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October 11, 2021


Lindsay Delk, RDN
Making the Most of Your Collagen Supplement

Fact Checked By Lindsay Delk, RDN
 October 11, 2021

Making The Most Of Your Collagen Supplement

Collagen supplements have recently become extremely popular, and research has backed up many of the claims for collagen.

You may choose to start taking a collagen supplement for many reasons: your skin, hair, nails, joints, bones, muscles, or gut.

But now that you have decided to start taking a collagen supplement, you might feel overwhelmed with how to choose the right one and the best way to take it.

There are many decisions to make when choosing a collagen supplement.

Collagen supplements are available in capsules, gummies, or powder.

You have to consider the type of collagen, the source of the collagen, added flavoring or sweetener, and price.

And then you need to know the best way to make the most of your collagen supplement.

Let’s look at each of these considerations.

Sources of Collagen

The source of collagen is animals or fish, usually bovine (cow), porcine (pig), chicken, marine (fish), and even eggshell membranes.

Collagen is considered sustainable because it makes use of the bones, skin, and scales of the animal or fish, which would be wasted otherwise.

Some collagen supplements are marketed for vegans, but this is not true collagen.

Plants don’t even make collagen. True collagen only comes from animal sources.

Some collagen supplements are made from just one source while others contain a combination.

Choosing a multi collagen powder with collagen from different sources will provide a broad range of benefits.


Types of Collagen

There are many types of collagen, but the great majority of collagen in your body consists of types I, II, and III.

  • Type I collagen

Type I collagen is in your skin, tendons, and bones. It is usually considered the best type to take for your skin (1, 2).

Type I collagen levels begin to decrease in your body around 25 years old. Marine and bovine collagen are high in type I collagen.

  • Type II collagen

Type II collagen is the major component of your cartilage and bones and may be helpful for your skeletal system and joints (3).

It is the most common type for treating osteoarthritis and other joint pain. Chicken and bovine collagen are high in type II collagen.

  • Type III collagen

Type III collagen is usually found in your skin, blood vessels, and bone marrow (4, 5).

While different types of collagen possibly play different roles in your body, it might be best to use a supplement with a variety of types to get the most benefit in your body overall.

Forms of Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplements are available in capsules, gummies, and powder.

Collagen supplements in capsules and gummy form usually contain much less hydrolyzed collagen per serving than powder supplements.

So, you may need to take several doses throughout the day to get the same amount of collagen from a single serving of a powder supplement.

For this reason, collagen powder is the most popular form of collagen supplements.

What Is Hydrolyzed Collagen?

Collagen is a long protein chain.

Hydrolyzed collagen (also known as collagen hydrolysate and collagen peptides) is already broken down into smaller pieces of proteins.

This makes it more bioavailable and absorbed faster and more efficiently by your gut. It is wise to choose a supplement with hydrolyzed collagen.


An optimal dose for collagen has not been determined. Collagen supplement labels usually recommend anywhere from 5 to 20 g of collagen each day.

Eat Enough Vitamin C

Scurvy is a disease first noticed in sailors who were not able to eat fresh fruits and vegetables during long voyages.

It was discovered that scurvy was caused by a severe vitamin C deficiency.

But how is vitamin C related to collagen?

Vitamin C is required for collagen formation, so without adequate vitamin C, your body cannot make collagen (6).

Over time, this can lead to fatigue, bleeding gums, and loss of teeth (symptoms of scurvy).

As you can see, vitamin C plays an important role in the synthesis of collagen (7).

If you are taking a collagen supplement but don’t eat enough vitamin C, your body will not be able to use the collagen.

Make sure your diet is full of fresh fruits and vegetables or take a vitamin C supplement.

Safety of Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplements can be contaminated with heavy metals, such as mercury and titanium, so make sure you buy your collagen supplement from a reputable source.

It may also be important to you to look for a product that is ethically sourced, cruelty-free, and non-GMO.

Collagen supplements are considered very safe when taken as directed.

If you have a food allergy to fish or eggs, you should watch out for allergic reactions.

You should still check with your doctor before starting a collagen supplement or any type of supplement.

When and How to Take Your Collagen Supplement

Research does not show if collagen supplements are better to take with food or on an empty stomach.

It also doesn’t show that there is a best time of day to take the supplement. So, you can make the choice of when to take it and whether to take it with food or not.

Additives, Flavorings, and Sweeteners

If you want to add your collagen supplement to water, you may want a flavored or sweetened supplement powder.

But if you want more versatility, choose a collagen powder that is unflavored with no added sweetener. Then, you can add it to any liquid or soft food.

Way to Use Collagen Powder

  • Make a habit of adding it to your coffee each morning.
  • Mix it into your favorite smoothie or juice combinations.
  • Shake it into your protein shake with a shaker bottle.
  • Dissolve it into your hot or iced tea.
  • Add it to any other beverage, such as milk, hot chocolate, latte, or lemon water.
  • Beat it into your eggs before you make an omelet or scrambled eggs.
  • Stir it into your yogurt or oatmeal.
  • Cook it into your soups or sauces.
  • Bake it into your breads, pancakes, cookies, or other baked goods.

You may like to pick one way to use your collagen powder, such as in your morning coffee, and make it a daily habit.

But you may want to have some variety. Change up the different ways to get your daily amount.

Most people will not feel the effects of a collagen supplement immediately.

You may need to take a collagen supplement each day for 8–12 weeks to see results.

Just remember that the very best way to get your collagen is the way in which you will enjoy it and stick with it.