Best Collagen Powders: the benefits and best brand deals to shop!

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Best Collagen Powders: the benefits and best brand deals to shop!

There's a certain white powder that's been on the rise amongst wellness warriors for some time now... collagen powder, of course. It's a type of supplement that's either marine (fish) or bovine (cow) derived, and is praised for having a whole plethora of benefits from helping to keep joints subtle and bones strong, to giving skin a youthful glow and helping smooth out fine lines. Sounds ideal, right?

Collagen powder also has many a celebrity fan, from Jennifer Aniston (who is a brand ambassador for Vital Proteins) to Khloe Kardashian (who again, yep, is an ambassador – but this time for a brand named Dose & Co) and beyond, meaning the hype isn't set to go away any time soon.

But what are the benefits of taking a collagen supplement? Does collagen powder actually make a difference when it comes to skin and nails? And what about if you're a vegan; is there such a thing as vegan collagen powder? We asked an expert to explain all of this and rounded up the very best collagen products out there for anyone curious about giving it a go...

Here are the best collagen powder deals to snap up today, along with all you need to know about health's latest big dog supplement:

Currently 20% off on Amazon, this bovine-derived offering from Jennifer Aniston's favourite brand of collagen, Vital Proteins, consistently receives rave reviews. One Cosmopolitan tester noticed a 'glow' to their skin after taking it for six weeks and a major reduction in joint pain (they added that when they switched to another brand - who shall not be named - once their Vital Proteins supply ran out, that their knees felt 'creaky' again). A pretty solid endorsement, if you ask us!

Vital Proteins Marine Collagen Peptides Powder *29% off*

The marine-based version of Jennifer Aniston's favourite collagen supplier is the perfect gateway for anyone wanting to try the supplement on a budget, and who is pescatarian.

Dose & Co Beauty Collagen Powder

Adored by Khloé Kardashian, Dose & Co's collagen powder is especially fine and when we trialled it, seemed to blend really easily into hot drinks (no surprise lumps to be found here!). It's bovine-based and the 'beauty blend' is enriched with Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid too, to support healthy nails, skin and hair.

One of the very first collagen pioneers in the UK, Absolute Collagen's lemon-flavoured sachets are a great choice for anybody who doesn't fancy stirring a powder into their morning smoothie or coffee. It's also infused with Vitamin C to help the body absorb all of that collagen-y goodness. Perfect if you just want to grab and go in the mornings!

Our tester loved the flavour of these strawberry gummies (you take two a day) and said they were easy to take. She also loved that they contain Vitamin C, as well as collagen.

Although most studies are focussed on collagen powder, rather than pills, meaning we're yet to fully learn how effective collagen pills are, popping a daily tablet might be a preferred method for some (as opposed to mixing the powder into a smoothie or hot drink). If you're going the tablet route, these marine-derived options are a fab shout.

If you struggle with the slight fishy tang (gross, sorry – but true!) that accompanies some collagen brands, maybe a flavoured option is the way to go? Our Cosmopolitan tester found they could mix Vital Proteins' Strawberry-Lemon Beauty Collagen with water alone (rather than pouring a couple of scoops in her morning coffee in an effort to mask the taste) and it was fine to drink. The fruity flavour isn't super strong, but it does the job nicely and provides a nice protein hit in the process, with 14g per serving.

So, let's get to it: whilst there are some studies and plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting that collagen can help maintain a youthful glow in the skin, ease joint pain, encourage healthy bones, hair, skin and nails, and beyond, more studies are still needed. And it's always best to chat to your GP or qualified expert before introducing a new supplement into your diet.

"Collagen is the cornerstone protein in skin that determines a great deal of the skin's visual characteristics," explains Pauline Cox, BSc MSc Functional Nutritionist, author and women's health specialist. "Our body is continuously making more collagen to replace that which has been degraded. Skin experiences an age-dependent collagen loss, which sees a reduction in elasticity, plumpness, smoothness and an increase in the number of wrinkles."

Basically, this means the production of collagen begins to drop off in our thirties, and that's when skin may begin to show signs of ageing – something which can be accelerated by smoking, stress, drinking alcohol, sunlight (note to self: buy SPF and wear it every day!) and pollution exposure. A collagen supplement that you ingest can help the body to keep cracking on with making a decent supply – skincare infused with collagen hasn't been shown to be as effective, as the skin barrier cannot absorb the added molecule via a cream or face mask.

Cox adds, "She adds, "Now I'm in my forties, my daily staple supplements include a high-quality fish oil (my preferred brand being the sustainable Wiley’s Finest), a magnesium complex supplement and, for the last ten years, a daily scoop of collagen peptides, for healthy skin.

"While other benefits may exist, such as the potential improvements in bone density in post-menopausal women and possible improvements in muscle mass in age-related muscle loss, it is dermatological research that offers the most robust and current findings. Ingesting oral collagen appear to stimulate the fibroblasts, the cells responsible for making collagen, into increasing collagen formation."

The two main forms of commercially available collagen are bovine and marine collagen. "Bovine collagen is extracted from the hide of cows whilst marine collagen is formed from extracting the collagen from the bones, scales and skin of fish," notes Cox. "Hydrolysis is a form of extraction that increases the bioavailability of the collagen without the use of harsh solvents or chemicals. The less chemical use the better!"

She adds that marine collagen is primarily of type 1 collagen, whereas bovine is made from both type 1 and type 3 collagen – and tends to be more affordable than marine collagen. "There is some suggestion that marine collagen may be easier to absorb, however much of the research into the benefits of collagen supplements have been conducted with bovine collagen, which is bioavailable and also absorbed well by the body," says Cox.

There are no known risks or contraindications to taking collagen peptides, other than to avoid if you have an allergy to any of the ingredients (e.g. avoid marine peptides if you have a seafood allergy).

Currently no vegan equivalent form of collagen exists, says Cox, however optimising nutrient intake through a healthy diet (rich in protein), via other supplements and a healthy lifestyle (such as reducing alcohol intake, sugary foods, environmental pollutants and stress), could all slow the rate of age-related collagen decline.

Is a collagen powder better than a collagen shot?

It's a matter of preference really, says Cox, as the research on whether all collagen forms are made equal is still in the works. "Liquid collagen is still collagen (either marine or bovine), just suspended in water. The research indicates that this form of collagen may also be beneficial, however there is less research on this form of collagen than there is with pure collagen peptide powders," she explains.

The jury's still out, really, but each brand states a recommended allowance – or, as Cox advises, since no adverse effects for collagen have been identified, a tablespoon, equating to 10g seems an equally appropriate daily amount.

"Quantities vary in each study. In one, subjects saw an improvement in levels of skin moisture and collagen density, compared to a placebo, following 56 days of taking 10g of collagen peptide powder per day," she says. "In other research, a decrease in skin waviness on thighs and cellulite reduction was seen following 180 days of 2.5g of collagen peptide intake."

Simply add a tablespoon of collagen peptides to a morning smoothie, mix with yoghurt or even add to a cooked meal. Many people like stirring it into a small amount of boiling water and then tipping that into their morning tea or coffee, to ensure a really smooth blend.

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Best Collagen Powders: the benefits and best brand deals to shop!

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