It’s been nearly a year since I first introduced grass-fed collagen to my daily routine.
I originally wanted to find a way to increase the protein in my smoothies without using processed powder, but along the way my hair noticeably grew longer and my nails were suddenly really long… and they weren’t breaking.
I definitely wasn’t expecting either of these, but it started to make sense the more I read about the health benefits of collagen!
Now, the concept of using collagen as a supplement is not new. It’s available in face creams, in over-the-counter vitamins and it’s touted for being the best anti-aging tool on the beauty market.
In fact, a beauty counter specialist in St. Maartin (one of the ports in our recent cruise) suckered Mr. Crumbs into letting her try an anti-wrinkle cream on the lines around my eyes.
As she’s applying the cream, she tells me all about collagen and how it’s so great for the skin and so great for the hair and so great for the nails… (you know how the sales pitch goes)… and then she asks me if I’ve ever heard of it before.
You should have seen the look on her face when I said, “Yes! I use it every day in my green smoothie!”
Here’s the thing. One year ago, I never would have thought of using – nor even suggested using – collagen as a supplement to a real food diet. I definitely wouldn’t have said to consume it every day.
I thought all the “benefits of collagen” were just hype and propaganda to get us consumers to buy the latest fad.
But I was wrong.
The benefits of collagen are legit…
- Improving hair strength and growth
- Elasticity and wrinkle reduction in skin
- Strengthen nails
- Relieves arthritis pain
- Promotes healing of injuries
- Improves circulation
- Supports natural hormone balance
- improves digestion
…and I have 12 months of personal evidence to prove it!
Benefits of Collagen for Hair
I have short hair. It looks about chin-length in the front, but it is cut to the nape of my neck in the back. With this haircut, I can go a solid 4 ½ months without having to go back for a trim. Sometimes I can even go a full 5 months.
As my hair grows out, I get a “ducktail” of sorts in the back… weird, but that’s how it goes. This ducktail is my signal that it’s time to get a haircut.
Last Christmas, that signal came just 3 months after my haircut – a minimum of 6 WEEKS earlier than usual!
As my hairdresser was cutting my hair, I asked her if it felt longer than normal. It did to me, but I thought it was a fluke and needed her third party opinion.
She said yes, she was cutting more off my hair than she normally did (same haircut as normal, mind you) and that she thought my hair grew more in the past 3 months than it did for most of her other clients.
Her one question – did I do anything different to my diet?
I told her that I had started this grass-fed collagen from Perfect Supplements, and she said that would do it.
Research on the topic backs this claim up too. This research claims collagen may be a potential solution for hair loss and other skin-related diseases. Plus, collagen is technically a polypeptide, which means it’s made up of a several amino-acids. These amino acids are found throughout the body, including your organs, skin and yes – hair!
Benefits of Collagen for Skin
I’ve always struggled with my skin, ever since I was a kid. I distinctly remember when I was something-teen and my sister called me pepperoni face.
I’ve openly shared my struggle with acne on the blog, including how I cleared my acne naturally and my super simple beauty routine using goat milk soap (because truly, that’s all my skin can tolerate).
But adding collagen to my diet has been a game changer.
Before collagen, I’d still deal with break-outs on my arms and upper back year-round. My face would break out monthly, according to my cycle. It wasn’t fun, and sometimes quite embarrassing.
After collagen though, my breakouts are few and far between. If I get a pimple on my face, it’s barely noticeable and it goes away really fast. The breakouts on my shoulders are so rare now, that I’m actually surprised when they happen. Before, I just expected them.
Go figure, 70% of our skin is comprised of collagen. And this article explains that taking collagen orally for 8 weeks showed a “statistically significant improvement” in skin elasticity!
Benefits of Collagen for Nails
For the same reasons I cited above that collagen is beneficial for your hair and skin, it’s also encourages nail growth and strength.
Personally, I noticed this when recording the videos for my course Grocery Budget Bootcamp. For as long as I can remember, my nails have always grown to a certain length, and then they broke or chipped. I’d trim them down, and the cycle would repeat.
But as we were getting ready to tape, I noticed that my nails were much longer than usual… so I painted them to look nice.
The next TWO rounds of taping came and sure enough, my nails were still going strong and growing longer by the week!
Eventually I had to trim my nails myself, because honestly, they were getting in the way!
There are other major benefits of collagen to, like relieving arthritis pain, promoting healing of injuries, supporting hormone balance, improving digestion, and improving circulation – but to be honest, I don’t have a “before” to compare any of these results with.
