You should have realised that ingestible collagen (your body's primary structural protein that forms connective tissues and skin) does live up to its hype by now. And if you haven't? Well, there's plenty of research that can convince you. For example, a 2014 study published in the Skin Pharmacology and Physiology journal found that skin elasticity significantly improved when study participants between the ages of 35 and 55 took a collagen supplement for 8 weeks. Another 2008 study found that dietary supplementation of collagen helped lessen joint pain among college athletes.
Convinced? Good. Before you rush out and buy the first tub of collagen powder you see on the Internet, though… Read this article. It’s going to help you pick the best collagen powder–in turn, enabling you to reap the most benefits.
Does it contain hydrolyzed collagen peptides?
Not all collagen powders are made equal. One thing you should keep an extra eye out for when picking the best collagen powder is if it contains hydrolyzed collagen peptides. That is: has the collagen been broken down into smaller protein chains? And to understand why this is so crucial, you need to know that collagen is a complex protein made of 3 chains of amino acids; when it's in this form, your body finds it rather challenging to not only use but also to absorb. On the contrary, once hydrolyzed (aka broken down), the smaller collagen peptides are easily digested and absorbed through your intestinal walls–greatly enhancing their effectiveness.
Also, for the best nutritional punch, make sure your collagen powder is sourced from pasture-raised, hormone-free animals. You don't want those synthetic hormones in your body. Bottom line? For collagen powders: the smaller, the better–and best if it comes from pasture-raised animals.
How much does a gram of collagen cost?
If you're spending your hard-earned money on a collagen powder, then you'd undoubtedly want the one that gives you the most bang for your buck. You shouldn't have to pay for fillers and extras that drive up the price of the product (and that you don't need!) But, with different collagen powders coming in at different-sized packaging and varying serving sizes… It can be overwhelming to figure out which is the best value. Don't worry. There's a relatively straightforward way to go about this. And that's by calculating the price you're paying per gram of collagen.
So, imagine that a collagen powder retails at $60. It contains 15 servings, which contain 12 grams of collagen each. That means its price per gram of collagen comes in at roughly $0.33 (math: 60/(15x12)). Compare that to the Collagen Co.’s Unflavored Collagen Powder, which retails for $79 and contains 28 servings, which, in turn, deliver 15 grams of collagen. Its price per gram? A mere $0.19 (math: 79/(28*15))! But what happens if you come across two products that have the same price per gram of collagen? Well, then you should go for the one which delivers more collagen per serving. One scoop is always easier to mix than two scoops.
Does the formula contain any other ingredients?
You’ll want a collagen powder formulated with complementary ingredients that'll help maximise the absorption and production of collagen–plus provide effective anti-aging benefits in and of itself. One such ingredient to look out for? Vitamin C.
Essential for collagen biosynthesis, this nutrient serves as a cofactor for the enzymes prolysyl and lysyl hydroxylase, enzymes that are responsible for stabilising and cross-linking molecules. Better still, vitamin C is known to stimulate your body’s production of collagen. Put simply… You’d be increasing your collagen production by supplementing with vitamin C.
Don't want to go through the arduous search process yourself?
Whew. With a long list of requirements, the search for the best collagen powder available on the market can seem a little intimidating. Don't want to sift through all the mediocre products out there? We've got you covered. Delivering 15 grams of potent collagen per serving, The Collagen Co's delicious-tasting Premium Collagen Peptides give you the most bang for your buck! Not to mention, it also contains 80 mg of vitamin C–and is free of nasties. All your boxes–checked.
Gene Lim is the brains behind Thrive With Science, an evidence-based fitness and nutrition website that helps women workout and eat smarter. She writes extensively for health and wellness brands and enjoys communicating science in a simple, lively, and actionable way. She has made it her goal to help people approach fitness and nutrition in an enjoyable and sustainable manner.