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Fact checked by Robert Iafelice, MS, RD, LDNFACT CHECKED
March 13, 2023
Collagen is the most plentiful type of protein in your body. In fact, 30% of your protein, the building block that makes you you, is comprised of collagen. Most people know that collagen is good for the skin. Recent research, though, shows that the benefits of this protein go well beyond that. It has also been shown to improve joint and bone health and may even help to build muscle mass and strength.
As a personal trainer, I often work with people seeking to boost bone and joint health. Many of them look to me for advice regarding supplementation to help them do that. As a result, I've taken it upon myself to do in-depth research into the collagen supplement market in order to confidently make recommendations to them.
This article, which reviews the nine best collagen supplements on the market right now, is the result of that research, along with my personal experience with collagen supplements, which I take to increase my bone strength and help build muscle.
**There may be affiliate links in this post where we might receive a small commission on purchases you make. We only recommend products we think you will find valuable.**
Every scoop of Primal Kitchen Collagen Peptides provides you with 11 grams of Type I + III collagen. That collagen comes from happy pastured raised South American cows. Each container of Primal Kitchen Collagen Peptides has 550 grams of powder. The recommended daily serving is 11 grams, so you get about 50 servings per container. It is available on a subscription basis, saving you 10% per container.
This collagen powder has a fine consistency, allowing it to mix well. I tested it with nothing more than a glass and a spoon, and it mixed easily with water so that there was no gritty residue left in the bottom of the glass. It dissolves equally well in hot or cold liquids. A number of my personal training clients add it to their pre-workout. It is unflavored, so it won't affect the taste of whatever you add it to.
While our favorite is the unflavored because of its versatility, Primal Kitchen also offers several delicious drink mixes, along with easy to take on the go single serving packets.
Vitamin C is necessary for the formation of collagen. Adding vitamin C to a collagen supplement can help to maintain healthy skin, joints, and bones. Klean Collagen+C adds 50 mg of vitamin C sourced from organic amia fruit extract to 14 grams of bovine-sourced hydrolyzed collagen in every serving.
Hydrolyzed collagen is broken down into smaller particles. As a result, smaller peptides created by the hydrolysis of collagen can be absorbed by the body more readily than bigger collagen molecules. This might improve the collagen supplement's bioavailability and potency.
Klean Collagen+C is one of the best-unflavored collagen powders. I haven't personally mixed this one, but online reviewers say it has very good mixability and can be added to other drinks without affecting the taste.
Each container has 304 grams of powder.
Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate delivers 11 grams of hydrolyzed bovine collagen with every serving. You get a blend of Types 1 and 2 collagen to support skin, bone, and joint health. Bovine collagen peptides have been shown to be effective at treating joint conditions and improving mobility in a number of clinical trials.
Hydrolyzed collagen is broken down into minute particles. This improves the absorbability of the supplement so that it gets into the bloodstream faster.
This powdered form of collagen has a pretty nice chocolate taste when mixed with water. I also found that it mixed well with water and when added to a pre-workout formula.
There are just 45 calories in every serving of Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate, making it a good choice if you are trying to lose weight. A serving size is one scoop, and there are 30 servings per container.
Life Extension Bone Strength Collagen Formula combines collagen with a number of other compounds that have been shown to boost its effectiveness. You get a 300 mg blend of collagen and calcium as well as 25 mcg of vitamin D3, 100 mg of magnesium, 5 mg of silicon, 100 mg of dried plum extract, and 3 mg of boron.
I was interested to see dried plum extract on the ingredient list as I hadn't seen it before in a collagen supplement. Research revealed that dried plum contains polyphenol compounds that support the activity of osteoblasts, the special cells that actually rebuild bone.
This product is certified non-GMO and gluten-free. It is manufactured in the USA. Life Extension is quite transparent about its products. In fact, you are able to view a Certificate of Analysis for every product on the official website.
There are 120 capsules in every container of Life Extension Bone Strength Formula. With a serving size of four capsules, that gives you a one-month supply.
Orgain Collagen Peptides + Superfoods is a collagen peptide powder that includes 50 superfoods to supercharge your benefits. Along with 10 grams of bovine collagen peptides, you also get a huge range of acknowledged superfoods, including millet, amaranth, lentil sprout, garbanzo bean, and kale.
The unique combination of collagen peptides and superfoods does a great job of covering your nutritional bases. It also boosts the skin, hair, nails, bones, and joints, improving the effects of the collagen peptides.
Orgain Collagen Peptides + Superfoods comes in powder form. It is available as a flavorless powder, making it suitable for adding to recipes and smoothies. Of course, you can also simply mix it with a glass of water. It mixes well and goes down easily.
This is a gluten-free product with no added sugars and no soy, dairy, or lactose ingredients.
