We've written a lot about collagen on this blog because it's one of the most popular supplements on the market today. As an abundant and helpful molecule in the body, it's hugely beneficial to take as a supplement – or so the theory goes, anyway. Science has yet to confirm specific benefits of taking collagen compared to consuming other forms of protein supplements and B vitamins, but we're hopeful about some ongoing studies.
One post we wrote a while back was about the best way you can take collagen. In it, we discussed several different ways to take collagen:
- Topically, as part of a skin cream
- As a powder added to something else you eat or drink
- As a capsule full of the powdered collagen, making it easier to swallow
- In a liquid form such as bone broth
- As an injected filler subcutaneously
You can read our analysis of these different methods here. If you want a quick summary, though, it works out like this. Collagen injections are just a filler, so you don't get the benefits of collagen. Topical application also doesn't do anything, since collagen is too large a molecule to penetrate the skin. Otherwise, the various forms of collagen you take are roughly the same in terms of how effective they are.
There are surprisingly a handful of other ways you can take collagen that we didn't discuss in that post. We didn't discuss them because they're not pure collagen, usually, so rather than supplements, they're more like collagen-infused foods. You know, the same way they fortify cereal with added vitamins and minerals.
For example, there are "collagen bars" made by companies like Bulletproof. These are basically like any other protein bar; a granola bar with a heaping helping of protein – in this case, in the form of collagen – added to it. They have all of the benefits of getting your collagen, but also the drawbacks of any protein bar. Namely, they're not pure collagen. They're full of other stuff.
Some of that stuff is good, sure, like vitamins and fiber. Some of it isn't, like sugar and other sweeteners. You can't really make a protein bar taste good without at least some ingredients that aren't all that good for you. No matter what, though, a collagen protein bar is going to have a bunch of calories in it, compared to pure collagen. If you're trying to keep your calorie count low, that's going to throw your dietary plans out of balance very quickly.
You may also find collagen shots. Not injections, but shots as in shot glass measurements. Something like a 5-Hour Energy shot, except a collagen drink instead. These can get you your collagen quickly, without messing with powders or capsules, but they also have the drawback of not being pure collagen and having a lot of other additives. They generally have a mixture of nutrients and caffeine, making them somewhat similar to a fortified 5-Hour Energy shot. If you want concentrated collagen for health benefits, you may want to look into capsules or some powerful gummy supplements.
These are a fine way to get your collagen as well as some energy, but they're not as healthy or as pleasant as pure collagen. Caffeine has a bunch of benefits and a bunch of drawbacks, and it can be a deal-breaker for many people.
Enter the final preparation we overlooked: collagen gummies. Gummies come in all forms, from the traditional gummy bear you buy as a movie snack or road trip sugar infusion to the gummy vitamins that many of us were fed as kids to make sure we had a full profile of nutrients to keep us growing.
Collagen gummies are almost candy-like, but they aren't really as sweet and as sticky as normal candy gummies. That's a good thing! They're not packed with sugar and empty calories the way the candy is, so they're a lot healthier for you. They give you a full serving of collagen in just a few gummies, since they're essentially nothing more than collagen, some additional vitamins and nutrients, some citric acid and fruit flavoring, and maybe a coloring agent depending on the brand you get. After all, they are a supplement, not a candy.
There are a bunch of pros and cons to collagen gummies, so we want to dig in a little deeper. First, the pros:
- Gummies are easy to take. As a fruit-flavored gelatin-like substance gummies are not too different from candy, so they're an easy barrier to get over if you don't like messing with powders or taking energy shots.
- You get a full serving of collagen from just a couple of gummies. With pills and capsules, you have to take quite a handful of pills to get your full serving. Gummies are more densely packed and easier to take.
- Gummies come in a wide range of different flavors, so you're pretty sure to find something that suits your tastes. You can even make them yourself, which we'll talk about later.
On the other hand, there are some downsides we've seen from some online reviews, from people who aren't a fan of gummy bears, and from users with certain allergies to gummy bears. The cons of gummies are:
- The taste and texture can be off-putting. They don't taste sweet like you would expect them to, and they're usually chewier than is typically pleasant. Some people don't mind, others find it very off-putting. You'll have to try it to see for yourself.
- The major collagen producers don't have gummy offerings yet, so you're often stuck buying from sellers you might not trust. This means you might risk a fish-based collagen full of heavy metals, a collagen gummy full of filler, or just poor-quality products. Make sure you buy from someone that has a quality and natural product.
- Some people report collagen gummies can make them break out in acne. This is a per-person sort of side effect – we haven't experienced it ourselves, but if you've had allergies to gummy bears in the past, it might happen to you.
- Gummies aren't a flexible form of collagen. With a powder, you can add it to hot beverages, cold smoothies, or even baked goods and other recipes. Gummies are just gummies, you aren't likely to use them as an ingredient in anything else. If you're just looking for the convenience factor, you probably aren't looking to blend it into a smoothie or anything and want something simple.
