What is collagen? Collagen is a protein found in connective tissues of our body. Collagen gives our skin support and elasticity while keeping it supple and firm. Our body naturally produces the collagen it needs but production starts to decline as we age. This decline also results in our skin aging, causing fine lines, wrinkles, and skin losing firmness and elasticity.
The concept of ingesting collagen supplements to promote firmer, youthful skin originates from Japan and is now catching the attention of celebrities and beauty editors in the US and Europe. Now collagen protein powder, collagen pills are available everywhere, even in the grocery store- but not all types of collagen supplements are created equal. With so many brands and types to choose from -- how do you know which one is the best that will work for your skin?
What is the Best Collagen Supplement?
A good quality collagen supplement for your skin is based on the following 7 factors, and we will cover extensively here - the 7 tips for buying the best collagen supplement
- Types of collagen and which collagen is best for skin
- Collagen Peptides is better than Amino Acids (collagen builder)
- High Concentration - How much collagen do you need
- Formulation - not just collagen per serving
- Types of sugar used and preservatives
- Source of collagen peptides
- Powder, Pills or Liquid?
What are the benefits of a Good Collagen Supplement?
The best collagen supplements for skin can provide your skin the following visible benefits:
Here are 7 tips for buying the best quality, most effective collagen supplement that will benefit your skin, and help visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
1. Types of Collagen and Which Collagen is Best For Skin
There are 28 types of collagen in the body, but Type 1 is the most abundant form. Different types are better for different parts of your body:
- Type 1 collagen is considered to be the key building block of your skin which makes up 80% of the dermis layer of the skin. Type 1 is stronger than steel by weight and with its triple-helix design gives skin its structure, firmness and also supports healthy, stronger hair and nails. So it should not come as a surprise that the best collagen treatment for your skin should contain mainly Type 1.
- The best collagen supplements for joints contains Type 2, which makes up 50% of cartilage protein. As you get older and your levels drop, cartilage in your movable joints is weakened and stops regenerating. Those who play sports or exercise vigorously may suffer from joint problems even earlier in life. Supplements containing Type 2 collagen are commonly used to treat aging joints and relieve the pain associated with arthritis.
- Type 3 collagen is also important to the health of the skin, hair, and nails. It is the second most abundant collagen in human tissue, and is more pliable than Type 1. Babies and children have a lot of Type 3, which is why their skin is so soft and plump. As you age, Type 3 is gradually replaced by Type 1.
For optimal skin health look for a supplement that contains at least 90% Type I collagen as well as at least some Type 3.
2. Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides vs Amino Acids and Bio-availability
The problem with collagen molecules is that in their native state they are simply too large for our body to absorb efficiently -- unless they’ve been hydrolyzed.
Hydrolyzed collagen is a processed form that is obtained when collagen fibers are broken down into small chains of amino acids called "collagen peptides" through a process using a combination of enzymes and high-pressure steam known as "hydrolysis".
This revolutionary technology was invented and patented by a Japanese company some years ago and enables these collagen peptides, which are much smaller in size than the original collagen molecule, to efficiently deliver small, usable collagen peptides into our body.
Clinical studies show these peptides get absorbed into the bloodstream, penetrate and remain in the dermis, and trigger production in the skin. See Clinical Studies.
There are many brands that claim their supplement or builder contains hydrolyzed collagen, especially the less expensive products. Typically they do not contain collagen. Instead, they are predominantly made up of 3 amino acids Glycine, Proline, and Hydroxyproline, which together represent about 50% of the total amino acid content of the collagen triple helix chain.
These products also lack other minor but important amino acids necessary to construct a complete molecule helix chain. You need up to 18 different amino acids in the right quantities and ratio to create a collagen molecule.
By comparison, a collagen supplement that contains "Hydrolyzed Collagen" or collagen peptides" is more effective because it contains a complete amino acid sequence as a peptide which can be readily absorbed and transported to the dermis of the skin.
If you want a true supplement that works for your skin, look for one that contains Type 1 Hydrolyzed Collagen (collagen peptides) with High Bio-availability.
