What Is Collagen and Should You Be Taking It? [Guide for 2021]

Beauty + Style, Dietary Trends, Food, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Skin Care, Supplements

By: // February 2, 2021

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What is Collagen & What Does it Do?

Collagen is protein. In fact, collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, making up 30% of the body’s proteins. Its responsibility is to literally hold everything together, and is found in the bones, muscles, tendons, skin, hair and nails. It provides structural support and elasticity and is vital for cell renewal, cartilage and bones.

So, why do we care about it so much? In layman’s terms? It’ll keep you looking young on the outside, and feeling young on the inside. We like the sound of that! Collagen is the key to smooth, young-looking skin and healthy joints.

How Many Types of Collagen Are There?

You may not have known this, but there are 3 types of collagen: Types 1, 2 and 3. A lot of people ask us, “Which types do you take together? Can you take all 3 at the same time? What does each type do?” Great questions!

Types 1, 2 & 3 

According to Vital Proteins, “all types of collagen will benefit your hair, skin, nails, bones and joints, primarily because all collagen types are made up of beneficial amino acids.” However, you’ll typically see types 1 + 3 packaged together in one bottle, focusing on your skin, bones, hair and nails. Types 1 and 3 make up 90% of the collagen in your body, can minimize wrinkles, improve skin elasticity, support bones, correct damaged nail beds, thicken fine hair and improve your body’s circulation. Typically, when you see supplements, what you’ll see is types 1+3.

Type 2 collagen, on the other hand supports your joint/cartilage health and function. Type 2 benefits the fluids and functions in your cartilage and joints. It helps reduce popping knees, and helps support your jaw, back, and joints. A lot of people don’t realize that joint pain, popping knees, and weakened cartilage is a result of lacking type 2 collagen, and assume it is an unavoidable part of the aging process. Well, it isn’t, and you can fight back with a Type 2 collagen supplement!

What Causes Collagen Production To Slow Down?

Even though it is naturally occurring in the human body, it’s essential to supplement it as we age because collagen production slows down significantly as we get older. Actually, after age 30, collagen production begins to significantly decline. By age 45, collagen production decreases 25%, and by age 60 it decreases by more than 50%.  As our body’s collagen production slows down, we begin to notice saggy, aging skin, fine lines and wrinkles, and weakened joint cartilage.



Aging is the #1 cause of diminished collagen production. Even though you can’t stop the aging process altogether, there ARE things that damage your level of collagen production that you’re totally able to control! Avoiding the following things will keep your collagen production levels higher:

Can I Boost My Collagen Production?

Yes, there IS a bright side! You can stimulate your body’s natural collagen production to help keep these aging side effects at bay. There are nutritional, procedural, and supplemental methods to promote collagen production.


As we always say at Get Healthy U: Nutrition before supplements! There are certain nutrients (that you may not know much about yet) found in common, delicious foods that promote collagen production.

  • Proline (an amino acid found in meat, cheese, soy, cabbage, and eggs)
  • Copper (found in fish, red meat, nuts)
  • Vitamin A (found in meat and beta-carotenes like sweet potatoes)
  • Vitamin C (found in oranges, leafy greens, red and green veggies) 
  • Anthocyanidins (found in berries, cherries)


There are also external things you can do to control your collagen production! There are both procedures and products (typically prescribed by a dermatologist) that can help, too.

  • Laser Therapy- Laser treatments are a great, non-surgical way to stimulate collagen production and use laser and light energy to reduce the appearance of fine lines and skin elasticity.
  • Retinoic Acid (Vitamin A)- This member of the retinoid family helps kick cells into gear and promote cell production in the skin and stimulates both collagen and elastin production.
  • Skin Fillers- Collagen injections are a common cosmetic procedure that helps remove fine lines and wrinkles from the face and can help with scarring from acne.

Photo of a woman getting laser therapy to promote collagen production.


What’s The Difference Between Collagen & Whey Protein?

It’s a question we get asked often and what is really comes down to is the difference between the amino acid profile. Take a look at the examples below (remembering that 1,000mg is the same as 1 gram).

