With so many types of collagen on the market, and so many touted benefits, you may be wondering the best way to take collagen. Is there the best form of collagen to take? Does it lose effectiveness if you put it in coffee? Are there any side effects to worry about?
Today we will answer all those questions and more so you learn the best way to take collagen effectively. We will examine the different types of collagen, what form of collagen is best, when to take collagen, how much to take, and how to find the best supplement for your needs.
Before we get into the best way to take collagen to reap all its amazing benefits for your body, let’s briefly discuss the different types of collagen you can take.
Types of collagen
What is collagen? It’s the most abundant protein in your body, and its job is to provide structure, strength, and flexibility to your connective tissues.
There are an estimated 28 types of collagen in your body, but when it comes to supplements, you will usually find Type I, Type II, and Type III collagen.
What do those mean?
Type I collagen makes up 90% of your body’s collagen. That’s why it’s so popular in supplements – your body needs a lot of it! Type I collagen is found in your skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.
Type II collagen is found in your cartilage and provides cushion for your joints. Studies show that Type II collagen can successfully reduce arthritis symptoms in your joints.
Type III collagen is found in your skin and organs. It is most often used for gut health and muscle building.
To be honest, when figuring out the best way to take collagen, the type is a lot less important than the form. That’s because, as long as you have a high-quality supplement, your body can break down and reform the collagen protein into the type of collagen it currently needs!
Even if you have a Type I or Type III collagen supplement, you can still receive joint support if you take it as a daily supplement.
So what is the best form of collagen to take? Let’s take a look.
Forms of collagen you can take
Here are some of the forms of collagen you can find in stores:
If you walk into a beauty department, you will most likely see collagen products. While collagen certainly has lots of benefits for your skin, is topical collagen really the best way to take collagen?
The answer is: NO.
There is no current research showing that topical collagen is effective for collagen synthesis. While the product might hydrate your skin, the collagen molecules are too large to truly penetrate through the layers of your skin.
If you want to see the best results from your collagen product, the best way to take collagen is to ingest it.
Collagen in food
So, if it’s better to ingest your collagen, is the best way to take collagen through your food?
While it’s great to increase your collagen intake through your diet, you are going to run into a similar issue to topical collagen. Collagen protein in its whole form is difficult to digest. While you will still receive some benefits from eating collagen-rich foods, a lot of the collagen will be passed through your digestive tract before your body can absorb it.
So it’s great to get collagen from your diet, but that isn’t the best way to take collagen.
If you want to get more collagen from food, it’s a good idea to eat more:
- Bone broth
- Skin-on chicken
- Gummy candies that contain gelatin
You can also eat more collagen boosters, which can naturally boost your body’s collagen production. Some collagen boosters include:
- Fruits high in vitamin C
- Aloe vera
- Bell peppers
Now that we’ve determined that neither topical collagen nor collagen from food is the best way to take collagen, let’s take a look at collagen supplements.
There are generally three forms you can get collagen supplements in: pills, powder, and liquid collagen. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.
You can find many collagen pills on the shelves these days, and they can be in tablet or capsule form.
Pros: tasteless, convenient, portable
The biggest benefit of taking collagen in pill form is convenience. Pills generally don’t have any flavor, and you can pop them back at any time with a swig of water.
Cons: poor absorption, small serving size
Many collagen pills contain hardly any collagen. If you want to get your daily dose, you may be popping back 6+ horse pills a day! In addition, the coating on pills makes them harder for your body to absorb than collagen powder or liquid collagen.
As such, we don’t think pills are the best way to take collagen, but if they work best for you, then go for it!
Collagen powder is easy to absorb (as long as it is hydrolyzed). We’ll talk about hydrolyzed collagen a little later! Collagen powder is a favorite of many, but there are pros and cons to this form of collagen.
Pros: easily absorbed, can be mixed with other foods
A hydrolyzed collagen powder will be easy for your body to digest and absorb. It can also be mixed into coffee, smoothies, protein shakes, or your yogurt!
