All right: you’ve made the big decision, and you’re ready to get started on your new ketogenic diet. You’re ready to tide life by the horns and get healthy, and it’s time to get going. Like any diet, it is important that you are aware of the nutrients going into your body and that you are getting enough of them. With the keto diet, finding the best collagen powder supplement to boost your daily caloric intake can be a big first step in the right direction.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a fancy word that refers to the abundant form of protein (between 25% and 35%) found in the human body—particularly in connective tissues. And this means every type of connective tissue, from your corneas down to the blood vessels in your toes. To top it off, there are two types of major collagens: endogenous, or natural, and exogenous, or synthetic. There are quite a few collagen powders that are out on the market today and are a great source of additional proteins and nutrients that your body can use to function more efficiently.
As we get older, our bodies produce less collagen, which can result in stiffer joints, saggy skin, and an overall diminished physical self (and this process can start as early as age 20!). For this reason, it is important to make sure that your body gets enough collagen to keep it going strong for years to come. And with the ketogenic diet, it makes a perfect, low-carb solution to add more protein to your diet.
Collagen proteins are made up of a triple-helix chain of amino acids—those helpful little chemical compounds that contribute to the sturdy fibers in the body.
In a broad sense, there are three types of collagen: native, gelatin, and peptides. Each of these types has its own purpose, and it is good to know the differences:
- Native Collagen: The collagen already present within our bodies!
- Gelatin: Dehydrolyzed collagen that is generally produced from a variety of animal parts. The components of gelatin give it its ability to act as a gelling agent in certain foods and medications. It is not highly digestible in most cases.
- Peptides: Peptides are short chains of amino acids; peptides derive from whole collagen and act as a highly digestible, highly soluble solution to collagen protein absorption. Collagen peptides are also known as hydrolyzed collagen in many collagen supplements.
Thanks to the fact that collagen is a naturally occurring protein, it is, in general, more highly absorbable than most other forms of protein. Our bodies recognize it and are more than happy to add it to their collections. However, like we mentioned above, collagen peptides will be more useful as a collagen supplement to the body than gelatin.
Are There Any Advantages to Taking Collagen?
The answer to this question is an emphatic YES! Collagen is not only an essential vitamin, but it is one that is not produced your entire life. Remember what we said about collagen production stopping as early as 20? Well, once it does, you will start to notice changes in your body—particularly your skin.
Collagen makes up more than 70% of the protein in your skin. When it starts to diminish, the skin loses its tautness and may have a tendency to dry out faster. One study looking at the ingestion of peptides has found that after eight weeks of taking the supplement, subjects saw a drastic decrease in wrinkles across the skin (upwards of a 20% success rate!). The longer the supplement was taken, the more improvements subjects saw in their skin health and appearance.
Collagen intake can also show improvements in other areas, including: bone health, joint health, hormone regulation, and digestion. Collagen supplements do just that: supplement the body’s native collagen and boost health across all connective tissues.
How Do I Know Which Collagen Supplements to Take?
The market is inundated with thousands of choices when it comes to collagen supplements and protein powders. So how do you know what to look for when you are ready to start your collagen regimen? Here are a few key tips to help you determine the best collagen powder:
- Look for hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides. These short-chain amino acids are easier for the body to digest and have a greater bioavailability to get the collagen moving through your system.
- If you are looking to take collagen for its skin-repairing benefits, then look for a higher dose per serving (starting at 10,000mg). If not, then you can look at lower concentrations to start with.
- Keep an eye out for these additional supplements, that will help boost collagen’s efficiency: Hyaluronic acid, Chondroitin sulfate protein complex, Vitamin C, CoQ10, Ceramide
- Try to avoid synthetic sugars and preservatives.
- Consider which type of collagen might work best for you. Recent research shows that marine collagen has the highest bioavailability of all.
What’s the Best Time of Day to Take Collagen Protein?
Depending on your body’s specific needs, there are a variety of answers to this question. If you have digestion issues, try taking your supplement before meals. This will allow it to start the break-down process faster and increase the amount of protein that you absorb. In your keto diet, you might consider taking it in the morning as a breakfast (or mid-morning snack) substitute. A lot of people enjoy taking their collagen powder in their morning keto coffee with butter and/or heavy cream.
For all other purposes, there really is no optimal time to take collagen powder. It’s more important that you stay consistent and make sure your intake occurs at least a few times a week. If you are using collagen protein as a meal replacement, then you’ll need to take it more often.
