Collagen 101: Everything You Need To Know About Selecting The Right Collagen Supplement

By now, we’ve all heard of collagen, the miracle supplement touted for its ability to turn back the clock, assist in athletic performance and recovery and give you hair akin to a horses’ mane.
It’s no wonder why you can find it in everything, from protein bars and baked goods to cold drinks and coffee creamers.

What Is Collagen, and How is it Used in Supplements?

Collagen is the most abundant form of protein in the human body, responsible for providing the body’s tissues with structural support and the functioning of several cellular processes. Type I collagen – the most prominent of the sources found in the body, plays a vital role in skin, gut, joint and bone health (to name a few).

Though the body naturally produces collagen when we’re young, natural Type I collagen production begins to slow down by your mid-twenties and rapidly decreases by the age of 35. This impacts everything from the appearance of aging skin (cue fine lines and wrinkles) and brittle nails to a decline in joint, muscle and bone health.

This is where supplementing with a quality collagen, derived from the skin, bones and connective tissue of cattle and fish, can help!

“Incorporating a quality collagen supplement can be a great way to combat the body’s natural reduction of collagen production past the age of 25. Studies show it can help reduce cellulite and wrinkles, among other health benefits.”  Mary Claire Haver, MD

With an abundance of collagen supplements on the market in pill, powder and liquid form, it can be overwhelming to decide which collagen is the right one for you. Well, not all collagen supplements are created equal, and we’re here to help.

Here is everything you need to know about selecting the right collagen supplement:

The Most Common Types of Collagen:

Type 1 Collagen
This type is the most abundant in the human body, providing structure to the skin, bones, tendons and ligaments and supports healthy hair and skin. It’s rich in amino acids, making it the most bioavailable, and is most common in Bovine and Marine collagen supplements.

Type 2 Collagen
This type produces cartilage and provides joint, gut and digestive support.

Type 3 Collagen
This type is found in muscles, arteries and organs and is also found in Bovine collagen supplements.

What Makes a Quality Collagen Supplement:

Hydrolyzed collagen protein
When collagen fibers go through a process called “hydrolysis,” they’re broken down into small chains of amino acids called “collagen peptides.” Once in this state, collagen is at its most bioavailable and can be easily digested by the body. If collagen has not been broken down entirely into hydrolyzed collagen, it remains in a gelatin state and is harder to digest.

Hydrolyzed collagen is easily dissolvable and almost entirely tasteless and odorless, making it easy to incorporate into one’s daily routine.

Enhanced ingredients
Look for collagen supplements that are enhanced with antioxidant-packed and beneficial, easy-to-digest  ingredients like buffered vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.

Buffered vitamin C combines vitamin C with minerals like magnesium, potassium and calcium to increase collagen production, aid in absorption and mitigate the digestive upset that comes with typical supplementation.

Hyaluronic acid aids skin in cell repair and boosts hydration retention.

Target-specific concerns:
Certain collagen supplements are formulated to a specific concern and contain varying degrees of Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3 collagen. Though collagen generally has several added health benefits, narrowing down what area of health you’d like to target will help you with selecting the right collagen for your needs.

For skin health, look for a collagen supplement containing VERISOL®, a Type 1 and 3 revolutionary peptide that is scientifically-proven to improve skin elasticity and reduce fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating the fibroblast cells that produce collagen.

For bone health, look for FORTIBONE®, another revolutionary Type 1 peptide that is scientifically-proven to increase bone mass density and improve bone turnover.

Clean label means quality collagen
Read the label carefully to ensure there are no additives, fillers or GMO-ingredients in your collagen supplement. Aim for a supplement that is sugar-free and formulated with best-in-class ingredients so you know and trust what you’re ingesting daily.

If you follow a certain dietary protocol, there are supplements that are also dairy and soy-free, making them suitable for gluten-free and keto lifestyles.

Tips For Implementing Collagen Into Your Routine For Lasting Results:

Take it regularly
Collagen is only effective if taken regularly! Be sure to follow the dosage instructions on the label to ensure you’re taking the right amount. Be consistent and patient – it typically takes 2-6 months to start seeing results in your skin, nails and joints and about a year to see a difference in bone health.

Add to your supplement box
Treat your collagen pill like you would any of your regular supplements. Add it to your pill box so you never forget to take your daily dose.

Find a taste you enjoy
There are plenty of clean-labeled collagen supplements that taste good and are good for you. Find a delicious flavor you’ll enjoy incorporating into your water or opt for an unflavored collagen you can add to your morning coffee or smoothie.

Our Top Pick:

Sparkle Wellness Osteo Boost Powder

$38.50 USD
  • Formulated with FORTIBONE®
  • Grass-fed, Hydrolyzed Bovine collagen
  • Comes in 3 great flavors!
Sparkle Wellness Skin Boost Capsules
Dr. Haver recommends Sparkle Wellness as a high-quality Bovine collagen supplement!
$19.50 USD
  • Formulated with VERISOL®
  • Grass-fed, Hydrolyzed Bovine collagen
  • Enhanced with buffered vitamin C
Genuine Health Marine Collagen+

$24.99 USD
  • Sustainably-sourced, wild caught fish
  • Unflavoured for easy mixing!
  • Dairy and gluten-free

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