Collagen Can Help Your Core + Top 5 Brands Reviewed!

How Can Collagen Help Your Core + 4 brands reviewed -

I love my morning coffee. I love the smell. I love the conversations and community around it. I enjoy 1-2 cups to start my day, and an occasional cup of decaf at night. Being able to sneak collagen into it for bonus nutrition just makes it that much more enjoyable to me!Here’s how I make it:

Here’s how I add collagen to my coffee: 

  • Coffee… of course!
  • 1 tablespoon of collagen (6g of protein)
  • Cream
  • A teaspoon of sugar sometimes

Yep, you read that right: collagen in my coffee. What does collagen have to do with strengthening cores and connective tissue? Well, in my world, collagen hydrolysate happens to bring together {literally} two of my passions – coffee and connective tissue. 

Results of a 2018 case control study showed that both type I and type III collagen were less abundant in women with diastasis recti than in those without the condition. The conclusion was that low collagen type I and III in the midline of the abdominal wall may play a key role in the development of diastasis recti (Blotta et al. Clinics 2018;73:e319). One recent study of 53 elderly men with muscle loss found that those who used collagen daily and lifted weights three times per week for 3 months gained significantly more muscle and lost more fat than those who only lifted weights. Another study found that women who took 1 gram per day of a chicken-derived liquid collagen supplement for 12 weeks had 6% higher collagen content. Personally, my surgeon recommended that I take collagen for the rest of my life because I have hypermobility or “muscles that part like putty” as he put it. When I told him I’ve already been taking it, he said, “No wonder you have such great skin, but take more!”


How Can Collagen Help Your Core + 4 brands reviewed -


Now, I’m not here to convince you to use a specific brand, but rather to tell you why I use it and which brands I’ve tried. It’s important for you to do your own research on collagen hydrolysate to determine if using it is right for you.

Maybe you’re not into coffee, so, okay, put it in your tea or shakes! Trim Healthy Mama calls for it in many of their shake and baking recipes. It’s an excellent source of protein, it’s great for your gut – both internal and external – and since other protein supplements have never agreed with me, I’ve also started adding it to my fruit smoothies. Gelatin powder also has many applications to baking and – hello – Jello! Except that’s a different kind; the kind I’m discussing today won’t solidify your coffee.


How Can Collagen Help Your Core + 4 brands reviewed -


Why I use collagen

I prefer using collagen hydrolysate as a protein supplement for many, many reasons:

Reason #1: It feeds the fascia snails

Time lapse photography has revealed that fascia does indeed regenerate given the right stimulation and nutrition, and my personal research and hundreds of anecdotal stories in our forum have led me to believe that collagen gives our bodies a portion of the nutrition it needs to rebuild connective tissue. The fibroblasts that lay down new “fascial matrix” -as this course I took from Anatomy Trains calls it – look like cute little snails leaving a trail of shiny new material behind them.

Around here, I’m most interested in the connective tissue that comprises our core. The fascia of our linea alba which joins the two sides of our abdominal wall together can thin out, allowing a separation of those same two halves. You can read more of what I’ve written about the role of nutrition in core strength here.

Reason #2: Better skin, hair, and nails!

Indeed, the first time I learned about collagen hydrolysate was in a discussion thread started by a member of Fit2B, exploring it as an alternative protein supplement that could possibly affect diastasis recti. Many reported using it and experiencing clearer, firmer skin along with faster hair and nail growth. After researching further and discussing it with both my naturopath, midwife, consulting physical therapist, and an herbalist, I was sold and got my first can of Great Lakes.

Reason #3: It agrees with my digestive systemHow Can Collagen Help Your Core + 4 brands reviewed -

Whey protein has always made my stomach gurgly, and I can’t stand vanilla or protein flavors in shakes. As for pea protein, well, I won’t go into details about how I fared on that. Let’s just say I took that gas-attack-in-a-bag straight back to the store and made the customer service people laugh really loud as I verbalized why I was returning it for a full refund! Meanwhile, gelatin collagen hydrolysate is pretty much tasteless, odorless, easy to digest, and easy to use.

I say “pretty much” because only one of the brands I tried made my coffee taste slightly “off” to me. Another brand actually made it taste more creamy. Two of the brands I tried did have a slight smell when I first opened the bag, but it dissipated. A new player on the scene won my convenience award!

My collagen review

I know, I know! You want to know which one did what…

But first, I must admit my subjectivity in reviewing these brands. Three of them were bought with my own money, and only one company sent me theirs upon my request, knowing I would be doing this blog. The new addition asked me to review their single-serves for our 2018 anniversary giveaway, and I was happy to comply.