So really, it comes down to where you get them and how you enjoy them.
Some people love gummies and will be more than happy to get their collagen from them. Others find it mildly distressing to chew something that looks like candy only to have a more protein-y taste, and that's fine. It's all down to personal preference. It's not like there's any shortage of ways to get collagen, right?
The DIY Approach For The Brave
If you're interested in trying collagen gummies, but you don't trust any of the sellers out there to make them high quality, you can always make them yourself. Collagen is essentially gelatin, after all, so it naturally lends itself to gummy-style preparations.
Collagen gummies aren't extraordinarily difficult to make. They don't require a lot of different ingredients. You'll need to have a special mold to make gummy bears; they're exactly what you'd expect, small pans with little gummy bear patterns in them. There are several different molds on the internet, so if you buy a set of molds, make sure that it fits your recipe and that it will work for your purpose. The shape doesn't matter as much, although you want to measure out the amount of collagen per gummy accurately.
You'll also want some way to fill the mold without spilling all over the place. Many molds come with a little eye dropper, which usually works fine. You can also use a measuring cup with a spout to pour, or even a small funnel and careful pouring yourself.
The ingredients list is something you can buy as well. For a batch of gummies – around 50 small gummies or 12 large gummies, it depends on the overall size of your molds – you need:
Liquid: 1 cup of a liquid of your choice. Water will work just fine, but you can make your gummies sweeter and with more flavor if you use a fruit juice. Pineapple, pomegranate, acai berry, blueberry; there are all kinds of different juices that you can experiment with. A 100% juice is going to be the best, of course.
Collagen: You need 2 scoops of your favorite collagen powder. If you're using water, pick a flavored collagen product unless you want your gummies to be bland and flavorless. If you're using a juice, you can either use a plain collagen powder, or you can use a flavored powder that mixes with the flavor you're using for liquid. For example, a triple berry collagen powder works well with a blueberry or acai berry juice, and a mango collagen powder works great with pineapple juice.
Gelatin: You'll need 4 tablespoons of gelatin. Grass-fed gelatin is best, of course, but if you're not as concerned about it being free-range and grass-fed, just get whatever gelatin powder you want.
Instructions: Simply mix the ingredients in a saucepan until the powders have dissolved in the liquid. Once you've mixed them, put the pan over medium heat and stir occasionally as it turns more liquid.
While you're heating the mixture, place your molds on a baking sheet or another moveable flat surface. Since they're usually made of silicone, it's hard to move them when they're full without spilling all over the place. Putting them on a baking sheet lets you move the sheet.
Once the mixture is fully heated, use your eyedropper or measuring cup to pour into the molds. Fill but try not to over-fill, or your gummies will look messy when they're set.
Once you've filled all of your molds or used up all of your gelatin mixture, transfer the molds to your fridge. Let them chill for about 20 minutes to set. Give them more time if your fridge isn't too cold, or they don't seem fully set.
To remove the gummies from the molds, push inwards on the gummies from the sides to separate them from the mold, then pull to remove. You may also be able to turn the mold over and just push them out, though it depends on the mold. Some more complex designs will tear if you try this.
Store your gummies in a cool, dry place to avoid them melting and sticking together. They'll last for several weeks, though if you're taking 1-2 a day (depending on size) they might not last that long.
Store-bought gummies may last longer due to the extra ingredients that help preserve them, and they may end up costing you less money. If you're not feeling like going with a DIY route, then read on.
Are Collagen Gummies as Effective as Other Forms of Collagen?
We haven't really addressed the question posed in the title until now, but there's not all that much to say. Is collagen as effective in gummy form as it is in powder form? Absolutely. You're not doing anything that inherently damages or breaks down the collagen. It's still collagen peptides that you're ingesting for your body to consume and use.
While there are a few drawbacks to the gummy form of collagen, none of them have to do with the efficacy of the collagen itself. It's still collagen, and it still works the way collagen works. Your body might take a little longer to break it down when it's mixed with fruit juice, but you're still going to use what you can use.
The biggest drawback of using collagen in gummy form is all of the non-collagen stuff that you're consuming as well. If you're getting collagen gummies from a seller on Amazon or something, you're likely getting a bunch of filler, preservatives, artificial flavorings, and other stuff in the gummies themselves. If you make them yourself, you're still probably using fruit juice, and fruit juice is mostly sugar, so that's not going to do you any favors if you're trying to lose weight in addition to eating collagen.
So, there are no inherent problems with collagen in the form of gummies. It all just comes down to what you want to get out of your collagen, and who you decide to buy your products from.
There are a handful of different ways to consume supplements; capsules, gummies, powder - we have most of these in our store. It depends on what appeals to you - if you're not able to have any sugar, then capsules or powder may be better for you. If you're busy and forget to take the capsules, or if you're not a fan of capsules instead, you might enjoy the convenience of gummies.
What is your favorite way to try collagen? Have you tried collagen products in gummy bear form yet? Let us know in the comment section!