A couple of years ago, I got on the collagen bandwagon. As I approached fifty, I could feel my joints and muscles seizing up from years of athletic abuse and later-life laziness (cookies, movie binging, and weekend-warrior wine-drinking). It was time to get more proactive about my physical health and wellness.

Mind you, I am not opposed to medical science and the wonderment of prescriptive remedies. However, I decided a long time ago to make an attempt to avoid synthetic solutions to natural problems for as long as I possibly could. My rationalization was that if the side effects outweighed the benefits and the ironic outcome of those potential impacts caused some other negative result in my body, um, why take it?

I prefer to take the most natural route possible as long as I am not avoiding any glaring flashing red-flag lights or screeching sirens of self-destruction. So with that in mind, I took the collagen supplement plunge. Some days it felt like I was wading in the kiddie pool with my swimmie wings and others I was sinking to the bottom at the deep end of the pool. So many options, forms, and price ranges, all with varying degrees of results, experiences, and let’s just say “side effects.” I will explain.

After sampling a number of health-food store versions, yielding lackluster results, I opted to go online, do some research, and give the click-and-mortar options a go. First up, Bulletproof fully loaded with ghee butter and comes in my favorite form: coffee. In my opinion, a little bitter, harsh tasting, and requires a lot of time near the bathroom for the first few days. It comes with a lot of other restrictive recommendations as well: 1) Coffee is a meal unto itself; hundreds of calories packed in this concoction make it your first meal of the day. Um…I’m gonna need my cornflakes please. 2) Removal of sugar, legumes, and a number of other things from your diet. 3) Aspire to Ketosis. Now, I’m not knocking the concept, but asking me to do all three of these things at once seemed to be a little much. Plus, this product seemed too general-audience for me, and it didn’t speak to the physical conditions that concerned me but rather focused on weight loss, which of course would help my arthritis and associated joint issues, but it felt secondary. I opted to bookmark the website for the great articles, recipes, and nutritional research and recommendations.

Next, I gravitated toward SkinnyFit. It’s a fun, inspirational site geared toward women and our unique physical needs, packed with great recipes, accessories, and a wealth of support and online social media community opportunities. With a number of tasty versions of the the product, including teas, chocolates, and traditional powder formulas, SkinnyFit seemed to hit the mark for a while. But I felt like I went through it too quickly, and the results wore off throughout the day like a hangover pain reliever on New Year’s Day. Plus, the much-coveted chocolate version of the collagen powder was always out of stock and on back order. Putting myself on the notificaiton list didn’t get me any closer to the gold. While I keep SkinnyFit on file to stay up on the physical fitness and diet challenges they offer, once again I became frustrated and sought other options.

Recently I met Vitauthority and I fell forward fast! This past summer, I started my hot yoga practice at Hotworx and wanted a collagen supplement that would support my joints in this new uptick of physical activity. Vitauthority did not disappoint. Like SkinnyFit, Vitauthority focuses on women’s collagen needs. With a number of forms and remedies ranging from weight loss to joint support, the product line touts simple formulas comprised of beneficial ingredient we recognize such as berberine, turmericm and curcumin. While I have tried most of the flavors, including the chocolate option, I found that I prefer the unflavored version followed by the lemonade and strawberry variations (and I’m not the biggest strawberry fan IRL). Coffee, smoothies, juice, and teas all give this brand two thumbs up. Their customer service is top-notch. I have received follow-up phone calls and text messages just to check in and make sure that I’m satisfied with their products. I can say that I definitely am. My joints are healthy, my flexibility is much improved, and my stability in the yoga sauna continues to improve without compromise or injury. My daily step count went from 9,000 on daily average to well over 14,000. Price point is also important to me and Vitauthority, scoop for scoop, is far more economical than either of the aforementioned product lines. Taste, effective, and value: triple threat for the win.