Last updated on September 13th, 2022 at 12:49 pm
If you’re looking for the benefits of the best Collagen supplement let’s test your knowledge with a little Jeopardy question:
“I’ll take Proteins for 100, please, Alex.”
Alex: “What are three strands wound together to create one strong molecule?”
“What is collagen?”
If you didn’t know the answer to this trivia question, then be sure to keep reading as we answer all your burning questions on collagen and the top 7 beautiful benefits of the best collagen supplements.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein that makes up 75 percent of a healthy skin’s support structure (1). It is one of the main building blocks of our skin containing elastic fibers and hyaluronic acids. Beyond our skin, it is also found in our ligaments, tendons, bones, and more.
Why is Collagen Important?
It plays an important role in many cellular processes (2), from immune response, tissue repair, and cellular communication to cellular migration that allows for tissue maintenance. Yet as we age, our skin and other parts of our body start producing less of this much-needed protein.
In terms of skin, the results of aging are the dreaded wrinkles. Skin also gets thinner, dryer, and has less elasticity which makes it look saggy. In other ways, we develop arthritis, stiff joints, and dull, lifeless hair. But aging doesn’t have to mean suffering.
Many people choose to increase their collagen consumption, whether through food, powder, or capsule form because of its many benefits. But before we describe these benefits, let’s first take a look at the more popular types of collagen.
Types of Collagen
There are 28 different types of collagen (3). That said, our bodies generally only need to consume considerably less than that. Often, many supplements will state they contain type I, II, III, or IV, about which we will go into detail here:
- Type I: is the strongest collagen and the most abundant protein found in humans (and in all vertebrates). Type I helps to form our skin, bones, tendons, corneas, blood vessel walls, and other connective tissues. If you’re looking for collagen for supporting skin health, type 1 is a top choice since it’s literally a building block of the skin.
- Type II: Found in cartilage, joints, and intervertebral discs. It lets cartilage cushion any stress on your joints. It’s also a structural component of the ear, the nose, the bronchial tubes, the rib cage, and more.
- Type III: Found in the bone marrow, lymphoid, and liver and is the main component of reticular fibers
- Type IV: Found in your kidneys, eye lens, and inner ear
- Type V: is one of the minor collagen components, forming interstitial collagen fibers along with type I collagen. It plays a significant role in regulating the development of collagen fibers of connective tissue. Type V collagen co-exists with type II collagen in joint cartilage while supporting healthy collagen fibers of type II collagen. It also functions to create the cells of a pregnant women’s placenta, which is the organ that attaches to the lining of the womb. Type V collagen also helps to form cell surfaces and hair.
If it seems confusing, don’t worry. Most often when taking supplements, the product will describe to you what their product will benefit, such as joint or arthritis pain. Now, let’s get into all the many benefits you may experience by taking a collagen supplement.
The Top 7 Beautiful Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Have a Great Hair Day – Collagen Improves and Strengthens Hair
We all know that the area of beauty is one of the most studied industries around. Is it any wonder then that collagen has been researched to determine how it too can help improve our hair, skin, teeth, and nails? But first, let’s see how it may help create and maintain those luscious locks.
Hair is made up primarily of a protein called keratin. Keratin, in turn, is built from amino acids, some of which are found in collagen (4). It is the belief that since both keratin and collagen share the amino acid proline if you are looking to continue to build hair, collagen is a viable option.
Next, you may recall in one of our previous posts, we talk about the antioxidant glutathione. Antioxidants like Glutathione work to reduce oxidative stress which can prevent folliculitis or an itchy scalp leading to hair loss from occurring.
The follicles in our hair are under a lot of stress; pollution, poor eating and drinking habits, environmental influences, and even the damage we can cause when we brush our hair. Studies (5) (6) have demonstrated that marine collagen may work as an antioxidant and help fight any damage.
If you’re worried about going gray before your time, collagen may be able to help slow down graying. And while graying hair is largely genetic, it also is dependent on the health of our melanin-creating cells, those which give our hair pigment. Antioxidants may too be able to help to repair any of these damaged cells.
It Promotes Youthful Skin
Imagine collagen as an extra layer, one that gives skin that extra resilience and strength. According to one study (7), oral collagen supplements showed promising results to “increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density.”
What this means is those who took the supplements saw a change in the definition of their wrinkles, dry skin, and sagginess. But let’s not forget that the last two that help support the beauty industry are healthy teeth and nails.
It Aids in Healthy Teeth and Nails
Teeth are similar to bones in that they both store calcium. And while we know that collagen can benefit bone health (8), particularly in postmenopausal women, teeth aren’t actually bones. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t linked.
