You’ve decided you want to invest in a good collagen supplement. Congratulations! Collagen is fantastic for improving many of your body’s functions. Unfortunately, you’ll soon realize how difficult it can be to distinguish between the best collagen products and the subpar ones.
So, how do you choose the best collagen products for your needs?
First, you need to identify what you are using a collagen supplement to achieve.
Are you trying to lose or maintain weight?
Are you working towards specific fitness goals?
Maybe you simply know that your natural collagen production decreases as you age and you want to make sure your body is functioning properly.
Whatever the reason, learning how to tell the difference between high quality collagen and some of the smoke and mirrors in the health and wellness industry can be a real battle.
To help you navigate your decision making process, we’ve put together a few of our top tips for choosing the best collagen products.
But before we get to the nitty gritty of how to find the best collagen products, you need to know a bit more about what exactly collagen is and, when it is in a supplement, what collagen is made of.
What is collagen?
Collagen is derived from animal protein, and we naturally make collagen in our body. As we age, our natural collagen production decreases year after year. That’s why, by the time we get to our mid-twenties, we begin to notice some changes in how fast we recover from a workout or in our skin elasticity.
Like most proteins, collagen is made up of a variety of amino acids. In its natural form, collagen protein is not a complete protein because it does not contain all nine of the essential amino acids.
Some collagen supplements, like ProT Gold, are fortified with the missing amino acids to make the supplement a complete protein.
The reason that collagen is only derived from animal proteins is because it is the protein found in connective tissues. Collagen is an essential building block of our cartilage, muscle tissues, skin, blood vessels, and more.
Although it is widely marketed as a beauty supplement, collagen has many other health benefits because of how abundant of a protein it is in the human body.
There are several different types of collagen, each one having a more specific function with different parts of the body. Without going too far down the rabbit hole, although there are five types of collagen found in the human body, there are only three that are used within the supplement industry:
- Type I: Around 90% of all collagen found in the human body is Type I Collagen. It is found within your skin, cartilage, bones, and tendons.
- Type II: Primarily found within your cartilage.
- Type III: Is often combined with Type I collagen in supplements, and is found within your muscles, organs, blood vessels, and arteries.
No matter what type of collagen you take, it can be beneficial to you. Collagen is a protein that is essential to your overall health. It is often thought of as the “glue” that keeps your body together because it is what makes up a lot of your connective tissues.
So, taking any type of collagen supplement, whether it is Type I, Type II, Type III or some combination of the three, will be beneficial for your body. But is it necessary for you to take?
Do you need to take a collagen supplement?
Is taking a collagen supplement necessary for you to live a healthy life? Well, that is a very subjective question, and the answers will vary across the board.
The answer you give to this question will help you as you narrow down your collagen supplement choices. In all honesty, the number one thing to figure out when looking for the best collagen products is to identify your personal health needs and goals.
What we mean by that is, you need to decide why you need or want to take a collagen supplement.
Making this decision may not be an independent one, as collagen is often used as a supplement in medical nutrition therapy. It’s also common for a doctor to prescribe the use of collagen after a surgery or for other medical conditions.
If you are strictly looking at collagen as a way to improve your skin or hair health versus as a way to help you build muscle mass, the best collagen products will vary accordingly.
Referring back to the types of collagen can help drive your decision as you narrow down your needs. Then, moving forward, you can use our top four tips below to make the final decision.
Our top 4 tips for choosing the best collagen product
The best collagen products for you may be very different from the best collagen products for someone else. To find the right collagen supplement for your needs, figuring out the intention behind why you are taking a collagen supplement is the first place to start.
After you’ve decided the reasoning for your collagen supplement, and determined what type could help you reach your goals, you can follow these four tips to find the perfect collagen supplement for you.
1. Pay attention to the ingredient label
Did you know that supplements are not regulated in the same way that food products or pharmaceutical drugs? In fact, the FDA does not regulate most supplements at all.
Yes, you read that right!
