Thanks to more information being available on the benefits of collagen, the multi-collagen protein powder market is booming. Take a walk down the supplement aisle of your favorite grocery store and you’ll see the abundance of multi-collagen protein powders available. Yet, not all multi-collagen protein powders are created equal.
The truth is that most multi-collagen protein powders may contain more ingredients than you bargained for, such as added sugars, additives, and pesticides. The quality of your multi-collagen protein powder depends on its sources. There are several factors to consider when purchasing a multi-collagen protein powder, including the types of collagen in it and whether or not it came from organic sources. Don’t worry, I’m going to tell you how to choose a multi-collagen protein powder, what to look for, and why it should contain multiple types of collagen. Let’s begin by talking about the different types of collagen.
Types of Collagen
Collagen is the most important structural protein in your body. Picture collagen as the “glue” that holds your body together. Collagen supports almost every part of your body, including your skin, hair, nails, gut lining, bones, connective tissue, cartilage, and joints.
Your body’s natural collagen production begins to slow down in your 30s. By the time you’re 60, more than half of your body’s supply of collagen is depleted. Some factors including poor diet, genetics, and exposure to toxins can result in depletion even sooner. Most of us cannot get enough collagen from our diet alone. Even if you eat a clean, healthy, Paleo-inspired diet you will still have trouble getting as much collagen as our distant ancestors did, let alone enough for optimal health. That’s because we don’t eat the same collagen-rich tendons and organ meat that our ancestors did. These just aren’t a part of our typical diet anymore.
Most multi-collagen protein powders on the market only contain only one or two types of collagen. Even if they claim they have multiple types of collagen, that could mean it only has two and you may not be getting the type of collagen in your “multi”-collagen powder that your body needs.
There are 16 different types of collagen, the majority of collagen in our bodies comes from five main types.
This is by far the most common type, accounting for 90% of your body’s total collagen. Type I collagen is found in the layer of skin just below the surface, the dermis. Type I collagen is why our skin is so tough yet flexible. Type I collagen provides structure to your skin, bones, joints, cartilage, and your teeth. It is the collagen known for supporting healthy skin, hair and nails.
It helps keep your bones strong, and improves the appearance and strength of hair, nails, and teeth. Type I collagen is also key to your skin’s elasticity and hydration. So if you’re searching for a supplement that slows the appearance of aging and improves dry skin, a non-toxic collagen product that includes Type I collagen may benefit you.
The difference between type I and type II collagen is that type II collagen is not as tightly packed together. Type II collagen supports your bones and joints because it produces substances that have been found to support a healthy inflammatory response in your joints.1 It zeros in on your joints and connective tissues to restore a healthy, smooth range of motion. Type II also has chemicals chondroitin and glucosamine, which have been found to help rebuild cartilage in joints.2
This is the second most common type of collagen in your body. It is different because it consists of only one collagen alpha chain, as opposed to multiple chains. This type of collagen actually contains three alpha chains supercoiled around each other. Along with type I, type III collagen supports your gut, muscles, blood vessels, and the uterus in women.3 Because type III collagen is so involved in our major organ systems, it also plays a large role in diseases associated with inflammation. Most multi-collagen protein powders contain these two types of collagen.
Type V & X
Type V collagen helps regulate the development of collagen fibers. It is found in your eyes and the placenta of expecting mothers. Knowing that, it shouldn’t be a surprise that type V collagen supports eye health and neonatal development.4 Type X collagen is in your joints and bones. It’s important in maintaining the strength of both, which is why it’s often referred to as a “network forming collagen”.
The Source of Multi-Collagen Protein Powders Matters
The next time you’re walking down the beauty aisle of your local health food or grocery store, pay attention to what’s in the multi-collagen protein powders on the market. One of the first steps in choosing a collagen powder is to understand its source.
There are four main sources of collagen: cows (bovine), eggshell membranes, chickens, and fish (marine). Bovine collagen is a great source of type I and type III collagen since it’s abundant in the bones of cows. Marine collagen is found on the skin of fish and promotes the growth of types I and I collagen. Chicken collagen is found in chickens and is a great source of type II collagen. Finally, eggshell membrane collagen is found in the membranes of eggs from hens.
Unfortunately, many of the multi-collagen protein powders on the market will never be properly absorbed by your body because they are made in a form that your body cannot absorb. In order for your body to properly absorb collagen it has to be hydrolyzed, which means it has been broken down into easy-to-digest particles that your body can absorb.
More importantly, a lot of multi-collagen products are not from grass-fed or organic sources. This is problematic because the cow or chicken used for the collagen supplement could have been fed harmful chemicals such as pesticides, and contain antibiotics, GMOs, or growth hormones. Through cross-contamination, they get into collagen products. I always recommend buying organic collagen powders from grass-fed, free-range, or wild-caught sources.
A Note About Plant-Based Collagen
True collagen can only come from animal sources. Collagen is the most common protein in animals. The collagen in plant-based collagen powders has been genetically engineered, so it’s full of chemicals that could potentially be harmful or toxic. If you choose to use vegan and vegetarian collagen supplements, make sure they do not contain processed and GMOs ingredients.
