Bone Broth vs. Collagen Powders: Which Is Better? A Nutrition PhD Explains
You may have a diligent skin care routine on lock, but do you consider tending to your largest organ from the inside out? See, plenty of antioxidant-rich, high-fat, hydrating foods are known for their complexion-changing properties. And when you need an extra and targeted nudge, skin-loving supplements can follow suit.
Collagen seems to straddle both nutritional worlds: Some people choose to consume foods like bone broth, which contains native collagen (i.e., from the bones and connective tissues used to make bone broth), while others opt for a collagen powder made of hydrolyzed collagen peptides. Which option is better, you may wonder? Here's what experts say.
Should you choose bone broth or collagen?
To be frank, it's all about personal preference. While both collagen powder and bone broth are rich sources of collagen, the two are extremely different and, thus, not directly comparable. That being said, one is a bit more reliable than the other in terms of dosage.
"Bone broth contains modest and variable doses of collagen (anywhere from 2 to 10 grams per cup)," says mbg's vice president of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN. So while bone broth does contain collagen, it's not always a consistent, effective dose.
A thoughtfully formulated collagen powder, however, typically contains 10 or more grams of collagen, Ferira says, making it a perhaps more reliable and potent option (like mbg's beauty & gut collagen+, which delivers 17.7 grams of collagen per scoop). This is helpful for those hoping to make collagen a regular (read: daily) part of their routine.
The other significant difference between the two is the amount of research available. "Bone broth has a very small body of published studies," Ferira says, "most of which are preclinical (rodents). These animal models demonstrate anti-inflammatory properties1 of bone broth as well as gut health and neuroprotective benefits2."
On the other hand, research on collagen peptides is both extensive and growing. "Collagen peptides have decades of research, so those clinical trials (especially in the skin health arena) are now so numerous, they've been compiled into systematic reviews and meta-analyses3," Ferira explains. Indeed, the compilation of science clearly demonstrates that regular consumption of collagen peptide supplements promotes skin hydration and elasticity while combating wrinkles3 head-on.*
Again, at the end of the day, this doesn't have to be a one-or-the-other scenario. "They each deliver a unique array of mammalian protein and other functional ingredients," Ferira explains. So while collagen may have more research to back up its benefits, there's no need to make the two mutually exclusive.
At the end of the day, choosing to consume bone broth or supplement with collagen powder is up to personal preference. What's more, you don't have to pick one or the other (Ferira consumes both, by the way)! However, it is important to note that collagen peptides have been more extensively researched and contain consistent, notable amounts of collagen. So if you're going to pick one for collagen-centric benefits, collagen supplements are the most reliable route.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including skin care, women’s health, mental health, sustainability, social media trends, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends and innovations, women’s health research, brain health news, and plenty more.