By Dr. Josh Axe

As I explain in my book The Collagen Diet, I believe that a principal problem with Western, industrialized diets is the significant decline in the consumption of collagen — the most abundant protein found in the human body.

There are a handful of compelling reasons as to why you want to use collagen daily. First and foremost, collagen provides key amino acids such as glycine, proline and arginine that are not found in high amounts in common protein sources such as chicken and lean meats.

Because it’s a rich supply of amino acids, which are the “building blocks of proteins," collagen uses include supporting joint health and comfort, muscle repair and healthy skin, and support for gut health, just to name a few.

In fact, collagen helps maintain the structure and function of almost every part of our bodies. Our bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, skin and gastrointestinal tract all greatly depend on the consumption of collagen-rich foods, yet top dietary sources of collagen such as bone broth are nearly nonexistent in today’s diet.

When you supplement with collagen, such as by taking our Multi Collagen Protein powder, you’ll reap the same benefits as getting collagen from traditionally prepared bone broth, only in a fraction of the time. Collagen powder is highly convenient.

Common Questions About How to Use Collagen

If you’re wondering all about how to use collagen, including when and how to take it in supplement form, here’s a quick FAQ guide to get you started:

When should you start taking collagen (at what age)?

You might think that only older adults can benefit from collagen; however, just about everyone can afford to add more to their diets, including infants, young children, the elderly, athletes, pregnant women, new mothers and yes, healthy adult men and women.

Of course, you should always consult with your healthcare professional prior to starting any new diet or lifestyle regimen, including taking collagen supplements. Likewise, you should always read and follow product label directions and suggested use.

Collagen is necessary for overall physical health. It’s often referred to as a “complex protein” because it contains 19 different amino acids, including a mix of both non-essential (made by your body) and essential (obtained from your diet) types. When we don’t get enough of the beneficial compounds found in collagen-rich foods, we can experience occasional joint discomfort, and also feel it in our mobility, overall development, digestion and even in the normal aging process.

How do you take collagen?

In supplement form, especially as protein powder, collagen is very easy to use. It can be unflavored — such as our Multi Collagen Protein or new Collagen Peptides supplements — and it's soluble in hot or cold liquids, including coffee, smoothies and baked goods.

Collagen powder is a dietary supplement, not a meal replacement. However, you can make a collagen shake or smoothie with a variety of ingredients that will serve as a healthy meal.

How versatile is collagen powder in recipes?

Very versatile, especially if you choose to use an unflavored powder which basically has zero to minimal taste. You can experiment with lots of different collagen recipes, such as adding a serving to shakes and smoothies, coffee or nut milk.

While it’s easiest to simply mix it into your favorite liquid, it doesn’t have an unpleasant taste. That means that it’s a great protein-boosting addition to recipes like healthy homemade muffins, oatmeal, energy balls, etc. (See the recipes below.)

How much collagen should I take daily?

This depends on your overall goals and the specific type of collagen supplement you take.

For example, you might choose to use Multi Collagen Protein, which features five collagen types and 10 collagen grams for one serving (10.1g), or Collagen Peptides that features two collagen types and 20 collagen grams for one serving (20g) — in other words, Multi Collagen Protein has slightly more collagen per gram. 

Many people choose to take 10 to 30 grams of collagen per day. Again, though, you should seek the advice of your healthcare professional to see what works for you.

In addition to consuming collagen supplements, there’s a good deal of evidence that eating a nutrient-dense diet — one that includes lots of fresh plant foods and high-quality protein sources — can help increase your body’s own production of collagen, so make this one of your goals as well.

When should I take collagen, morning or night?

It’s beneficial to consume just about any time of day but especially before and/or after workouts. The protein in collagen supplements helps to give muscles fuel that supports performance and recovery from exercise.

This means you can take collagen either in the morning, such as with your morning coffee or in a smoothie, between meals as part of a snack, or before bed if you choose (such as if you use collagen capsules).

One of the reasons that collagen can be a good post-workout option is due to its high content of the amino acid called glycine, which interacts with glutamine and cysteine to produce an important antioxidant called glutathione, which generally supports a healthy inflammation response. It also helps with synthesis of creatine, which is important for muscle-building, athletic performance and energy output.