I personally haven’t struggled with any of these, other than the hormonal balance. But I’ve been taking maca root in this green smoothie for that… although I’ve been adding collagen too, so maybe I am experiencing the benefits of collagen after all here too!
If you struggle with any of these issues, I highly recommend taking collagen. It’s done wonders for me!
Taking Collagen Orally vs. Topically
Collagen is naturally found in the body, but the amount our amount of collagen our bodies produce decreases as we age. That’s why our skin wrinkles and our joints ache as we get older.
The catch with using a collagen supplement though, is that our bodies absorb collagen best when taken INTERNALLY, not topically. According to this article, the molecules of grass-fed collagen are simply too large for the skin to absorb.
That means that in order to reap the benefits of collagen, we must take it orally. It also means you can ignore all those beauty counter specialists!
Grass-fed collagen typically comes in powder form (this is the brand I use and recommend), and it can be added to smoothies, coffee or even water. I already mentioned that typically I take it daily in this green smoothie.
However, as I was experimenting with the slow carb diet and devouring perfect scrambled eggs and slow cooker refried beans for breakfast (don’t knock it until you try it!), I added collagen to my coffee. A few quick stirs and it completely disappears and it’s entirely tasteless!
What Collagen Brand is Best?
Before I dive in, I have to state that I am not typically brand loyal unless I personally believe – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that one brand is unequivocally better than another.
Every time I recommend a brand, it’s because I personally have used it (and probably still am), tested it (repeatedly) and have preferred it over every other brand of that item.
When it comes to collagen peptides, I admit that I haven’t tried every single brand of collagen on the market. However, I have tried the two most popular: Perfect Supplements and Vital Proteins.
Perfect Supplements and Vital Proteins
The hair story I told earlier happened after taking Perfect Supplements 5 days a week for about 2-3 months. When that container ran out, I tried the Vital Proteins brand.
Within two weeks, I noticed a difference. My hair wasn’t as thick or strong, and my nails started to break easily again. Nothing else in my diet changed except for the brand of collagen.
I compared the containers side by side, and both list 18 amino acids. All were the same, except each had one that was not listed on the other. However, this list is where the similarities stopped.
One serving of Perfect Supplements is one scoop, or 11 grams. One serving of Vital Proteins is 2 scoops, or about 20 grams.
When you look at the amino acid profile in a single scoop of collagen (so roughly 10-11 grams for each brand), Perfect Supplements had MORE of every single amino acids listed but one.
This means, that per scoop of grass-fed collagen, you are getting more amino acids in Perfect Supplements (pictured below). For me, this explains why I noticed dramatic results with this brand compared to Vital Proteins.
And since we’re all concerned with the grocery budget around here, this is how it breaks down money-wise:
Add this to my own personal experience and the deal is sealed.
Perfect Supplements Collagen is ON SALE NOW!
- I highly recommend Perfect Supplements collagen. (As you can see from my review above!)
- Right now you can save 30% on any Perfect Supplements products PLUS save an extra 10% with coupon code CRUMBS10.
- There are no minimums and no limits. Usually you have to buy SIX tubs of collagen to get 30% off. This is a great time to buy and try out Perfect Supplements collagen!
- CLICK HERE to go straight to their site to buy.
A quick disclaimer – Vital Proteins may have sales on their products, but because I didn’t like the effectiveness of their product, I don’t pay attention. Feel free to, if you’d like to do your own trial (but don’t say I didn’t warn you).
Did I finish the other container of collagen?
Yes, I did. I committed to using up the rest of the container, but I was not pleased. As soon as it was empty, I switched back to Perfect Supplements and within 2 weeks my hair and nails were stronger again.
Your results might vary of course, but ever since I shared this with my newsletter subscribers (they get first dibs on these types of stories – you can subscribe and get a free mini course in return), I get emails every week sharing how much they LOVE this brand collagen too. That’s how I know my own success is not a fluke!
I notice that the perfect supplements brands label states that it is “Brazilian pasture-raised bovine hydrolyzed collagen”, vital proteins may also be sourced from South America. Do you have concerns about deforestation of the Amazon for animal agriculture (e.g. cattle) or generally ? Not to say that inappropriate use of land for animal agriculture isn’t an issue in other countries. I haven’t been able to get a clear idea of the environmental and animal welfare aspect of collagen supplements, one hopes at the very least that it is from using a byproduct of another industry. However collagen supplements are now a billion dollar industry…
Karen @ Team Crumbs
Yes, I think that most people are concerned about the deforestation in the Amazon and all over the entire world.
