Collagen Protein: Is it Worth the Money & How to Maximize Use
Is collagen protein powder worth the money? If so, what do you need to know? Here's the clear answer you need to maximize use of America's new favorite supplement!
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body, found in connective tissues like our hair, skin, nails, ligaments, tendons & bones. Collagen production in our body starts to slow as we age, as early as our mid 20s.
Eating foods rich with collagen & supplementing with collagen protein powder can have the following benefits:
increase skin health, improved appearance of lines & wrinkles
support bone & joint health
support flexibility & strength of joints, ligaments & cartilage when we exercise
decrease symptoms & severity of bone & joint disorders, like arthritis
encourage our body to form new collagen
when taken with resistance training, can promote bone production & aid muscle growth, strength, recovery & performance (this strategy is explained below)
These foods are rich in collagen:
fish, organ meats, chicken & beef
egg yolk, spirulina
bone broth (The brand I recommend due to personally reviewing the product for quality, integrity & manufacturing processes is Kettle & Fire. They generously hook my clients & Team Valentine Project readers up with a discount if you use checkout code BREAKINGTHROUGHWELLNESS)
What should I look for if I want to select a good collagen powder?
Because supplements are not closely regulated in the U.S., look for “third party testing” on the label so you know what the company says is in the product is actually in the product.
Look for “hydrolyzed collagen”, which means it’s the form of collagen that our body can best digest & absorb.
Make sure if it comes from an animal source that it comes from “grass-fed” animals.
Read the label to make sure there is no added junk in the product, like fillers, gums, dyes, refined sugar or artificial sweeteners.
To maximize support for your body, look for a product with more than 1 collagen type. Here are 2 Biggest Bang for Your Buck brands:
Bulletproof Collagen contains Type 1 & Type 3 collagen from grass-fed cows, which support your skin, muscles, ligaments, teeth, etc. We can greatly benefit from selecting powders with more than one fiber type. Bulletproof is a high-quality brand with good manufacturing practices, third party testing & no added junk, dyes or fillers. My mom is a fan of the unflavored version to easily mix with other foods, water & support her rheumatoid arthritis.
Truvani Marine Collagen contains Type 1, 2 & 3 collagen, which has additional benefits for your eyes, cartilage & joints. This is the brand I personally use, as I want to include all 3 collagen types to maximize benefits. Truvani is another high-quality brand I have personally researched for good manufacturing practices, third party testing & no added junk, dyes or fillers.
How much should I take per day?
Benefits can take place at as little as 10g per day, with some studies showing up to 40g per day. I personally use 15g per day in addition to regular bone broth use, a nutritious diet & regularly eating other collagen-rich foods. Note, if you’re taking less, it’s likely not doing much for your body.
Biggest Bang for Your Buck Way to Use Collagen:
Take collagen powders 30 to 60 minutes prior to exercise if you’re looking for injury & muscle recovery benefits. This will maximize absorption by the body to repair tissue damaged from exercise. Also take your collagen with a vitamin C source to maximize absorption by your body. Ex: Take a collagen powder as a part of your pre-workout meal paired with any of the foods below.
Vitamin C Food Sources:
berries, like strawberries & blueberries
citrus fruits, like oranges
red peppers (red have the most compared to green & yellow because the more ripe a pepper, the more vitamin C)
chlorophyll found in greens like spinach, kale, collard greens
FAQ: Is it bad to put collagen in my coffee?
Protein, such as collagen, can become denatured when paired with heat. We want the breakdown of collagen to take place in our digestive tract so our body can absorb it, NOT in our coffee. If I wanted to maximize my body’s use of collagen I would not risk putting it into coffee. To be honest, I sometimes still mix it in my coffee when in a rush, but make sure it's not piping hot coffee. The bottom-line is when you factor in the cost of most high-quality collagen supplements, I would not want to do this often & risk compromising the integrity of what I invested in!
FAQ: What about collagen creamer & gummies?
My question back to you is, after what you just learned & read above, do you see at least 15 g of collagen in a hydrolyzed form & more than 1 collagen type on the label? Do you see no added sugar, dyes or fillers? It’s highly unlikely that you’re benefiting from use of a collagen creamer, right? Sorry if just offended your gummy loving soul :)
The Bottom-Line is: Collagen may be a useful supplement solution to support your specific body's needs & goals. When you use it, follow the tips above to get the most out of your money!
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