A chart of the amino acid breakdown of collagen versus whey protein

So, looking at Vital Proteins Collagen, you can see that it contains a high value of glutamic acid (2.2 grams), hydroxyproline (2 grams) and proline (2 grams). These particular amino acids primarily benefit your hair, skin and nails.

On the flip side, BiPro Whey Protein contains a high value of isoleucine (1.1 grams), leucine (2.5 grams) and valine (1.1 grams) which are really good for muscle recovery.

Collagen, also, contains only has 8 out of the 9 essential amino acids whereas whey has all the essential amino acids

Thus, you can see that they both have incredible benefits, they just focus on slightly different objectives. And yes, you can take both in the same day! In your still curious about all the differences between collagen and whey protein, check out the video below..

Lunch & Learn: What is the difference between collagen and whey protein powder?

Lunch & Learn LIVE Facebook – What is the difference between collagen and whey protein powder?

Posted by Chris Freytag Get Healthy U on Monday, July 30, 2018

What about vegan collagen?

You might be wondering what to do if you are vegan or follow a plant based diet. Is there vegan collagen? While true vegan collagen doesn’t exist, there are many plants with collagen boosting superpowers. Though collagen by its nature is animal based, t there are many collagen-like options for vegans and those following a plant based lifestyle.

Plants have the amazing ability to amplify our body’s own natural collagen production, which is why we always advocate eating your fruits and veggies daily. Plants, herbs, flowers, and even algae have the ingredients to improve your natural production of collagen, improve your hair and skin, and even nourish your connective tissues.

Plant Based and Vegan Collagen Supplements

It’s always best to try to boost your collagen naturally through whole foods. Some of the most effective plant based collagen boosting herbs and foods are:

  • Guavas
  • Cantaloupe
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Kale 
  • Kiwi
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Bell peppers

There are so many supplements on the market, it can be completely overwhelming. The most important thing to look for when choosing a vegan collagen supplement or powder are plant based ingredients that promote collagen production. These are some vegan collagen boosters we recommend.

Vitamin C Collagen Supplements

Vitamin C is a powerhouse of anti-aging benefits and has been shown to encourage collagen production. So when seeking vegan collagen options, look for Vitamin C as a dominant ingredient.

Image of Vegan Collagen Supplement with Vitamin C from Purity Products Brand

Purity Products Vegan Collagen Builder

Vegan Collagen Powder

Having your collagen in powder form is convenient and has its benefits. This vegan powder is a great source of Vitamin C, bamboo extract and other plant collagen boosters.

Rae Vegan Collagen Boost

Collagen Myths:

1. Lotions & Creams With Collagen Help Wrinkles

Do these work? Unfortunately, probably not. Leading dermatologists say that it’s nearly impossible for the skin to absorb collagen topically, and that any results seen from these products is likely because of their moisturizing qualities, not their ability to rebuild the collagen proteins in your skin. You’re better off consciously increasing your water intake and purchasing a great, all-natural moisturizer and beginning a religious moisturizing routine!

2. You Cannot Restore Your Own Body’s Collagen

This is not true! Your body never stops producing collagen, but its production is decreased dramatically as we age. The production probably can’t be impacted by topical application of creams and lotions (though those may help to fill and fix fine lines and wrinkles), but rather can only be impacted by active ingredients (in foods and supplements).

3. Pills & Potions Don’t Work

We’re the first ones to say that pills and potions aren’t the best way to fix any problem. But this time, we think they’re worth your time. Studies have shown (and our own personal experiences!) that collagen supplements and a diet rich in nutrients that support collagen production DO benefit the health of your skin, nails, hair, joints, and bones!

