Everything You Need to Know About Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplements can offer a variety of surprising benefits. Here is an overview of collagen supplements and a few recommended brands you can try.

People spend thousands of dollars each year trying to prolong their battle against the aging process. Between botox, plastic surgery, and a whole host of other procedures, people will go through any number of measure to make themselves look as young as possible.

That’s why collagen supplements have become so popular recently. It doesn’t require a medical procedure, or a medical professional to administer it. It’s an all-natural product that can be found in a variety of sources, and it works with your body to make your skin healthier and stronger, along with a whole host of other benefits.

With so many different supplements out there, we wanted to provide you our thoughts on five of our favorite collagen supplements available in the market.

What Is Collagen?

Proteins are the building blocks for all the organs, muscles, and tissue we have inside of our body. Collagen is a family of proteins that help make up the structure of our bones, muscles, skin, tendons, and cartilage. Because it’s used in so many different sources, the amino acids that makeup collagen are actually the most abundant type of aminos in the body.

Now here’s the kicker: our body produces collagen throughout our lifetime, but as we get older, the rate at which our bodies produce collage becomes less and less.

That’s exactly the reason that the aging process is so visible: because the skin loses the strength and elasticity that collagen is responsible for. If we want our skin to function normally and appear more youthful, we need to ensure that the two main layers that comprise our skin — the epidermis and the dermis — gets the collagen that it needs.

The Benefits of Taking A Collagen Supplement

Naturally, then, that’s where collagen supplementation enters the picture. Since our bodies will produce lesser amounts of it as time goes on, we can look to external sources to supplement the amount of collagen our body can use.

Improved Skin Health

As you might’ve guessed by now, many people have begun taking collagen supplements with the hope of slowing down the effects of the aging process.

Collagen supplements have become increasingly popular because of the belief that it can improve the quality and strength of your skin, hair, and nails. There is a growing body of research that has linked the consumption of collagen peptides to reduced skin wrinkles and healthier skin. More and more people will tell you that taking collagen supplements makes their skin feel stronger and shinier.

As mentioned, because our bodies produce less of this substance as we get older our skin wrinkles, hair thins, and nails become frailer, because the collagen that supports them is less abundant in our body. When dermatologists give patients prescription retinoids to help with such issues, those drugs work by increasing the body’s production of collagen.

Many times, when you see someone getting an injection to make their skin look less wrinkly or to make their lips look fuller, they’re actually getting collagen injected into those areas.

Reducing Inflammation In Joints

One of the most widely studied and accepted benefits of collagen supplementation is the reduction of symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

A recent study in the International Journal of Medical Sciences found that 80% of individuals who suffered from osteoarthritis had their pain levels drop by an average of 26% when they consumed a daily 40 mg oral dose of collagen.(1)

Another study found that patients who took one gram of collagen by mouth twice daily for up to 10 weeks were able to increase the amount of physical activity they performed, and individuals within that study who were previously diagnosed with osteoarthritis were able to reduce the amount of pain medication they needed to take.(2)

It’s believed that the additional collagen ingested reduces inflammation within the body, which directly lowers the amount of pain that people with arthritis and other joint-based diseases often have to deal with.

Strengthened Digestive System

Collagen doesn’t just reduce the inflammation caused in your joints. There is evidence suggesting that the amino acids found in collagen — most specifically one called glycine — can reduce gastrointestinal inflammation as well.

Because the modern diet contains a lot of processed foods, or meat that comes from livestock that has been kept in poor living conditions, the number of people who suffered from issues caused by gastrointestinal inflammation is growing at a rapid pace.

Collagen not only helps with ensuring your food moves properly through your digestive tract, but it can also help heal any inflamed or damaged stomach lining.

Potential Side Effects Of Collagen Supplements

By and large, the potential for adverse reactions when taking collagen supplements is minimal. However, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult their physician before taking collagen supplements, as the potential effects for both the mother and the child have not been fully studied.

Otherwise, the two most likely side effects of taking collagen supplements involve:

Heavy Metal Reactions

Since collagen primarily comes from ground-up animal parts, there’s the potential for having a dangerous level of heavy mental content.

Studies have shown that the bones or hides of animals can have high concentrations of dangerous metals like lead, so regularly consuming a higher volume of collagen supplements does increase the potential to be exposed to these chemicals.(3)

While there is not much evidence that clearly demonstrates a link between collagen supplementation and heavy metal poisoning, it’s probably still best for you to ensure your supplement has been certified for contaminants (or a lack thereof) by a third party.

Allergic Reactions

There is a chance for individuals to suffer from an allergic reaction to collagen sources or supplements. In particular, if someone happens to be allergic to any of the main sources of collagen (bovine, porcine, poultry, fish, or shellfish), there’s a chance that they could suffer a reaction by consuming collagen that’s made up of proteins from those sources.

