If you’ve been looking for alternative ways to ease painful joints, you may have come across collagen. It’s an important protein found in cartilage, tendons, and ligaments that provides strength and stability to these tissues. It’s also important for skin, hair, and nails.
As we age and our bodies experience wear and tear, our collagen levels decrease. This can cause a host of problems, including swollen and tender joints, poor hair and nail growth, and dry, wrinkly skin.
Collagen supplements have become increasingly popular as a way to combat these problems and improve joint and skin health. It’s also used to help reduce symptoms of arthritis.
However, with so many different types of collagen, it can often get confusing as to which one you should be using. For example, should you be using undenatured collagen or collagen hydrolysate? And how much should you be taking in order to see any benefits?
If you’re unsure which type of collagen you should take and how much you should be taking, we’re going to clear up any confusion and make sure you’re well informed when it comes to buying the right collagen supplement!
Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Collagen is the main structural protein found in connective tissue including ligaments, tendons, skin, bones, hair, blood vessels, and the lungs. Because collagen is found in many different tissues, it can provide many diverse health benefits.
Some major benefits of collagen include reduction in joint pain and tenderness as well as improved skin elasticity and hydration. Collagen can also provide increased hair growth, stronger nails, cholesterol reduction, and the prevention of bone loss.
Depending on underlying health conditions, some people may experience a greater benefit from increased collagen through supplementation.
Improves Skin, Hair, and Nail Health
Lowers Cholesterol and Blood Sugar
Prevents Bone Loss
Reduces Joint Pain and Stiffness
How to Choose the Right Supplement
When it comes to collagen supplements, there are a wide variety of options available on the market. As with almost any supplement, though, not all are created equal. Additionally, adding to the confusion, there are different forms and types of collagen as well.
When choosing the right collagen supplement, you’ll want to consider your goals to help decide the right collagen type. Undenatured type II collagen is beneficial for arthritis, while Hydrolyzed collagen is best for those looking to improve joint, skin, and nail health. Ingredients and dosages will also be key as different forms of collagen are more effective at different levels. Make sure to read the ingredient label and check the amounts listed.
High-quality, well-researched ingredients
The RIGHT collagen type at the RIGHT dosage
Healthy, beneficial formulas
Trustworthy companies and manufacturers
Third-party quality testing
Low-quality or sketchy ingredients
Ineffective dosage sizes
Over "hyped" marketing
Lack of research or quality oversight
Top Rated Collagen Supplements
We over 500 supplement and fitness reviews, we here at Fitness Clone take our job seriously. We aim to provide you with highly-rated, top collagen supplement options you can trust. We complete in-depth research on each of our top picks to determine ingredient quality, correct dosage amounts, company oversight, efficacy, and more. Below are our top rated choices for the best collagen supplements that we believe are worth adding to your supplement routine.
by LiveWell Labs (Live Conscious)
LiveWell Collagen Peptides includes 98% all-natural hydrolyzed protein that is hormone-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and keto-friendly. It includes types I and III collagen sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised, grade-A bovine as well as a full amino acid profile.
LiveWell Collagen Peptides’ benefits include promoting hair, skin, nail, bone, and joint health as well as improving gut and immune function.
Contains types I and III collagen peptides
Designed to promote hair, skin, nail, bone, and joint health
Includes additional essential amino acids
365-day money-back guarantee
Not Vegetarian or Vegan friendly
Multi Collagen Protein
Vitauthority Multi Collagen Protein contains five types of collagen peptides as well as hyaluronic acid and vitamin c. It is a powdered supplement with both flavored and unflavored options that can be added to your beverage of choice.
Vitauthority provides a variety of benefits that include reducing inflammation, repairing and rebuilding muscles, and increasing skin elasticity.
Contains five types of collagen peptides
Designed to benefit skin, joint, and digestive health
Includes Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid
Manufactured in the USA in a cGMP certified facility
Specific amounts of each collagen type are not listed
Best Collagen Pills
Grass Fed “Living” Collagen
by Ancestral Supplements
Ancestral Supplements Grass Fed “Living” Collagen contains Types I, II, and III collagen sourced from the cartilaginous parts of pasture-raised, grass-fed/grass-finished bovine. Its formula includes additional amino acids as well as a variety of bioactive growth factors, trace minerals, and other non-denatured proteins.