Now that you understand the types and sources of collagen found in multi-collagen protein powders, let’s discuss what to look for in a multi-collagen protein powder.
What You Should Look For in a Multi-Collagen Protein Powder
I know how overwhelming it can be to choose a multi-collagen protein powder with so many products to choose from. I’m about to tell you the six factors you should look for in a multi-collagen protein powder and how to choose one.
1. It Should be Hydrolyzed
Your collagen should be hydrolyzed for enhanced absorption and easier mixing. Hydrolyzing collagen means breaking up difficult-to-digest proteins into easily digested peptides, or chains of beneficial amino acids. This increases the bioavailability of collagen and makes it easier to absorb. It also ensures your multi-collagen protein powder mixes easily into beverages without clumping.
2. It Should Be Peptides
The best form is collagen peptides. As I mentioned, collagen proteins can be difficult to digest. Peptides are broken down proteins for easier absorption. There is a good chance that if your multi-collagen protein powder is hydrolyzed, it is peptides.
3. It Should Be Organic
If the label on your multi-collagen protein powder says organic, that means that it’s produced from grass-fed, free-range, or wild-caught sources and is free of chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, toxins, or other artificial ingredients that can be harmful to your body. If it doesn’t say organic, it may contain artificial flavors or sweeteners to enhance flavor. IT could also contain GMOs and heavy metals like mercury, which are extremely toxic.
4. It Should Be Third-Party Tested
Any supplement you buy should be third-party tested, however, that is especially true when it comes to multi-collagen protein powders. Being third-party tested means that an entity not affiliated with the manufacturer tests the product for quality and safety purposes. Purchasing a third-party tested multi-collagen protein powder ensures it’s been objectively tested and is a high-quality product.
5. It Should Be From Multiple Sources
Collagen can come from a number of sources, including cows, chickens, fish, and more. Yours should originate from multiple sources, covering a wide spectrum of collagen types. This ensures your collagen offers a robust amino acid profile from a variety of real food sources.
6. It Should Be an Optimal Dosage
Your collagen powder should offer a sufficient dosage of collagen per serving. I recommend up to 10 grams of collagen protein a day from multiple sources. You can put it in your water, juice, coffee or tea, a delicious smoothie, or your favorite dessert.
Choosing a Multi-Collagen Protein Powder
When choosing a collagen powder it’s important to keep the above factors in mind – does it come from natural sources and is it hydrolyzed? However, it’s also important to know what types of collagen are in your collagen powder.
As a medical doctor, I can tell you many of the collagen powders on the market simply do not work! I have personally struggled with choosing a natural collagen powder. That is why, after doing months of research, I formulated my Collagen Protein powder and Spectrum 5 Collagen™.
Both of my pharmaceutical-grade multi-collagen protein powders are hydrolyzed for easy absorption, contain multiple types of collagen, come from natural sources, are third-party tested, and contain optimal amounts of collagen in each scoop. So how do you choose which is the best collagen powder for you?
Collagen Protein contains 100% grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine collagen. It contains both type 1 and type III collagens to support a healthy gut lining and intestinal permeability, promote vibrant hair, skin, and nails, and facilitates healthy bones and joints.
This collagen powder is one of my absolute favorite supplements and I use it every single day! The type I & III in Collagen Protein are the most important to supplement with to get all the great benefits to your skin, bones, hair, nails, and connective tissue.
Spectrum 5 Collagen™
Spectrum 5 Collagen™ also is made from 100% natural sources, however, it also contains chicken collagen, marine collagen, and eggshell membrane collagen. Spectrum 5 Collagen™ is the first-ever physician-formulated complete collagen complex on the market.
Marine collagen is essential to promote smoother and firmer skin, boosts elasticity and hydration, and facilitates rapid skin cell repair and renewal. The collagen from chickens and eggshell membranes are essential for your joints and cartilage. These two sources of collagen provide structure to your cartilage and promote flexible joints and support bone formation.
If you’re looking for bone, cartilage, and joint support, I highly recommend adding Spectrum 5 Collagen™ to your morning coffee or smoothie. Since it is hydrolyzed, it makes it easier to dissolve.
Choosing a multi-collagen protein powder doesn’t have to be complicated. We all want our skin to keep looking healthy and young and have strong bones and joints. While there is no magical way to keep you from getting older, I’m here to tell you that collagen is an essential building block for your body. With Collagen Protein you can give your hair, skin, and nails the support they need to stay hydrated and looking vibrant. If you want full-range high-quality collagen to support your hair, skin, nails, bones, joints and cartilage, then Spectrum 5 Collagen™ is the perfect multi-collagen protein powder for you.
- Effects of orally administered undenatured type II collagen against arthritic inflammatory diseases: a mechanistic exploration. D. Bagchi, et al. International journal of clinical pharmacology research vol. 22. 2002.
- Chapter 3: Type III Collagen. MJ Nielsen and MA Karsdal. Biochemistry of Collagens, Laminins and Elastin. 2016.
- The Best Way You Can Get More Collagen. Cleveland Clinic. 2018.
- Type V Collagen. DJ Leeming and MA Karsdal. Biochemistry of Collagens, Laminins, and Elastin, Second Edition. 2019.