Still, here are my thoughts on the four brands of collagen hydrolysate I’ve tried. Coincidentally, they are in the same order I’ve tried them: Great Lakes, Vital Proteins, Zint, Trim Healthy Mama, and Collagen For Her.

How Can Collagen Help Your Core + 4 brands reviewed -


Great Lakes

  • Price: Comparably Moderate
  • Award: Best packaging
  • Where to get it: Amazon

I’ve used this one the longest, and I like the can with a lid that it comes in. There is no smell or odor that I’ve noticed, and it keeps well. It also usually dissolves well. Very rarely does it clump slightly. It’s the first brand that was ever recommended to me. There’s no real price break for buying in bulk which really annoys me!


Vital Proteins

  • Price: Comparably Higher
  • Award: Superiority award winner
  • Where to get it: Amazonl

Many fellow fitness pros (and a random stranger at Costco) rave about how this is a superior brand despite the much higher price which runs $43 per 20 oz. plastic container (or $25 for 10 oz) on Amazon. I’m frugal, but I bought a small can and immediately noticed a “fuller” flavor and more graininess + slower dissolving rate. I also went through the smaller can much faster than the 16 oz size I was accustomed to with Great Lakes, and found the shorter, bulkier container annoying. I could swear it also tasted a little like the plastic of the container. I never bought more.



  • Price: Comparably Low
  • Award: Creamy award winner
  • Where to get it: Amazon

This brand was mentioned out of the blue in one of our recent forum threads which, until recently, had only ever “known about” Great Lakes. Curious about their discount for buying in larger quantities – Price runs $33.99 for a 32 oz. bag on Amazon – but unwilling to buy a lot until I was sure I like it, I started with a 16 oz bag. Yes, bag. It comes in a re-zippable plastic (faux foil lined) bag, and while I noticed a plastic odor + different flavor at first, I still took it with me on a ladies retreat, and no one else noticed a flavor. They loved it and the concept of adding it to their coffee, and I came home cleaned out! They all said it made their coffee even creamier, and I was inclined to agree. 


Trim Healthy Mama

So many Fit2B members use THM meal programming and recipes and love how we fit together. I myself have never done their program, but I have recommended it to clients when it seems appropriate. Turns out they have their own brand of collagen hydrolysate, and they were happy to send me a bag for free to try. This was the only brand I didn’t pay for myself in this review It’s higher in protein than the others with 11 grams per scoop which is included and which equals 1.5 TBS. The other brands have 11 grams of protein per 2 TBS. However, THM is the one clumped on the purple spoon you saw above, and it’s by far the slowest to dissolve of all the brands I tried. I also noticed that same “off” smell when I first opened the bag, but – again – it dissipated and was not noticed after that. It tasted fine to me.Giveaways and sales going on at!

Collagen For Her

  • Price: Comparably High
  • Award: Convenience
  • Where to get it: Amazon

Meet the new girl on the block: Collagen For Her. She’s pretty in pink and she’s specially formulated with the types of collagen needed by women. Their business was started by moms for moms, and they reached out to me directly and have been more communicative than ANY other brand. They’re truly invested in their product and customers. The powder dissolves faster than any other and gives my coffee a full flavor without altering the taste. Plus, it’s portable!!! The packets can be mashed, folded, smooshed, but they won’t leak. However, they easily open and dump. Love it!

So, which was my favorite?

At this point, the brand I personally enjoyed the most and plan to keep using is…Zint at home (because of their bulk price) and Collagen For Her on the road because of their quality and convenience. Right now, in the Fit2B Forum, the THM and Great Lakes brands are the current faves. Great Lakes is well-known, but I really wish they’d offer a better bulk discount. Vital Proteins is now available at Costco which helps their case a bit. 

#fitness #fitfam #fitmom #fitmama #diastasisrectirecovery #foamroller #collagen #shoes #prenatal #postnatal #health #healthy #mummytummy #readers #supernatural #booknerds #diet
I know your real question in: How can I get a Fit2B mug like that?

What are your thoughts? I know there are other brands out there I haven’t tried. Which one do you like? How has collagen hydrolysate helped you, and how do you use it? Join the discussion below! 

How Can Collagen Help Your Core + 4 brands reviewed -

Article last updated 06/13/22 with fresh links to products and new research

35 thoughts on “Collagen Can Help Your Core + Top 5 Brands Reviewed!

