Nov 09

5 Best Collagen Supplements: Best Protein for Staying Youthful

Taking the best collagen supplements may help make your skin glow more youthfully. You may also experience better-looking hair and nails, along with improved functioning of the muscles and joints.



Collagen supplements are not that hard to find. However, finding top quality and effective ones will require you to know and understand a few things about collagen.



Best Collagen Supplements Comparison Table

Picture

Product

Brand

Ingredients

Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate Beef - best collagen supplements

Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate Beef

Great Lakes

  • Gelatin (Kosher)
  • Collagen hydrolysate (Kosher)
Great Lakes Unflavored Beef Gelatin - best collagen supplements

Great Lakes Unflavored Beef Gelatin

Great Lakes

  • Beef gelatin (Kosher)
  • Collagen protein (Kosher)
Neocell Super Collagen+C Type 1 and 3 - best collagen supplements

Neocell Super Collagen+C Type 1 and 3

Neocell

  • Hydroxyproline
  • Hydroxylysine
  • Hydrolyzed Super Collagen™ Type 1&3
  • Vitamin C
  • Vegetable Magnesium Stearate
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides - best collagen supplements

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Vital Proteins

  • 100% South American Pasture Raised Bovine Hide Collagen Peptides (Grass-Fed, Kosher)
youtheory Collagen Advanced Formula 1, 2 and 3 - best collagen supplements

Youtheory Collagen Advanced Formula 1, 2 and 3

Youtheory

  • Magnesium stearate
  • Vitamin C
  • Collagen Type 1, 2, 3 (Hydrolyzed Bovine & Hydrolyzed Chicken)

What Is Collagen Anyway?

​Collagen is one of the many types of proteins in the body. It gives tissues like joints and skin elasticity. It plays an important role in the structure of various tissues like the nails, joints, skin and hair.

This protein type is also an important component of connective tissues. It is basically what holds the entire body together. It comprises about 25% of the body’s total protein weight.

Best Collagen Supplement cartilage

Functions of Collagen in the Body

Collagen is in the bone matrix, joints, skin, ligaments, lining of the blood vessels- practically in every tissue in the human body. It holds the tissues together and connects it to other tissues or organs.

It gives our skin its youthful appearance. Abundant collagen reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles. It also keeps the skin supple and elastic, which are qualities that strengthen the skin against sun exposure.

These qualities help the skin remain tough against abrasions and pressure, protecting it against easy tearing. It also helps in continuous skin cell regeneration that replaces old and dead skin cells and in wound healing.

Recent studies has also shown that collagen plays a much larger part than what was initially though. Collagen has life extending properties and can help you build more muscle, so it's benefits stretch much further than just cosmetic ones.​

Collagen has life extending properties and can help you build more muscle, so it's benefits stretch much further than just cosmetic ones.​

Why Supplement With Collagen

You can get small amounts of collagen as part of some protein supplements. However, it is better to get a separate collagen supplement because most protein powders are more focused on amino acids that help you to bulk up your muscles, instead of addressing your collagen needs. 

There are many benefits of collagen, such as:

  • Improved skin health
  • Improved joint support, health and function
  • Improved blood circulation (by improving elasticity of the blood vessel linings)
  • Improved rehabilitation from injuries
  • Reduction of rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain
  • Reduction of cellulites
  • Improved ability to build muscle and weight loss

Are There Negative Collagen Side Effects?

There are few side effects experienced from collagen supplements and they are very rare. Some reported ones are:

  • Hypercalcemia
  • Fatigue
  • Hypersensitivity to food/allergens
  • Constipation

If you take the supplements as directed, there is very little chance you will experience any of these side effects. Remember collagen is a natural substance existing in many animal foods that you probably eat daily already, there is no reason to be worried about consuming collagen as a dietary supplement.


Best Collagen Supplement powder

A Quick Look at the Best Collagen Supplements

Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate Beef

It's collagen source is from grass-fed beef, which means higher quality of hydrolyzed collagen. The protein is readily absorbed by the body.

