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Collagen Protein: Does it Work & How to Maximize Use

best collagen protein for woman's health and fitness

Is collagen protein powder worth the money? If so, what do you need to know? Here's the clear answer you need to maximize use of America's new favorite supplement!

What is collagen?

Collagen is an important protein in our body, found in connective tissues like hair, skin, nails, ligaments, tendons & bones. Collagen production in our body starts to slow as we age, as early as our mid 20s.

Eating foods rich with collagen & supplementing with powders can have the following benefits:

  • increase skin health, improved appearance of lines & wrinkles

  • support bone & joint health

  • support flexibility & strength of joints, ligaments & cartilage when we exercise

  • decrease symptoms & severity of bone & joint disorders, like arthritis

  • encourage our body to form new collagen

  • when taken with resistance training, can promote bone production & aid muscle growth, strength, recovery & performance (this strategy is explained below)

These foods are rich in collagen:

  • fish, organ meats, chicken & beef

  • egg yolk, spirulina

  • bone broth (The brand I recommend due to personally reviewing the product for quality, integrity & manufacturing processes is Kettle & Fire. They generously hook my clients & blog readers up with a discount if you use checkout code BREAKINGTHROUGHWELLNESS)

What should I look for to select a good collagen powder?

  • Because supplements are not closely regulated in the U.S., look for third party testing” on the label so you know what the company says is in the product is actually in the product.

  • Look for “hydrolyzed collagen”, the form of collagen that our body can best digest & absorb.

  • If the collagen comes from an animal source look for from “grass-fed” animals.

  • Read the label to make sure there is no added junk in the product, like fillers, gums, dyes, refined sugar or artificial sweeteners.

To maximize support for your body, look for a product with more than 1 collagen type.  Here are 2 Biggest Bang for Your Buck brands:

Bulletproof Collagen contains Type 1 & Type 3 collagen from grass-fed cows, which support your skin, muscles, ligaments, teeth, etc. Bulletproof is a high-quality brand with good manufacturing practices, third party testing & no added junk, dyes or fillers. My mom is a fan of the unflavored version to support her rheumatoid arthritis because it easily mixes with other foods & water.

Truvani Marine Collagen contains Type 1, 2 & 3 collagen, which has additional benefits for your eyes, cartilage & joints. This is the brand I personally use, as I want to include all 3 collagen types to maximize benefits. Truvani is another high-quality brand I have personally researched for good manufacturing practices, third party testing & no added junk, dyes or fillers. They now have both bovine & marine sourced collagen options, which I love & personally see excellent results from using.

How much collagen should you take per day? 

Benefits can take place at as little as 10g per day, with some studies showing up to 40g per day. I personally use 10 to 15g per day in addition to regular bone broth use, a nutritious diet & regularly eating other collagen-rich foods. Note, if you’re taking less, it’s likely not doing much for your body.

Biggest Bang For Your Buck Ways to Use:

1. Take collagen powders 30 to 60 minutes prior to exercise if you’re looking for injury & muscle recovery benefits. This will maximize absorption by the body to repair tissue after exercise.

2. Take your collagen with a vitamin C source to maximize absorption by your body. Ex: Take a collagen powder as a part of your pre-workout meal paired with any of the foods below.

Vitamin C Food Sources:

  • berries, like strawberries & blueberries

  • fruits, like oranges & tomatoes

  • red peppers (red have the most compared to green & yellow because the more ripe a pepper, the more vitamin C)

  • chlorophyll found in greens like spinach, kale, collard greens

FAQ: I often get asked, "Is it bad to put collagen in my coffee? If so, what should I do instead?"

Protein, such as collagen, can become denatured when paired with heat.  We want the breakdown of collagen to take place in our digestive tract so our body can absorb it, NOT in our coffee.  If you want to maximize your body’s use of collagen, avoid putting it in hot coffee. To be honest, I sometimes still mix it in my coffee when in a rush, but I make sure that it is moderately warm instead of piping hot. The bottom-line is when you factor in the cost of most high-quality collagen supplements, try not to do this often & risk compromising the integrity of what you’ve invested in. My favorite injury-friendly post workout meal when healing my patellar tendonitis was putting 1 scoop Truvani bovine collagen + 1 scoop Kion Clean Whey Protein (save with code LOUISE) + ½ c. oatmeal + 1 tbsp. almond butter. 

FAQ: And everyone wants to know, "Are collagen creamers & gummies effective?"

My question back to you is, after what you just learned & read above, do you see at least 15 g of collagen in a hydrolyzed form?  Does the label include added sugars, dyes or fillers? Does the company disclose the source of the collagen & third party testing for quality?  It’s highly unlikely that you’re benefiting from use of a collagen creamer or gummy. Sorry if I just offended your gummy loving soul. 🙂

The Bottom-Line is: Collagen may be a useful supplement solution to support your specific body's needs & goals. When you use it, follow the tips above to get the most out of your money! 

If you found this article helpful, please share it with a friend who can benefit.

This is just one example of the actionable science-based cheat sheet summaries I empower those that I coach with in our Unstoppable Health & Hormones Club and Badass Breakthrough Academy. Explore more about my 1:1 holistic coaching services empowering you to focus on what matters most to unlock your best here.  


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