  1. Kristen says:

    What a GREAT review! I’m really curious as to how you will open your can of Great Lakes– I’m monkeying with mine and wondering how I could MacGyver that. FUN! We have used Great Lakes Gelatin and Collagen for gut healing and sealing. My husband loves loves to make Bulletproof coffee every morning with it and other healthy fats. I use the gelatin for gummies or adding to soups, and collagen for drinks and such. Yummy!

    • Beth Learn says:

      Maybe you have a different can than I do? Mine has a plastic lid, and when it’s new it also has a peel-back foil layer. I peel that off, and then it’s wide open for scooping.

  2. Lynn says:

    Thank you for this comparison. I do a lot of shopping at Amazon because, when you live in Alaska, their free shipping is a great thing! I have found that Swanson Vitamins has much better prices on THM products. The THM collagen sells for $16.99/bag. It’s worth it to pay the small amount of shipping for that kind of savings! I also don’t care for the zip bags and have glass containers that I pour the powder into for easier use.

  3. Rachel says:

    Isn’t it basically ground-up animal body parts? Might explain the “off” smell. I use it religiously and love it, by the way. Another zint-lover here!

  4. Karen says:

    Hey Beth – has anyone mentioned an allergic reaction? A few years ago I was using Great Lakes – it was a flavored product you put in water – loved it. After I used up my supply some time passed and I re ordered, and started having what seemed like an allergic reaction and then remembered that it had happened before. Basically my mouth and area around my mouth started itching after drinking it and I got congested. I really want to use a collagen supplement but now I’m sorta scared to. Thoughts?

  5. Leigh Miller says:

    If you buy a 6- or 12-pack case of the Great Lakes directly from Great Lakes, there’s a huge savings in cost – even with their shipping! I think I save $5/can buying it directly through Great Lakes. They are by far my favorite so far – I just tried the THM recently and was very disappointed with the clumping. I’ve taken collagen/gelatin for the past 3-4 years, and my chronic severe hip pain (arthritis) disappeared within 2 days of starting it!!!

  6. Jan says:

    Hi Beth! I am very curious to try Collagen for continuing my core healing. Today I finished my Tummy Team “Floor of your Core” program, by the way! My question is, I drink my coffee black, so I am not really looking for a creamier coffee. Will this addition make my coffee similar to adding cream? Thank you!

  7. Jan says:

    Hi again! I bought the Zint and put 2 T. as directed on the label in my hot black coffee, and it dissolved perfectly and immediately! I don’t even think I noticed a difference! Thank you for your research!!

  8. Jill says:

    Has anyone ever tried the Dr. Collagen brand? It seems like it is pricier, but is the quality any better than the ones reviewed?

  9. Monica says:

    Thanks for the review! You briefly mentioned it, but sourcing is very important to me and I would like to know more about that. I would probably choose a less preferred brand if their sourcing was better. I may have to look into a couple of these.

  10. Jamie Del Balso says:

    So funny, I totally save my great Lakes can to use for my Zint collagen! I also kept the scoop from my bag of THM collagen and put it in the can. I have not tried Vital Proteins brand. Zint has been my favorite and with the most noticeable differences in my fingernails!

  11. Josie says:

    One of my tax refund “fun” purchases was some Zint collagen. I had 1 Tbs in a cup of coffee today and it did indeed dissolve like magic. 🙂 I couldn’t detect any sort of flavor from the collagen, but there was a really subtle shift in how strong the coffee tasted. I’m pretty fussy about my coffee, but I don’t think the difference will bother me. I’m SO pumped to add this healthy item to my routine and have it not really feel like adding anything. Thank you so much for sharing information about this supplement and reviewing all the brands. . . it was so helpful!

    • Hannah Yeakley says:

      Hi Beth! Thank you so much for your research on this. I just ordered Zint and am excited to try it and love the idea of adding it to my morning coffee. I was just reading in an article about taking collagen with juice, and it warned to not take with highly acidic juices (such as tomatoe, grape, apple and orange) because it can decrease it’s effectiveness. And I was curious if you think that the acidity of coffee is decreasing the effectiveness of the collagen supplement?

  12. Erin says:

    My favorite is Perfect Supplements brand, which I order straight from their website. They offer bulk discounts for purchase 3 or 6 canisters (or any mix of their branded supplements). My mom and I share a big bulk order 2-3 times a year.

  13. Audrey says:

    Have you tried marine collagen? I can’t have beef, but the marine collagen I found has both type I and III in it. It does have a bit of flavor to it though… :-\

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