Grass Fed “Living” Collagen is allergen-free and third-party tested. It is designed to support joints, bones, cartilage, and skin health.
Contains Types I, II, and III bovine collagen
Designed to benefit joints, bones, cartilage, and skin
Formula includes amino acids and trace minerals
Manufactured in the USA and third-party tested
NOT Vegetarian or Vegan friendly
Can be a bit expensive without discounts
Orgain Collagen Peptides contains 20g of types I and III collagen peptides sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle. In addition to collagen, it also contains a typical amino acid profile with 8 essential amino acids and is unflavored, odorless, and tasteless.
Orgain Collagen Peptides is free of gluten, dairy, and added sugar. It is designed to provide benefits including supporting hair, skin, and nail health as well as promoting bone and joint health.
Contains types I and III grass-fed, pasture-raised collagen peptides
Contains an essential amino acid profile
Provides benefits for hair, skin, nail, bone, and joint health
Free of added sugar, soy, dairy, gluten, and lactose
Common Questions About Collagen Supplements
What is collagen?
Collagen is the main structural protein found in connective tissue, including ligaments, tendons, and skin. It’s also found in bones, hair, blood vessels, and the lungs. Derived from the Greek word for “glue,” collagen helps connective tissues maintain their structural integrity in response to the everyday forces the body experiences. It’s found in the extracellular matrix (the protein-rich network that supports cells), where it acts as a scaffolding.
Collagen is also the most abundant protein in the body. Like all proteins, it’s made out of amino acids. There are at least 28 different types of collagen, but 80-90% of the collagen in the body is either type I, II, or III (each type is classified using Roman numerals).
Can you get collagen through diet?
Your body makes collagen using amino acids from your diet; however, some foods contain readily absorbable collagen. The main sources of collagen in the diet include beef, pork, poultry, and seafood. Sausages, hot dogs, and lunch meats are exceptionally high in collagen. Other sources include jello, pig skins, and bone broth.
What are the different types of forms of collagen?
Collagen supplements commonly contain types I, II, III, IV, V, and X, or some combination of these. Each type is beneficial, but type II is the most common and has the most research behind it.
Collagen supplements are usually made from the skin, bones, or cartilage of cows, pigs, chicken, and fish.
The collagen protein itself comes in one of two forms: undenatured and hydrolyzed.
Undenatured means the collagen proteins are still intact and have not been broken down into individual amino acids. This allows the body to absorb the proteins in their active forms without needing to process them.
Hydrolyzing collagen means the proteins have been broken down into smaller pieces called peptides, which are simply groups of amino acids. Hydrolyzed collagen is also known as gelatin (the same stuff used to make jello), collagen hydrolysate, or collagen peptides.
Do collagen supplements really work?
Collagen is well-researched for its ability to reduce joint pain, swelling, and tenderness in both athletes and people with arthritis.
Limited research supports its ability to improve skin, hair, and nail health and reduce bad cholesterol and blood sugar.
Are collagen supplements right for me?
Undenatured type II collagen (also known as UC-II) is the only type that has been shown to be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis patients, so you’ll want to supplement with this type if you have either condition. This is because UC-II is especially helpful in replacing damaged cartilage in joints.
For people that are just looking to improve joint, skin, and nail health, both undenatured collagen and collagen hydrolysate will help. Hydrolyzed collagen peptides still become active in the body, but they are not as effective for joint health as undenatured collagen.
Marine collagen appears to be the most beneficial for reducing cholesterol and blood sugar.
Because the body doesn’t need to process undenatured collagen, much lower doses are required in comparison to collagen hydrolysate. For example, undenatured collagen type II is effective in doses ranging between 40 – 2,000 mg, whereas hydrolyzed collagen is effective in doses of 10,000 mg or greater.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t rely on collagen as your main protein source because it’s not considered a complete protein. This means it’s missing key amino acids that the body can’t make.
Can I stack collagen with anything?
Collagen is often paired with other supplements depending on the health goal you want to achieve.
Collagen supplements may have vitamin C added to them to help with skin health. If not, you can take a vitamin c supplement. Vitamin C helps your skin make more collagen.
Collagen may be paired with biotin (vitamin B7) to help increase hair and nail growth. However, there isn’t any research to back up biotin’s effect on hair and nails.
For joint health, collagen is often combined with MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), glucosamine, and chondroitin. These supplements have also been shown to benefit joint health.
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