Vital Proteins Marine Collagen provides you with 12 mg of collagen peptides sourced from wild-caught cod off the coast of Alaska. Supplements containing collagen from marine sources may enhance skin moisture, lessen the visibility of wrinkles and fine lines, and support general skin health.
Both Type 1 and Type 2 collagen are included in Vital Products Marine Collagen. This covers all your bases in terms of the benefits of collagen, including skin, hair, and nail health, as well as joint, bone, and marrow strength.
Supplements derived from marine sources may also improve joint health by easing joint pain and stiffness, as well as helping support gut health and improve digestion. This product includes a complete amino acid profile. This is an unflavored powder, so it can be used with all sorts of beverages or recipes. It's another powder that mixes well so that there is no gritty aftertaste.
Healthy Origins UC-II is specifically designed to improve joint health. Whereas most collagen supplements use Type 1 collagen, Healthy Origins includes 10 mg of undenatured Type 2 collagen with every serving. Undenatured collagen is thought to enhance joint health. The collagen used here is derived from chickens.
The form of collagen used in this supplement is put through a patented, low-temperature, non-enzymatic manufacturing process, which ensures its bioavailability in the body.
Healthy Origins UC-II is provided in the form of a vegan-friendly encapsulated capsule. Encapsulated supplements are easier to swallow. They also help to protect the supplement from oxidation, helping to increase the shelf life.
This product has been tested by an independent 3rd party laboratory to ensure that its purity and potency are of the highest standard. It is sourced, made, and manufactured in the USA.
Youtheory Collagen Advanced Formula combines biotin with collagen to improve its effectiveness in terms of hair, skin, and joint health. Collagen and biotin are both important for keeping our skin healthy. Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, improves the metabolism of fatty acids, which are important for the health of the skin, while collagen gives the skin its shape and flexibility.
Biotin's role in the production of fatty acids also improves skin hydration. There is also evidence that biotin's ability to boost collagen production may reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. There is some evidence suggesting that biotin may also help with hair loss prevention and possibly even growth in people with an underlying pathology for poor hair health.¹
You also get 90 mg of vitamin C in Youtheory Collagen Advanced Formula. Vitamin C is crucial to the formation of collagen, so its inclusion here further enhances the synergistic effect of all the ingredients.
A serving size for this supplement is six capsules. You get 390 capsules per container for a 65-serving count.
Collagen For Her is an unflavored peptide powder specially designed for ladies. As well as being flavorless, it's also odorless. That makes this an ideal form of collagen supplement to add to your recipes and smoothies. I've recommended this supplement to a couple of my female personal training clients and can attest to the website's claim that it mixes very well so that there are no chunky bits or grittiness.
Each scoop of Collagen For Her includes 11 grams of collagen. The manufacturer recommends taking up to 2 servings, or 22 grams, per day. It includes BCAAs, 18 amino acids, and 10 grams of protein per scoop. The collagen is sourced from the highest quality type 1 and 2 bovine sources.
Collagen For Her is all-natural, non-GMO, keto, paleo, sugar, gluten, dairy, and soy free. However, because it uses bovine collagen sources, it is not vegan-friendly. This product is manufactured in a GMP-certified facility, and every batch is tested for purity and potency.
Collagen is a kind of protein that is found in our skin, bones, tendons, cartilage, and ligaments. It is, in fact, the most abundant protein in the human body.
Most people are aware that collagen is good for your skin. But the benefits of taking a collagen skin supplement go far beyond that. Here are the main research-backed benefits of collagen supplements:
Collagen is essential for preserving the suppleness, hardness, and structure of the skin. As we get older, our bodies produce less collagen, which can cause wrinkles, drooping skin, and other aging symptoms. By boosting the body's production of collagen, collagen supplements are supposed to contribute to better skin health.
Collagen supplements contain amino acids that are needed by the body to make more collagen in order to maintain skin firmness and elasticity. People who supplement with collagen have been seen to have fewer skin wrinkles. This is thought to be due to the ability of collagen to plump up the skin so that wrinkles are filled in.
Supplementing with collagen will also improve skin hydration. Increased hydration allows the skin to appear younger and healthier. A final benefit of supplementing with collagen for the skin is that it reduces inflammation of the skin. That means there will be reduced redness and swelling of the skin resulting from inflammation.² ³
Enhancing bone density using collagen supplements may help lower the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. According to studies, collagen supplements can help postmenopausal women and people with osteoporosis have a higher bone mineral density (BMD).
Collagen supplements can encourage the creation of new bone tissue, which assists in bone repair and bone health maintenance. Glycine, proline, and lysine are just a few of the amino acids found in collagen that are crucial for bone formation and healing.
The organic matrix of the bone, which gives it flexibility and strength, is largely composed of collagen. Supplemental collagen can help the bone matrix's quality, making bones less brittle and more fracture-resistant.⁴ ⁵
Supplements containing collagen have been shown to assist people with osteoarthritis in experiencing less joint pain and stiffness. This might be because collagen has anti-inflammatory qualities that could help to lessen joint inflammation.
