Ding, ding, ding...in this corner, you have collagen pills, supplements and peptides. Some can be pricey, some can be a pain in the butt to swallow and some contain various forms of collagen from cow hides, chicken feet and other animal bi-products. In the other corner you have your basic bone broth that can take fifty years to make, isn't conveniently made or traveled with, yet can be eaten with a multitude of things (oatmeal, smoothies, etc.) So which one is better?
First off, both broth AND supplements can be purchased. There is a company called Bonafide that sells quality bone broth. If you deep dive Google you'll find many companies like this so it's not like you have to baby the broth yourself for the 18-24 recommended hours it takes to make. If broth wasn't readily available at Whole Foods or other such markets that would definitely be a down side, but that is not the case.
Seeing as how both forms of collagen are readily available we'll take a look at other ways these proteins differ.
Digestion: According to the Mayo clinic the best way to get nutrients is through our food. On their website it states:
"Supplements aren't intended to substitute for food. They can't replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Whole foods offer three main benefits over dietary supplements:
Some supplements come with risks because of the way our body processes them. They don't always go where they are intended. In this major way, bone broth is the best way to deliver collagen amino acids.
Sources: Bone broth typically is extracted from chicken or beef. Supplements on the other hand come from many different sources and thus present a wider array of health beneifts. For instance some supplements contain undenatured collagen which is a type that is processed without heat. There are 28 forms of collagen that have been identified, the majority coming from what they term I, II and III. Supplements contain many more types than a single source broth and so in this way the pill might be a better way to go.
Proven Results: There is actually a lot more research regarding the health benefits of supplementing collagen proteins vs. eating soup. These results include hair, skin and nail regrowth. It also helps with bones and tendons and your natural gut flora. However, if you look at cultures that eat bone broth based soups regularly the results are visible if not quantifiable. This is research you can do yourself. Try a month of eating broth on the reg and see if your nails get solid. Do the same with a 30-day supplement. In my experience collagen peptides type II from denatured sources worked the best.
I don't know if there is such a thing as a collagen overdose or what that might look like, but my research shows that while it's always better to consume nutrients that are bioavailable, it doesn't hurt to add supplementation especially if it is something we either can't get from our food or it's too time consuming to bother. In this way, if you are trying to get a boost of these proteins that our bodies tend to produce less of as we get older you might want to try a pot of soup a week and a three times a day supplement that comes from a source you can't get through your personal bone collection.