Do collagen supplements work? Is it better to acquire collagen from whole foods instead?
Do You Need Collagen Supplements?
Should you take collagen in powder or pill form? Collagen supplements, after all, are found abundantly in vitamin stores. There are more than a handful of studies that validate collagen as an invaluable protein. Your body needs it for digestive health, rebuilding the joints, retaining skin elasticity, and so forth. Science has proven that collagen does the body good.
Do they work, though? We must ask this question because consumers by nature are rightfully skeptical about dietary supplements.
First, let us say that obtaining your daily vitamin and mineral intake from real foods is always the optimal path … if you can do so.
We really have to bold that last part because most people don’t receive sufficient nutrients from food alone. A whopping 93 percent of Americans, for example, are deficient in vitamin E. Thirty-one percent are also deficient in vitamin C, despite the vitamin being plentiful in a number of fruits, vegetables and tubers.
In a perfect world, everyone would get their nutrients from wholesome foods; that is certainly nature’s intention. However, with prevalent vitamin and mineral deficiency on the rise in developed and underdeveloped worlds, you can see why collagen supplementation may be useful.
Collagen Supplements as a Viable Alternative
Can you take a collagen dietary supplement in place of food? We can’t really give you a straight “yes” or “no.” It’s one of those “it depends” scenarios with a lot of grey areas.
It comes down to the quality of the supplement. What’s inside the pill or powder? As you may know, UMZU is a mega-advocate of the natural route. Unfortunately, many supplements on the market today are synthetically derived. Even if the collagen is from an all-natural source, it may contain inactive ingredients that greatly dilute the formula.
Do they really work? The answer is “yes” but with an asterisk. It works just as well if not better than whole foods provided that the following parameters are met:
• The collagen source is from organic, grass-fed livestock
• The collagen is hydrolyzed for best bioavailability. See our post on hydrolyzed collagen to learn about hydrolyzation.
• The product is free from unnatural active and inactive ingredients
• Any secondary active ingredients are also from organic and GMO-free sources
How Much Collagen Should I Take?
Since we have been writing extensively on collagen, our followers have been asking us: “How much collagen should I take?” Can you take too much collagen?
It’s tricky to establish a daily recommended dose. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not set forth a requirement. For a ballpark range, we would say anywhere from 10-20 grams daily for healthy individuals.
You can double the intake if you experience health issues, such as:
• Eczema, psoriasis or other skin conditions
• Irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive disorders
• Brittle hair or nails
• Joint pain
We don’t believe it’s necessary to keep exact count of your intake. If you regularly consume foods like bone broth, then that along with a single daily serving from a collagen supplement should suffice.
Can you take too much collagen by way over-exceeding the recommended dosage? Since collagen is a natural protein that your body produces, we don’t see any harm in exceeding dosages. However, you may experience mild side effects. Some sensitive users have experienced prickly sensations on their skin or a lingering aftertaste in their mouth.
How Long Does It Take for a Collagen Supplement to Work?
It’s hard to give an exact timeframe. Results vary; some users will see results in as little as a week. Others may take a bit longer. It comes down to their body’s ability to absorb the protein and the reason for use.
If taking collagen via supplement, most users will usually begin to notice a difference by the time they finish a typical 30-day supply. Some may notice results before then; others may have to start their second bottle/package before seeing a difference.
In any case, don’t expect a profound transformation overnight. Noticeable changes will occur on a gradual basis. Be patient and allow ample time for your body to adjust.
Only Use Trusted Supplements
Yes, collagen supplements do work; however, this does not apply across the board to all supplements. Only the ones that use the purest organic sources with zero synthetic derivatives are reliable. Total Collagen is one of the few supplements that meets all these benchmarks.
If making broth is too painstaking of a process (it is for most people), then make Total Collagen a daily implementation in your diet.
Does Brand/Price Equal Better Quality?
Do you just go with the first product you see with “collagen” slapped on the label? Does the supplement manufacturer matter? How about the price? Do you get more bang for your buck with the more expensive brands?
Not all supplements are created equal. As for supplement manufacturer, the better name brand does not necessarily equate to a better product. Ditto for the price; more expensive products do not entail better quality. The bigger supplement names price their products higher in order to recuperate the higher marketing costs and endorsement payouts. Essentially, you’re paying more for the label. It’s the same when you buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It’s twice the cost of a cup of Joe from McDonald’s even though the coffee quality is about the same.
What’s in the Best Collagen Supplement?
When looking for a collagen supplement powder or pill, we recommend looking at the ingredients above all else. The best one should have certain ingredients and should also lack others. In any case, we believe in this golden rule with respects to any supplement: more is not better.
Obvious, the product needs to contain collagen, but not any kind will do. The collagen powder should contain a blend of collagen types 1, 2, and 3. These comprise about 90 percent of collagen in the human body. Avoid products that don’t list the type(s).
Furthermore, the best collagen is specific to the particular user. Why are you taking the collagen supplement in the first place? If you’re using it to bring relief to early arthritis symptoms or joint pain, then you need collagen type 2. If you’re experiencing skin rash breakouts (skin care problems) or digestion issues, then types 1 and 3 (these two are usually found together) are your best bet.
We believe a high-end collagen supplement, though, should contain types 1, 2, and 3 in a single product. Even if you’re mainly interested in, say, type 2 for your achy joints, you can only benefit by acquiring types 1 and 3 in the process.
Any Ingredients to Stay Away From?
Remember: more is not better.
With that in mind, there isn’t any one ingredient you must absolutely avoid. However, it’s never a good thing if the ingredients section reads like a laundry list. It means the product is rife with inactive ingredients. Most of these are in the form of compounds with complex scientific names. You can’t help but to call out these for what they are: useless fillers. In lower quality supplements, if you were to remove the fillers, you would see very little in the way of active ingredients.
Ideally, the best ones should have nothing beyond the active ingredients or one or two inactive ingredients at the most.
This isn’t to say, though, that supplements should never contain secondary ingredients. Other additions are fine as long as they’re active ingredients, are all-natural, and have scientific research behind them.
The Quality of the Collagen
So far, we’ve established that the collagen supplement should contain multiple collagen types and little to no inactive ingredients. That’s not all, though. Collagen quality is just as important. Not all collagen sources are equally bioavailable. Poor bioavailability means very little of the collagen is absorbed by the body and ends up being dispelled through your urine and bowels.
Ideally, the collagen supplement should be in hydrolyzed form. The hydrolysis process is complex. In a nutshell, it means the collagen is pre-digested, or broken down into their smaller amino acids. This makes digestion far easier. Collagen, after all, is a protein, and protein is hard to digest due to its long molecular chains of amino acids.
If you’re interested in learning more about hydrolysis, read our past post on hydrolyzed collagen.
Collagen Protein Reviews
Product reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt. Reviewers may be affiliates or affiliates from a competing brand. Even legitimate reviewers may unfairly rate a product based on unrealistic expectations. Nevertheless, reviews shed insight into user experience. Collagen protein reviews with three to four-star ratings are usually the good ones to look at. These contain a good balance of pros and cons and don’t contain blind praise or over criticalness.
Be a Mindful Buyer
The best collagen powder meets the highest quality assurance. Once you filter out the ones that fall short, what you have left is a small handful of the top collagen supplements. We believe that Total Collagen is a top contender. It meets all of the aforementioned criteria. It’s pure collagen with multiple types and no fillers. Furthermore, the collagen is hydrolyzed for the highest bioavailability.