The Top 5 Best Collagen Powders Reviewed
Wild Foods offers a 100% bovine hide collagen powder that is chock-full of protein and collagen to boost your health and jumpstart your body’s systems. This particular collagen protein powder is highly recommended by many with few reported instances of digestive issues or the like.
With 18 essential amino acids, 10g of protein, and 11g of collagen peptides per serving, this protein powder is a powerful nutrient enhancement. It is also one of the better tasting protein powders on the market, though it, like most collagen powders, is unflavored.
It is also highly affordable, making this one of the cheapest and yet most efficient protein powders on the market.
|10g protein per serving|
|11g collagen per serving|
|Easy to mix|
|Low flavor profile|
|May take longer to start taking effect (30-60 days)|
|Because it has no preservatives, its shelf life may not be as long if stored improperly|
Amandean has a no-nonsense approach to ingredient quality and transparency. They claim that all of the fish used in their marine collagen protein powder is wild caught and processed at a plant in Canada that only produces fish collagen and gelatin - this eliminates any possibility of cross-contamination for individuals who might have a red meat or other food sensitivity.
In other words, you know what you’re getting when you buy this product; no guesswork required!
To top it off, this protein powder is fat free, gluten-free, non GMO, sugar free, and high in protein content. With 10g of collagen in every serving, you know you are getting the maximum amount of collagen that you need to feel and see results in no time at all.
|9g of protein per serving|
|Fish Collagen, which has the highest bioavailability|
|Strong, unusual taste|
|Not safe for individuals with shellfish or other marine allergies|
|Reports of increased acne breakouts for some individuals|
|Reports of possible digestive issues|
|$$ More expensive|
Pure, hydrolyzed gelatin collagen made from kosher beef—and best of all, it’s paleo and keto-friendly! This collagen protein powder is packed with protein and essential nutrients that give you a boost to your day.
Low sodium and calories with a whopping 13g of collagen hydrolysate, Great Lakes is definitely not messing around when it comes to providing a high-quality collagen supplement solution for those in need of a little boost.
In particular, I appreciate their commitment to ensuring that the cattle raised and used in this product are grass-fed and treated well, adhering to the tenants of proper animal welfare and thus a general high sense of morality.
|High protein content (11g)|
|19 amino acids|
|Dissolves easily in hot or cold liquids|
|There have been reports of digestive issues|
|Gelatin rather than peptides|
With their marine collagen protein powder solution, Zammex offers a protein supplement that is both high in bioavailability and low in unknown ingredients. The tilapia used in this product are 100% non-GMO and wild caught, so you get the full punch of nutrients for your buck.
The nice thing about a collagen protein powder like this is that, so long as you don’t have a fish allergy, your body only has to work with one kind of peptide. My body tends to be a bit finicky when I mix too many nutrients from various sources all at once, so a collagen powder like this is much welcome.
|Fast dissolving and mixes well|
|Contains the amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline|
|9g of protein per scoop|
|Taste can be off-putting|
|$$ More expensive|
MAV Nutrition’s Multi-Collagen Protein boasts all five types of major collagen sources: grass-fed beef, chicken, fish, and egg. It really takes the guesswork out of deciding which collagen protein type is best for you—why not have them all?
This collagen protein powder does not have too high of a protein content, but it makes up for that fact pound-for-pound with its nutrient profile.
Flavorless means you can mix it in nearly anything without worrying about it affecting the taste, though I wouldn’t recommend taking it with plain water.
|Hydrolyzed bovine, chicken, fish, and egg peptides|
|No added sugar|
|Good for skin, digestion, and joints|
|Only 7g protein per scoop|
|Unclear ingredients list|
Without a doubt, Wild Food’s Collagen Protein Powder wins the debate of best collagen powder both for your health and your buck. It’s ingredients are clear and do not leave room for doubt on what you are ingesting, it has one of the highest protein amounts per serving, its formula effectively negates the strong smell and flavor that other collagen powders are prone to, and it is on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of price.
As a nutritional supplement, Wild Foods offers a collagen protein powder that is made from collagen peptides, which are the most digestible form of collagen that you can take. It is full of the 18 essential amino acids that boost the collagen’s effectiveness and does not have any sugars or preservatives that could negatively affect your health. While this is not marine collagen with a higher bioavailability, it is still a high-quality collagen with no fillers and no nonsense. For a keto-friendly diet, this is definitely a good place to start in your search for a beneficial collagen powder.