These reactions most often take place when the collagen is applied topically to the skin, though it is possible to suffer reactions including constipation, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting from ingested collagen.

Our Five Favorite Collagen Supplements

Here’s an in-depth look at five of our favorite collagen supplements that you can buy from nearly any online retailer:

1. Super Collagen Plus C

Sale
NEOCELL LABORATORIES, Neocell Super Collagen Plus C Type 1 And 3-6000 Mg - 500 Tablets
221 Reviews
NEOCELL LABORATORIES, Neocell Super Collagen Plus C Type 1 And 3-6000 Mg - 500 Tablets
  • 2 Bottles of 250
  • Builds bone matrix; Collagen is the mechanical strength of bone; Corrects weak, broken, split, ridged and damaged nail beds; Thickens fine hair
  • Repairs connective tissues for improved elasticity; blood vessels to help improve circulation; and promotes wound healing and a clearer complexion

Super Collagen Plus C by Neocell Laboratories contains both type 1 and type 3 collagen peptides. These two types of collagen are the main types found in the connective tissue comprising 90% of the body’s total collagen content.

When using this supplement, the body not only takes these two types of collagen peptides and applies them where they’re needed most, but the supplement also acts as a messenger to trigger the synthesis of new collagen fibers.

And because the molecular makeup of Super Collagen is very similar to the amino acid structure of our own body’s collagen, people who take Super Collagen Plus C will enjoy a 90% absorption rate into the blood stream.

What We Like:
  • Collagen comes from ethically-sources, grass-fed, Paleo-friendly bovine sources
  • Vitamin C is added to the supplement, to improve collagen formation in the body
  • Clinically proven to increase skin hydration, and experience firmer, softer skin
What We Dislike:
  • Serving size is six tablets, taken twice a day; forces people to take 12 capsules per day
  • Tablets are somewhat large in size, so consuming that many large pills can be cumbersome

2. Premium Collagen Peptides

Collagen Peptides Powder (16oz) | Grass-Fed, Certified Paleo Friendly, Non-Gmo and Gluten Free - Unflavored
6,463 Reviews
Collagen Peptides Powder (16oz) | Grass-Fed, Certified Paleo Friendly, Non-Gmo and Gluten Free - Unflavored
  • YOU NEED MORE COLLAGEN: Collagen is one of the most important nutrients needed to to ensure the health and vitality of your skin, hair, tendon, cartilage, bones, and joints. Around the age of 30, our...
  • HOW TO TAKE: Consume in warm or room temperature water. Can also be added to Oatmeal, Yogurt, Soups or Sauces. *Helpful Hack: To enjoy in cold water without clumping, mix collagen in room temperature...
  • REAL CERTIFICATIONS: Many companies claim to be, but our Collagen Powder is actually 3rd party certified by the Paleo & Keto Foundation, and non-GMO verified by the IGEN program

Premium Collagen Peptides by Sports Research is a hydrolized collagen peptides supplement. A hydrolized protein is one that’s been naturally broken down into a powder, but the more important distinction is that the body digests proteins in this form easier and faster.

Lots of consumers mix the unflavored Premium Collagen Peptides powder into juices, smoothies, their morning coffee, or even into salad dressing, and find it very easy to consume in those forms.

In addition, Premium Collagen Peptides contains 20 additional amino acids, which consumers have said helps with them with their recovery times after strenuous exercise.

What We Like:
  • Hydrolized solution dissolves very easily into water or other beverages, making it easy to take
  • 3rd party certified by the Paleo & Keto Foundation and verified non-GMO by the IGEN program
  • Great source of other essential amino acids, including glutamic acid, alanine, and tyrosine
What We Dislike:
  • Hydrolized solution may gel or clump in ice cold water, so water should be closer to room temperature
  • Some consumers complain about bloating and gas caused by consuming this supplement

3. BioCell Collagen

Sale
Health Logics BioCell Collagen Joint and Skin Care 120 Capsules
507 Reviews
Health Logics BioCell Collagen Joint and Skin Care 120 Capsules
  • Clinically shown to reduce joint stiffness and discomfort
  • Clinically shown to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce skin dryness by 76%
  • Made in the USA in a gmp-certified facility

Health Logics proudly claims that millions of “happy customers” can vouch for the company’s line of health supplements.

Their BioCell Collagen Joint & Skin Care Supplement is comprised of a patented, fast-absorbing composition that cannot be found in any other supplement or ingredient blends. Benefits include increased blood microcirculation of facial skin for a healthier glow, enhanced recovery after intense resistance exercise, and improved joint comfort, mobility, and quality of life.