Cons: less convenient
Collagen powder needs to be mixed with something in order to ingest it. This can be a hassle for some people. It can also be difficult to mix the powder thoroughly, and if you end up with clumps on the side of your glass or shaker, it can be difficult to get the proper dose.
The last form of collagen we will discuss is liquid collagen. Liquid collagen can be pre-made into drinks, or come on its own!
Pros: convenient, easily absorbed
Hydrolyzed liquid collagen is incredibly easy for your body to absorb. You can buy it in a big ready-to-drink bottle, or get single-serve packets that are easy to throw in your pocket, purse, or gym bag and take on the go.
You don’t need to mix liquid collagen with anything to enjoy it, so we think it's the best way to take collagen for many people.
There really aren’t any cons with liquid collagen! Just make sure you’re getting your supplement from a reputable source.
Now that you have a good idea of the best way to take collagen based on type and form, let’s answer some of the most common questions about collagen supplementation – how much to take, when to take it, and how long it takes to work, and how to find a high quality product.
How much collagen should you take?
If you’re wondering: “How much collagen should I take each day?" There is no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on the supplement you are taking, your specific goals, your body weight, and many other factors.
If you are just looking to improve your skin, then a simple 5 to 8 grams up to three times daily should suffice.
But if you are hoping to boost muscle mass, improve joint health, or speed wound healing, you should shoot for between 10 to 15 grams of collagen up to three times a day.
Make sure to read the label on your supplement to learn the best way to take collagen from that company. You can also check with your doctor to make sure the dosage is right for you.
The good news is, it’s safe to take collagen over the recommended dose – you just won’t see any additional benefits. That’s because your body can only digest so much protein at once.
Since you can’t digest large amounts of protein, you might experience some digestive discomfort if you ignore the recommended dose of collagen.
When is the best time to take collagen?
Collagen is effective no matter what time of day you take it. So the best time to take collagen is whenever it’s most convenient for you!
Some people like to take it mixed in with their coffee first thing in the morning. Others prefer it in their post-workout protein shake. And many people like to take it right before bed. As long as you can find a time that works into your routine reliably, that's the best time to take collagen.
If you really want to learn the best way to take collagen, it has little to do with timing and more to do with the quality of your supplement and the consistency with which you take it.
How is collagen best absorbed?
As we discussed above, collagen in its whole form is difficult for your body to digest and absorb. That’s why the best way to take collagen is with a hydrolyzed collagen supplement.
Hydrolyzed collagen is collagen protein that has been broken down into tiny pieces through the process of hydrolysis. This chemical process makes the supplement much easier to digest.
If you’re wondering what the difference is between collagen peptides vs hydrolyzed collagen, there isn’t one! Collagen peptides and hydrolyzed collagen are the exact same thing, so if you see either phrase on your label the product should be more bioavailable.
What is the best way to take collagen powder?
The best way to take collagen powder is mixed into a protein shake, glass of water, or cup of coffee. As we mentioned, you can do this at any time of day. The key is ensuring you have a supplement that dissolves fully and is easy to digest.
You will need to mix up your collagen powder very well to ensure you are getting the proper dosage. If clumps get stuck to the sides or bottom of your glass, you won’t be reaping all the benefits of your supplement.
As such, the best way to take collagen powder may be to ignore the powder altogether! For ease of use, we recommend liquid collagen supplements that don’t need to be mixed and can be added to any drink or even taken on their own.
In addition, you should make sure you are taking a hydrolyzed collagen supplement for proper absorption.
The very best way to take collagen
The very best way to take collagen is with a powder or liquid collagen supplement that has been hydrolyzed. Better yet, you can look for a product that is nano-hydrolyzed, which means it has gone through the process of hydrolysis multiple times.
ProT Gold hydrolyzed collagen protein is nano-hydrolyzed and proven to achieve complete absorption in just 15 minutes or less. With both powder and liquid options to choose between, you can find the collagen supplement that works best for you.