Best Collagen Supplements
For those that aren’t familiar with the best collagen supplements:
They provide a protein, known as collagen, that works as a crucial structural part of the connective tissues in your skin, hair, nails, and joints.
Approximately 25% of the protein weight of the body comes from collagen, which is the fibrous and elastic tissue that “holds us together”.
By using some of the best collagen supplements, it’s proven to be beneficial to a number of bodily functions, but most notably in maintaining the elasticity of skin and assisting in the restoration of connective tissues in your:
- Ligaments; and
Collagen can also be used effectively for cosmetic purposes, as it’s been shown to promote and maintain youthful appearance through skin rejuvenation.
Collagen in the Body
Seeing as how collagen is the most commonly found protein in the body, it provides:
- Structural support
- Strength; and
- Elasticity that allows us to get around on a daily basis
Naturally, collagen is found in the extracellular matrix.
This is a collection of molecules secreted by cells that provide structural and biochemical support to all surrounding cells.
In the middle layer of the skin, known as the “dermis”, collagen helps to form and maintain a fibrous matrix that allows more cells to grow.
Aside from proactively helping new cells to grow, collagen is also required in the process of replacing and restoring dead skin cells.
As with most necessary compounds, natural collagen production begins to decline with age.
We see this most notably in the form of:
- Loosened skin
- Development of wrinkles: and
- Weakened cartilage strength in joints
In terms of age, collagen levels begin to decrease around the age of 40, with most notable changes taking their tolls around the age of 60.
Benefits of Supplementing with Collagen
For the younger folks out there that are looking to take a proactive approach to maintaining a youthful appearance, the benefits are bountiful.
For those that are looking for a reactive solution (there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, as it’s always better to be late than never)…
Below, we’ll expand on a number of the benefits you can expect by supplementing with this super protein, including:
- Improved Circulation:By strengthening blood vessels (improving their elasticity), collagen helps to improve circulation through the body, allowing blood and nutrients to be delivered to the dermis, resulting in healthier and more youthful-looking skin.
- Injury Rehabilitation: Collagen is necessary to repair, rebuild, and maintain the connective tissues in our muscles, skin, joints, and bones, which then helps to strengthen the structures of our tendons, cartilage, and ligaments. For athletes, in particular, some of the best collagen supplements can regenerate muscle mass to aid in the recovery of sports-related injuries at an accelerated rate.
- Prevent and Relieve Arthritis Pain:By helping to strengthen the mobility in your joints, specifically hands, elbows, knees, and hips, collagen helps to maintain proper mobility, thus decreasing inflammation in the joints.
- Reduced Cellulite: Cellulite occurs when fatty tissues push upward through the muscle fibers, which results in the all-too-familiar (and hated) “dimply” appearance of the skin. Collagen helps to strengthen and repair weakened fiber tissues, which helps to prevent cellulite from happening in the first place.
Types of Collagen
There are at least 16 types of collagen, but upward of 80-90% of the collagen in the body consists of types I, II, and III.
Type I collagen is the most abundant form of collagen in the body and is known as the “major matrix protein” of the skin. It’s type I collagen that provides our skin with its firmness.
Type II collagen is responsible for the makeup of our moveable joints and is commonly used to treat symptoms of joint aging and to relieve pain deriving from arthritis.
Type III collagen is recognized as the second most abundant type of collagen bound in human tissue. Type III is at its highest while we’re babies and young children, which is why our skin during those early ages are so soft and “plump”.
Naturally, as we age, type III collagen is gradually replaced by the strong and tougher type I collagen.
These three primary forms of collagen consist of 19 amino acids that are responsible for the growth and maintenance of the body, with the highest percentages typically coming from glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, which are found in the skin and muscle.
Collagen type II, specifically, consists of 18 of the 19 amino acids, with profiles similar to that of joint cartilage.
Collagen Purchase Factors
As you continue down our guide of the best collagen supplements, there are a few important “buying factors” that we highly recommend you take a particular understanding to.
These are the specific factors we recommend you look at when you’re preparing to buy collagen.
It’s important to note that these factors are in no particular order, but rather, are best determined by each individual person, based on the specifics of what you may be looking for, based on what your collagen-related goals are and any relevant deficiencies:
“Bioavailability” (not just for collagen, but for any dietary supplement) refers to the percentage of the actual substance or active ingredient(s) being absorbed into the body when ingested.
This is a critical factor to consider, especially when evaluating the best collagen supplement.
As you would imagine, the bioavailability largely determines the efficacy of any nutrient you ingest.
Most simply defines, bioavailability can be described as “the ease with which a nutrient makes its way from the vessel (whether it be in pill, liquid, or cream form) into your blood stream).
As it relates to collagen, specifically, its molecules are rather large, so unless they’ve been “hydrolyzed”, they’re most often too large to be absorbed into the blood stream when ingested, and thus, never reach the dermis (which is the middle layer of skin where collagen resides).
