Last Updated February 6, 2021
When it comes to the important protein components that empower you to do what you do, collagen is toward the top. This protein serves a variety of functions to keep you healthy and strong.
But sometimes, your natural production of collagen isn’t enough. Whether due to your biological make-up, diet, lifestyle of other factors, taking supplements for collagen can be an easy and effective way to get those natural protein elements that are so essential.
Have you ever considered taking collagen supplements? Whether you’re confident its the next step for you or are just interested in learning more, we’re here to help. Here we share all about the wonderful benefits that collagen provides and the different functions it serves. To elevate your intake of this foundational protein, you’ll also find a variety of types of collagen supplements. See the benefits and potential disadvantages of each type and choose the one that’s right for you. When it comes to protein, collagen is something you don’t want to miss out on.
What Is Collagen
In your body, you have a variety of types of proteins that perform certain functions to keep you well and strong. One of these key proteins that is the most abundant in your body is collagen. In fact, it accounts for about one-third of all the protein your body.
Collagen is created by your body naturally. When you consume protein, your body breaks down that protein into amino acids. These chains of amino acids are what build proteins like collagen.
Beyond in your body, collagen has expanded its influence to be included in other health and beauty products like shampoo and body lotion. With such versatility and value, collagen is something that can’t be overlooked.
What Does Collagen Do
Collagen serves a variety of functions and actions in your body. Primarily, it serves as the building blocks that make up some different components in your body. It’s what constructs your bones, skin, tendons, ligaments and muscles. Collagen can also be found in things like your blood vessels, teeth and corneas. With its vast prevalence in anything and everything, it’s an important protein to be intentional about.
Whether in your teeth or in your skin or in the internal network of blood vessels, collagen serves as the component that holds everything together. In fact, the word collagen comes from a Greek word meaning “glue”. Collage’s main function is to provide that essential structure and hold each component together.
Benefits of Collagen
From both healthy living and in medical assistance, collagen brings a rich variety of benefits for your body.
With its variety of purposes within your body, collagen is often a go-to area to address in supporting your health. It can help restore your tissues and joint function in problems of osteoarthritis or other mobility concerns. It also supports bone health and the structure of your body. It facilitates muscle tissue in growing strong and stable. It may also support heart health as it serves to protect and support internal arteries.
Collagen has also been shown to support other areas of health including your hair and nail health and strength. It also may be linked to better gut health and brain health as well as promoting weight loss by creating a faster metabolism.
At an external perspective, collagen can support the health and brightness of your skin. This can be helpful for reducing wrinkles and other scars. It can also help skin to maintain its elasticity.
With its vast presence within your body, there are several different types of collagen you can find in your body. In fact, there are over 16 different types of this specific protein you can find. Each type is characterized by the amino acid make-up of the protien. However, typically the different types of collagen comes in four main types, labeled as I, II, III and IV.
- Type I – This is the primary type of collagen that’s found in your body. Its main purpose is to provide structure and the foundation for the majority of your body’s components including skin, bones, tissue, bones and more. With its prevalence and essential function in your body, this Type I is made up of dense fibers that are packed together.
- Type II – A secondary type, this variety is mostly found in cartilage to provide comfort and connection in your joints. With this higher elasticity, this type is made of fibers that are more loosely packed than the Type I.
- Type III – This third type has the main function of supporting the structure for components like your organs, arteries and muscles.
- Type IV – This fourth type is mainly found in your skin and works to support the filtration system for the health of your skin.
While Type I is the primary and most important kind of collagen your body needs, each of the different types work together to ensure your health and well-being from the inside out.
In addition to different types of collagen, it can also come in two different varieties. Collagen that is naturally produced by your body is called endogenous collagen. This is the variety that uses dietary protein to create these essential building blocks through amino acids. However, when the natural production of collagen is not sufficient, people may choose to take supplements of this essential protein. This variety is called exogenous collagen and is a synthetic type.
Signs of Low Levels of Collagen
When you don’t have enough collagen in your body, you may experience some side effects. Naturally, as you age, your body tends to produce less collagen and that is of a lower quality than when you were younger. Additionally, things like UV light exposure and smoking can also deplete the collagen production in your body.
Other factors such as high sugar consumption can also decrease the rate of blood sugars attaching to proteins in forming new molecules. Autoimmune disorders and genetic changes can also influence the production and quality of collagen.
The evidence of collagen is perhaps most noticeable in the skin. As collagen plays a key role in replacing and restoring dead skin cells and creating a place where new cells can grow, such influence keeps skin healthy and bright. However, as the body ages, less collagen is produced. Therefore, that structure of the skin can deteriorate. For women, collagen production is particularly diminished after menopause.
Increasing Your Collagen
It’s clear that collagen serves a vital role in your health and well-being. Most often, the benefits of collagen are established in the foods you consume. Having a diet that’s rich in healthy protein can help your body break down your dietary protein into amino acids which then build proteins like collagen. Animal proteins like chicken or heart-healthy beef are high in protein and can provide that essential dietary need. For non-meat sources, foods like eggs, dairy, legumes, whole grains and nuts are also found to be high in protein
When you add extra antioxidants into your diet as well, collagen is better protected from oxidative stress. Foods like fresh vegetables and vibrant fruits can provide those needed antioxidants to better protect that essential protein-building process.
