The Best Collagen Peptides Supplements

The Best Collagen Peptides Supplements

Emily Alexander, FNTP Emily Alexander, FNTP
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You probably recognize collagen peptides as an ingredient in many of the protein bars available at your favorite health food store, as an ingredient in your favorite face lotion, as a powdered supplement at the grocery store, or something that your favorite instagram guru adds to their coffee every morning. But what really is this popular, mystery supplement? It has been gaining popularity in the wellness world and you might be wondering whether it’s worth the hype and worth your money. 

Good news, you’re in the right place! Keep reading to learn more about what collagen peptides are, their benefits, who should take them, what to look for, and Curated Wellness’ top picks.

  • What are collagen peptides?
  • Collagen benefits
  • Who should supplement with collagen peptides?
  • What to look for in collagen petides
  • Curated’s Top 5 Collagen Picks

What are collagen peptides? 

Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins that exists throughout the entire body.  It has many important roles and functions, and is one of the body’s major building blocks for skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, teeth, eyes, and blood vessels. 

If collagen had an elevator pitch, it would tell you that some of its most important roles include providing structure and elasticity to the skin, supporting the integrity of the gastrointestinal lining, strengthening cartilage, and supporting blood clotting. These roles highlight exactly how important it is to support your collagen levels, which can be accomplished through diet, lifestyle, and appropriate supplementation

You might be surprised to learn that there are actually sixteen different types of collagen present in the body, and each has its own slightly specific role in maintaining health. Of these sixteen types, there are four main types of collagen present in the human body. These include: type I, type II, type III, and type IV.

woman doing skincare routine
Type I Collagen 

Type I collagen is the most abundant form of collagen present in the body and provides structural support for connective tissue, skin, bones, teeth, and tendons. It supports wound healing by strengthening the skin and giving it that stretchy quality. This type of collagen also helps to form bones and is also found within the GI tract.

Type II Collagen

Type II collagen is found in the cartilage that supports your joints. Joint health relies on healthy cartilage levels, which is why supplementing with type II collagen is a great way to decrease the risk of joint pain related disorders.

person holding kneeType III Collagen

Type III collagen provides structural support to the body’s muscles and organs. It also helps to form the blood vessels and tissue present within the heart. This type is also frequently found with type I collagen, which means that it is also important for healthy skin elasticity.

Type IV Collagen

Type IV collagen is most abundantly found in the skin. It has the important job of supporting the cells that form tissue surrounding important muscles and organs, and supports healthy nerve function. Type IV collagen is present from the very top layer of our skin all the way to the deepest layers of our tissue.  

What are the benefits of supplementing with collagen peptides? 

Collagen supplements continue to gain popularity as a dietary supplement, and there are many benefits associated with choosing to supplement with collagen peptides. 

For starters, collagen is easily absorbed by the body as its processing breaks down the large protein peptides into smaller peptides, making it a great source of protein for those who struggle with digestive distress. Individuals who struggle with leaky gut syndrome, also known as increased intestinal permeability, would likely benefit from supplementing with collagen peptides and the structural supporting properties. Consistent collagen supplementation provides the gastrointestinal lining with the adequate levels of collagen necessary for cellular and connective tissue formation. Supporting these natural body processes helps to decrease the amount and size of the gaps present between the connective tissue in a “leaky gut”, and decreases the amount of pathogens or food particles that are able to pass through the lining and into the bloodstream. This provides the gastrointestinal system with the ability to better absorb important vitamins and minerals from the food you eat, and decreases the likelihood of potential disease development down the road.

Collagen is often found in many skin and beauty products, and may help to lessen the appearance of wrinkles and lines, especially when combined with health supporting dietary and lifestyle choices. Research has found that consistent supplementation with collagen peptides resulted in improvements in skin elasticity and overall appearance, based on participant self-reports. Other skin benefits include improved skin moisture, less dryness, and less skin roughness. This makes collagen one of the best, natural skin boosting products we have available! The best part? There are minimal side effects of supplementing with collagen.