3. Concentration and Potency
There are multiple clinical studies that confirm ingesting a high concentration of hydrolyzed collagen helps to increase skin thickness and reduce wrinkles. Many of these studies were based on consumption of 10,000mg of hydrolyzed collagen per day over a period of 6-8 weeks.
For example, Taut® Premium Collagen Advanced Formula Drink contains high potency 13,000mg of premium marine collagen peptides (90% Type 1 & 10% Type 3) per 1.7 oz serving. This is the highest concentration of hydrolyzed collagen peptides per serving currently available on the market. By comparison, Taut® contains approximately 2 - 6X the concentration of other liquid collagen drinks and collagen peptide powder brands.
The high dose of collagen in Taut Collagen triggers our body's 'wound repair' response -- a process that identifies and repairs damaged collagen in the dermis by stimulating the growth of new collagen. Ingesting high potency supplements can stimulate the production of skin and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
The graph below shows Before-and-After ultra-sound images of a 60-year-old woman’s cheek during an 8-week clinical study. She drank one 1.7 oz. bottle of Taut® every night for the first eight nights, then one bottle every other night for the remainder of the study.
You can see that after 8 weeks, her skin appears smoother with a denser structure in her dermis (the yellowish orange areas) than before by drinking the Taut Collagen Supplement.
How Much Collagen Peptides Do You Need To See Results:
If you are taking collagen to help with your aging skin, make sure to pay attention to the concentration per serving (minimum 10,000mg) if you want to see visible results - reduced fine lines and wrinkles or improved firmness and fullness.
Many clinical studies have been carried out with participants who consumed at least 10,000mg per day over a period of 8-10 weeks. And the results show hydrolyzed collagen helps to increase skin thickness, improve hydration and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
For younger adults (<35) or for older adults on maintenance, a lower daily concentration between 2,500mg - 5,000mg is typically sufficient.
4. Collagen Supplement Formulations & Ingredients
Our dermis is made up of more than 80% Type 1 collagen and 15% Type 3 Collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. Together these 3 elements are the key components of the extracellular matrix which gives our skin its structure, elasticity, and firmness.
Taking a collagen supplement on its own will have positive effects, but the most powerful benefits come from consuming a beauty supplement that contains a synergistic formulation of these 3 Key components with other anti-aging ingredients designed to support firmer, smoother younger skin.
In addition to hydrolyzed marine collagen, key active ingredients in the Taut® collagen drink are elastin, hyaluronic acid, grape seed extract, ceramide, vitamin C and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
These complementary ingredients maximize the absorption of collagen as well as provide powerful and effective anti-aging benefits: reduced fine lines and wrinkles, increased hydration and firmness, and protecting your skin from free radical damage.
Always make sure that any claims regarding the efficacy of a supplement are backed by science. Multiple journal-published research trials conducted in Japan, the United States, and Europe prove that the key active ingredients used in the Taut® Collagen Supplement Drink are effective.
5. Types of Sugar & Preservatives
From organic collagen powder to pills and drinks, supplements come in just about any form you desire. Some organic supplements are meant to be taken on their own, while others have a plain taste and can be added to food and beverages.
On its own, hydrolyzed collagen tends to have a strong aftertaste, which is why sugars, sweeteners, or fruit juice are often added to formulations to improve taste. To find the best product without sacrificing taste, choose a supplement containing a healthy sweetener rather than a form of sugar that is detrimental to your health.
Unfortunately, many collagen brands still contain unhealthy sugars such as fructose or high fructose corn syrup, and it is often the second or third ingredient because it is cheap and masks the poor quality and taste of the collagen ingredient.
You also need to watch out for artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, which can cause long-term health issues. Artificial sweeteners are used to provide sweetness without the calories.
According to a recent research review published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Critical Reviews, Sucralose has been found to cause a variety of harmful biological effects in the body.
So, what types of sweeteners should you look for in a collagen powder or drink? According to health officials, the best type of sweetener to use is one that is natural and plant-based, with a low Glycemic Index ("GI"). Some good options include palm sugar, coconut sugar, raw honey, molasses, and Stevia.