I’ve done a lot of research on Collagen powder with & without peptides. I’ve been using Organika & found some really good results. You can also purchase at Walmart or online.
I have been using Probase Sports Nutrition Collagen and it is by far the best collagen powder I have ever used. No stomach issues and it dissolves without a trace. I bought mine at Walmart but you can also get it on their website at probasenutrition.net.
Have you tried thrive market’s collagen?
I have not!
have you used great lakes collagen?
I have not!
I’ve never used Collagen powder before. I do not drink smoothies. What’s the best way to eat/drink this stuff? Also, does it do anything to it (adversely affect it) if I put it in my COOKING? Will the heat destroy any of the goodness in Collagen powder? (Such as in baking, or maybe in scrambled eggs, sprinkled on frying eggs before turning them over, or in pudding, or in potatoes, or gravy, or any other cooked foods?
Also, when I cook (I live alone) I usually cook a lot extra and then refrigerate (sometimes Freeze) and eat the left overs (re-heated in microwave) for a few days afterwards. Will refrigeration or freezing (or microwaving) take away the goodness? (Yes, I know microwaves are “not good”, but it’s my go to in my busy life.)
I want to find a way to “get this down”, but I don’t want to waste it if cooking might destroy the goodness in it.
Thank you for any information.
Hi there! The best way… anyway you get it in your belly!! Baking with it is totally fine, just remember that it doesn’t have any specific baking properties (i.e. no gluten, no leavening agent, no binding, etc.) so don’t go swapping all the flour with all the collagen and expect bread. 😉 Definitely add to eggs, pudding, mashed potatoes, gravy… all of the above!
Refrigeration and/or microwaving will not take away any goodness either, so you’re good to go!
Thank you, Tiffany!! I TRIED to drink some but I just could NOT. I had to throw it out. I will try putting it in some sort of food next time.
As for trying to drink it, I don’t think it really “tasted” all that bad, but the texture is what got me. I just couldn’t handle it.
I can see the texture issue. When I added it to coffee, I put it in the blender with almond milk. Now THAT was like a frothy treat for sure!!
I was trying to blend it by hand. I’m thinking I might have to get a blender in order to use this stuff. I want SO BAD to be able to try it, every day, for a couple months, but WOW — I have to find a way to make that possible, first.
Love all the interesting information. Please keep me up to date with your emails. Thanks.
I am on the search for how to use collagen peptides in high protein muffins. I want to figure out how to substitute it in recipes that have “protein powder”. Now that it’s getting into fall, I want to still get that protein, veggie and fruit mix in but don’t want to be drinking a smoothie in winter time. I’m not entirely sure how collagen peptides “bake” differently than “protein powders” and haven’t really found a good answer on the interwebs, so I thought I’d ask you and see if you’ve done and muffin baking with them? Since you’re the person who first introduced me to collagen peptides. 😀
Hi Courtney! My first thought is that you should be able to sub collagen with traditional protein powders in baking b/c neither have “normal” baking properties that you’d find in flour (gluten), eggs (binding and lifting), sugars (lightness) and such. That means that a recipe written for protein powder will already have these variables taken into consideration with the other ingredients. You will lose sweetness and possibly flavor if the protein powder is flavored though (i.e. vanilla or chocolate), so keep that in mind. You might have to adjust the sweeteners and/or flavoring components (cocoa, vanilla, etc.), which then MIGHT trickle into the wet/dry ratio. Generally speaking, if you add cocoa, take the same amount away from the dry (flour). If you add honey/maple syrup, take the same amount away from the egg (yogurt, milk, etc.). Personally, I ignore that rule if I’m adding 2 Tbsp or less of wet and/or dry. 😉
Thanks Tiffany! I found a couple recipes I wanted to try that called for protein powder and the recipes that include collagen are less common so thanks for your tips and I’ll give those recipes a try!
So…about the tasteless part…I ordered the same stuff you recommended (Perfect Supplements) and ours is definitely not tasteless. When we tried it in our coffee, it made the coffee taste terrible! 🙁 So far I’ve only had luck putting it in our smoothies without noticing the taste of the collagen.
Hmm… Do you stir it in? I use my blender just in case (don’t want to ruin a good cup of coffee!) and I don’t notice it. But I’m also only putting coconut milk in, no sweetener of any kind. Maybe our tastebuds are just different?
Definitely not tasteless or odorless. There’s a ‘warm milk’ smell and taste. I put it in a small amount of water, stir and swallow quickly. Still worth trying but I make sure I have something else to eat right after. I may try mixing in some coconut milk or something to mask it.
