With so many collagen products on the market, how do you know which is best?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, accounting for roughly 40% of total body protein content. Collagen supplements are associated with improved skin, gut, and joint health.
Below, you'll learn what collagen is and why it's important to take collagen supplements as you age. Plus, we'll explain what to look for when shopping for the best collagen powder on the market.
Please note: This post is meant for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Before taking any supplements, please speak to your physician or nutritionist.
Collagen is often referred to as the "glue" that holds your body together. In fact, the word collagen comes from the Greek translation for glue, “kólla.”
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the human body, making up muscle, epithelial, and connective tissues, including ligaments, bones, skin, and cartilage.
As described in Molecules, an open-access journal, collagen is rich in three amino acids: glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. Collagen is responsible for giving skin elasticity as well as supporting joint integrity, bone density, and strong hair and nails.
Nearly 40 types of collagen have been identified, but types I, II, and III are the most common:
As you age, you naturally lose collagen. (Case in point: Wrinkles under your and along the forehead are simply a result of collagen loss.) According to research in Experimental Gerontology, collagen production drops by about 25% by age 40. By the age of 60, you can expect your collagen production to decrease by half.
To make up for lost collagen, many people turn to bone broth or dietary supplements. These supplements come in many forms — collagen peptides powder, collagen capsules, hydrolyzed collagen, bovine collagen, and collagen hydrolysate, to name a few.
Collagen powder is a milky white, unflavored powder containing a number of health benefits. Some benefits of collagen include:
Supplementing with the best collagen powders could lead to healthy joints.
Collagen is found in cartilage, which cushions your joints. Cartilage is what allows joints to glide against one another when you run, jump, or walk down the street.
Unfortunately, overuse — through exercise and the aging process — can lead to the deterioration of cartilage, causing joint pain and inflammation. Luckily, collagen can help.
According to a study published by PLOS One, hydrolyzed collagen may help treat osteoarthritis. In an animal study, supplementing with collagen had an anti-inflammatory effect, which is beneficial for those suffering from joint pain. In addition, the study showed that daily collagen consumption may protect against cartilage loss.
Knowing collagen has an anabolic effect on cartilage, a sports research study published by Current Medical Research Opinion sought to see if collagen supplementation would benefit those suffering from other types of joint pain.
Over the course of nine months, 147 athletes supplemented with either 10 grams of collagen hydrolysate or a placebo.
Researchers found that athletes who supplemented with collagen felt less joint pain when standing, running, walking, and standing.
Research on collagen powder supplements and gut health is still growing. However, there is mounting evidence to support the idea that collagen supplements can lead to a healthy gut.
Your gut is crucial to your health, as your intestines are where nutrients are extracted from food and passed on to other areas of your body.
Unfortunately, sometimes, your intestines can become damaged in a process called leaky gut syndrome. Whether due to environmental factors, poor food choices, inflammation, or an autoimmune disease, leaky gut can wreak havoc on your health.
In a study conducted by Marine Drugs, supplementing with collagen peptides was shown to help strengthen the intestinal barrier. A stronger intestinal barrier, in turn, can help heal leaky gut syndrome.
The loss of skin elasticity is one of the first superficial signs of aging. The skincare industry promises to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, whether through creams or supplements.
In a review published by Dermato Endocrinology, researchers noted that wrinkles were caused by a loss of type II collagen — a specific collagen type found in the skin. A loss of type II collagen weakens the bond between the dermis and epidermis of the skin, thereby causing the appearance of fine lines.
Most anti-aging creams and invasive procedures (like skin peels) claim to promote collagen production. However, oral supplementation with the best collagen powders has also been shown to improve skin health, as noted by a randomized trial in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology.
There are plenty of products advertised as "the best collagen powder" on the market. Which, of course, makes it difficult to differentiate between high-quality products and those backed by clever marketing.
When shopping for the best collagen powder, look for a supplement that contains these four things:
Hydrolyzed collagen refers to the process where collagen is broken down into easy-to-digest di- and tripeptides. Compared to other types of collagen, hydrolyzed collagen is better absorbed by the body, according to research conducted by the American Chemical Society (ACS).
Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate offers 11 grams of hydrolyzed grass-fed bovine collagen in a single scoop, providing 10 grams of protein and just 50 calories. Since it’s flavorless, you can mix collagen hydrolysate with just about any other powder supplement.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, making up epithelial, muscle, and connective tissues within your hair, skin, nails, ligaments, and cartilage.
As part of the aging process, collagen levels decline, resulting in things like skin wrinkling, brittle hair, and sore joints. However, scientific and clinical research makes it clear that taking a collagen supplement confers a range of health benefits.
Moreover, collagen protein powder is connected to a number of health benefits specifically related to athletes. According to Sports Medicine, collagen supplements can help athletes recover from workouts. A study by the Canadian Science Publishing showed collagen can help improve knee pain related to athletic injuries. Lastly, a review in Food Science and Nutrition showed collagen hydrolysate can help improve bone health.
Before buying any collagen supplement on Amazon, it's important to know which supplements are best. The best collagen powders are gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of artificial sweeteners and colors.
The grass-fed collagen peptides in Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate provide several health benefits. Taking collagen regularly can help you reduce joint pain, strengthen your bones, and boost your recovery times. Enjoy it in a smoothie or simply mix with water as a post-workout shake.