Great Lakes Unflavored Beef Gelatin

This gelatin is filled with beneficial collagen that can help improve health, especially of the joints and skin. This kosher supplement also obtains its collagen content from grass-fed bovine.

Neocell Super Collagen+C Type 1 and 3

This supplement contains type 1 and type 3 collagen proteins. These proteins target the skin and the joints, promoting better cosmetic health.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

This neutrally tasting supplement has 90% bioavailability. It is easy to mix into any smoothie or drink as it comes in powder form.

Youtheory Collagen Advanced Formula 1, 2 and 3

This supplement contains type 1, 2, and 3 collagen proteins. The formula is especially developed for joint and skin health.


Reviews Of The Best Collagen Supplements


Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate Beef

This collagen supplement gets its collagen from Kosher beef. The hydrolyzed collagen content has a unique blend of concentrated amino acids, especially Glycine which is responsible for many of collagens beneficial effects.

Hydrolyzed collagen protein is bioactive and soluble in liquids. It is composed of 90% proteins and the collagen content is rapidly absorbed by the body. This also includes proline, lysine and glycine, which are important amino acids for building connective tissue in the skin, nails and hair.

Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate Beef - best collagen supplements

How to Use:

You may prepare the powder for drinking in hot, room temperature or in cold water.

In hot or room temperature, mix 2 tablespoons of gelatin collagen hydrolysate with one glass (8 oz.) of any drink or juice of your choice. Stir well.

In cold water, mix 2 tablespoons of gelatin collagen hydrolysate with 2 oz. of room temperature liquid. Stir to mix well. Add more cold water to fill the glass and mix more if needed.

Things We Liked

  • From Kosher beef
  • Good price for regular use

Things We Didn't Like

  • Some may not like the aftertaste

Great Lakes Unflavored Beef Gelatin

Great Lakes Unflavored Beef Gelatin - best collagen supplements

This can be used in various recipes and drinks. It contains collagen derived from gelatin that helps lubricate and build the joints.

Gelatin is a great source of purified proteins. These are obtained from collagen-containing animal parts such as bones, connective tissues and skin of animals via selective hydrolysis.

Great Lakes gelatin contains top quality, unflavored gelatin. Available forms include type A gelatin (from porcine/pig) and type B gelatin (from bone or bovine).

This gelatin product meets the standards of the US Pharmacopeia, based on the regulations of the National Formulary. Meaning that Great Lakes gelatin is of the highest quality.

How to Use:

One serving is 1 tablespoon of gelatin collagen powder. The recommended daily intake is 2 tablespoons.

One tablespoon is taken in the morning, before or with breakfast. Take another in the evening, before or with dinner. Can also be taken before bed to help you sleep deeper.

You can also take Great Lakes gelatin to help curb your appetite when dieting, take one serving as needed in-between meals.

To mix the gelatin, you may choose to use room temperature liquid, hot liquids or with hot/cold cereals.​

Things We Liked

  • Great taste
  • Kosher

Things We Didn't Like

  • Takes time for the gelatin to harden when used for cooking

Neocell Super Collagen+C Type 1 and 3

Neocell’s collagen product contains type 1 collagen and type 3. These types are the main collagen types naturally found in connective tissues. These make up about 90% of the body’s total collagen.

Super Collagen can help correct some nail problems such as ridges, splits, breaks, damage and weakness. It may also help in thickening fine hair and can be helpful for men with alopecia (hair loss).

Neocell Super Collagen+C Type 1 and 3 - best collagen supplements

Other Benefits Include:

  • Improves elasticity by repairing body’s connective tissues
  • Improves circulation by helping keep blood vessels healthy and elastic
  • Promotes faster wound healing
  • Improves skin complexion
  • Improves skin elasticity
  • Minimizes wrinkles and fine lines
  • Aids in bone matrix building

It also contains glycine. This amino acid supports lean muscle building (prevents breakdown) and fat burning, even during sleep.

Super Collagen contains amino acids that are genetically parallel to the body’s naturally produced amino acids. It is made from food-grade bovine collagen obtained from the skin’s dermal layer.

