Once and for all, this is the best way to get your collagen

We’re in the height of a collagen craze, and I get it. Once upon a time if you needed to plump your skin you could get your fill with, well, fillers. Now there’s so many different kinds of collagen on the market that you can swing by your local drug store and slather it on. Or it’s as simple as grabbing a jar or packet of the stuff and slipping it into whatever beverage is closest to hand. You can doll up your water or even slip it into your morning cup of coffee! Easy peasy, amirite? Actually, that last one is a terrible idea.

Though it is tempting to dose your morning cappuccino with collagen powder (because it doesn’t exactly taste amazing) that kind of defeats the whole point of it. For a recent article in The Conversation, scientist and assistant professor of microbiology at Texas A&M University Brooke Russell points out that your collagen powder falls apart at temperatures above body temperature—your steaming hot morning brew turns it into pure gelatin. You know what’s probably not going to give you the health and beauty benefits of collagen? That, literally that.

And though it’s an absolute bummer, we’re still learning which collagen products are really making our skin bounce back. Your friend with the fresh Rapunzel locks says hard yes, and research definitely links it to strengthening your hair and hardening your brittle nails. But not all collagen supplements or infused-lotions are built equally, you know? So, um, now that I’m done being a buzzkill, what is the best way to bolster our collagen intake?

I touched based with Mascha Davis, MPH, RD, a registered dietician, nutritionist and author of the forthcoming book Eat Your Vitamins. If you’re married to your powders there’s no need to discontinue use, but she does echo that you really don’t want to slip it into anything scorching. 

“Since there’s not tons of research in this area yet, the jury is still out, but I wouldn’t put collagen in any sort of hot beverage as that can affect the chemical structure and make it less effective and stable,” Davis says.

Instead, make your collagen powder more of an ingredient than a supplement. In fact, you can seamlessly fit it within something that’s going to make you feel amazing (and taste) amazing. Davis recommends that you can double plump up your collagen use by piggybacking on another bigtime beauty ingredient.

“I would ensure you’re getting plenty of Vitamin C from food sources, as this vitamin essential for natural collagen production,” Davis says. “So a great way to take it would be with a fruit smoothie!”

Brigitte Zeitlin, RD registered dietitian and owner of BZ Nutrition in NYC  suggests to her clients to mix it up. She advises that they can put it in your iced lattes or water, maybe even oatmeal (so long as you add it beforehand to avoid the gelatin effect). But she hard agrees that vitamin C for collagen boosting is a smart and safe route.

“Aim to eat Whole Foods that boost your own collagen production, like citrus fruits, strawberries, sweet pot oars, red peppers, spinach, and broccoli, thanks to their high levels of vitamin C,” Zeitlin says.

So whether you add in a powder to a smoothie or or chow down on berries solo, doubling down on vitamin C-rich foods will make sure the collagen boost. Less simple than slipping into your coffee, but eons healthier in terms of switching up your breakfast routine for the bouncy, beautiful *glow* you’re looking for.

Concerned collagen won’t work with your diet? Here’s a good way to get that boost if you’re vegan. And trying out a few herbs might help you with amping up the collagen.

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