Last Updated November 19, 2020
You may have heard good things about collagen, but do you know what it actually is?
Simply put, collagen is a protein, or a macromolecule that plays an important role in the vital functions of living organisms, including humans.
There are many different proteins in the human body, but collagen is the most prevalent, accounting for about one-third of all protein structures. It’s especially prevalent in connective structures like bone and skin.
Having adequate amounts of collagen is essential for health. Though the body can make this protein on its own, many people choose to add collagen supplements to their diet.
What are Collagen Peptides
Collagen peptides are incredibly small collagen particles. They are easily absorbed when ingested, so they are a popular form of collagen supplement.
Is Hydrolyzed Collagen Different than Collagen Peptides
You may see the terms “hydrolyzed collagen” and “collagen peptides” thrown around in the supplement community. Which do you want?
Well… both! They’re different names for the same thing.
In order to create the collagen peptides that are perfect for those looking to supplement their diets, collagen is hydrolyzed. This process softens the tough collagen molecules and break the bonds that hold them together.
The process is hydrolyzation, the products are peptides.
Benefits of Collagen Peptides
Collagen peptides are not some type of snake oil sold on the vague premise of “better health.” There are many concrete benefits to adding collagen to your diet. These include:
- Glowing Skin: Collagen is an essential building block for your skin. It makes sense that adding more exogonous (ie, external) collagen could help your skin. This means that cuts and burns can heal more quickly. It also means that your original skin elasticity and shine can return. After all, healthy skin looks good!
- Less Joint Pain: Collagen is also an important structure for joints and tendons. More collagen means that your joints have the materials they need to heal and bend like they used to. This helps decrease persistent pain.
- Increased Bone and Muscle Strength: Many people, especially women, worry about having big bones or big muscles. The truth is that having healthy bones and muscles minimizes pain and lets you have the mobility you need to meet your goals. Taking collagen supplements can help you build strong bones and muscles that are resistant to injury and heal quickly. They won’t make you look bulky. Instead, they will keep you performing at your best.
- Heart Health: You’ve only got one heart, so you need to take good care of it! One way to do that is to give it the proteins it needs to operate at 100%, including collagen. That’s right! Your heart, like many of the organs in your body, needs collagen to work. Collagen peptides can help.
- Cognitive Benefits: Though there is comparatively less research on the cognitive benefits of collagen, many people notice that it helps their brain health. In particular, it may be useful in staving off mood and anxiety problems.
Best Collagen Peptides:
Collagen Peptides Powder
There is a reason that Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder is a number one best seller. Their collagen comes form 100% grass-fed cows. This means that their collagen is going to be of a higher quality since it comes from healthy animals. It’s free of contaminants and flavors, so you can easily add it to any hot or cold beverages or foods.
Collagen Protein Powder
If you are a fan of meal shakes, maybe the idea of a collagen protein powder appeals to you. Well, there’s good news. Sports Research makes a delicious dark chocolate collagen protein powder. You can still add it to things like coffee, but this powder is especially easy to make into a meal replacement shake. Yum!
If you already take other supplements like DHA or Vitamin D, it might just be easier to add one more pill to your daily routine. Fortunately, collagen is also available in capsules. Youtheory makes some with collagen peptides that are easily absorbed and made int he USA. Their collagen pills are also relatively affordable.
Liquid Collagen Peptides
Collagen is also available in liquid form. You can add this to drinks just like a powder, but you can also just take it straight like a pill. It offers some versatility and may be a good choice for those who do intermittent fasting or don’t have time to mix up the powder in the mornings. Windsor Botanicals makes a liquid collagen peptide supplement that is easily absorbed and has a delicious lemon flavor.
Collagen Peptide Gummies
Let’s be honest. No one enjoys taking pills.
Because of this, many supplements are now available in gummy form. This makes it feel like you are having a treat while getting essential vitamins and minerals. Collagen and gummies make for a natural pairing since gelatin (which comes from collagen) has traditionally been used to make gummies.
We recommend using Nature’s Bounty gummy collagen. It contains other supplements such as Vitamin E and Biotin which also support healthy skin. It’s highly affordable compared to similar products but is still effective at delivering results.
They taste delicious and don’t contain milk, soy, or gluten.
Sometimes you just want targeted results.
This is where collagen cream comes in. You can simply apply it to the skin to help improve elasticity. We recommend InstaNatural’s Collagen Night Cream. It’s perfect for troublesome spots on the face and neck.
Though you won’t get all of the great results collagen has to offer, collagen cream can be good for meeting specific skin goals.
What to Look For in Collagen Supplements
Imagine you tried to grow a garden. You would want to use good seeds, healthy soil, and clean air.
Likewise, you should consider getting collagen supplements from companies that use grass-fed and finished, free-range animals in their products. Otherwise, the animal will have been unhealthy, and consuming a product from a sick creature will make you sick too.
You should also look at product reviews. Is this a well-established company? Do they have many satisfied customers? That’s generally a good way to spot a trustworthy producer.
You should also consider your lifestyle and why you are taking collagen supplements. If you just want localized skin treatments, then a cream might work. Otherwise, a supplement may be a better bet.
What is Collagen Good For
Collagen is good for… just about everything! It’s the most abundant protein in the human body, so its job is to build up cells and tissues.
