Many individuals are drawn to the idea of longer hair, diminished joint discomfort, and a slower emergence of wrinkles, prompting them to consider incorporating collagen into their daily routine. The realm of collagen supplements is experiencing steady growth, with people on TikTok mixing collagen powder into their morning coffee and celebrities extolling the virtues of collagen pills for that youthful radiance.

But what exactly is collagen? It’s a particular kind of protein known for its resilience and support, making it an ideal foundational element for connective tissues found in bones, tendons, and cartilage. While your body naturally produces collagen, the aging process causes a slowdown in its generation. According to a comprehensive review from 2022 published in Dermatology Practical and Conceptual, the aging process affects connective tissues by diminishing skin elasticity and collagen fibers, resulting in weakened skin that struggles to retain moisture. Manufacturers acquire collagen for oral supplements from sources like cattle, pigs, and marine organisms.

However, since most people aren’t inclined to chew on pig cartilage, collagen is available in four convenient forms: powder, capsules, liquid, and as an ingredient in food. With an array of options that can be mixed, blended, sipped, or eaten, we’re here to guide you through the optimal methods of taking collagen, along with the advantages and drawbacks of each approach.

1- Collagen Powder

Among the various forms of collagen, collagen powders, often referred to as collagen peptides, stand out as the most popular, as per the findings of Grand View Research. These collagen peptides are essentially hydrolyzed collagen, which means it has been broken down to enhance digestibility.

Collagen powder can be seamlessly incorporated into juices, smoothies, and even plain water. However, when it comes to beverages like coffee and tea, opinions differ on whether mixing collagen powder with hot liquids is advisable. There’s a concern that high temperatures might compromise the quality of the supplement. Yet, it’s worth noting that the process of developing collagen supplements exposes these proteins to elevated temperatures for hydrolyzation. A study from 2014, featured in Drug Design, Development and Therapy, discussed how combining collagen with coffee could potentially impact its effectiveness. However, it’s important to recognize that this was a laboratory study conducted on cells, and it specifically examined the influence of caffeine. Further research is necessary to definitively determine if incorporating collagen powder into hot beverages is a beneficial practice.

Collagen powder opens up the possibility of enhancing your regular drinks with added functionality. Through a simple blend, mix, or stir, these powders can be seamlessly integrated into your beverage of choice due to their neutral taste. For those seeking better hydration, collagen might offer an avenue to increase fluid intake for improved overall health. Beyond beverages, collagen can be effortlessly integrated into foods such as yogurt, cereal, ice cream, and spreads. Unflavored collagen powder, without a doubt, boasts the greatest versatility for adding to a variety of foods.

It’s important to acknowledge that introducing protein powder to your food or drink could potentially alter its texture, consistency, or flavor, which can vary depending on the brand. Generally, collagen powder dissolves rapidly in both hot and cold liquids, although certain types may tend to clump. To mitigate clumping and ensure a smoother consumption experience, a blender, whisk, frother, or shaker bottle can prove useful. For some individuals, powdered collagen might seem a bit less convenient due to the requirement of pairing it with a food or beverage, and if this aspect doesn’t align with your preferences, capsules might offer a more suitable solution for your lifestyle.

VersatileTexture changes
Portable (sticks)Clump-prone
Potential for hydrationLess convenient
Sustainable packaging (some)May be expensive

2- Collagen Capsules

For those who prioritize simplicity, some collagen enthusiasts opt for a more straightforward format that can be conveniently stored in a weekly pill organizer. Collagen capsules contain powdered collagen within each individual capsule.

When it comes to selecting the ideal method for integrating collagen into your routine, convenience takes center stage. Embracing collagen as a part of your daily regimen becomes exceptionally hassle-free with capsules. What’s more, if you’re sensitive to flavors, capsules are an excellent choice as they possess no discernible taste and can be swiftly ingested, even on the most hectic days. Whether you’re on a work-related trip or managing household responsibilities, a few swallows of water are all you need to down these capsules efficiently.

However, it’s worth noting that due to size limitations of certain capsules, the recommended serving might surpass your comfort level for daily intake. Depending on the brand, you might find yourself consuming three to six collagen capsules to fulfill the prescribed dose. This scenario could potentially lead to a quicker depletion of your collagen supply.

PortableLarge serving size needed
FlavorlessMay be expensive
Easy to ingestLess absorbable

3- Collagen Liquid

Liquid collagen is available in several variations, including concentrated forms that can be mixed with water, or ready-to-consume options that can be taken in the form of a shot, typically one tablespoon at a time.

For those who grapple with swallowing pills or harbor apprehensions about them, opting for a liquid alternative could be the ideal solution for incorporating collagen into your routine. Liquid collagen products often come equipped with a 1-mL dropper or have a recommended serving size ranging from 1 to 2 tablespoons, ensuring a swift consumption process. Concentrated variants necessitate blending with water, which not only aids in collagen intake but also helps you edge closer to achieving your hydration targets.

It’s important to note that liquid collagen formulas frequently incorporate an array of additional components, including vitamins, minerals, fruit extracts, herbal extracts, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives. If you possess sensitivities to any of these ingredients, it’s crucial to verify the safety of the liquid product. Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that some individuals who opt for liquid collagen express mixed sentiments about the taste of various variants. As a result, it’s important to consider that these diverse formulations might introduce a range of flavors, either positively or negatively impacting your experience.

PortableLimited amount of collagen per serving
Fast ingestionPotential additives
Potential for hydrationMay be expensive

4- Collagen Sourced from Food

One of the key factors driving the prominence of bone broth across your social media channels is its reputation as one of the most abundant natural sources of collagen. When it comes to collagen content, beef and pork bone broth reign supreme. Another avenue to harness the advantages of this hair, skin, and nail-supporting nutrient is through chicken, including its skin.

To be honest, supplements can put a strain on your wallet, especially when a single dose requires six capsules, leading to frequent trips to replenish your stock. Opting for collagen-rich foods might be a pragmatic approach to incorporating collagen into your daily routine, and it’s worth noting that the individuals sharing your home can also derive benefits from the collagen-infused culinary delights in your kitchen. It’s no surprise that these collagen-rich edibles deliver essential nutrients like B vitamins, calcium, and vitamin A. This influx of nutrients plays a collaborative role in supporting your body’s collagen production—a true team effort. Furthermore, foods abundant in vitamin C, such as berries, bell peppers, and broccoli, contribute to your body’s natural collagen synthesis.

Nonetheless, while quality sources of collagen from food hold merit, they might not match the concentrated collagen levels achievable through oral supplements. If the primary aim is to elevate your skin or joint well-being, your optimal choice could very well be collagen powder, capsules, or liquid, offering a more potent concentration of this vital nutrient for your wellness journey.

May be more affordableCollagen amounts vary
NutritiousMust be prepared
Natural sourcesLess convenient