There are also nutrients you can take that help facilitate collagen production. Vitamins and nutrients like Vitamin C, Proline, Copper and Glycine can all support the production of this essential protein. These nutrients are also easy to find in a variety of foods. Eat vibrant fruits and veggies for Vitamin C; enjoy dairy and egg whites for Proline; high protein foods will help provide Glycine and Copper can be found in things like seeds and cashews.
Despite these intentional steps you can take in your diet and overall lifestyle, sometimes your body simply can’t keep up with the collagen production you need. In such cases, taking collagen supplements can be a great way to accommodate that gap and continue supporting the structure of your body.
Best Collagen Supplements
Collagen supplements can be found in a variety of forms and methods that serve different purposes. Someone may need collagen to support their skin, others may need it to support their joint health. Some may prefer mixing their supplement in a beverage while others may want to take a pill. With the versatility and variety of collagen supplements, it’s easy to find something you enjoy and easy to get that boost of collagen.
While the research and studies conducted on these synthetic forms are limited, there is research to support that when used appropriately, these supplements can be of great value in providing that extra boost of collagen production your body needs.
For all varieties of collagen supplements, be sure you are aware of its ingredients in the case that you find yourself allergic to a particular ingredient. They also have the potential to bring additional side effect such as digestive disruption or heartburn. However, most people do not experience negative effects.
To help get you started on building up your collagen, here we share some of the best collagen supplements for you and your body. Find the method and specific focus the supplement addresses to target your specific needs.
1. Best Collagen Powder
Collagen powders are an easy and efficient way to get in a collagen supplement.
Pros – Powders can come in a variety of flavors and sources to meet your need. They’re fairly affordable and can be incorporated into a lot of meals and other beverages.
Cons – Be sure to know the ingredients to prevent any allergic reactions. Also ensure that the source of the protein and other added ingredients are beneficial for your health.
Here are some common collagen powders that have been recommended by Very Well Health.
2. Hydrolyzed Collagen Powder
Hydrolyzed collagen powder is a specific type of powder that can be dissolved in both hot and cold liquids. This type is also called Collagen Peptides. Since the protein has been broken down more, this type of supplement tends to be easier to digest and quicker in absorbing the benefits.
Pros – This type of powder is more easily digested so your body can begin seeing its benefits quicker. You’ll experience a boost in collagen much quicker. This powder is also able to be used in both hot liquids and cold.
Cons- While you can get unflavored, sometimes powder may not always have best taste. Powders may also contain additional ingredients to be mindful of.
This hydrolyzed or peptide version of collagen powder can come in a variety of forms and flavors, like those found at Vital Proteins.
3. Collagen Protein Powder
Amp up your protein intake even more by choosing a protein powder with a focus on collagen production.
Pros – As with other protein powders, these varieties can support muscle development and repair. You’ll also be able to use it as a way to curb your appetite as it keeps you fuller for longer.
Cons – Be intentional about the frequency and purposes you use protein for. Ensure you know the ingredients involved in the powder so you won’t have an allergic reaction. Supplement your protein powder with other essential dietary components like fruits and veggies to get the full health benefit.
Varieties like those found at BUBS Naturals helps to support your joints as you use a protein powder in your normal routines.
4. Collagen Pills
In addition to powders, collagen supplements can also come in the form of a pill.
Pros – Collagen pills can be a great option for those who prefer to not dissolve a powder into a liquid. It’s quick and can be easily incorporated into a daily routine.
Cons – PIlls can be a little pricy and the quality of collagen protein in incorporates. Be sure to choose an option that fits your lifestyle and meets what you’re looking for.
Yoga Journal lists some of the best collagen pills you can explore and see what’s right for you.
5. Liquid Collagen
If pills and powder aren’t for you, taking collagen in a liquid form can also be a quick and easy way to boost your protein intake.
Pros – Liquid collagen products can also bring along other helpful benefits, such as for weight loss or other health improvements. They’re easy to take and bring substantial benefits. Some may be flavored for a great additional snack to bring into your day to get all your necessary vitamins and proteins.
Cons – Not all products may be vegan or allergy-friendly. Keep the ingredients in mind as you make your decisions.
Liquid collagen can be a great option for adding this to your diet. Health Guideline shares a helpful list of liquid collagen options to explore and get on your way to healthier living.
6. Collagen for Skin
WIth collagen’s transformative power for skin, finding a supplement that markets to its appearance benefits can help you find the right solution for you.
Pros – These supplements tend to market toward those seeking to improve their skin through a boost of collagen.
Cons – Ensure the ingredients involved don’t list something you’re allergic to.
Products like the LiveWell Collagen Peptides are hydrolyzed to specifically support hair, skin, nail and joint health.
7. Collagen for Joints
With collagen’s high involvement in mobility and joint health, finding a supplement that specifically caters to that need can be helpful.
