By Rachael Link, MS, RD
Collagen supplements have taken the health and wellness industry by storm lately, cropping up in retail stores, health stores and beauty shops across the globe.
This superstar supplement is particularly popular thanks to the long list of health benefits. Not only can collagen generally support healthy skin elasticity, strong hair and nails, but it can even help support gut health and joint function as well.
However, with so many different types and varieties of collagen out there, navigating the supplement aisle can get pretty tricky. From collagen peptides to capsules to hydrolysates and beyond, even decoding the ingredients label of your collagen supplement can be quite a feat.
Fortunately, finding the right collagen supplement for you doesn’t have to be complicated. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about collagen, including the benefits and types, along with some simple strategies to start enjoying its benefits.
Of course, you should always consult with your healthcare professional prior to starting any new diet or lifestyle routine, including dietary supplementation.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein found throughout the body in the skin, muscles, joints, tendons and digestive system.
In addition to helping to hold the body together, it also supplies skin with its structure, strengthens the skeletal system and generally functions to help support cellular turnover and replacement of dead cells.
As you get older, your body’s natural production of collagen starts to slow down. This can accelerate certain signs of normal aging, contributing to occasional joint discomfort and more.
Using a collagen powder supplement is a quick and convenient way to take advantage of the many potential collagen health benefits.
While collagen can be hard to get in high amounts from your diet alone, assuming you aren’t drinking lots of bone broth each day, a supplement can offer the building blocks to help your body produce its own collagen to support a healthy gut, skin, hair, nails and joints.
There are plenty of reasons to consider adding collagen powder to your daily routine. Here’s more about the top health benefits of collagen:
Supports Gut Health: Collagen plays a central role in gut health. Selecting a type of collagen that can be easily absorbed by the body, such as hydrolyzed collagen, is a simple strategy that can help support gut health and integrity of the gut lining.
Supports Healthy Joints: Collagen protein is considered a key component of the muscles, joints and tendons. For this reason, using a collagen supplement can be a great option to support the health and function of the joints, especially among people who are interested in their joint health.
Supports Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails: Because collagen is found throughout the hair, skin and nails, many people use collagen supplements to help support skin health and hair health as part of a natural skin care and beauty routine.
The new Multi Collagen Protein formulation is powered by a clinically studied fermented collagen, which is a first-of-its-kind that yields the following proven benefits:
- Improves the appearance of crow's feet after 28 days and skin tone after 8 weeks†
- Reduces knee stiffness in a week†
- Reduces exercise-induced stiffness and discomfort†
- Promotes healthy hair thickness and growth while reducing hair breakage†
- Improves exercise recovery by 53%†
- Rapidly reduces joint discomfort in 7 days†
- Improves stiffness and knee function at 30 days†
- And much more
Best Collagen Supplement Products
When it comes to choosing a collagen supplement, you’ll want to consider which form is best for you, for example powder or capsules, and also which types of collagen will best suit your needs.
While some supplements may contain only one or two types of collagen, other collagen products may offer a blend of several different types.
1. Multi Collagen Protein
Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein, for example, features five types of collagen (types I, II, III, V and X) and is formulated from four different food sources. With collagen derived from a combination of chicken, fish, eggshell membrane and bovine collagen, you don’t need to choose which type to supplement with since you can benefit from various types.
The new Multi Collagen Protein formula is the only one with a collagen ingredient and a probiotic ingredient backed by multiple human clinical trials and is proven to deliver real results. This collagen powder also contains no fillers, sugar, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives, ensuring you get the highest quality collagen available. And it features hydrolyzed collagen, meaning the protein molecules are broken into smaller molecules, making them easier for your body to digest, absorb and use.
You can choose from a variety of MCP flavors — including Chocolate, Vanilla, Cucumber Lime and others. It's also available as collagen capsules.
2. Collagen Peptides
Ancient Nutrition's Collagen Peptide products are made from two sources: clinically studied fermented eggshell membrane collagen, along with bovine collagen. The unflavored formula provides 18 grams of protein per 2 scoop serving (20 grams of collagen).
Collagen Peptides are also available in vanilla flavor and orange, aka Collagen Peptides Protein Powder Immune that supports a healthy immune system and healthy digestion thanks to the addition of a clinically studied SBO probiotic strain called Bacillus subtilis. There's also tablets as an option.
3. Beauty and Function Collagen
Ancient Nutrition also offers several formulas designed specifically to support healthy sleep, skin health and joint health.
4. Collagen for Keto Dieters
Following a low carb diet? Ancient Nutrition’s Keto Collagen protein is the first keto collagen powder created specifically for keto dieters. It provides not only collagen protein but MCTs to support natural ketone production.
5. Bone Broth and Collagen
Ancient Nutrition's Bone Broth Collagen formula is derived from real bone broth and provides three types of collagen: I, II and III. Offered in pure, vanilla and chocolate, these collagen powders provide whole-body support for skin, joints and gut health.
6. Bone Broth Protein
Another option to help squeeze more collagen into your daily diet is Bone Broth Protein Pure. Featuring collagen type II, it contains 19 amino acids, along with beneficial compounds like glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid that further support healthy joints.
How to Use
So how can you start using collagen supplements? And how long does it take for collagen supplements to work?
You can easily mix hydrolyzed collagen powder or Bone Broth Protein into your favorite drinks or add a scoop to the blender next time you’re whipping up a smoothie or shake. Collagen protein powder can also help ramp up the protein content and other benefits of baked goods, including pancakes, cookies and muffins.
If you opt to use collagen capsules, on the other hand, simply find a time that works for you and take alongside coffee, tea, water or juice. However, no matter which type of collagen you pick, it’s important to stick to the suggested use and serving recommendations and use only as directed.
You can take collagen at any time during the day depending on what works for you, but you should be sure to take it consistently to maximize the potential benefits. Eating a nutrient-dense diet that is high in collagen-boosting foods that contain vitamin C, copper, manganese and antioxidants is also helpful.
Keep in mind that your individual results can vary depending on a number of different factors. Therefore, it can be difficult to determine when you’ll start to see results after starting supplementation.
Related: How Much Collagen Should You Take Per Day?
When searching for the best collagen powder, be sure to select a high-quality supplement from a reputable retailer. It’s also important to check the ingredients label carefully and steer clear of products pumped full of fillers, preservatives and additives.
Again, you should always talk to your healthcare provider before adding collagen or other supplements to your routine.
- Collagen is a structural protein that is found throughout the body and plays a key role in several aspects of health, including by supporting a healthy gut, skin, hair, nails and joints.
- Using a collagen supplement, whether a powder or capsules, is a simple way to increase your intake of collagen. There are several types and varieties available; some supplements contain a blend of different types of collagen from multiple sources (such as chicken, fish, egg shell and bovine collagen) which is an easy way to reap multiple benefits.
- Collagen powders come in unflavored/plain varieties and also flavors like chocolate and vanilla which can be added to smoothies, drinks and baked goods.
Rachael Link, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian based in New York City. She completed her undergraduate degree in Dietetics at the University of Central Missouri and later received her Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. Rachael is passionate about plant-based nutrition and enjoys providing easy-to-understand information to readers looking to support their health.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease