Hydrolyzed Collagen Reviews – Best Water Soluble Powders

I’ve been familiar with the benefits of collagen for quite some time, but collagen hydrolysate in particular is receiving a lot of raves lately, so I decided it was time to investigate. I decided to give it a go, but only if it was available from a grass fed source. After sufficient research I found two of the best sources. Read on for my full hydrolyzed collagen reviews to find out how I rate these powders.

What is Collagen Powder?

Collagen is the stuff naturally contained in bones, skin, and cartilage – in this case of grass fed beef. It contains 90 percent of a highly bio-available protein, which means it’s super easy to absorb. It’s a source of amino acids that regulate cell function, promote rapid cell growth and are needed by the body to build and repair the structure of connective tissue of bone, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, skin, hair, and nails.

It helps produce synovial fluid which lubricates your joints, regulates metabolism and promotes a healthy gut. All important stuff since the body’s natural ability to to repair and build new connective tissue lessens greatly after age 25 (I know, pretty crazy right?!).

Does it Make a Difference if It’s Hydrolysate?


Great Lakes makes two different types of gelatin, the hydrolysate that comes in the bright green canister and dissolves easily in liquid OR the regular gelatin in a orange canister that gels up or congeals in liquid. You want the green canister which will not congeal since it is hydrolyzed

Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate

Custom Collagen is also hydrolyzed. Hydrolyzed collagen or collagen hydrolysate is put in an enzyme bath to break down the gelatin’s ability to congeal which allows for quick assimilation and improved hydration to the connective tissue.

Custom Collagen Powder

What Are The Benefits of Collagen Powder?

In my recipe post for bone broth I talk about how nourishing and healing it can be for the body. It provides a rich source of collagen, but if you’re not up for making it, these powders are the closest ready made version – a concentrated bone broth.

Benefits of taking hydrolyzed collagen powder include:

  • Strong bones, ligaments, and tendons
  • Joint lubrication
  • Healthy hair, skin, and nails
  • Faster post workout recovery
  • Quicker healing of muscle, tendon, ligament, and bones after injury
  • Metabolism regulation
  • Inflammation defense
  • Healthy digestion system and gut lining
  • Thyroid nourishment
  • Hormone support
  • Better sleep

Personally, since starting collagen I have noticed a remarkable overall improvement in my joints, skin, appetite, digestive system, and most of all it has taken away the pain in my knee that has been nagging me for quite some time (I suspect my meniscus is damaged from years of sports and repetitive motion work). No more sharp pains, even after physical activity.

Having lots of experience with supplements and natural remedies, I’m aware that they usually take some time to show signs of improvement within the body so I was pleasantly surprised when my knee felt better after just the first week of using hydrolyzed collagen.

How Do You Use It?

It will dissolve in anything really. You can add it to water, cold or hot beverages, smoothies, soups, yogurt, hot cereals, etc. Although it is virtually tasteless, it can have a slightly funny odor (more so with Great Lakes), so I’ve discovered some of my favorite ways to drink it are in carrot juice, smoothies, and my teeccino-yum! (roasted dandelion and chicory root tea, in case you’ve never heard of it, it tastes like coffee without the caffeine or acid but that’s a whole other review lol)! I’ve also added it to guacamole, and my healthy dark chocolate pudding recipe with great success, you can’t taste it at all.

As far as how much to take, I recommended following the dose suggested on the container. Although Great Lakes serving size is 2 heaping tablespoons which they recommend to take twice daily for a total of 4 tablespoons all day, I use 1 Tbsp in the morning and 1 Tbsp in the evening and that works great for me.

That actually is the same amount Custom Collagen recommends only they give you a scoop and tell you to take 1 scoop daily, so I divide it up half for morning and half in evening, but if taking the entire scoop at once makes it easier to remember, go for it!

Even though it can actually be healing for your gut, I recommend introducing it into your diet slowly at first, starting with half the amount divided between morning and evening, just to make sure it doesn’t upset your stomach. You will see recommendations to take it on an empty stomach, but being a person with a semi-sensitive stomach I get the best results taking it with meals that contain healthy fats, or adding it to smoothies and foods.

How Do The Two Compare?

Both Great Lakes and Custom Collagen are similar in that they are both high quality water soluble hydrolyzed collagen powders. Both are sourced from pasture raised grass fed cows, are unflavored, and I’m happy to continue to include both in my daily wellness routine. With Custom Collagen you get a little more “bang for your buck” and it’s a bonus that it’s odor free. I hope this honest review was helpful and you’re ready to reap the benefits and nourishment of hydrolyzed collagen!

21 Comments

  1. Emmanuel

    Hello Jess, I think anyone who knows the importance of collagen to the body, they will not underestimate its importance in our diet on a daily basis.
    Of the two collagen sources you recommend, I think that the one with the Kosher label gets my vote since it gets a better standard of quality during the manufacturing process. Meaning I recommend the Customs collagen not for the value for money as it provides extra servings but for its standards.

    1. Jess

      Absolutely, Emmanuel! Like I said, I kind of always knew the benefits but never realized how essential it was until I could actually feel the difference in my body, particularly in my joints, and as I mentioned my meniscus pain has gone away. It’s been a huge eye opener for me, as I now realize it’s ability to help so many people get relief. Thanks for sharing your vote for Custom Collagen.

  2. Queue

    Interesting facts about health care, specifically skin care I am very interested in. In terms of collagen, I feel like there is a negative stigma attached to it. I know you that it was natural but I still am a bit nervous about it. I feel that I need to be enlightened a bit before I spend money on a product. Just an fyi as far as selling a product. Your writing was great though keep up the good work.

    1. Jess

      Appreciate the comment! Interesting, I haven’t heard the negative stigma you mentioned, I wonder what you have heard? I would love to try and answer any questions you may have to help ease your mind about hydrolyzed collagen powder. Please let me know if I can help. Personally I have experienced a total loss of pain in my meniscus, my body is definitely telling me the collagen is reducing inflammation, and repairing tissue in mt knee, so it’s working great for me :)

      In terms of skin care you’ll notice collagen in many formulations of products, particularly facial cremes and serums, but taking it internally benefits the skin on a whole other level.

  3. Angela

    I stumbled upon your website and found myself continuing to read the material once I got started. I have never heard of taking hydrolyzed collagen powder. With all the benefits you have listed it sounds like a miracle drug. (To be honest I have not read any reviews on it yet, so I will keep an open mind).. Can you explain more on where you said, Both products are essentially the same product by different companies, both sourced from pasture raised grass fed cows and earlier in your writing you said, in this case the bones of grass fed beef. I am a little confused

    1. Jess

      Hi Angela! Thanks for taking the time to read my articles – I hope you found some useful takeaways :) To answer your question: both Great Lakes and Custom Collagen contain the same single ingredient of collagen sourced from bones, skin, and connective tissue of pasture raised grass fed cows with nothing else added. Some gelatin products come from porcine (pork) source, but these two are from beef. If you would like more information you can visit both of these companies FAQ’s sections.

      http://www.greatlakesgelatin.com/consumer/FAQs.php

      http://www.customcollagen.com/frequently-asked-que

      Hope this helps!

  4. Edmund

    Hi Jess, thanks for this review of hydrolyzed collagen.

    I was looking for some supplement for my dad as he is suffering from joint pain on his knee. I guess it is due to wear and tear of the gel between joints due to old age.

    Is this hydrolyzed collagen suitable for older people in his late sixties? Can it help his condition?

    Thanks for your advice.

    1. Jess

      You are welcome, Edmund! Yep, that wear and tear definitely sneaks up on you. Absolutely this is suitable for his age, I would highly recommend getting him started on it, it has helped my knee tremendously. The great thing about collagen is that it’s really a food so it’s very safe take. I hope you’re dad will give it a try, and share his results :)

  5. Mahmood

    That’s was very informative and looks very beneficial and healthy. I didn’t come across similar products here in Egypt and it’s difficult to get it from amazon.
    Do you more similar products or different supplier?
    I’ve already heard about collagen and its benefits, but this it the first time I hear about the hydrolyzed collagen.
    Great post :) thank you

    1. Jess

      Yes, it’s a really great product. I looked into it for you and it looks like you can order it from Vitacost which is where I order majority of my products. Although they don’t carry these exact brands I reviewed they do carry “Nutricology Arthred Collagen Formula” which I am familiar with, in a similar price range. It is another quality brand of hydrolyzed collagen I would be happy using myself.