Supplementing with collagen may also help to slow the progression of arthritis, as it is one of the main building blocks of cartilage, bones, connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen acts as a gel-like glue that covers and holds the bones together, allowing us to move easily without pain. Not only does it help the joints to move more easily, it also reduces the risk of joint deterioration and reduces pain that is often associated with aging. Research shows that collagen may be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis and other joint pain and disorders.

Collagen peptides may be beneficial in supporting muscle growth in active individuals and have been shown to lessen recovery time from an injury. However, it is important to understand that collagen is not a complete protein. When compared to other protein sources (such as a whey protein powder or multi-source vegan protein powder), collagen is lacking in two essential amino acids: tryptophan and leucine. Although this means that it might not be a great replacement for your post workout shake, or as a dietary source of protein, it would likely still be a beneficial addition to your supplement regime. 

woman with sun on her faceWho would benefit from supplementing with collagen peptides? 

It’s likely that anyone would benefit from supplementing with collagen, there are so many benefits! There are some populations, however, that might benefit even more greatly than others. For example, as we age, collagen production naturally decreases which makes supplementing with collagen even more important for the aging population. 

In addition to age, there are other dietary and lifestyle factors that contribute to poor collagen levels and make supplementation a beneficial choice. These include:

  • Overconsumption of highly processed foods, specifically those containing high amounts of sugar or processed carbohydrates.

  • Smoking cigarettes and other tobacco related products. Wrinkles and impaired wound healing are often an outcome associated with tobacco use, and this is due to the reduction in collagen production as a result of smoking.

  • Excessive exposure to sunshine and ultraviolet rays. Getting too much sun exposure reduces collagen production, thus decreasing collagen levels.

What to look for in collagen peptides? 

Collagen is naturally found in the connective tissues of animals and animal based foods. The most abundant dietary sources of collagen include bone broth, beef, chicken skin, fish skin, and pork skin.

When it comes to a collagen supplement, there are a few key components that you want to look for when choosing the right one for you: sourcing, quality, and absorption.

Sourcing

As with any supplement, it is important to choose supplements that come from a company that values sustainable sourcing and transparency. Words to look out for on packaging include “grass-fed” or “pasture-raised” when referring to bovine collagen peptides (sourced from cows), or “sustainably caught” when referring to marine collagen peptides.

Quality

The quality of a collagen peptide supplement is directly linked to the sourcing practices, so ensuring you are supporting brands with sustainable sourcing practices is the first step in ensuring the quality of your supplement. Additionally, checking the label for any unknown fillers, flavors, or preservatives is important to make sure you are not unknowingly supplementing with any harmful ingredients.

Absorption

To optimize absorption, there are a few things to keep in mind. To start, choose collagen supplements that are either labeled as “collagen peptides” or “hydrolyzed collagen”. This means that the collagen has been broken down into smaller, more absorbable units, and boosts the effectiveness of your supplement.

In order to be properly synthesized and absorbed, collagen also needs specific vitamins and minerals to increase absorption. These include vitamin C, copper, the amino acids proline and glycine. This could be easily achieved through supplement form or by choosing to include foods rich in these nutrients throughout your day.

Curated's Best Collagen Peptides

1. Vital Proteins Beef Collagen Peptides

Vital Proteins is one of the leading companies currently dominating the collagen peptide space. This is number one on the list as their collagen peptides powder is sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine. This ensures a high-quality and sustainable source of collagen protein, that you can rest assured is some of the best quality you could possibly buy. 

Vital Proteins Beef is a great option for those who do not avoid animal proteins and are looking for a highly absorbable form of collagen. It comes in a convenient powdered form that can be easily mixed into hot or cold beverages, and may also be used in things like smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, or baked goods for an added protein boost.

Finally, this collagen peptide comes in at 20 grams per serving which is higher than many other collagen products on the market. This makes it a great option for those who might struggle to digest or consume enough protein throughout the day.