Inside the teeth are the pulpal nerve tissues, which contain type I, II, and III collagens. As collagen is also critical for the health of your periodontium, the structure that supports the surrounding area of your teeth – the gums and bone – healthy teeth come from healthy collagen reserves (9).
And lastly, let’s look at our nails. If you suffer from brittle nail syndrome, you may be in luck. Studies (10) have shown that oral supplementation of bioactive collagen improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails.
Still want to learn more about how you can have the best hair, nails, and skin? Then read our post on The Ultimate Guide to the Best Hair, Skin, and Nails Vitamins because the next part of our list focuses on inner beauty and that which works to help keep us feeling young.
It May Protect Your Heart
Our hearts are connected by blood vessels to other parts of the body; they transport blood. These blood vessels are called arteries, and they can become weak and lose their flexibility and elasticity if they don’t have enough collagen (11).
The result is what doctors call atherosclerosis, or in layman’s terms, narrowing and hardening of your arteries. When our arteries have narrowed, blood flow becomes more difficult, and this may lead to a stroke or a heart attack.
In one study (12) where healthy humans were given collagen tripeptide (CTP) for six months, the results showed a decrease in toxic advanced glycation end-products (TAGE), which are the toxic by-products that we acquire from high-temperature processed foods.
They cause oxidative damage to proteins, lipids, and nucleotides in our bodies. We recognize that avoiding high-temperature processed foods can be a challenge, and even if you’ve sworn off fast food, chances are your youth was still full of it. Collagen may work to support a future healthy heart.
It Works as An Anti-Inflammatory to Protect Your Joints
Remember how we talked about the different types of collagens? Type II is found within the cartilage and relates directly to our joints. Without it, our joints wouldn’t slide and bend the way they need to. And as we have already mentioned, age means our bodies produce less of this protein.
Less collagen in our joints can lead to stiff joints, looser cartilage and tendons, and thus, more injuries. But, as research has shown (13), taking collagen hydrolysate or collagen peptides may help stimulate the synthases of collagen in the cartilage and other tissues of the body.
Beyond the synthases of collagen, joint pain is also often caused by inflammation in the body. According to one source(14), collagen also has anti-inflammatory capabilities, but this power comes from how it contributes to our gut health. Which we are about to get into next.
It Promotes a Healthy Gut
Those who suffer from leaky gut syndrome know that this digestive condition can affect other parts of the body. Ensuring the health of the mucosal lining of our gut is vital for overall body health, including reducing unnecessary inflammation in our body.
This is thanks to the gut microbiome, which works to maintain the balance of the inflammatory response in our digestive and immune systems (15). Collagen has been shown to support the lining of the gut (16) and it also contains glycine, an amino acid that helps manage inflammation and inhibit oxidative stress.
On a personal note, the microbiome is an amazingly complex system. I learned this the hard way long ago after trying to help my gut with the wrong things and actually making it worse. If you want to learn more about how you can have a healthier microbiome the BiomeFX test genomically sequences it by taking a stool sample that can be conveniently mailed in. A professional then walks you through the report. Back to collagen, the good news is it’s very unlikely collagen will harm your gut microbiome in any way.
It May Improve Muscle Mass
While muscles are maintained through regular use and exercise, they, like everything else, lose their mass as we age, otherwise known as sarcopenia. In one study (17), however, where a group of recreationally active men took collagen peptide supplementation, found that their fat-free mass (FFM) and strength increased. We believe this may make collagen a promising fix for this age-related condition.
What Foods Contain Collagen Naturally?
Before you go chomping into foods that have collagen in them more research is needed to understand if eating collagen-rich foods increases the collagen level in your body. That may sound odd, but your body breaks down the collagen in food into individual peptides and amino acids it can absorb. The collagen in supplements has already been broken down or hydrolyzed. Because it has been broken down and is also concentrated it’s thought to be absorbed more efficiently than collagen from foods.
If you want to try collagen-rich foods bone broth is a great source. Bone broth contains gelatin which is a protein substance that comes from collagen after it is cooked. Egg whites, garlic, red and yellow vegetables, beef and fish as well as chicken and pork skin are also great sources of collagen. (4)
Collagen is found in the connective tissue of animals hence why some meats products are a good source. Make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin C as it helps the body absorb collagen. Vegetables such as broccoli and bell peppers as well as citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C. (5)
The Best Collagen Supplements
As we talked about above we can consume collagen through the food that we eat. Foods such as bone broth, chicken with the skin on, organ meats, and certain fish, all contain collagen (17). But as we all know, our diets don’t always contain all the collagen our bodies could use. Supplements like collagen powders provide additional collagen that our bodies can utilize. With the sea of choices out there what should you choose? We’ve picked a few of our favorites both flavored, unflavored, collagen powders, a capsule varienty, and even a plant-based option.
