We Tried It: Are Marine & Vegan Collagen Powders Worth It?
Last Updated: April 14, 2022
We’ve all heard of collagen powders, and some of us have even tried them. This natural protein is responsible for smooth skin, strong joints, and healthy hair — but what is it, and how easy is it to use? Grove writer Mackenzie Sanford investigates.
I’m a woman of convenience. No matter how good something is for me, I won’t do it if it takes more than the bare minimum of effort to implement into my daily routine. So when I heard about collagen supplements, I thought it was going to be more of the same. Do I want supple skin? Of course! Do I want to go out of my way everyday to get it? Not really!
As it turns out, collage powder has been super easy to fit into my day. Read on for the benefits of these beautifying powders and some easy tips for tricking yourself into making collagen a new habit, too.
What is collagen powder?
Before we get into what collagen powder is, let’s talk collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It helps form strong connective tissues in our bones, cartilage, tendons, and skin. What’s that mean, exactly? Plump skin, lubricated joints, thick nails, and healthy hair are all gifts that collagen bestows upon us. Certain foods, like those rich in vitamin C, zinc, and copper, help the body create collagen. But as we age, our bodies begin producing less collagen which can lead to wrinkles, sagging skin, joint pain, brittle nails, and thinning hair. Yikes!
Enter collagen powder. This nifty dietary supplement makes it easy to get in a lil’ extra collagen if you notice your body is starting to look — and feel — less supple. Collagen powders are made from multiple sources like plants, fish, and livestock. Some come flavored, some are plain, some have additional nutrients added in, while others are pure collagen, baby.
The true collagen thief
The biggest threat to your youthful radiance isn’t actually aging — it’s lifestyle. Too much sun, smoking, excess alcohol consumption, lack of sleep, and a sedentary lifestyle all contribute to your body’s drop in collagen production.
Benefits of collagen powder
Promotes skin elasticity: Collagen supplements may help skin stay firm and smooth as we age. Studies have found that collagen supplements improved skin elasticity when taken over the course of two months.
Helps joint mobility: Collagen plays an important role in maintaining strong cartilage, the tissue that helps protect joints. Taking 10 mg of a collagen supplement can have major pain-relieving effects on your joints.
Boosts muscle mass: A study showed that collagen supplements taken over 12 weeks, combined with weight training, helped recreationally active men form more muscle mass than weight training alone.
Strengthens hair and nails: Collagen could help strengthen hair and nails because it’s got amino acids that help build keratin, the protein hair and nails are made of.
How to use collagen powder
Collagen powder is a versatile supplement that you can incorporate into your daily diet in a number of ways. Each brand has its own directions and suggested uses, but here are a few of the methods I used to get my daily dose.
- Mix into hot tea
- Stir into a bowl of soup
- Blend in a smoothie
- Add to an iced latte
- Stir into yogurt
Does collagen powder work? We tried it
Despite the fact that I crave simplicity, I also love trying new things and I’ve got a tendency to hoard products. And that’s how I ended up using two collagen powders at the same time: I wanted to see if there was a difference between the taste and consistency of marine collagen and vegan collagen powders. Here’s what I found.
Vegan collagen powder
Collagen powders and supplements typically only comes from three sources: chicken, cows, and fish. But the beauty of Ora Organic's Aloe Gorgeous Vegan Collagen Booster is that it isn’t a collagen powder in the traditional sense. Rather, it’s got all sorts of delightful plant extracts like vitamins C and E, silica, lysine, and aloe vera that power together to help the body boost it’s collagen production. That means you get all the benefits of collagen powder, no animals required.
The Aloe Gorgeous Vegan Collagen Booster comes in a yummy vanilla flavor that I really enjoyed in my smoothies and yogurt bowls. I also stirred two and a half teaspoons (the recommended serving) into a cuppa Earl Gray with oat milk and honey, turning it into a super creamy London Fog that I’ve begun to look forward to everyday.
Marine collagen powder
Honu's Inner Strength Marine Collagen Powder was next on my list. This powder is made from sustainably-sourced Alaskan pollock that’s non-GMO, dairy-free, and made without fillers or sweeteners. It’s unflavored, which I was a little worried about because unflavored doesn’t necessarily mean no flavor, ya know? But it really is totally tasteless and odorless, for those who are wondering. I mixed it into smoothies, bowls of soup, and banana pancakes, and I couldn’t even tell it was there.
Bovine collagen powder is another great option for folks seeking a boost of protein, especially if they don't have dietary restrictions. Tonic Products has a Gym & Tonic Collagen Protein (with rave reviews, might I add) that supports muscles and joints pre- and post-work out. It’s made from grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle and contains 18 amino acids our bodies can’t make on their own. Bottoms up!
How long does collagen powder take to work?
If you don’t see results immediately, don’t fret. It can take up to 12 weeks to see a difference, depending on the results you’re going for. I’ve been taking collagen powder everyday for a month so I’ve yet to see any noticeable changes, but I trust the results will make themselves known as time goes on.
What’s the best collagen powder?
Overall, I liked the marine collagen best because it was unflavored and therefore more versatile. As far as texture goes, both of the powders I tried dissolved really well into food and other than the extra hit of vanilla from the vegan powder, I couldn’t even tell they were there.
But the best collagen powder for you is totally dependent on your needs and dietary habits! Some folks might not even want a powder — and for those people, I suggest collagen gummies. They’re better than a pill (because who likes swallowing pills?) and they’ve got all the benefits of collagen powder in an easy-to-take gummy form.
About the author: Mackenzie Sanford is an aging Millenial trying to maintain her youthful glow for as long as possible in the Midwest.
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