What are the best collagen supplements on the market today? If you shop at your local GNC or via Amazon, you’ll find quite a few collagen-based products. It can be difficult to sort the high-quality brands from the ones that are borderline snake oil. To help you out with the filtering process, we’ll list the hallmarks of the best ones here.
Do you just go with the first product you see with “collagen” slapped on the label? Does the supplement manufacturer matter? How about the price? Do you get more bang for your buck with the more expensive brands?
Not all supplements are created equal. As for supplement manufacturer, the better name brand does not necessarily equate to a better product. Ditto for the price; more expensive products do not entail better quality. The bigger supplement names price their products higher in order to recuperate the higher marketing costs and endorsement payouts. Essentially, you’re paying more for the label. It’s the same when you buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It’s twice the cost of a cup of Joe from McDonald's even though the coffee quality is about the same.
When looking for a collagen supplement powder or pill, we recommend looking at the ingredients above all else. The best one should have certain ingredients and should also lack others. In any case, we believe in this golden rule with respects to any supplement: more is not better.
Obvious, the product needs to contain collagen, but not any kind will do. The collagen powder should contain a blend of collagen types 1, 2, and 3. These comprise about 90% of collagen in the human body. Avoid products that don’t list the type(s).
Furthermore, the best collagen is specific to the particular user. Why are you taking the collagen supplement in the first place? If you’re using it to bring relief to early arthritis symptoms or joint pain, then you need collagen type 2. If you’re experiencing skin rash breakouts (skin care problems) or digestion issues, then types 1 and 3 (these two are usually found together) are your best bet.
To determine the most suitable type of collagen for you, see our post where we explain the different collagen types and the benefits of collagen.
We believe a high-end collagen supplement, though, should contain types 1, 2, and 3 in a single product. Even if you’re mainly interested in, say, type 2 for your achy joints, you can only benefit by acquiring types 1 and 3 in the process.
Remember: more is not better.
With that in mind, there isn’t any one ingredient you must absolutely avoid. However, it’s never a good thing if the ingredients section reads like a laundry list. It means the product is rife with inactive ingredients. Most of these are in the form of compounds with complex scientific names. You can’t help but to call out these for what they are: useless fillers. In lower quality supplements, if you were to remove the fillers, you would see very little in the way of active ingredients.
Ideally, the best ones should have nothing beyond the active ingredients or one or two inactive ingredients at the most.
This isn’t to say, though, that supplements should never contain secondary ingredients. Other additions are fine as long as they’re active ingredients, are all-natural, and have scientific research behind them.
So far, we’ve established that the collagen supplement should contain multiple collagen types and little to no inactive ingredients. That’s not all, though. Collagen quality is just as important. Not all collagen sources are equally bioavailable. Poor bioavailability means very little of the collagen is absorbed by the body and ends up being dispelled through your urine and bowels.
Ideally, the collagen supplement should be in hydrolyzed form. The hydrolysis process is complex. In a nutshell, it means the collagen is pre-digested, or broken down into their smaller amino acids. This makes digestion far easier. Collagen, after all, is a protein, and protein is hard to digest due to its long molecular chains of amino acids.
If you’re interested in learning more about hydrolysis, read our past post on hydrolyzed collagen.
Product reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt. Reviewers may be affiliates or affiliates from a competing brand. Even legitimate reviewers may unfairly rate a product based on unrealistic expectations. Nevertheless, reviews shed insight into user experience. Collagen protein reviews with three to four-star ratings are usually the good ones to look at. These contain a good balance of pros and cons and don’t contain blind praise or over criticalness.
The best collagen powder meets the highest quality assurance. Once you filter out the ones that fall short, what you have left is a small handful of the top collagen supplements. We believe that Total Collagen is a top contender. It meets all of the aforementioned criteria. It’s pure collagen with multiple types and no fillers. Furthermore, the collagen is hydrolyzed for the highest bioavailability.
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