The collagen is then hydrolyzed to create collagen amino acid with low molecular weight. This form has greater bioavailability.

Super Collagen has 90% absorption rate, leaving very little collagen to go to waste. Each tablet has hydroxylysine and hydroxyproline, along with alanine and glycine.

How to Use:

These collagen pills are taken twice per day. For maximum absorption, take on an empty stomach.

Things We Liked

  • Neutral taste
  • Clinically tested product, proven to work

Things We Didn't Like

  • May contain sulfite residue

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides - best collagen supplements

This collagen drink contains amino acids that can be used by the body to produce more natural collagen. This helps in improving health through the many functions of collagen molecule. It replenishes lost collagen in the connective tissues, resulting in improved elasticity and function.

The natural glycine content also adds more benefits with the use of this supplement. It promotes healthier central nervous system, digestive and immune system, and also act as an antiinflammatory agent.

The collagen peptides are highly bioavailable and easily digestible, making it easier for the body to use them for improved health.

These peptides are taken from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine skin from cows raised in South America, making it a clean, safe and natural product.

Benefits of using Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides include:

  • Smoother healthy skin
  • Younger-looking skin
  • Stronger nails
  • Better joint health
  • Healthier and stronger bones
  • Increased hair growth and thickness
  • Aids in weight management
  • Prevents muscle breakdown

How to Use:

Mix 1 to 2 scoops of powder in either hot or cold liquids. Mix well and drink 1-2 times per day. We prefer to consume the second time just before bed to benefit from deeper sleep.

Things We Liked

  • Effective in reducing fine lines
  • Easily dissolves, even in cold water
  • Grass-fed, pasture-raised

Things We Didn't Like

  • Some may not like the flavor, although it is generally tolerable

Youtheory Collagen Advanced Formula 1, 2 and 3

Youtheory delivers a collagen production with 18 different amino acids. These are great for keeping the tendons and ligaments healthier.

This collagen supplement comes with added joint formula for even better joint function and health. This also helps in promoting stronger nails and hair.

youtheory Collagen Advanced Formula 1, 2 and 3 - best collagen supplements

The advanced formula contains collagen types 1, 2 and 3. It has added vitamin C to further aid in replenishing the body’s needs and help in regeneration. All these work to deliver intensive nourishment in order to reduce the aging process. Youtheory collagen reviews reflected positive feedback from daily use.

Also worth noting is that this supplement contains Magnesium stearate which can potentially affect absorption to a small degree. We usually try to avoid it but its far too common in many supplements now days.

How to Use:

This supplement should be taken daily, 3 tablets twice a day.

Things We Liked

  • Easy to take tablets

Things We Didn't Like

  • Product may have trace amounts of sulfite residue

Best Collagen Supplement skin aging

What to Look for in the Best Collagen Supplement

You'll get the best results if you use good quality skin collagen supplements. Available forms include powders, collagen pills, tablets and liquid collagen.

Qualities you should look for include the type of collagen, bioavailability, potency, ingredients, formulation and source.

Type of Collagen

The body produces 28 different types of collagen. You only have to look for 3 types in the supplements you pick. These are type 1, type 2 and type 3. Type 1 collagen is the major collagen that forms the matrix of the skin. This contributes to making the skin tough against stressors. A study on this collagen type by the Kyoto Prefectural University in Japan showed that taking type 1 collagen daily leads to improved skin properties.

Type 2 collagen is the next most abundant collagen type in the body. This is found within the moveable joints such as the joints in the knees, shoulders and elbows.

Type 3 collagen is another abundant type. Babies and children’s skin have a lot of this type, which gradually gets replaced by the tougher type 1 with age. Abundance of type 3 collagen gives these youngsters skin its plumpness and softness.

Supplements should contain type i collagen and type iii collagen for improved skin health. Choose type ii collagen if the goal is to support bone and joint health.

Bioavailability

This is the percentage of collagen that actually gets absorbed by the body. It’s useless to take collagen supplements if most of it gets excreted because of low bioavailability.