Pros – If you’re experiencing joint pain or want to be intentional about preventing any further damage, finding a supplement that satisfies that need can be helpful. Many of these supplements are multi-functional to provide a well-rounded benefit.
Cons – As with other supplements, be sure you know the list of ingredients and are confident in where the protein is sourced.
Products like CodeAge Multicollagen Peptide Powder can be a great solution to address your joint health concerns.
8. Collagen for Hair
In addition to your internal health, collagen also does wonders to support your physical appearance as well.
Pros – Collagen supplements that are specific to supporting the health of your hair, as well as nails and skin, can be rich in vitamins and minerals. They also come in a variety of flavors and forms so you can choose what you love.
Cons – Be sure to check the ingredient lists to ensure your powder or pill is free from added, unnecessary ingredients.
Powders like this Reserveage Nutrition Collagen Replenish Powder is tasteless and helps support your beautiful appearance.
9. Collagen Gummies
Gummies can be a quick and easy way to get your boost of collagen, especially if you’re picky about taste or texture of other types of supplements.
Pros – Gummies come in a variety of flavors and have the same benefits as the other forms. They also are easy to travel with and can be taken very quickly.
Cons – Read the list of ingredients beforehand to eliminate any concern of allergic reaction. Also be mindful if you have a sensitive stomach.
Options like Vitauthority have gummies in flavors like tropical so you can enjoy your regular supplement of collagen.
10. Collagen for Muscle Mass
One of the most celebrated benefits of collagen is its value in restoring muscle health, especially for athletes. Choosing a supplement that’s specific for athletes building muscle mass can help you reach your goals.
Pros – Build strength faster and ease recovery time by boosting your protein intake.
Cons – Ensure you support your supplement with other real veggies and proteins, as a supplement cannot replace a healthy diet.
Products like Youtheory men’s collagen protein shake is specifically designed for men as they build muscle and recover as an athlete.
11. Best Budget Collagen
Just because you’ve made the decision to invest in your health with a supplement doesn’t mean your budget should have to sacrifice. With its versatility, collagen supplements come in a variety of price ranges, including a lower budget, so you can find the one that works best for you.
Pros – Get the nutrition you need without overspending. Many have the same health benefits and ingredients as higher-end products, but at a fraction of the cost.
Cons – Be on the lookout for added sugars or other ingredients to help compensate for the lower production cost.
Supplements like Collagen Peptides from Orgain can be a great option to get the nutrients and support you need without compromising your budget.
12. Best Collagen for Gut Health
By adding in probiotics, collagen supplements also bring great value to your digestive health as well.
Pros – Supplements that add in the probiotic component make it a helpful aid in more ways than one. Whether in powder, pill or gummy form, it’s easy to digest and helps support your body in more than ways than one.
Cons – Be sure to check the ingredient list to ensure you’re not allergic. If you have a sensitive stomach, be sure to be mindful of the variety you choose.
Supplements like this Havasu Nutrition Collagen Peptides + Probiotics combines these two powerful resources to help you feel healthy and well.
13. Best Vegan Collagen
Stick to your dietary preferences with plant-based protein through a vegan collagen supplement option.
Pros – Be confident in the quality and natural ingredients in your powder with these plant-based options. They tend to be especially rich in vitamins and minerals. They also are often organic, gluten-free and kosher.
Cons – The best source of collagen tends to come from animal sources, making vegan alternatives more of a booster rather than a primary source. Like other vegan-specific products, these varieties may also come with a higher price tag.
Vegan alternatives like this mykind Organics Organic Plant Collagen Builder can be a great addition into your current vegan lifestyle.
14. Best Flavored Collagen
When taking a collagen supplement, you want it to taste good and enjoy the process. There are some collagen supplements that focus on a delicious and delightful experience as you take it.
Pros – These supplements are intended to provide a delicious experience that you don’t dread. Many of them also are intentional about being gluten-free or supporting other diet requirements so you can stay well in all areas.
Cons – The price and flavor restrictions may be an issue. Do your research first as the flavoring of the supplement may be artificial or contain extra sweeteners.
With a variety of flavor options, powders like Thrive Market Chocolate have been known for its great taste. You can buy it online for just $20. This variety also is dairy-free, gluten-free and non-GMO to support your overall health and well-being.
15. Best Collagen Cream
Rather than ingesting collagen, you can also apply it on your skin to make a big difference.
Pros – Collagen creams can be an easy addition to your skincare routine. With it’s ability to remove wrinkles and add more brightness to your skin, it’s a natural way to support your skin health.
Cons – Like other skincare creams and wrinkle removers, these creams may come at a higher price tag. Also, be careful if you have sensitive skin to ensure it doesn’t cause breakouts or other damage.
This list from Byrdie shares some of the top collagen creams you can explore.
Why You Should Consider Collagen
Collagen supplements can be a great way to get that boost of protein your body needs. With an easy way to add it into your routine through a variety of types of supplements, you can find what works best for you. Discover the benefits for yourself and try a collagen supplement and get on your way to being your strong, healthy self.