If you are going to take a collagen supplement daily to improve the appearance of your skin, do your skin a favor by taking one that contains a healthy form of sugar and no preservatives.
6. Source of Collagen Peptides
The four main sources of collagen peptides found in supplements are bovine (cow), porcine (pig), chicken, and marine (fish) collagen.
The best collagen supplements (drinks or powders) contain marine collagen extracted from fish because it is the purest and safest form, and the optimum size for maximum absorption.
Why is marine collagen superior?
Marine collagen extracted from fish is the purest and safest form of collagen for supplements. It has >90% bioavailability which means it gets easily absorbed into your bloodstream, penetrates more efficiently into the dermis of your skin which helps to keep skin tight and wrinkle-free.
While harvesting from marine sources is more costly, the end result is a product that is much more pure, especially in comparison to cheaper bovine and porcine sourced from the byproducts of slaughterhouses. Marine collagen that is extracted from cold water fish has up to 1.5X higher bioavailability than collagen from bovine or porcine sources.
Beware of products manufactured in China and other countries with loose manufacturing controls and standards.
Learn how it is manufactured.
Taut® Premium Collagen Drink is made with 100% marine collagen, sourced from red snapper, a deep-water fish wild caught in the Indian Ocean. The collagen is the most premium grade available, processed from scales only (no skin) by the same Japanese company that invented and patented the hydrolysis process. This company uses environmentally friendly production that is ISO-9001 certified, which guarantees the highest degree of purity and effectiveness. Taut® Premium Collagen Supplement drink is Chemical-Free, Allergen-Free, and BSE-TSE Free. It contains no pig, bovine or chicken collagen.
7. Collagen Pills, Powder or Drink? Which is Better?
The powder vs. pills debate is never-ending, but the truth of the matter is that neither pills or powder are the best form of collagen. While it might seem more convenient to pop a pill on a daily basis, the best way to take collagen is via a liquid supplement, that is, a collagen drink.
If you’re concerned with liquid supplements having a poor taste or inducing your gag reflex, fear not -- collagen drinks have come a long way since their inception. Not only do they taste great, they are also highly concentrated, so a small dosage gets you far.
The bio-availability of a collagen supplement -- the percentage of the substance that is actually absorbed into your body when ingested -- is another critical factor to consider when evaluating collagen supplements.
Bio-availability largely determines the efficacy of any nutrient you ingest. Nutrients that are highly bio-available can be digested and absorbed at a high percentage. When nutrients are in liquid form, they are already essentially pre-digested, and thus can provide the highest possible absorption rate of nutrients into the body.
Tablets or powders cannot match the level of absorption that liquid collagen drinks offer. What’s more, even the best pills contain little collagen, so you would need to swallow at least 10-20 large tablets every day in order to obtain the level of essential nutrients and collagen peptides required to achieve visible results. Tablets are also more difficult to digest and assimilate into the body, so they are only partially absorbed.
Powder needs to be mixed with water or juice. Powder that contains hydrolyzed collagen from a bovine source may have a strong taste and hence need to be sweetened as well.
In conclusion, collagen drinks are preferable over pills and powder because they are more convenient and more effective.
Liquid supplements are less common, and they are pricier than pills and powder. This is due to the proprietary technology and additional steps required to produce a high potency, high quality collagen in liquid form.
Now you know what to look out for while shopping for your skin.
Hear what they have to say:
I noticed my skin is not sagging and looking and feeling fuller with Taut collagen drinks.
It's pretty amazing
My skin looks amazing, and I swear my cheeks look fuller/firmer.
I noticed a difference after 1 week :) I will definitely continue to order. The taste is great unlike most products. Thank you Taut ♥️ 100% Satisfied
Bright and Firm
Unbelievable!! I just barely finished the first 3 boxes of Taut Collagen and 1 box of Bye-Bye Dark Spots. After 3 weeks my skin appears firmer and brighter, my dark spot is not totally gone but it has become lighter. I will reorder again and again to keep up my youthful look.😊
Read More Reviews
See More Before and After Pictures