We like Nutridyn’s multi collagen powder for its unflavored blend of the top four collagen peptides, including Fortigel, Fortibone, Tendoforte, and Verisol. Many other products only contain one or two of these. With over 17 grams of collagen, we think this is one of the best collagen supplements on the market. Simply add one scoop into an 8-ounce glass of water per serving or your favorite smoothie or beverage.
The four collagen peptides work together to support overall health; Fortigel for joint health, Fortibone for bone health, Tendoforte for healthy ligaments and tendons, and Verisol for healthy nails and skin. We also love that this supplement is non-GMO, dairy, and gluten-free.
Nutridyn Dynamic Collagen Renew proudly states that their blend uses four of the most researched collagen isolates to help rebuild bone, tissue, tendons, and ligaments. It truly is a more complete package thanks to its winning combination of the most therapeutic isolates.
The idea is that the combination covers everyone, from athletes to the injury-prone, the young who want to avoid the damaging effects the environment and stress can do to their bodies, and the old who want to reverse some of the signs of aging.
This amazing, multi collagen powder works with three clinically studied ingredients to aid in blocking joint pain and connective tissue discomfort, but also to help the healing process of the connective tissue structure.
With almost 6 grams of collagen per serving, it works to protect and preserve cartilage, ligaments, tendons, intervertebral discs, and fascia thanks to its included blend of FORTIGEL®, Tendoactive®, and Mobilee® that help to keep your reserves of nutrients such as vitamin C and magnesium intact.
Sometimes, we need to trick our minds into taking something good for us. So, if the taste is an issue for you, particularly when you take your collagen powder, then might we suggest Nutridyn Dynamic Multi Collagen in the Chocolate flavor? Think of this as a collagen multi-vitamin and superfoods supplement combined.
The bonus is it contains no artificial sweeteners or flavors, gluten, or GMOs. It is sweetened with stevia leaf extract and includes the natural superfood chocolate to give it a rich flavor while promoting overall healthy collagen benefits.
This supplement provides antioxidant support, overall healthy immune response, and anti-aging support thanks to their comprehensive blend of enzymes with five types of food-sourced collagen (I, II, III, IV, and V). It provides 7.5 grams of collagen per serving and also includes NutriDyn Fruits & Greens which is an amazing superfood blend.
Once again, if flavor is on your mind, then why not try Klean Athlete Collagen + C Powder for its delicious berry taste. It combines naturally sourced vitamin C from organic amla fruit with active collagen peptides to help provide connective tissue and joint support.
The benefits of this bovine collagen peptides powder work to maintain cartilage health by promoting cartilage regeneration as well as protecting your connective tissue. With 14 grams of protein and 15 grams of collagen per serving, this power-packed punch of collagen peptides wants to keep you on your game. It includes only athlete-friendly ingredients to keep your cartilage healthy and strong.
For youthful and glowing skin, Douglas Labs offers a hydrolyzed collagen peptides powder. It combines collagen peptides with hyaluronic acid, HydroPeach Ceramides (rich peach fruit extract from Japanese peaches), and collagen builders to promote smooth and radiant skin.
These specialized ingredients work together to also provide moisture retention, support skin elasticity, and promote collagen production. We love that the ceramides work to help the skin retain moisture and may even help heal rough, dry, or flaky skin.
Metagenics Collagenics (Tablet Form)
We all know that aging is hard, hard on our joints and ability to move freely. Metagenics Collagenics collagen supplements come in the form of tablets, for those who prefer to avoid the powdered option. These supplements promote optimal support for your skin, cartilage, joints, bones, and tendons.
Beyond their all-natural formula, they include ingredients like vitamins B6 and Vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and zinc. But they also include L-cysteine (to help synthesize proteins), L-Glutamine (for a healthy immune system), and MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) for arthritis.
Metagenics Ketogenic Collagen Phyto Moringa (Plant-Based Option)
We know that we aren’t the only ones who appreciate that this collagen supplement is dairy, lactose, soy, and gluten-free with no additives or preservatives. It contains 6 grams per serving of grass-fed pasture-raised multi collagen peptides (I and III) to help give your skin, nails, bones, and joint health the support it needs.
Beyond the peptides, it also contains MCTs from coconuts, which may aid in weight loss and increase your circulating ketone levels, organic moringa leaf extract, and a blend of 12 superfruits to ensure the best overall health of a Ketogenic lifestyle.
Bonus Questions About Collagen
Should I Take Collagen Every Day?