Hydrolyzed collagen products have increased dramatically in popularity in recent years, as the molecules have been optimally sized for the most effective bioavailability and absorption.
While there’s a wide array of scientific research touting different clinically-recommended daily dosages of collagen, most of them conclude that we need at least 7,000mg per serving to see noticeable results.
For the sake of educating yourself about the best collagen supplements, look for the highest concentration (along with the other factors most important to you) per serving.
Formula and Ingredients
If there’s one thing to understand about choosing the best collagen formula, it’s this:
Taking collagen on its own can provide wonderful effects, but the most powerful benefits come from the synergistic effects of multiple well-known ingredients.
These ingredients, that work best with collagen, include:
- Vitamin C
- Hyaluronic Acid
- Amino Acids
Source of Collagen
Collagen supplementation is derived primarily from three sources:
- Bovine (cow)
- Porcine (pig); and
- Marine (fish)
So, which of these three is best?
If you guessed “bovine”… bravo!
Bovine (cow) collagen is often known to be the highest in type 1 collagen, which benefits the skin. In addition, shark or other marine collagen can cause the dangerous side effect of “hypercalcemia.”
From there, we’ve pulled together the purest, safest, and most bioavailable forms of collagen available below.
Best Collagen Supplements – Starting with #5
#5: Best Collagen (Types 1 and 3) by Doctor’s Choice
As one of the most trusted brands in supplements and vitamins, Doctor’s Choice is proudly represented as our third best collagen supplement here at Supplement Demand.
With a humble dosage of 3 grams of collagen, this is the perfect solution for those looking to counteract a mild collagen deficiency.
Even with half the dosage of the #2 product below, Best Collagen is still perfectly suitable for both men and women, young or slightly less young , alike!
Best Collagen Formula Highlights:
- 3 Grams of Collagen Per Serving
- 3 Tablets Per Serving
- Perfect for Minor Collagen Deficiencies
- Trusted Brand
#4: Pure Marine Collagen Peptide Powder
UPDATE: December 2016
This 100% pure collagen powder possesses some of the best elements of any powder-based product we’ve seen so far in 2016!
Pure Marine Collagen Peptide is made from fish skin collagen through a highly specified “enzymatic hydrolysis” process (remember how we mentioned “hydrolyzed collagen” in the section above?).
This process allows Pure Marine Collagen Peptide’s collagen supplement to possess a low molecular weight for optimal absorption and utilization by the body.
Aside from its 100% pure collagen source, this product is also rich in Hydroxyproline, Alanine, Arginine, and Glycine.
#3: Collagen Advanced Formula (Types 1, 2, and 3) by YouTheory
This advanced collagen supplement, which caters to types 1, 2, and 3 (remember, these account for a majority of the collagen found in the body), is packed with 6 grams of collagen and 18 amino acids per serving.
With only 26 calories, 10mg of sodium, and 60mg of vitamin C, it ensures that you’re getting a high-quality product, with virtually no “fillers”, which makes us confident that this is one of the best collagen supplements on the market today.
A large number of user reviews that we read on this product claimed, “I can see the fine lines slowly filling in and my deeper lines under my eyes are turning into fine lines”, as well as, “This has helped me to become more mobile, with less pain.”
Now, we get that these aren’t the kinds of reviews to make you jump in the car, head to your local supplement shop, and stack up on collagen, but for those that are looking for solutions for the daily chronic stress and pain points, collagen is a clear and affordable solution.
Collagen Advanced Formula Highlights:
- 6 Grams of Collagen Per Serving
- 18 Amino Acids Per Serving
- 290 Capsules Per Bottle
Buy Collagen Advanced Formula from Amazon.com
#2: Super Collagen + C (Types 1 and 3) by NEOCELL
Next, we have the second best collagen supplement! With a moderate dosage of 6 grams (6,000 mg) of collagen per serving, Super Collagen + C also includes 60 mg of vitamin C (as calcium ascorbate).
NEOCELL’s collagen is derived from pharmaceutical food grade bovine collagen, which gives us more than enough confidence that you’re getting the highest quality product that money can buy in terms of collagen.
With nearly 900 reviews on Amazon (4.5 stars), we read enough of them to know that we are providing our readers with one of the best collagen supplements that money can buy.
And, with a 250-count bottle, that money is going towards the most cost effective of all three of the collagen supplements listed above.
When it comes to Collagen, Super Collagen + C is highly recommended and sets the stage clearly for our top collagen recommendation that you will see next.
Super Collagen + C Highlights:
- 6 Grams of Collagen Per Serving
- 6 Tablets Per Serving
- 42 Servings Per Bottle
- 850+ 4.5+ Star Reviews on Amazon
- Solid #2 Best Collagen Supplement
#1 HYDROLYZED COLLAGEN by VitaDirect
Without a doubt…
VitaDirect’s Collagen Hydrolysate formula is the best collagen supplement of 2017 and is bound to be through 2018 as well.
Designed to be the simplest and safest way to rebuild your joints, muscles, and skin, this product is derived from 100% natural, hydrolyzed collagen.