What We Like:
  • In one study, women who took the supplement for 12 weeks had 76% less dry skin and a 13.2% reduction in fine lines and wrinkles
  • Serving size is only two tables, twice a day
  • Free of GMOs, gluten, soy, shellfish, fish, egg, milk, peanuts, & sugar
What We Dislike:
  • Product's original manufacturing location is not easily determined through information on the bottle
  • Collagen does not appear to come from organic, pasture-raised animals
  • Some users say the taste and aftertaste of the pills takes getting used to
Vital Proteins Pasture-Raised, Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides - Hydrolyzed, Paleo, Keto, Whole30, Gluten-Free
3,177 Reviews
Vital Proteins Pasture-Raised, Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides - Hydrolyzed, Paleo, Keto, Whole30, Gluten-Free
  • Pasture-Raised, Grass-Fed, Non-GMO, Kosher Collagen Peptides; Soluble in cold liquids
  • Promotes youthful skin, healthier hair, and stronger nails
  • Collagen helps keeps bones healthy and strong, supports joint health

Vital Proteins’ Collagen Peptides is another powder-based collagen that’s easily mixed into hot or cold liquids.

The difference between this and other hydrolyzed collagen products is that hydrolyzed collagen is made from animal by-products, including skin, bones, and connective tissue while collagen peptides are from the skin.

Collagen Peptides are made by extracting the collagen in boiling water, and then the extracted collagen put in an evaporator concentrated, desiccated with drum driers, and pulverized.

Vital Proteins’ product is Whole30 approved and Paleo-friendly, containing no preservatives or hormones and is GMO-free.

What We Like:
  • 100% pure collagen protein, with no other ingredients or additives
  • Pasture-Raised, Grass-Fed, Non-GMO, Kosher Collagen Peptides
  • Only needs to be taken once per day (serving size is two scoops)
What We Dislike:
  • Product is not considered "hydrolyzed" collagen, so rate of absorption might not be as fast
  • One 10oz. container (standard size) only has 14 total servings

5. Natural Force® Collagen Protein

Sale
Grass Fed Collagen Peptides, Best Collagen for Hair, Nails and Skin* – Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein from Pasture Raised Cows – Type I and III Collagen Powder Supplement by Natural Force, 32 Ounce
553 Reviews
Grass Fed Collagen Peptides, Best Collagen for Hair, Nails and Skin* – Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein from Pasture Raised Cows – Type I and III Collagen Powder Supplement by Natural Force, 32 Ounce
  • BEST COLLAGEN FOR HAIR AND SKIN - When taken internally, collagen strengthens and thickens hair as well as helps to boost elastin production in the skin, which helps to decrease visibility of wrinkles...
  • ODORLESS & UNFLAVLORED -Add to coffee, tea, smoothies, or any recipe that could use an instant protein boost! Helpful hint: To dissolve completely, mix Collagen Peptides into warm or room temperature...
  • HYDROLYZED COLLAGEN FOR MAXIMUM BENEFIT - As we age, our collagen production decreases. Supplementing with easily absorbed, hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides will boost your body's natural ability to...

Natural Force® states that their Collagen Protein product is “Ranked #1” among “Best Collagen Supplements,” although they don’t really state where that top ranking came from.

Regardless, their Type I collagen is produced using a special method to ensure the highest quality and most bio-available collagen peptides on the market.

The hydrolyzed collagen powder is Non-GMO, Gluten Free, and Certified Paleo Safe by the Paleo Foundation. It is dairy-free, gluten-free, and Keto-friendly.

What We Like:
  • 10 grams of collagen protein and 0 grams of fat or sugar in each scoop
  • Each scoop is 100% collagen protein and is free from artificial ingredients of any kind
  • Collagen Peptides are grass-fed responsibly sourced from South America
What We Dislike:
  • May gel or clump in ice cold water, so water should be closer to room temperature
  • Serving size is only one scoop, but no recommendations on how many times to take per day

And The Winning Collagen Supplement Is...

While tablets have made taking any supplement easy, since you don’t have to deal with any types of weird tastes, many collagen products require you to take multiple pills multiple times per day. Honestly, who has time for that? Taking your collagen supplement shouldn’t become job in and of itself.

That’s why our choice for the best collagen supplement goes to Premium Collagen Peptides by Sports Research.

The fact that one two-scoop serving contains a robust 22 grams of pure collagen protein, comes in a powdered form that easily mixes into any liquid of choice, and is optimally absorbed into the bloodstream makes it an easy yet effective way to add collagen to your daily diet.

TFT Team

Our team at The Fitness Tribe often collaborates together to produce content. When you see “TFT Team” this is because the content was not written by a single author, but rather a team effort.

Collagen supplements can offer a variety of surprising benefits. Here is an overview of collagen supplements and a few recommended brands you can try.​

Last update on 2018-12-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API