2. Vital Proteins Marine Collagen Peptides

Another Vital Proteins option, this is number two on the list. Marine collagen is a highly absorbable form of collagen and a great option for those who avoid meat-based animal products, whether by choice or necessity. Vital Protein’s Marine Collagen is made from the scales of wild-caught white fish, caught right off of the coast of Alaska. Their collagen is non-GMO and unflavored, and is also void of any unwanted fillers and ingredients

When compared to other forms, like bovine collagen, marine collagen contains higher amounts of the amino acids Glycine and Proline, which benefit tissue health and support the structure of collagen.

This collagen peptide is slightly lower in protein than its bovine counterparts, but is equally as versatile and suitable for those following a pescatarian diet. It can be added to hot or cold beverages, added to baked goods, or mixed into smoothies or stews. And we should note, it's unflavored so no fishy taste here!

3. Vital Nutrients Marine Collagen

Vital Nutrients Marine Collagen is another sustainable option that is composed of types I & III collagen. The benefits of these types include supporting healthy tissue, supporting skin elasticity and hydration, promoting the growth of hair, skin and nails and supporting overall joint health and bone strength. Vital Nutrients sources their collagen from wild-caught, deep-sea fish, and is a great option for those who struggle to eat enough fish in their regular diet.

This is a great Marine Collagen supplement as it is non-GMO, gluten-free, contains no additives, preservatives, or sulfites, and is hormone and antibiotic-free.

For those who are especially sensitive or struggle to digest meat based products, marine collagen is a great option. Collagen is an important component of the connective tissue that lines the digestive tract, and consistent supplementation with marine based collagen may help to support the protective lining of the gut.

4. Garden of Life Collagen Beauty

Garden of Life Collagen Beauty combines plant-based properties and grass-fed bovine collagen for a unique collagen peptide supplement. Their bovine collagen is composed of type I (found in hair, skin, and nails) and type III (found in skin, muscles, and blood vessels), which creates a highly absorbable formula for collagen peptides. 

In addition to the collagen, Collagen Beauty also includes vitamin C, Silica, and Biotin in their formula making this a great option for those looking for more the more topical related benefits of collagen peptides. Vitamin C and silica are both important cofactors for the production and absorption of collagen, while biotin is well known for its hair and nail boosting benefits.

In addition to their Collagen Beauty, garden of life also offers a few other collagen products on their line, each designed with a different need in mind. For those looking for a flavored option, Garden of Life’s products are all formulated with delicious flavor combinations, using only natural ingredients. A win-win for us!

5. Douglas Labs Hydrolyzed Collagen Plus

Rounding out the list is Douglas Labs’ Hydrolyzed Collagen Plus. This is a unique formula designed to target skin and joint health. Their hydrolyzed bovine peptides are designed to be easily digestible, and specifically target the health of your skin.  

Their blend includes hyaluronic acid, a substance that increases the body’s ability to produce and synthesize collagen, which increases the effectiveness of your supplement. In addition, they also include important cofactors that support healthy collagen production and joint health. These include vitamin C, which supports connective tissue formation, and copper and zinc to support the strength of collagen links.

This formula comes in a powdered, flavorless form and is easily dissolvable in cold or warm liquid, smoothies, yogurts, and other versatile food options.

Identifying the right type of collagen peptide supplement for you can be confusing and frankly overwhelming. Not sure where to start? We are here to help. Our team of trained Nutritional Therapy Practitioners are armed with the knowledge you need, and are ready to help you choose the best collagen peptide option for you. Schedule an appointment today with one of our Curated Practitioners.  


About the Author:

Emily Alexander, M.Ed, FNTP—Emily is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner with Curated Wellness. She is passionate about supporting others in their journey to improve their relationship with food and their body through gentle nutrition, and is a firm believer that understanding the bio-individual components of nutrition is one of the best ways to do so. Emily completed her Master’s of education in health education and promotion with a concentration in eating disorders, and draws from both her educational background and life experience to help her clients improve their energy, understand their bodies, boost their athletic potential, and break down diet myths one at a time. Read more about Emily.

The information presented on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Statements within this site have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This content is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any specific condition or disease, nor is it medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise. Readers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health conditions or concerns. One should always consult a qualified medical professional before engaging in any dietary and/or lifestyle change or new health program. Curated Wellness does not take responsibility for any health consequences of any person or persons following the information in this educational content. 

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