9 Collagen Recipes

To make it easy for you to add more collagen to your diet, here are some of my favorite collagen recipes to try:

BREAKFAST

Strawberry Banana Collagen Smoothie

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender.
  2. Blend until smooth, adding water to make less thick if desired.

Matcha Green Tea Latte

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In a tea kettle or small pot, warm the milk.
  2. In a blender, add the milk and all the other ingredients.
  3. Blend on high until well-combined.
  4. Top with cinnamon, serve and enjoy!

Banana Collagen Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 scoops Multi Collagen Protein Vanilla or Collagen Peptides Vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sea salt to taste
  • butter
  • mixed berries

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Melt butter in a pan, then pour batter into four small pancakes. Cook until small bubbles form and then flip.
  3. Top with fresh berries and maple syrup (or stevia-sweetened syrup for low-carb or keto).

MAIN DISHES

Chicken Tenders

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 scoop unflavored Multi Collagen Protein or unflavored Collagen Peptides
  • Italian seasoning, to taste
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 4 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
  • 1 cup brown rice flour (Paleo) or coconut flour (keto/low-carb)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs slightly. Add collagen or bone broth powder, Italian seasoning and salt, mixing well.
  2. Dip the strips of chicken in the egg mixture, and then coat with flour.
  3. In a medium frying pan over medium heat, melt the oil. Fry the chicken, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through. Serve warm.

Creamy Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1¾ cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 scoops unflavored Multi Collagen Protein or unflavored Collagen Peptides mixed with 4 cups of water
  • fresh basil, minced, to taste
  • fresh cracked pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot over medium-low heat, sauté the garlic in the oil for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  2. In a high-powered blender, add the tomatoes, coconut milk, salt, vinegar, bone broth, blending until well-combined.
  3. Pour mixture into the pot, stirring occasionally, and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 10–15 minutes and allow the soup to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Serve topped with fresh basil and pepper.

SNACKS

Cauliflower Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-sized cauliflower
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 3 scoops unflavored Multi Collagen Protein or unflavored Collagen Peptides
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • ? cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Remove the florets from the cauliflower and place them onto the baking sheet. Toss in a small amount of oil and roast for 15 minutes.
  3. In a food processor, add the roasted cauliflower, tahini, collagen powder, oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and process until smooth.
  4. Pour the hummus into an airtight container and place in the refrigerator until cold.
  5. Serve in a bowl and top with parsley and olive oil (if desired).

Protein Fig Bar

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 3 tablespoons unflavored Multi Collagen Protein or unflavored Collagen Peptides
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey

Directions:

  1. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until the dough starts to form into a ball.
  3. Press the dough evenly into the pan and refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or until the bars set.
  4. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

DESSERTS

Almond Cacao Balls

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 3 tablespoon coconut butter
  • 3 tablespoon almond butter
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk (or any milk of choice)
  • 2 scoops Multi Collagen Protein Chocolate
  • handful of cacao nibs

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients except the cacao nibs to a food processor.
  2. Process until a smooth doughy consistency forms. May need 1 extra teaspoon or so of almond milk, depending on how dry the mixture is.
  3. Add in the cacao nibs and mix with your hands or a spoon.
  4. Roll the dough into small balls.
  5. Freeze for about 10–15 minutes or until firm. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Banana Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • ¼ cup ground chia seeds
  • 5 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop Multi Collagen Protein Vanilla or Collagen Peptides Vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin spice or cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a food processor or blender, place all ingredients and process/blend for 1 minute.
  2. Refrigerate for 10–15 minutes before serving.

Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, is co-founder of Ancient Nutrition and founder of DrAxe.com, author of the best-selling books Keto Diet and The Collagen Diet and his new book Ancient Remedies, and host of podcast The Dr. Axe Show.

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Featured Product

Collagen Peptides Protein Powder Unflavored (14 Servings)

$19.95

Shop

Multi Collagen Protein Powder Pure (45 servings)

$44.95

Shop