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You’ve likely seen the commercials on TV and in your social feeds: collagen peptides seem to be everywhere, and the market for these supplements is expected to continue to grow as people seek out new ways to improve their skin and overall health. If you’ve thought about trying them, you might be wondering how they are supposed to work.
Collagen is considered to be the most abundant protein in us, and it’s found all over our bodies. It’s in our internal organs, bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, skin and blood vessels. It helps provide elasticity and strength in our tissues, but as you age, you being to lose some of it, and it’s not as easy for your body to produce more.
According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly 30 types of collagen have been found throughout our bodies, but the three most common found in supplements are Types 1-3. Type 1 comes from bovine and fish and can be found in our bones, ligaments, tendons and skin for elasticity and strength. Type 2 is a type of cartilage and comes from chicken cartilage and joint. Type 3, sourced from bovine, is found alongside type 1 and is located in our skin, blood vessels and internal organs.
You can increase your collagen intake by eating more animal foods and bone broth, or by ingesting supplements. However, absorption from food may not be as efficient as with hydrolyzed collagen supplements, which contain small, broken-down bits of animal proteins.
What Are Collagen Peptides?
Hydrolyzed collagen peptides supplements come in capsule, liquid and powder forms, with the latter being the most popular.
Supplement companies tout many health benefits to taking collagen peptides. Research does show some benefits for skin elasticity and joint mobility and pain, but many of the studies have been small, according to The Nutrition Source at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
WebMD says collagen supplements are possibly effective for improving skin hydration and elasticity, and a recent meta-analysis in the International Journal of Dermatology found “favorable results of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation compared with placebo in terms of skin hydration, elasticity, and wrinkles” in the studies it tracked.
As you age, along with wrinkles, you are at increased risk of degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis. Some research has shown that collagen supplements may help improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and possibly reduce overall joint pain.
Though the Food and Drug Administration does not review supplements, including collagen peptides, research has suggested that 2.5 to 15 grams per day should be safe to use, and that the side effects of collagen peptides are rare (but still worth reading about). However, there isn’t enough data out there for pregnant or nursing mothers, so it’s best to avoid them if you fall into that category.
If you’re curious about trying a collagen peptide supplement, and would like to see for yourself if you notice a difference after taking it regularly, we’ve rounded up three highly-rated options available on Amazon.
With more than 173,000 ratings and an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars, Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder has a loyal following. It’s also the No. 1 Best Seller in Amazon’s Health & Household category. This soluble supplement is designed to be easy to digest and flavorless, and can be used in both hot and cold liquids. Vital Proteins says hyaluronic acid and vitamin C are added to help promote collagen production, increase hair, skin and nail health and support the immune system. This product doesn’t contain any added sugars or sweeteners and is dairy- and gluten-free. You can even add it to desserts, smoothies or salad dressings. The collagen peptides are sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine.
One reviewer said it’s “worth every penny” because it’s helped her with aches and pains and made her nails stronger, while another person mentioned she takes it for joint point and no longer feels achy after playing tennis but also noticed a difference in her hair and nails. A 9.33-ounce jar will last you 13-26 servings, depending on whether you do one or two recommended scoops, and costs $18.
Another highly-rated collagen powder is Sports Research Collagen Peptides, which contains collagen peptides that are designed to provide proteins and amino acids to support healthy bones, skin and nails and improve joint function, especially after strenuous exercise.
Users seem to love this product: With more than 121,000 ratings, it averages at a 4.6-star rating. One reviewer said it helped eliminate their issues after having suffered from IBS for 15-plus years. Another user said it also helped tame her constant hunger and cravings for sugar and that she now “feels satisfied with small, healthy, simple meals.” A 2-pound container is $46.67 and should last for approximately 82 servings.
Another unflavored, odorless, quick-dissolving collagen supplement is Great Lakes Wellness Collagen Peptides. The company claims it is digested and absorbed quickly by the body for maximum benefits. It touts more than 23,000 global ratings with an average of 82% being 5-star reviews. One reviewer claimed it’s a miracle for anti-aging and noticed a “serious drop in joint pain.” A 16-ounce canister will run you $29.75, which covers 38 servings.
What do you think? Will you be adding collagen peptides to your daily routine?