The Best Collagen Supplements & Why They Do More Harm Than Good

I have noticed a recent trend in the protein supplement industry which is the emergence of hydrolyzed collagen.  [clickToTweet tweet=”Hydrolyzed collagen is a useless protein and using it could be doing much more harm than good.” quote=”Hydrolyzed collagen is a useless protein and using it could be doing much more harm than good.”] If you’re looking for the best collagen supplements you should think twice before using this cheap, disgusting protein source.

Hydrolyzed collagen, which can also be called hydrolyzed gelatin is made from mainly the skin of pigs.  If it does not come from the skin of pigs than it comes from the skin of cows.  It is very gross.  In addition, hydrolyzed collagen is used as a gumming agent in the food and candy industry.  It is also used in shampoo’s and soaps.  Hydrolyzed collagen is dirt cheap and the food industry of course, NEVER likes to WASTE anything.  Therefore not only do they use this in our foods, but they put it in cosmetics as well.  If you try to find a natural food source for collagen you are not going to find any.  The only natural food sources of collagen would be if you found a way to eat the skins of a pig or a cow.

Also see my article on hydrolyzed collagen in protein shots.

There is a slight difference between hydrolyzed collagen and hydrolyzed gelatin, but the differences are mainly having to do with their uses in the commercial food industries.  Regarding it’s use as a protein supplement, hydrolyzed collagen is nutritionally useless.

There is a huge problem with hydrolyzed collagen and it is something that the companies selling hydrolyzed collagen do not want you to know about.  Hydrolyzed collagen is an incomplete protein.  Meaning the body cannot use it as a source of protein.  Hydrolyzed collagen is missing the amino acid tryptophan.

best hydrolyzed collagen


Because hydrolyzed collagen is missing this amino acid the human body cannot use it to increase protein synthesis or create protein, making it worthless as using it as a source of protein.

In addition, hydrolyzed collagen’s Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score is ZERO.  The PDCAA is supported by the FDA, the World Health Organization, and the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences.  Whey protein, for example, has a PDCAA of 100.  Other proteins such as egg white and casein also have very high PDCAA’s.


As you can see, hydrolyzed collagen should never be used as a protein supplement.  To make matters worse, hydrolyzed collagen can actually decrease the efficiency of high-quality proteins.  Meaning that if you combine hydrolyzed collagen with a whey protein, it will actually cause the whey protein to be less efficient.

Believe it or not, this combining of hydrolyzed collagen and whey protein exists today.  Ever see those protein shots?  Most of the time these protein shots contain a combination of hydrolyzed collagen and whey protein isolate.  Take a look at the ingredients I found in one of these protein shots.

New Whey Liquid Protein 3.8 FL OZ - Watermelon (12 Shots) by New Whey Nutrition at the Vitamin Shoppe 2016-07-17 23-41-36

The funny thing is that this company calls it, “collagen protein isolate”.  This is a marketing scam.  The company that sells this product is making an obvious attempt to make this useless protein source sound like whey protein isolate by calling hydrolyzed collagen a “collagen protein isolate”.

Why do companies use hydrolyzed collagen in their protein supplements and then market what a high-quality protein source it is?  Unfortunately, the answer is that the supplement industry is simply dominated by unscrupulous people.  If you “Google” hydrolyzed collagen all you will find are website saying how great this disgusting protein source is.  They do this because they have a motive to sell it.  Most of the time the top results in Google for hydrolyzed collagen will be for a company that has a financial interest in hydrolyzed collagen.  Hydrolyzed collagen, as you can imagine is cheap as dirt.  On average the cost of hydrolyzed collagen is around 50 cents per pound.  To compare, whey protein concentrate is around $4.00 per pound.  Therefore the profit margin for companies selling hydrolyzed collagen is very high compared to other protein sources.

Supplement companies selling collagen powder will tout it’s remarkable health benefits.  These benefits mainly include hair and nail support and joint benefits.  Numerous studies support the benefits of hydrolyzed collagen for hair, nails, and joints, however, I believe these benefits do not out weight the negative effects hydrolyzed collagen has on protein utilization.  What good is nice hair and nails, when you have zero muscle mass and look like skinny, malnourished, person? You’ll notice that these websites that promote hydrolyzed collagen as a good, healthy product, never mention that it has a biological value and PDCAA of ZERO and may decrease the efficiency of other high-quality proteins.  You’ll also never see them tell you that it comes from pig skins as well.

Here is a classic example of how deceiving the marketing is for hydrolyzed collagen.  Check out this product I found under best collagen supplements on


As I have pointed out in red highlight, the company touts that their product contains 18 amino acids, including 8 essential amino acids.  However as I told you above, there are 9 essential amino acids, NOT EIGHT!  This means that these amino acids found in this product are 100% USELESS!!

In addition they market that this product can be used for weight reduction.  However I don’t think its the weight reduction that most people want.  I truly believe hydrolyzed collagen is a catabolic protein source and using it will cause a reduction in lean muscle mass.  The people “reviewing” this product on in which they are talking about weight loss, most likely are losing muscle mass from this product.  It behoves me that ANYONE would use this product instead of a high quality protein source like whey or egg whites.

Here is another example of the bad information that is rampant across the interwebs.  Check out what I found when I Googled, “best collagen supplements”.  The picture below is a company that sells whey protein and then sells hydrolyzed collagen.  Their so-called expert is telling you to combine hydrolyzed collagen with whey protein and use it post workout.  BIG BIG mistake.  As I have pointed out above you do not want to combine hydrolyzed collagen with quality protein.



In conclusion, I do not recommend hydrolyzed gelatin or hopefully I convinced you that their are no “best collagen supplements”, they all suck.  I do not find any reason to use this product when other products can simply be used in its place.  If you have joint issues, then you can simply use other supplements such as glucosamine or  Hydrolyzed collagen is a catabolic supplement.  Everyday we subject our bodies to catabolic events and substances.  Working out is a catabolic activity just on its own, why would you want to enhance a catabolic condition in the body?  If we listened to the mass market industry you’d put on your cosmeceuticals before you went to the gym so you dont have body odor….however they contain phthalates which increases estrogen, swallow a pre workout with caffeine post workout which is catabolic, then workout, which is catabolic, then post workout have some hydrolyzed collagen mixed with whey protein, which in turn is catabolic.  Oh yea, you mixed your protein in a plastic shaker cup which could also contain chemicals that mess with your hormones.  After a week of doing this you’re muscle mass will surely be reduced, your strength decreased, and your body fat will remain the same, you’ll be emotional like a 17 year old girl that is about to get her period, but hey, you will at least have lost weight and your skin and nails will look better!!  HAND IN YOUR MAN CARD!!

For the most recent article on hydrolyzed collagen check this article.