Our Suggestions On Collagen:

Founder and CEO of Get Healthy U, Chris Freytag, is a daily collagen supplement-taker:

“In my mid 40’s my skin started changing and I had no idea what was going on.  My current skin care regime wouldn’t help.  I was getting white pustules and bumps on my skin.  I read about taking Collagen type 1 + 3 and thought – why not?  I started and literally my skin cleared over night.  I started with the recommended 6 pills a day and after 6 months went down to 3 pills a day .  I also take the Hylauronic acid with it – it’s an accelerator and has worked for me.  I take the Type 2 collagen for my joints also.” -Chris Freytag

Chris takes the NeoCell collagen supplement in pill form, but also loves their collagen in powder form! Some people find the pills a bit too big to take, so we suggest getting a pill cutter or scoop some of the powder into your morning smoothie! Chris also loves using Vital Proteins Collagen Powder in her smoothies as well.

Another tip from Chris is get yourself some Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic Acid is an accelerator and helps hasten the effects of any supplement you may be taking. Chris takes her NeoCell supplement alongside Hyaluronic Acid and has seen great results! Give it a try and let us know about your experience!

Below are the supplements Chris takes and highly recommends! First, a Collagen powder supplement, the Collagen Types 1 + 3 pill supplement, the Hylauronic Acid pill supplement and a Collagen Type 2 pill supplement!


Meet Your New Best Friend: Collagen Smoothies

Want an easy way to get your daily collagen? Add it to your morning smoothie! Try this matcha green smoothie with Vital Proteins Collagen Powder (or skip the matcha powder and just use Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen) or click the download below to get all our healthy smoothie recipes featuring collagen and other anti-aging ingredients. Note, for plant based and vegan – we recommend substituting a vegan collagen boosting powder.

Matcha Green Smoothie

READ THIS NEXT: 6 Natural Ways To Look Younger

Printed from GetHealthyU.com


on August 10, 2018 at 9:52 AM Reply

I understand 1,2 and 3 collagen and what each does , but can u take all three at the same timep

    on August 28, 2018 at 11:35 AM Reply

    Hi Pam - we've heard some people suggest taking 1 & 3 separately from type 2 and you'll most often see types 1 & 3 grouped together, however there are also products that contain all three (Vital Protein Bone Broth Collagen) so there's no harm in taking all three at the same time depending on your goals.

on March 28, 2018 at 8:38 AM Reply

I read on the internet that taking over 8 grams of collagen, might lead to breast cancer. Is that true?

    on March 29, 2018 at 1:22 PM Reply

    Hi Rita - I have never heard of this nor done research on it myself. If you heard it from a valid source, it may be worth asking your doctor, however there are lots of things on the internet that aren't always true so you may want to dig deeper!

on March 14, 2018 at 4:59 AM Reply

Hi, How do i take collagen type 1&3???How many tablets do i take Thanks

    on March 16, 2018 at 9:49 AM Reply

    Hi Joanne - you can take it in pill or powder form. Whatever type/brand you choose will have instructions on how much to take. Thanks!

on February 15, 2018 at 4:56 PM Reply

Interesting article! When does Chris take them in the course of the day? All of the bottles say to take on an empty stomach (including the powder), but you can't take types 1&3 with type 2. Does she take one type in the morning before breakfasts (on an empty stomach) and the other type before dinner (on an empty stomach)? And when do you take the Hylauronic acid? Thanks!

    on February 16, 2018 at 10:39 AM Reply

    Hi Lisa - I actually take the 1 and 2 in the morning when I remember and type 3 with Hylauronic acid before bed - that has worked for me!

on October 3, 2017 at 10:05 AM Reply

I am new to collagen information, but I am quite interested. Can you explain why Chris takes all four of the above collagen supplements? Does she take these everyday or are some only used when she makes the smoothies? Are they good for both men and women? How much collagen is a healthy amount to take daily? Thank you for the article. It was very informative.

    on October 5, 2017 at 1:39 PM Reply

    Hi Terri - if you look back at the article, collagen types 1 + 3 have a different purpose than type 2 collagen. And Hylauronic acid accelerates the absorption of vitamins in the body. I take collagen every day and it's typically recommended to take between 5,000mg-15,000mg depending on your age and needs.

on September 8, 2017 at 12:12 AM Reply

Yes!! I have been taking collagen for a year now. Actually been using the powder form shown above too. I am 35, and have noticed a huge difference in skin, hair, nails and even joints. My skin heals faster too.

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