need at least 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight a day. If you’re highly active, that requirement increases to 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight a day. And though collagen is an incomplete protein (meaning, it doesn’t provide all nine of the essential amino acids the body needs), it can absolutely contribute to your daily protein intake. According to a 2019 study, as much as 36% of your protein intake can consist of collagen peptides while meeting your daily amino acid requirements.
And then there’s age, too. “In our 20s, our body’s natural production of collagen slowly declines,” explains Amy Gonzalez, R.D., FNTP, CLT, of The Holistic Dietitian. “Part of this is due to [a] reduction in our body’s ability to absorb proper nutrients and synthesize collagen.” Lifestyle factors, like exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays and too much sugar consumption, can also decrease collagen, she adds. These factors have a cumulative effect, further changing your collagen needs at any given time.
Translation: Your individual collagen requirements are less about gender—and more about factors like weight, activity level, and age.
Granted, women statistically generally weigh less and have less lean (muscle) mass than men, so they may need less collagen to achieve certain benefits. But even this isn’t set in stone, as hormonal changes associated with aging also play a role: People who experience menopause see a dramatic drop (about 30%) in collagen production during that time, so they might be more interested in taking collagen to support their natural levels.*