As an added bonus, it’s also packed with 18 different amino acids that help to “revitalize your entire body from the inside, out”.
We believe it!
Manufactured in the United States, Hydrolyzed Collagen + Peptides contains 41 servings (most out of ll 5 products) and contains 11 grams of tasteless, odorless, and unflavored hydrolyzed collagen peptides that are easy to mix and even easier for your body to absorb.
Hydrolyzed Collagen by VitaDirect Highlights:
- 11 grams of hydrolyzed collagen per serving (highest)
- 41 servings per container (highest)
- Manufactured in the USA
- Contains 18 different amino acids
- Free Amazon Prime Shipping
- #1 Reviewed and Rated Collagen Powder
View VitaDirect Collagen on Amazon.com
How safe is it to consume hydrolyzed collagen?
Excitement and use of collagen began in the 1970s, however it is only in recent years that its popularity as a food supplement has really taken off. Collagen is part of group of fibrous proteins that act as building blocks for the skin, teeth, cartilage, bones and other tissues in our bodies. It is known to assist in healing and repairing damaged tendons and also maintains the elasticity, resistance and mobility of our joints. Although collagen supplements have become quite popular today, we still do not hear or read much about how taking them may affect our health and physical appearance.
The irony is that collagen has been part of our diets for thousands of years. In the past, our diet included foods such as homemade broth or stock. So when you boil a chicken or simmer beef bones, the substance similar to jelly that rises to the top is collagen. Some researchers have suggested that our modern society’s predisposition for boneless and skinless chicken pieces could be a major factor for the very reason why we need supplements today. We’ve essentially created a collagen deficit.
There has been a substantial amount of research conducted into both the safety and efficacy of hydrolyzed collagen intake. In a sizeable double-blind, placebo-controlled study undertaken in early 2014, women who took 2.5 g of hydrolyzed collagen peptide once a day for 8 weeks showed a 20% reduction in wrinkle depth around their eyes. Additionally levels of the body’s own production of procollagen (a precursor chemical to collagen) were significantly boosted with production up by 65%. In the study no significant side effects were observed ultimately proving that the supplements were able to make women’s skin behave as though they were many years younger without the side effects associated with other treatments such as botox or collagen injections.
Additional studies have reviewed the safety and efficacy of collagen with regard to bone and joint diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. One study found that ingestion of 10g of collagen daily was able to reduce pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip. The use of the products was associated with minimal adverse effects which were primarily gastrointestinal and characterised by ‘fullness’ or an unpleasant aftertaste in the mouth. The study altogether highlighted that collagen had a positive effective on cartilage metabolism. Additionally therapeutic effects could also be extended to inhibiting the breakdown of bone collagen coupled with a high level of safety making it an ideal choice as a long-term treatment for those with such chronic disorders.
A third study conducted in rats further supported collagen’s safety levels as animals were administered either 0mg, 30, 300, or 3000mg per kg of body weight for over 90 days. The results showed that all four doses were well tolerated and led to few, if any, adverse events.
The primary culprit of side effects are allergic reactions to collagen, which primarily occurs in cosmetic products used on the skin. Additionally, individuals may develop allergic reactions from collagen made using fish or shellfish. There are very few cases in which individuals have had reactions from ingesting collagen made from cattle or pigs.
All in all, consuming collagen is viewed as safe. However, as a result of taking collagen supplements, individuals may develop a condition called hypercalcemia, in which the body accumulates potentially dangerously high levels of calcium. This is especially so for collagen supplements derived from marine sources, such as shark cartilage or fish, which are known to be high in calcium. Any reading of calcium levels above 10.2mg/dl is considered hypercalcemia and should be addressed swiftly. Too much calcium in the body can cause bone pain, constipation, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and even abnormal heart rhythms. (Note: Besides the negative health effects, collagen from shark cartilage is terrible for the environment.
Many individuals have reported a bad taste being left in the mouth after taking collagen supplements, especially those made from marine life. Drinking strong flavoured drinks such as fruit juices with this type of collagen supplement can mask the odour. However you should be aware that drinking acidic fruit juices such as orange, apple and grape can ultimately lower the effect of the supplement’s strength and potency and in this way should be avoided.
Collagen manufacture involves the sterilization of the product for about 30 minutes at a temperature of up to 221F. The sterilized collagen hydrolysate is then filtered through diatomaceous earth, concentrated, preferably under vacuum, and then dried to form a powder and packed.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with support from the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE Advisory Committee) have been monitoring the risk of transmitting animal diseases, such as mad cow disease, since 1997.
All reputable manufacturers today follow the Quality Management System according to ISO 9001. All step are therefore documented and pharmaceutical-grade collagen is under strict regulations from the FDA, the European CPMP and European Pharmacopoeia.
Collagen supplements are safe to consume and the FDA has ensured that all supplements are manufactured in FDA approved laboratories. The safety profile of collagen is clearly backed by research and the government is currently overlooking the manufacturing process.