Since the FDA does not strictly regulate the majority of supplements on the market, that also means that there are very few limitations as far as labeling goes. When you are looking for a collagen supplement, you should pay close attention to the ingredients and the supplement label.
To make an educated decision on the best collagen products for you, you need to know how to read nutrition labels. Once you’ve learned to distinguish between the nutrition labels we are familiar with on food labels, we can start to identify the nuances on supplement labels as well.
Trustworthy supplement companies will list every single one of their ingredients and disclose all of the information necessary to the consumer.
No matter the collagen product or protein supplement, always check to make sure that there are no unnecessary additives or fillers within the product.
A lot of us will decide on a protein supplement based on the taste and convenience. While these are important considerations, do not be deceived by flavor alone.
Many collagen products contain high levels of sugar and other additives to enhance the flavor, many of which end up being bad for your overall health. This could counteract the benefits for taking a health supplement in the first place!
2. Find out if your collagen supplement is clinically tested
Since the majority of supplements have little to no regulation, it can be hard to know who to trust. So, when shopping for the best collagen products, look for the ones that have scientific evidence to back them up.
Not all collagen products have the science to back up their claims, so be attentive to which companies have evidence to back up their health benefit claims and which ones do not. No matter the product you buy, company transparency is the key to building trust with a consumer.
Look not only for transparent nutrition and supplement labels, but also for open and honest marketing – alongside scientific evidence that builds your trust in the collagen product.
3. Figure out the absorption rate of the collagen
One of the most important (but most overlooked) aspects of choosing the best collagen products is the absorption rate. The absorption rate of collagen is essentially how much of the supplement is actually being digested, processed, and used within your body.
When collagen is in the whole form, it is too big for the human body to break down efficiently enough to reap all of the benefits we want from it. That’s why we recommend always looking for a collagen supplement that is hydrolyzed or, even better, nano-hydrolyzed.
Hydrolyzed collagen has gone through the process of hydrolysis that breaks the protein molecules down into smaller pieces without compromising their nutritional value. The smaller pieces make the collagen proteins easier for your body to absorb.
Collagen that is nano-hydrolyzed has gone through the process of hydrolysis multiple times, making the molecules even smaller, and more absorbable.
If you see the words “nano-hydrolyzed” or “collagen peptide protein” on your collagen supplement, that’s a good sign that your body will easily be able to digest and use the collagen.
Other factors in absorption rate come down to specific collagen products. For instance, ProT Gold liquid collagen is not only nano-hydrolyzed, it also contains a digestive enzyme to make it easy for your body to break down.
In fact, it only takes your body 15 minutes to fully digest ProT Gold!
Having a bio-available and hydrolyzed collagen supplement ensures that you are reaping all the benefits of your collagen, and also reduces digestive issues you might find with whole-protein collagen supplements since it is easier for your stomach to digest.
4. Read verified customer reviews of the supplement
The final, and maybe the most important, tip we have for choosing the best collagen products is to read verified customer reviews of the product very carefully.
We want to stress that these need to be verified reviews. What that means is that there has been a verified purchase by the person leaving the review.
Unfortunately, some companies do write reviews themselves at times or they pay people to do so. There are a lot of fake or dishonest reviews out there on the internet, so you might not be getting a clear picture of the product at hand.
It’s important to find honest reviews so that you know exactly what to expect with your new collagen supplement.
Most collagen supplements cost a decent amount of money, and people see it as an investment in their health, so they are expecting a quality product. Whether the product disappoints them or it surpasses their expectations, that customer is likely to leave a review.
No matter how good a product’s marketing team is, you can almost always find the most truthful and reliable information about a collagen supplement or product from their verified customer reviews.
Find the best collagen supplement for you
Armed with this information on the best types of collagen, you should be able to find the perfect collagen supplement for your needs.
As long as you do a little research, read reviews and labels carefully, and look for hydrolyzed collagen products, you should be well on your way to finding the best collagen for your body.