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7 Collagen Protein Powders, Taste-Tested and Reviewed

Protein powder

If you’re confused about collagen protein, you’re not alone – it’s popping up everywhere and it seems to be in everything, but what even is this stuff? Here’s a quick explainer and an honest review of 7 collagen protein powders.

None of the companies that make the taste-tested products paid Paleo Leap anything for this post – we didn’t even get free samples. We bought all the powders in normal grocery stores at the regular price. We don’t sell collagen and we don’t take money to write good or bad reviews.

What the heck is this collagen stuff and why is it suddenly everywhere?

Collagen is a type of protein found in connective tissue, skin, cartilage, and bones. Muscle meat – that’s your steak, your pork chops, your chicken breast, basically any meat you normally eat – doesn’t have a lot of it. Back in the pre-agricultural days, we used to eat a lot more tendons, skin, gristle, and cartilage – all the stuff that most people now throw away because it’s “icky.” Since we don’t eat that stuff very much any longer, we don’t always get enough collagen relative to the other kinds of proteins in muscle meat. By cutting out the “icky” stuff, we’ve made our diets incomplete.

Does the type of collagen matter?

There are 16 types of collagen in total. Most collagen in the human body is Type 1, Type 2, or Type 3.. In some diseases, there are changes in collagen type (e.g., in arthritis, collagen changes from type 1 to type 2). But there’s no clear evidence linking specific types of collagen in supplements to specific health benefits.

Why can’t I just eat food for this?

You absolutely could! The best answer would be: eat some parts of an animal that aren’t muscle meat! Eat bone broth. Make soup with chicken feet. Eat skin. There are all kinds of traditional recipes for these foods, from beef tendon soup to roasted pork knuckle – because they’re normal and valuable parts of the human diet.

But realistically speaking, it’s 2019 and probably 95% of people either don’t have access to these foods, don’t have the time/energy to learn to prepare them, or can’t get over the ick factor because they haven’t been exposed to the tastes and textures from childhood. So we’re left with the next-best option: collagen supplements.

Here, we’re focusing on powdered supplements that you pour into drinks – either water or coffee/tea. Our taste-tester mixed up 7 different kinds of packaged collagen powders from a range of different companies – both flavored and unflavored. All except the coffee creamer were added to plain, room-temperature water.

1. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Serving size (grams): 10
Grams of collagen per serving: 10
Collagen type(s): Not specified
Ingredients: Bovine collagen peptides
Taste-tester’s notes: Very slight bone broth taste/mouthfeel, but it would be unnoticeable if you put it in anything but plain water. Mostly it tasted like nothing, exactly as advertised.

2. Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein

Serving size (grams): 10.2
Grams of collagen per serving: 10.2
Collagen type(s): 1, 2, 3, 5, 10
Ingredients: Hydrolyzed bovine hide collagen peptides, chicken bone broth collagen concentrate, hydrolyzed fish collagen peptides, eggshell membrane collagen
Taste-tester’s notes: This protein had the strongest “bone broth” smell of all of them, but a very mild and unremarkable taste. Even though this was the most collagen-smelling of them all, it would barely be noticeable if you added the powder to almond milk or coffee, or anything with a taste and smell of its own.

Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer, shown added to coffee – picture against white background for color comparison.

3. Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer

Serving size (grams) 13
Grams of collagen per serving: 5
Collagen type(s): Not specified
Ingredients: Organic coconut milk powder, natural [SEE NOTE BELOW] mocha flavor, natural coconut flavor, organic bamboo shoot extract, organic acacia fiber
Taste-tester’s notes: For all the other powders, I put them in plain water. But putting coffee creamer in water seemed ridiculous, so I put it in coffee instead. It tasted like coffee with a little bit of creamer, pretty much like any other creamer.

NOTE: Bear in mind that “natural” on a nutrition label means nothing and has no defined set of standards.

4. Bulletproof Unflavored Collagen Protein

Serving size (grams) 13 grams
Grams of collagen per serving: 12 grams
Collagen type(s): Not specified
Ingredients: Hydrolyzed collagen

Taste-tester’s notes: Tasted like nothing – it was advertised as unflavored and lived up to the label. 

5. Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen

Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen – shown against a white background for color comparison.

Serving size (grams) 18 grams
Grams of collagen per serving: 10
Collagen type(s): Not specified
Ingredients: Organic peach powder, green tea, collagen peptides
Taste-tester’s notes: It definitely looks like capital-H Health Food, but actually this was pretty tasty. It had a pleasant green tea flavor – I didn’t taste any peach powder. It was unsweetened, but you could always sweeten it if you liked.

6. Garden of Life Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides

Serving size (grams): 20 grams
Grams of collagen per serving: 20 grams
Collagen type(s): 1 and 3
Ingredients: Bovine hide collagen peptides, Lactobacillus plantarum
Taste-tester’s notes: Slight taste and texture of bone broth, but it would be unnoticeable in anything but plain water.

 

7. Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel: Chocolate Coconut

Primal Kitchens Chocolate Coconut collagen protein – shown against a white wall for color comparison purposes

Serving size (grams) 16.4 grams
Grams of collagen per serving: 10 grams
Collagen type(s): 1 and 3
Ingredients: Bovine collagen peptides, coconut milk powder, organic fair-trade cocoa powder (processed with alkali), monk fruit extract, konjac root, sea salt
Taste-tester’s notes: Actually pretty good! I wasn’t optimistic about it because flavored protein powder rarely tastes good to me, but it had a pleasant chocolatey taste and a slightly richer consistency that reminded me of chocolate milk. The taste was about 90% chocolate, 10% coconut. This one might also be good in coffee, if you like a kind of mocha effect.

What’s your favorite kind of collagen protein?

Is it on the list? Something else you can’t get enough of? What do you take it for, and does it work for you? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!