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The 4 Best Collagen Supplements You Should Be Taking

You may have heard of collagen (bone broth?), but if you’re a little unclear on what exactly collagen actually is, we’re here to clear a few things up.

“Collagen is a fibrous protein that provides structural support for the skin, joints, tendons, bones, and other connective tissues. It’s essentially the glue that holds the body together,” says Kim Yawitz, RD, a gym owner of CrossFit 26 in St. Louis, Mo., of the role of collagen in our bodies.

“More specifically collagen is used to make skin, bone, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, joints, muscles, and blood vessels.” Ahead, a look at why some people may benefit from collagen supplements, and four of Yawtiz’s top picks for collagen supplements.

Your body makes collagen by breaking down dietary protein into amino acids, then repackaging those amino acids with some help from vitamin C, copper, and zinc, explains Yawitz. “Unfortunately, this process slows down with age, starting as early as our 20s. There’s not a great way to test collagen levels in your body, but crow’s feet and creaky joints are good clues that you might be producing less than you used to,” she says, noting that the demand for collagen supplements has grown exponentially in the past few years, though the research hasn’t quite caught up to that demand yet.

“Studies have shown that supplementing with collagen peptides can help compensate for age-related collagen loss,” she says, adding that some research suggests that collagen supplements can decrease skin wrinkles while also improving skin hydration, elasticity, and density.

Collagen supplement benefits

“Collagen has become a staple in my daily routine since having knee surgery last year,” Yawitz says. “There’s also some evidence that collagen supplements could help improve joint health. In one study, adults taking collagen supplements improved joint pain and mobility by 43 percent and 39 percent, respectively.”

It’s also worth highlighting that smoking, eating too much sugar, and spending too much time in the sun can all decrease the amount of collagen in your skin, says Yawitz. “Nipping these habits in the bud are a great first step toward smoother skin and better health, even before taking supplements.”

Before you add a new supplement to your routine, always consult with a trusted healthcare professional like your primary care physician or a registered dietitian.

Below, the registered dietitian weighs in on her top picks for collagen supplements, from powders to capsules.

1

Klean Collagen+C

Yawitz’s number one go-to is Klean Athlete Collagen + C, which contains 15 grams of bovine collagen and 50 milligrams of collagen-boosting vitamin C. This version is GMO- and gluten-free, to boot.

2

Vegan Collagen Booster Supplement

Vegetarians and vegans, these capsules are for you: “Most collagen supplements are made from beef, fish, and other animal products, so there aren’t a lot of great options for vegetarians,” says Yawitz. “Collagen booster supplements, like Future Kind +, include antioxidants, biotin, and other ingredients that can help ramp up collagen production in the body.”

3

Collagen Creamer

As Yawitz points out, collagen supplements are only beneficial if you take them consistently, so finding easy ways to fit them into your daily routine is key. “Swapping out your regular coffee creamer for Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer is an easy way to get in 10 grams of collagen first thing in the morning,” she says.

4

Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Bone Broth

“Bone broth is a great way to boost your collagen intake if powders and pills aren’t your jam,” says Yawitz. “Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Bone Broth is budget-friendly, widely available, and contains nine grams of protein per cup.” It’s also unsalted, so you don’t need to worry about contributing to excess sodium in your diet every time you slurp it up.

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