      You can access Vitacost via my “shop” page here on the site. Hope this helps! I would love to hear your results if you do give it a try :)

  6. Cathy

    Hi there Jess,

    As a woman in her early 30’s, skin care is certainly on the top of my list and I like maintaining it through good nutrients.

    You mentioned that collagen is a source of amino acids that regulate cell function. So, does consuming protein drinks (most of them have amino acids) yield the same kind of effects?

    Thank you for your opinion.

    1. Jess

      Thanks for stopping by Cathy! To answer your question (which is a really great one, by the way), the protein from collagen is vastly different from most protein drinks or powders. While, it is true they both contain amino acids, the sources and digestibility vary. Whey based proteins from lactose and caseins can be difficult to digest, plant based protein sources are easier to assimilate, but both types don’t provide the key components (sourced from the structures that target connective tissue) in a hydrolyzed (predigested) form that is readily absorbed by the body, which is why healthy skin is one of the benefits of hydrolyzed collagen in particular.

      When it comes to maintaining connective tissues, hydrolyzed collagen is the way to go. Besides using a quality plant based protein in smoothies at times, it’s the main food source protein I use. I hope this helps!

      Also, since you are interested in healthy skin, you may find this review helpful when considering skin care brands. 5 Best Natural Skin Care Brands for a Beautiful Complexion. Take care :)

      1. Nina

        I started Great Lakes Collagen today and only had 1/2 Tbsp in the evening mixed in a green smoothie. It has given me a lot of upset stomach. I am petite and weigh 102lbs. Should I take less and if so how much. Thanks.

      2. Hi Nina, sorry to hear about that. It’s honestly rare to experience stomach upset. In general, hydrolyzed collagen can be highly beneficial for gut health and digestion. Considering your circumstance, if it were me I would try half the amount you used and see how that goes first. From there I would gradually increase to the 1/2 Tbsp split between morning and evening and if that feels fine, I would continue working my way up to to an amount that works well for you. Personally, I take 1 Tbsp each morning, and again in the evening with great results.

        Adding some healthy fats to your smoothie such as half an avocado, almond butter, or nuts is helpful too. You may want to visit the Great Lakes website for information as well. Hopefully this helps and you are able to experience the great benefits of collagen! If you have any further issues I would also suggest contacting Great Lakes on their website to ask if they have any other suggestions. Take care and let me know how it goes :)

  7. Stella

    Thank you for all of the helpful info, Jess!
    I am very interested in this because I have recently been into menopause and I get a lot more joint pain, along with other issues. This may be very helpful.
    I did try to make bone broth one time, but it was really hard to find good quality organic bones to use.
    I like that you found sources that are grass fed. That is important to me too!
    Thanks again, Stella

    1. Jess

      For sure Stella! I have had such great success with hydrolyzed collagen easing joint pain plus so much more, so I hope you will give it try and share your experience :)

  8. Kat

    I have been using the Perfect Supplements collagen…do you have an opinion on this product? They advertise that it is “sourced exclusively from Brazilian Pasture-Raised (Grass Fed) cows”….it seems that most wellness gurus are recommending other brands. Thanks

    1. Perfect Supplements is another great quality product, in my opinion. It’s the most comparable to the Custom Collagen in this review, at a higher price point with 60 servings compared to over 80 servings of Custom Collagen, but both contain the same protein content in the same serving size. It’s actually another one of the brands listed at the bottom of this page that I feel solid about recommending. If you like how it’s working for you I would say stick with it! Based on this comment I may have to do a review on this brand as well. Thank you for your feedback :)

  9. Megan Padgett

    Hello. I came across your article while searching for the best collagen products. My question is, did you experience any water retention with the Custom Collagen? I have been using a different brand that has been causing me to retain water.

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