Collagen is especially prevalent in connective tissues like joints and skin. For this reason, people often take collagen to keep their skin looking young or to prevent joint pain.
That’s not all it does though! Studies have shown that collagen can help with heart and bone health too. There is also anecdotal evidence of its cognitive effects. Since it works to improve skin, it can also improve hair and nail strength too.
Collagen Side Effects
Your skin, hair, and nails may start to look radiant and your joint pain may go away. Are there any downsides to taking collagen?
Nope! There are not any known side effects to taking collagen supplements. Just double check any ingredient labels and make sure to touch base with your doctor before taking any kind of supplement.
Does Collagen Work?
Yes. Yes it does.
Collagen has so many positive effects that it may seem like an advertising scheme. The reality is, however, that multiple studies have been done to show the positive effects of collagen on skin elasticity and joint pain. There is also some evidence that it can help with everything from diabetes, to high blood pressure, to brittle nails.
With so much to gain and no side effects, why not add collagen peptides to your routine?
What are the Different Types of Collagen?
There are actually five types of collagen.
Type I: This is the most prevalent type of collagen in our bodies. It is especially beneficial to healthy skin.
Type II: This collagen is found in chicken broth and our gut lining. Like the old wives’ tale, it does seem that type II collagen (and therefore chicken broth) can help your immune system.
Type III: This type of collagen can be externally found in bovine sources. It helps to build arterial walls and is one of the reasons that collagen can improve cardiovascular health.
Type V: Yes, the counting has gone awry. There are several lesser forms of collagen, but type V is important because it helps build cell walls.
Type X: Again, we’ve skipped around a bit in the counting. The last notable form of collagen is type X which helps form healthy bones.
Many supplements contain all of these types or a combination of two or more.
How are Collagen Peptides Best Absorbed?
The great thing about collagen peptides is that they are so small. They can easily dissolve in hot and cold liquids, including your morning coffee or iced tea. You can also add them to baked goods, soups, or vegetable mashes. You can even put a scoop in with your slow cooker meal!
There doesn’t seem to be any consensus about whether it is better to take collagen on an empty or full stomach. There is also no agreement about the best time of day to take it. As long as you get it at some point, you should be fine.
And, as long as they are dissolved, collagen peptides will be easily absorbed and will quickly get to work building healthier cells.
Is Collagen a Protein?
Yes it is! In fact, it is the most prevalent protein in the human body.
It is important to note, however, that collagen is not a complete protein. Therefore, it does not contain all of the essential amino acids your body needs. For this reason, you cannot rely on collagen as your sole source of protein.
Is Collagen Vegan?
Collagen comes form animal products, so it is not a good option for vegans. If you do eat a vegan diet and want the results of collagen, your best bet is to take a supplement that helps your body makes its own collagen. If you are not vegan, however, remember that you are saving your body the trouble of making collagen when you consume exogenous ones.
Collagen can, however, be vegetarian. You will not find all of the different types of collagen in egg shell membranes, but it can still provide some external collagen to help your body. Healthy Origins makes some that is highly effective.
Can’t I Get Enough Collagen From My Diet Alone?
Sure, in theory! There are many foods that contain collagen and/or help your body make more of its own collagen.
The most collagen-rich food out there is bone broth. Even if you like the taste, however, most people don’t want to eat bone broth every single day. It can also get pretty expensive when compared to collagen supplements.
You can also get collagen from eating meat products that contain a lot of connective tissue, like bone-in chicken. Eggs are also a good vegetarian options.
Alternatively, you can eat high-protein foods like leafy greens, beans, and nuts to help your body kick-start its own collagen production.
But the easiest way to ensure you are getting enough collagen is to supplement. If you are noticing sagging skin, slow-healing wounds, or increased joint pain, it may be time to try collagen peptide powder (under your doctor’s supervision, of course!)
When is the Best Time to Take Collagen Peptides?
The best time to take collagen peptides is the time that works for you. Although many people swear by taking collagen first thing in the morning, there is not any evidence to support this time being better than any other time. In fact, many others swear that taking collagen in the evening helps them sleep! You can safely take collagen at any time that works for you.
Will Taking Collagen Peptides Make Me Gain Weight?
Collagen peptides should not cause weight gain. They are not a major source of calories, carbs, or fat. Unless you are using collagen as an excuse to eat sugary pudding multiple times a day, it’s not going to make a big change in your weight.
There is actually evidence that collagen can help combat obesity. Since it makes you feel fuller, you may eat less. It may also improve metabolism.
In addition, as your joint pain decreases, you may be more inclined to exercise.
Will Collagen Peptides Help Gain Muscle Mass?
Collagen is one of the main building blocks of your body. Unsurprisingly, it is also a main component of muscles. If you combine collagen peptides with strengthening activities, you are likely to notice stronger muscles as a result.
Should I Take Collagen Peptides with Food?
You can take collagen with food, but you don’t have to. It is easy to dissolve collagen in foods like yogurt, soup, and oatmeal. But, some people like taking collagen first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Either way is fine, so do what works best with your routine.
Should I Take Collagen Peptides Every Day?
Do you want healthy skin and joints? How about healthy bones and a healthy heart?
You’ll find you get the best results if you are consistent and take collagen every day. Just taking collagen once a blue moon won’t be enough to make a big difference.
That being said, don’t worry if you miss a day. Just resume your normal intake as soon as you can.