Collagen is a substance found in virtually every health and grocery store, lining aisles designed for human consumption and human beauty, alike. Despite its prevalence, there continues to be plenty of confusion about how to best take collagen in order to reap the benefits of collagen as much as possible and improve skin, intestinal, and joint health while taking in an abundant protein source. Although most supplements and health foods have some degree of wiggle room in order to work effectively, there are some ways to take collagen that outweigh others, in terms of both convenience and efficacy.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a type of fibrous protein found in the bones, skin, muscles, and tendons of mammals and can also be found in aquatic life. Although the human body naturally produces collagen for these areas, collagen is a popular supplement used to support human health and provide adequate collagen levels to support the health and general function of bones, skin, muscles, and tendons.
The fibrous substance that is collagen is made up primarily of proteins. Collagen can be derived from virtually any animal, but bovine collagen is arguably the most popular type of collagen powder, followed by marine collagen. The collagen found in these animals is thought to be as bioavailable as the collagen naturally occurring in the human body.
Why Take Collagen Supplements?
While collagen supplementation is a relatively recent practice, collagen production does decrease as people age. When the body's capacity to produce collagen declines, skin can begin to sag and wrinkle, joints can degrade and experience discomfort, and bones, muscles, and tendons can all lose optimal function. Collagen supplements can help reduce wrinkles, improve skin hydration, and ease and prevent joint pain.
Supplementing with collagen may be considered ideal over simply consuming collagen-rich foods (think animal and fish meats and marrow), because the body readily breaks down those collagen-rich foods into amino acids, rather than processing them as collagen and dispersing that collagen throughout the body.
Supplementing with collagen may be beneficial because it can help reduce joint pain, improve skin elasticity, and promote the healthy functioning of cartilage and tendons. Preliminary studies have determined that supplementing with collagen can positively affect all of these areas, though those same studies have also determined that the body can use collagen in whatever way is most immediately necessary, whether that is as collagen in the body, or as amino acids.
What Are the Different Ways that You Can Consume Collagen?
1. Collagen powder
Collagen powder is the most common way to consume collagen and boost the body's production of collagen. It is the common and most popular because powder can easily allow users to consume the recommended amount of collagen per day without experiencing unpleasant tastes or adding new routines; collagen powder can be placed in all kinds of foods and drinks, from morning oatmeal, to a simple cup of juice.
Hydrolyzed collagen in particular is able to assimilate well with most types of food and drinks, making it extremely popular. Whether it is given in a glass of water, or included in a jar of bone broth, this type of collagen is both very popular and very easy to integrate into your supplement routine.
2. Collagen capsules
Collagen capsules are one of the types of collagen consumed as a supplement, and are usually considered the second most popular option for collagen consumption because capsules are both easy to transport and convenient to consume. Most supplements are delivered in the form of capsules, and including this in your daily supplement routine can make your collagen intake a breeze.
Although collagen capsules are popular, they do have some downsides; pills are not as easily absorbed by the body, which means that your collagen dosage may need to be higher to see the results you might find with other types of collagen.
3. Collagen drinks
Collagen-based drinks are already available on the market, and are usually served chilled and mixed with juice, fruit concentrates, or tea extracts. It may also be found in pre-made bone broths designed for drinking, as broth is naturally rich in collagen when it is prepared with bones and meat.
Because these types of drinks are pre-made, it may be more difficult to pinpoint the exact collagen content you are hoping for, and may be difficult to find the precise flavor or brand you are looking for to make sure you are continually consuming the best amount of collagen for your needs.
4. Collagen bars
Collagen bars are another option for collagen consumption, and there are plenty of options currently on the market. Most collagen bars are developed with similar flavors and textures as protein bars, and although they do contain protein (because collagen is naturally high in protein), their focus is usually more on supporting health by reducing joint pain, improving joint function, and improving general health and well-being.
Collagen bars do not always possess the same grams of collagen found in supplements, and are not always intended to take the place of a powdered collagen or encapsulated collagen.
5. Collagen gummies
Collagen gummies are essentially the same as collagen capsules, in that they are designed to offer ease and convenience. Gummy candies forego both the powder form and liquid form of collagen, and can be used for people who struggle to consume capsules, for children, or for those whose personal preference dictates consuming collagen in a way that does not involve a powder or a swallowed pill. Collagen gummies are another one of the more popular forms of collagen gummies and can be purchased in pre-made forms or can be made at home.
6. Collagen shots
Collagen shots have grown in popularity, perhaps as the rise of ginger shots and other "immune-boosting" shots have grown in popularity. Like pre-made collagen drinks, consumers can choose from different flavors and infusions, many of which include additional ingredients to support health, such as vitamin C, biotin, fruit juice, hyaluronic acid, and even coffee. Collagen shots can be a nice alternative for those who are looking for a quick, easy way to get collagen into their diets on mornings that are hectic or rushed.
Unlike most people's morning cup of coffee or collagen coffee creamer, shots can be taken at any time of the day, and require little more than pulling the collagen shot from the fridge and throwing it back.
7. Homemade broth
Homemade bone broth is said to have natural, unprocessed collagen that is loaded with amino acids. These acids are said to boost your body's natural production of collagen, and can be a more holistic way of getting your daily dose of collagen in. Unfortunately, hot beverages like homemade broth can be difficult to take in during warmer months, and making homemade bone broth is not always ideal or convenient for people interested in taking in more collagen.
Homemade broth can be a great source of collagen, and is one of the best ways to get collagen from food sources, but can be time consuming and it can be difficult to measure or determine how much collagen you are actually consuming.
What's the Best Way to Take Collagen Out of These 7 Options?
Experts have suggested that collagen peptide powder is the most effective way to consume collagen. Because hydrolyzed collagen is easy to digest, convenient to carry around, and can be mixed with favorite foods and drinks while meeting the recommended dietary dosage, there's really no better way to take in collagen boosting products.
This is the precise reason our collagen product comes in a powder form; collagen hydrolysate is more readily digested than collagen pills, and ensures that the collagen craze is not a passing fad, but a bioavailable and valuable addition to the dietary and supplement routines of individuals. Though collagen research is still in its infancy, the most promising studies and results come from trials that utilize collagen peptides, or hydrolyzed collagen. In this form, the molecular weight of collagen is readily absorbed and used within the body. The molecular weight of other types of collagen may be too great to penetrate the skin or see actual function within the body.
Although there are many different collagen sources currently available on the market to boost your own collagen stores and even support collagen synthesis in the body, there is no form of collagen supplement that is better utilized by the body than collagen hydrolysate, or collagen peptide powder. Collagen powders are able to work alongside normal collagen production in order to improve skin, joint, and even bone health and reduce pain and inflammation. Although there are many different types of collagen supplements currently on the market, not all of them are created equal, and not all offer both the best possible benefits of collagen and the most convenient mode of delivery.
Supplementation as a whole (including collagen supplementation) is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so it is important to select a collagen source that can be relied upon and trusted to legitimately provide collagen peptides. Whether you are consuming collagen through a peptide powder or through your own homemade bone broth, it is important to remain consistent; Rome wasn't built in a day, and improvements to collagen-rich areas of the body require sustained use. With that sustained use, however, studies have suggested that collagen peptides are a promising source of health, anti-aging effects, and pain reduction.