Nutrients, such as collagen, have the highest bioavailability if taken in liquid form. There are fewer digestive processes involved, which means more collagen remains intact to be used by the various tissues.

Another issue with collagen is its large size. It can be difficult to absorb by the cells, unless it comes in hydrolyzed form. Hydrolysis breaks down collagen into low-molecular weight peptides for easier absorption.

Collagen supplements typically offer collagen with molecular weights ranging from 3,000 to 50,000 Daltons. Choose the ones with lower values for greater absorption.

Potency

Experts recommendation for real results from collagen supplements is to use at least 7,000 mg. High doses of collagen has been found to trigger the body’s natural wound healing. This stimulates the production of new collagen.

High collagen supplement potency has been shown to have positive effects on skin health. This can improve skin hydration and smoothen out wrinkles and fine lines.

Ingredients and Formulation

Certain added ingredients increase benefits from collagen. Vitamins C, CoQ10 (co-enzyme 10), chondroitin, ceramide, hydrochloric acid, DNA and hyaluronic acid are key ingredients for more anti-aging benefits.

Collagen Source

There are 4 main sources of collagen for supplements. These are bovine collagen, porcine (pig), fish collagen (marine) and chicken collagen.

The safest and purest form of extracted collagen is from fish. It is easily absorbed by the body and produces more visible effects. Bioavailability is 1.5 times greater than bovine or porcine collagen. This source, however, requires more expensive extraction methods.

Porcine and bovine sources are cheaper and more readily available collagen sources. However, the sources are usually meat by-products from slaughterhouses. That means poorer source quality.

You may also get collagen from much cheaper sources, collagen synthesis of insect proteins. These are ground up insects and made into flour. The collagen in their exoskeleton is available in their purest form. However, bioavailability may be an issue.

Collagen and Your Skin

While the body produces collagen on its own, it doesn’t produce as much collagen as you age. Collagen is what gives your skin its elasticity and if production of collagen slows down, wrinkles will become noticeable and your skin will look dull.

One benefit of collagen is that it can give you healthier, radiant, youthful skin. More importantly, it will make your skin more resistant to tearing. Collagen doesn’t only give youthful skin, it also makes your hair and nails healthier and stronger.​

Collagen and Joint Health

Collagen is abundant in connective tissues which include joints and cartilage. Supplementing with collagen will allow your body to have more material for connective tissue in the joints, allowing your joints to function well.

With healthier joints, you can benefit from better range of movement and improved performance in activities that make use of joints and muscle groups in areas near joints.

Another benefit of collagen is that it can reduce the effects of osteoporosis. Collagen fibers can strengthen your muskoskeletal framework, reducing loss of bone mass.

When taking supplements like BioCell collagen, make sure to check that you’re getting the right amounts for joint health. Collagen formulation and dosage for skin care is typically smaller compared to those for joint health.​

Collagen and Joint Pain Relief

Because ample collagen offers joint support and improves joint mobility, you can benefit from reduced joint pain such as in the case of arthritis. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the joints.

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Collagen and Blood Circulation

The blood vessels are a connective tissue, and collagen can improve their elasticity. Yet another benefit of collagen is that it can improve blood flow.

This allows nutrients to be delivered more efficiently to the various parts of your body, including your skin (keeping it younger looking), muscles (allowing you to repair muscles during post-workout recovery) and other vital organs (enabling your body to function at optimum condition).​

Collagen and Recovery From Injury

Collagen is a protein – the building blocks of the body and life itself. More importantly, it is an essential part of the connective tissues.

You are going to need sufficient collagen in order to repair connective tissues and these include bone and muscles. In the event of injury, another benefit of collagen supplementation is that it can help hasten recovery.

Collagen is especially important for bodybuilders and athletes who need to maintain or repair muscle mass in the course of strenuous training.

Collagen and Cellulites

Keep in mind that cellulites occur when the skin’s support structure is not enough to minimize the appearance of fat cells.

One benefit of collagen is that it strengthens the network of fiber that supports the skin, and as a result, cellulites wouldn’t be as noticeable as they once were. It can even prevent cellulite from appearing in the first place, and help give you youthful skin.

