Collagen is essential to the health of our skin, connective tissues, joints and bones. As a result, many people turn to collagen products to boost their health and provide effective beauty nutrition.
We spoke with Daniel Perez Vidal, the owner of online supplements retailer for the Ageless, to find out about the best collagen products the UK has to offer. He told us about the different products, what collagen types to look for and how to choose the best one for your needs.
What is collagen and why do people take it as a supplement?
Daniel: Collagen is a protein molecule found in connective tissues, skin, bones, ligaments and muscles. It can be taken in a supplement in many different forms, including powders, drinks and capsules. Most people take it to ensure that their body has the correct nutrients to produce their own collagen proteins.
What are the different types of collagen and do they all have the same effect?
Daniel: Not all collagens are the same; there are 28 different types with slightly different shapes, making them suitable for various roles.
The Different Types of Collagen
These are some of the most common collagen types:
Type I – This is the most common type and makes up approximately 90% of the collagen in your body. It’s a structural molecule that stabilises and anchors essential parts of your bone, skin and tendons.
Found in: Marine collagen, bovine collagen and bone broth.
Type II – This collagen forms a tightly packed network of proteins that’s an essential part of cartilage. It’s necessary for strong, healthy joints and enhances their shock-absorbing properties.
Found in: Poultry broth, bone broth, bovine collagen, chicken collagen or pork collagen.
Type III – These are loose fibrous collagens that cross and interweave with each other to form a flexible mesh. Their structure gives strength and elasticity to soft tissues.
Found in: Bovine collagen or chicken collagen.
Type IV – This type forms the basal lamina, a thin membrane of connective tissue surrounding organs, muscles, and fat. It holds these body parts in place, providing extra protection.
Found in: Meat broth and protein-rich foods but not often in collagen supplements.
Type V – This fibrous protein helps healthy body tissues remain flexible and stretchy. It’s also present in bones and corneas.
Found in: Small amounts are present in marine collagen, bovine collagen and bone broth.
The Benefits of Collagen
What are the benefits of taking collagen supplements?
Daniel: As you age, the amount of collagen in your body declines. Taking a supplement is one way to provide your body with what it needs to boost collagen production. Having enough collagen in your body supports your health in many different ways, from strong bones and smooth skin to effective digestion and a strong immune system.
The benefits you may experience after taking collagen may vary based on what your body needs and the product you take. Different collagen products provide slightly different benefits.
Marine collagen – Marine collagen comes from the skin, bones and scales of fish. It contains mainly type I proteins and is easier to absorb into your bloodstream. This is because your digestive system can break the molecules into smaller pieces than it can with other types.
Type I collagen is essential to healthy-looking skin and helps skin cells maintain elasticity. Some studies indicate that supplements containing type I collagen can smooth skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Also, the collagens found in marine supplements are well-suited to supporting muscle repair and muscle growth.
Bovine collagen – Bovine collagen comes from the connective tissue, bones, cartilage, and hides of cows. It mainly consists of collagen types I and III, with some products containing traces of type II.
The blend of collagens found in bovine products may alleviate the joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. Studies have also found that it can enhance the elasticity of skin in just a few weeks.
Bone loss can occur in men and women as they age, but research has found that regular servings of bovine collagen may reduce bone loss and result in a smaller risk of fractures.
Bone broth – This is a protein-rich liquid made by simmering meat bones and joints in water. It’s rich in collagen, amino acids and gelatine. Consuming large amounts of these amino acids has been found to increase their levels in your blood which may help your body repair collagen effectively. Studies also show that it may also soothe your digestion and contribute to a healthy immune system.
Collagen boosters – These don’t contain any collagen and are usually made from substances chosen for their ability to boost collagen production in your body. They can be completely different from one brand to the next, but most contain at least amino acids, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and a variety of minerals.
Because collagen boosters promote your own collagen production, you may notice the same benefits as with the other products. However, they’re often made with plant-based ingredients, making them suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
What to Look For
What should we look for when choosing a collagen supplement?
Daniel: When choosing collagen, it’s important to select a product made from natural substances. The best brands will keep their ingredients simple and to a minimum.
Another good way to know if you’re getting a quality product, is to look out for any official awards or certifications. For example, the collagen could be organically certified, come with third-party lab results or provide evidence of achieving the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards. These are all useful because they verify the contents and purity of the supplement.
Best Collagen Products
These are Daniel’s picks for the best collagen products:
Best capsules – Marine Collagen Extra Capsules
These capsules contain a precisely formulated blend of marine-sourced collagen, glucosamine, chondroitin, methylsulphonylmethane (MSM) and vitamin C. G&G Vitamins chose these ingredients to provide a broader range of beneficial actions and to speed up the delivery of the collagen into your bloodstream.
In one bottle, you get 60 capsules, each holding 200mg of collagen and 650mg of extra helpful ingredients. These capsules stand out from the rest because the additional substances will stimulate your body’s collagen production from multiple angles to enhance its overall effects. It is also free from artificial additives and fillers.
Best Bovine Collagen – Pure Collagen Powder
This incredible powder contains 7.5g of bovine collagen in each serving and nothing else. The proteins are in peptide form, which means the long-chain molecules have been broken down into shorter pieces and are easier to digest. Made by Planet Paleo in the UK, Pure Collagen powder is an excellent source of types I and III.
Sourced from free-range, grass-fed Argentinian cows, this is the simplest yet most effective bovine collagen product we’ve tried. The cattle have never been exposed to hormones or dangerous chemicals, resulting in a safe and natural product. The only drawback is that it doesn’t come in a premixed flavour. Still, you can quickly remedy that by mixing it into your favourite drink.
Best Marine Collagen – Marine Collagen Powder
This high-quality collagen powder contains easy to digest, hydrolysed marine collagen. The peptides come from fish that were sustainably caught on the French coast. It’s an excellent source of type I collagen and is rich in many amino acids, including proline and glycine, which are essential to healthy hair and skin.
Each serving provides 7.5g of marine collagen and one 450g tub will last for 60 servings. You can mix the powder with water or any drink. It’s nearly completely flavourless and blends well without leaving any unpleasant powdery texture.
Best Collagen Coffee – Keto Coffee Pure Collagen
This collagen coffee powder will revolutionise your mornings. It contains Planet Paleo’s award-winning bovine collagen combined with their keto coffee blend, which they make from organic roasted coffee, organic coconut MCT powder, organic cardamom and vanilla.
You get 25 cups per tub and you can quickly make it into a tasty hot drink with added benefits. Based on the famous ‘bulletproof coffee,’ Keto Coffee is designed to give you a slow-building energy boost as well as deliver the long-term benefits of collagen.
Best Bone Broth – Organic Bone Broth
Planet Paleo’s Bone Broth is certified organic by the Soil Association and is packed with natural flavours. The broth itself contains high levels of protein and was made from Scandinavian grass-fed cattle,
In each cup, you get collagen types I and III as well as glucosamine, hyaluronic acid and natural minerals. In one 9g serving, you get about 8g of beneficial proteins. We couldn’t find any other broth that was so rich in collagen.
Best Collagen Boosting Supplement – MSM & Vitamin C Capsules
Created in the UK by expert nutritionists, these MSM and Vitamin C capsules combine a range of useful properties. G&G Vitamins designed them to boost your collagen production and provide additional support for your joints and skin.
MSM aids the formation of cells and contains substances that are needed to build keratin and collagen. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and plays a vital role in constructing new collagen molecules.