We like to suggest talking to your healthcare practitioner before doing any collagen supplementation. Nutrition from collagen is generally very safe, but at the very least, follow the packaging instructions as they are clearly detailed with the amount you should take. Often, powered supplementation is 1-2 scoops per day while pills or capsules may be anywhere from 2-6 per day. Please seek medical advice right away if you have any reactions to a supplement.
Which Form of Collagen is Most Effective?
This may depend on what you are taking the supplement for. Some take collagen to promote healthy joints and bones, while others want to focus on supple and youthful-looking skin. We stand by our above list that you will find a collagen supplement that will suit your needs.
That said, it’s important to keep in mind the different types we mentioned above, I-V. Each one serves a unique purpose and will often be mentioned on the packaging of the product. Generally, though, hydrolyzed collagen means that the collagen has been broken down into small peptides, which make it easier for the body to digest. Some collagen’s come with targeted amino acids or hyaluronic acid to help promote joint and skin health.
Are There Any Side Effects of Taking Collagen?
This may depend on the form you are taking the collagen in. Some don’t like the taste, particularly in powdered form; if this is you, you may prefer a flavored powder, such as berry or chocolate. If you are taking collagen to support weight loss, you may experience an overly full feeling.
Other people may experience stomach issues, so be sure to talk with your doctor if you are experiencing any trouble. You can also change the dosage amount or alternate days to see if this makes a difference in how you are feeling.
Does Collagen Help with Belly Fat or Weight Loss?
When more research needs to be done, we don’t like to state something that we can’t confidently say is true. That said, as collagen is a natural protein and protein has a way of filling us up, there are studies that state a high protein diet may help with weight loss (18).
Secondly, as we mentioned above, one of the benefits of collagen is that it may improve muscle mass. Building muscle is symbiotic to weight loss; muscles burn more calories at rest. Keep in mind, however, that muscle does weigh more than fat, so don’t go by the scale alone.
Third, a study was conducted using collagen from a type of fish, skate, showing reduced body fat in humans (19). Lastly, if you aren’t exercising, since you suffer from stiff joints or arthritis pain, taking collagen may help to make you more mobile, and therefore you may lose weight.
Does Collagen Help Poop or With Constipation?
It is possible since collagen is a hydrophilic molecule. This means that it can help attract water and acidic molecules and therefore may help to move food better through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. That said, you should also stay hydrated, as being dehydrated can slow everything down.
Which Is Better Collagen or Biotin?
Honestly, your body needs both. The biggest difference is that your body cannot naturally make biotin, so you must get it from food sources or supplements. Collagen also works best in a partnership with biotin and other nutrients. So, keeping a natural healthy diet and supplementing as needed is your best option overall.
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- A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study – PMC (nih.gov)
- Collagen: Benefits, Side Effects, and More (healthline.com)
- The Collagen Family – PMC (nih.gov)
- 5 Evidence-Based Ways Collagen May Improve Your Hair (healthline.com)
- Biochemical and radical-scavenging properties of sea cucumber (Stichopus vastus) collagen hydrolysates – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Isolation and Characterization of Collagen and Antioxidant Collagen Peptides from Scales of Croceine Croaker (Pseudosciaena crocea) – PMC (nih.gov)
- Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications – JDDonline – Journal of Drugs in Dermatology
- Specific Collagen Peptides Improve Bone Mineral Density and Bone Markers in Postmenopausal Women—A Randomized Controlled Study – PMC (nih.gov)
- Bovine pericardium based non-cross linked collagen matrix for successful root coverage, a clinical study in human – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Blood flow interplays with elastin: collagen and MMP: TIMP ratios to maintain healthy vascular structure and function – PMC (nih.gov)
- Effect of Collagen Tripeptide on Atherosclerosis in Healthy Humans – PMC (nih.gov)
- How To Use Collagen To Fight Inflammation | mindbodygreen
- Gut bacteria and inflammation: The role of diet (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Collagen synthesis by human intestinal smooth muscle cells in culture – PubMed (nih.gov)
- Effects of 12 Weeks of Hypertrophy Resistance Exercise Training Combined with Collagen Peptide Supplementation on the Skeletal Muscle Proteome in Recreationally Active Men – PMC (nih.gov)
- 10 Best Foods to Eat for a Collagen Boost | EatingWell
- Clinical Evidence and Mechanisms of High-Protein Diet-Induced Weight Loss – PMC (nih.gov)
- Effect of Oral Ingestion of Low-Molecular Collagen Peptides Derived from Skate (Raja Kenojei) Skin on Body Fat in Overweight Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial – PMC (nih.gov)
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