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Collagen affects dozens of systems in your body – hair, skin, cartilage, bones, and more. Using the right collagen supplement is key to supporting the health and growth of those systems.
Most people are familiar at some level with whey protein powder or proteins derived from plant-based sources. And those are great for doing what they’re intended for: helping to aid in muscle recovery and maximize muscle growth.
But there’s another form of protein supplement that’s extremely beneficial to your overall health which you may not be as familiar with, known as hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides (they’re one in the same). Here’s some background…
What do you think is the common denominator shared between your skin, cartilage, connective tissue, blood vessels, hair, and bones?
They’re all vital to the human body, sure, but they also get their support and structure from a protein type called collagen.
Collagen is the most abundant form of protein in the body, making up approximately one third of the body’s total protein composition and acting as a sort of glue that holds the body together. There are currently 28 known types of collagen, but for the sake of this article the three most important are:
- Type 1: By far the most prevalent and responsible for about 90% of the body’s collagen supply, Type 1 collagen gives structure to connective tissue, teeth, skin, bones, tendons, and cartilage.
- Type 2: Type 2 collagen works to cushion joints by supporting healthy elastic cartilage.
- Type 3: Type 3 supports skin elasticity and functions as structure for arteries, muscles, and various organs.
The human body is able to produce collagen on it’s own by combining two amino acids, proline and glycine, with the support of copper, vitamin C, and zinc. This process slows as we age however, so collagen supplementation becomes more and more important over time.
We can increases our collagen intake partially through foods such as bone broth, egg whites, and gelatin, but a little known fact is that these foods do not necessarily increase the amount of collagen that’s actually absorbed by your body as much as you’ve been led to believe.
Even though you are technically eating collagen in those foods your digestive enzymes break them down into base amino acids, which aren’t necessarily reassembled back into collagen as opposed to a different protein. Some will be, but not all.
The solution? Hydrolyzed collagen peptides.
Regular collagen takes the form of a helix composed of three long chains and hundreds of amino acids, which is incredibly strong but difficult for your body to digest and absorb in it’s current state. That leads to it being broken down to amino acids as we mentioned earlier.
To get around this issue scientists developed collagen peptides which are a form of the molecule that is already broken down in advance, before it reaches your body.
This makes collagen peptides much easier to absorb and digest since they’re made of shorter amino acid chains that the digestive system and blood stream can work with more efficiently. That means they’re more effective at boosting your body’s overall collagen supply since they are more directly absorbed into your system.
This offers benefits such as:
- Skin health: Collagen is vital if we want better looking and healthier skin. 80% of skin is made from collagen which means that collagen supplementation can lead to reduced signs of aging and wrinkles, better hydration, and healthier skin overall.
- Bone health: Collagen is crucial to the creation and structure of strong and healthy bones – especially important as we age in order to maintain bone strength and prevent injury.
- Joint pain relief: The cartilage in our joints acts as a cushion so that the bones don’t grind together on the nerve, and that cartilage is made primarily of collagen. Supplementation leads to less inflammation in the joints and better cartilage health overall.
- Hair and nail growth: Regular collagen supplementation has been shown to increase the rate of growth in hair and nails, since these are primarily made up of collagen molecules.
- Cardiovascular health: The arteries and blood vessels in the body gain their structure from collagen, so adequate supplementation naturally leads to stronger blood vessels and better circulation.
In short, collagen supplementation (specifically with collagen peptized/hydrolyzed collagen) is extremely beneficial to a host of systems in your body.
Now that we’ve covered the “why” of collagen supplements, lets dig into the “how” with our top 3 favorite collagen peptide supplements of the year.
Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate
Rhonda Patrick Favorite
Only One Ingredient
The Top 3 Best Collagen Peptide Supplements of 2022
Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate (Unflavored)
- Great brand reputation
- One ingredient – collagen hydrolysate
- Sourced from grass-fed and pasture-raised cows
- Supports joint health, skin health, hair and nail growth
- Soluble in hot or cold liquids
- Rhonda Patrick recommended
Serving Size: 2 scoops
Price Per Serving: $0.68
If you’ve been following Biohacker Breakdown for a while now you might have noticed that we’re big fans of Rhonda Patrick’s. So when she recommends a certain supplement, we tend to take her advice (more on Rhonda Patrick’s favorite supplements here).
In the case of a collagen peptide supplement it just so happens that her favorite brand is ours as well: Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate.
Great Lakes is one of the most reputable brands around when it comes to gelatin and collagen supplements in general, and it’s no surprise that it’s Rhonda’s go-to.
She mentions it specifically in this video detailing one of her smoothie recipes, going into detail on the benefits of collagen peptide supplementation in general starting around the 12:30 mark. She also mentions a study done by one of her colleagues which showed how collagen hydrolysate is absorbed and stored directly into joint cartilage.
This product from Great Lakes offers pure collagen hydrolysate (the one and only ingredient) which is sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows that are free from antibiotics or added hormones.
The collagen offers a great amino acid profile, has little-to-no noticeable taste even when dissolved by itself in water, and is soluble in hot or cold liquids.
It’s a mainstay in or daily post-workout protein shake here at Biohacker Breakdown and is our go-to brand for a reputable collagen peptide supplement.
Sports Research Collagen Peptides
- Contains only collagen – from grass-fed cows
- Detailed amino acid profile
- Non-GMO, gluten free, keto-friendly
- Mixes in both hot and cold liquids
- Low price per serving
Serving Size: 1 scoop
Price Per Serving: $0.68
Runner up on our list of the best collagen peptide/hydrolyzed collagen supplements is great blend from Sports Research.
Like with Great Lakes, they’ve included only one single ingredient: collagen. Specifically collagen sourced from grass-fed cows. They offer a high ratio of collagen per scoop which also translates into a great price per serving, and list a fully detailed amino acid profile as you’ll see below.
What’s more, the collagen is hot and cold soluble, meaning it’s great in shakes, soups, coffee, and more.
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
- Sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows
- Digested and absorbed quickly
- Soluble in hot or cold liquids
- Free from dairy, gluten, and heavy metals
Serving Size: 2 scoops
Price Per Serving: $1.53
Rounding out our list here is Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. Similar to the others on the list this supplement offers highly-bioavailable hydrolyzed collagen sourced from grass-fed cows, with 20g of total collagen per serving.
The powder is hot and cold soluble, contains no sweeteners, and is completely flavorless.
The downside of Vital Proteins compared to our first two favorites is that the price per serving is considerably higher. But, if for some reason it’s the only option, it’s still a great product overall.
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