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Collagen’s Relationship With Fat Loss and Muscle Building

Not only is collagen useful in post-workout recovery. It also makes your muscle building regimen more effective.

Collagen contains glycine – an anabolic substance. It stimulates the development of muscles.

A double-blind placebo-controlled study shows that it can increase muscle mass and boost muscular strength even in men in their 60s when combined with resistance training. It can also reduce fat mass.

Other Surprising Benefits of Collagen

Collagen offers benefits beyond healthier muscles, joints, and skin.

  • For starters, glycine, an amino acid in collagen, is known to enable the body to efficiently use energy. This benefit of collagen helps you manage fatigue and gives you an energy boost.​
  • It also helps you get better sleep. Research shows that glycine enhances the quality of your sleep and even improves cognitive function.
  • Because collagen is also present in the digestive tract, supplementation may also help with some illnesses related to inflammation in the gut. The anti-inflammatory effect of collagen can help prevent or manage leaky gut syndrome.

Understanding the Ingredients in Your Collagen Supplement

Collagen supplementation on its own definitely has positive effects, but you can enhance its effectiveness for the skin by taking it with certain substances. That’s why some popular brands of supplements like BioCell Collagen also have the following ingredients:

Hyaluronic Acid​

This is a molecule that is also found in the skin. It is what enables your skin to retain moisture. It’s what keeps your skin looking hydrated. The problem is that the levels of hyaluronic acid in the body also decrease as we get older.

Vitamin C

This vitamin is also a commonly found ingredient in skin care supplements because it boosts the body’s production of collagen. It is also an antioxidant, which means that it also fights free radicals, substances that damage the skin. Studies also show that higher Vitamin C intake is associated with better skin appearance.

Chondroitin Sulfate

This compound works much like elastin, the substance that gives your skin flexibility. Taking chondroitin sulfate will improve skin hydration and keep your skin looking supple. It also helps in transporting nutrients to cells, including skin cells.

What to Do When Taking Collagen to Boost Effectiveness

When you’re taking collagen supplements, you should also try to mitigate skin damage by external factors.

  1. Avoid sun exposure.
    The sun can cause damage if your skin is exposed for extended periods. UV rays from the sun can cause accelerated skin aging. Of course, you might need to go out in the sun but just make sure you protect yourself by using umbrellas, proper clothing, and sprays or lotions with sufficient SPF rating.
  2. Manage inflammation.
    Inflammation is usually how your body responds to threats. What you can do is minimize exposure to threats by managing stress and overcoming habits such as too much alcohol and smoking. These things can disrupt the production of collagen. You should also make sure to maintain your body’s circadian rhythm and get proper sleep.
  3. There are also certain kinds of food that you should avoid eating. Avoid too much intake of sugar and if you can, stay away from preservatives. Sugar is an important macronutrient so you should have it in your diet, but only in small amounts especially if you’re not very active. What you’ll usually find in food is fructose or high fructose corn syrup. You can opt for better sources of sugar such as palm sugar, coconut sugar, raw honey, molasses, and stevia. Try not to consume artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose.

In addition to these substances that can be found in supplements, you can boost your collagen level on your own by indulging in some bone broth.

Remember that hydrolized collagen is sourced for animal bone. When cooking bone broth, substances like proline, collagen, and glycine get released into the broth and having some is a form of oral collagen supplementation.

Conclusion

Of all the reviewed collagen supplements, we especially like Great Lakes brand (both gelatin and hydrolyzed collagen). We like them best for their more affordable price compared to most other collagen supplements on the market. The collagen is also highly bioavailable, so you get maximum benefits with proper, daily use.

Great Lakes Unflavored Beef Gelatin - best collagen supplements
Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate Beef - best collagen supplements

We also like Vital Proteins because the source is from grass-fed, organically raised bovine. This is important because we definitely do not want any contaminants from getting in your body whenever we supplement with collagen.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides - best collagen supplements

If you want to experience the many benefits of collagen drinks, try any of these 3 supplements.


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