I finally took the plunge and ordered my collagen. I took my first dose this morning. I can’t wait to see my results 🤞🏻 I would like to know if you take one scoop per day or two. I’m using the Perfect brand as you recommend.
Hi Tammy! I use one scoop per day. 🙂 I hope you enjoy it!
I started using Perfect Supplements collagen to see if it would help with my arthritis and some stomach issues I had. I used to wake up nearly every morning with a stomach ache so bad I couldn’t do anything until I sat with a heating pad on for several minutes. Within the first week of taking the collagen the stomach aches were gone and it’s been 7 months, taking one scoop a day, and I haven’t had a stomach ache and I rarely have any arthritis pain. My hair has also grown six inches and I have bulletproof nails! It really is amazing.
How awesome Kristina!!
Hi! Quick question – is there a recipe link for the bar pictured above? (it is dark with almonds, coconut, and chocolate chips) It looks amazing!!!
No recipe link Lindsay – that bar is from my book High Protein, No Powder: https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/ebooks/
Wonderful article! I’ve been hearing good things about collagen and I think it is perfect for my hair that was damaged by frequent styling! Also, thank you for suggesting mixing collagen with coffee. However, I have one question, coffee doesn’t change the effects of collagen, right? 🙂
Hi Nicky – nope, coffee doesn’t change the effects of collagen. Drink up!
I finally started to use the collagen that you suggested. I made a breakfast smoothie this morning with protein powder and the collagen powder, it tasted very gritty. Do you have any tips on how to avoid the gritty taste??
A couple questions Kayla… Did you add something creamy, like a banana, mango or avocado? Have you tested to see if it’s the protein powder that’s gritty, or the collagen? And never put the powders in first!
What about making your own collagen rich bone broth? I know you can’t necessarily come up with quantitative results.
You could certainly do that Grammyprepper! Bone broth naturally contains gelatin (which is cooked collagen), but you could certainly add more to it to boost the value of the stock!
I have been taking a mix of all five collagen types for several months now and have not noticed any benefits. In fact my nails are breaking more than ever before.
I have resently had compliments on my hair but complexion is no better either.
I believe I am taking a quality source. I plan to continue taking it awhile longer for the protein post workout.
Hi Mark – I’m sorry you aren’t seeing results. Are you taking either of the brands I mentioned in this post? In my experience, brand does matter!
Do you have a recipe for a protein bar using the collagen powder in it?
You can add the collagen to these energy bites: https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2016/08/sweet-salty-energy-bites/ or these larabar bites: https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2016/10/pumpkin-larabar/. Assume each batch makes 24. Determine how many bites you consider a serving, then divide into 24. That’s how many scoops you’ll need of collagen to get the one scoop per “serving” of bites. Not the easy route, but I promise I’m working on a dedicate bar recipe!
Come across anything convincing on eczema and collagen? I’ve had TERRIBLE eczema on my scalp lately. It’s not dandruff and it’s constantly itchy. I’m thinking this may be a good thing to try. I’ve never heard of orally taking collagen but I’ve heard a lot topically. Never anything related to eczema though. I’m going to get some to try while we have the 30% and the CRUMBS10 code. Thanks for the write up.
I’m wondering if it helped your eczema as I’d like to try it too.
Have you heard of a salt water hair scrub?, I’ve tried it and it works better and is less harsh than the apple cider rinse…
I’m wondering if you tried the collagen (or anything else for that matter that helped) as I have terrible eczema and scalp issues as well.
Hi! I love your blog! This is totally off topic, but I haven’t seen your grocery budget posts in a while. Are you not doing those anymore? I used to love reading them and I miss seeing them!
Hi Carrie! I sent out a reader survey last year asking about the “what I spent” posts and they were the least popular of all the content I shared. I only have so many hours a week to write, so I decided to put my time towards the content that readers enjoyed most. I’ve been thinking about how to bring them back, even if it’s just occasionally, but I haven’t quite mapped that out yet!
Thanks for your reply! I’d love it if you brought it back somehow, but I definitely understand you have to put your time into what the people want! 😁 I thought it was a great inspiration to me to keep to my grocery budget. And I was always amazed at how you could do so much with that amount of money! I enjoy your other posts too…that chocolate hummus is a staple in our house right now!
My first time reading your blog and I could not stop reading! Excellent new recipes and things I will be trying! Love how you write, explain and show a video in the corner! Relevant, interesting and kept my attention. Will be checking in to see what’s new!