Collagen supplements can increase joint flexibility by increasing the production of the protein collagen in the cartilage. By doing so, you can help the joints move more freely and reduce the risk of injury.
Adding collagen can promote the growth of new cartilage tissue, assisting in the healing of injured joints. This might ease joint pain and improve joint functionality. Supplementing with collagen increases the body's collagen production, which lowers the chance of joint degeneration. Supplemental collagen may also reduce the chance of joint degeneration.⁶ ⁷
Although collagen is not typically considered a protein that aids in the development of muscle, like whey or casein, some research suggests that collagen supplementation may help increase muscle mass.
Collagen is rich in glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, three amino acids essential for muscle tissue growth. These amino acids can encourage the body's natural process of building new muscle tissue, known as protein synthesis, in the muscles.
Collagen supplementation might enhance the connective tissue in muscles, which can promote muscle growth. Stronger and more resilient connective tissue that permits more intense training may also promote greater muscle growth. Some studies also suggest that supplementing with collagen can also improve post-workout muscle recovery.⁸ ⁹
The blood vessels and arteries that carry blood to and from the heart are supported and given structure by collagen. Collagen levels naturally decline with aging, which can result in weaker blood vessels and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Collagen supplements may help to keep these blood arteries strong and healthy, lowering the risk of heart disease.
The amino acid proline is found in collagen, which contributes to collagen formation and helps to maintain normal blood pressure. Greater proline concentrations in the body have been linked to a lower risk of hypertension, a significant risk factor for heart disease.
The heart may also benefit from collagen's potential anti-inflammatory actions. Studies have shown that taking supplements of collagen may lower the body's inflammatory marker levels. Chronic inflammation is known to play a role in the development of heart disease.¹⁰ ¹¹
For more great collagen perks, check out our article on the 5 Best Collagen Benefits For Women!
Supplemental collagen may cause an allergic reaction in some people, especially if it comes from animals. An allergic reaction may cause hives, itching, swelling, and breathing difficulties.
Some people may experience digestive disturbance with collagen supplements, especially if they are used in high dosages. Bloating, constipation, or diarrhea are possible symptoms.
Supplements containing collagen may interfere with some medicines, particularly those that thin the blood and those that suppress the immune system. Before beginning to take collagen supplements, you should discuss your prescription regimen with your doctor.
The benefits of supplementing with collagen we've just discussed will only be experienced if you buy a quality supplement. Here's a guide to getting the best collagen supplement:
Carefully read the ingredient label to check that the product contains high-quality collagen and any other ingredients you feel comfortable taking. Here are some key ingredients to look for in a collagen supplement:
Collagen peptides: Little, readily absorbed collagen fragments known as collagen peptides are frequently found in dietary supplements. Look for a supplement with collagen peptides as the main component.
Type of collagen: There are various forms of collagen, including types I, II, and III. You might want to pick a supplement that contains one or more of these kinds of collagen, depending on your objectives.
Vitamin C: The body needs vitamin C to make collagen. Some collagen supplements include Vitamin C to promote collagen synthesis in the body.
Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid is produced by the body naturally. It has been shown to promote skin and joint health.
Biotin: Biotin, or Vitamin B7, has also been shown to promote skin, joint, and nail health.
Other ingredients: Check the label to make sure that it does not contain sweeteners, flavoring, or artificial preservatives.
The three most common types of collagen are:
Type I: About 90% of the body's collagen is Type I. In addition to other connective tissues, it is present in the skin, tendons, and bones. It is frequently added to supplements meant to maintain the health of the skin, bones, and joints since it gives these tissues shape and stability.
Type II: Type II collagen is found in cartilage, the connective tissue that cushions the joints. It is frequently used to promote joint health, lessen joint discomfort, and reduce inflammation.
Type III: This form of collagen is present in blood vessels, muscles, and skin. In addition to supporting skin health and minimizing the look of wrinkles and fine lines, it gives these tissues support and elasticity.¹²
The amount of collagen per serving may vary depending on the type of collagen used. However, most clinical trials have used a dosage between 10-20 grams. As a result, we recommend that you look for a supplement that provides between 10-20 grams per serving.
Look for supplements that have been potency and purity tested by a third party. This indicates that a separate laboratory has examined the supplement to make sure it is free of impurities, including heavy metals, pesticides, and micro-organisms, and that it has the claimed amount of collagen.
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification is a quality assurance program that guarantees goods are produced and tested in accordance with rigid guidelines. Look for collagen supplements that are produced in GMP-certified facilities.
I also recommend looking for supplement manufacturers that are open about their components and don't include any additives, fillers, artificial flavors, or colors in their products. The kind, quantity, and other ingredients should all be listed on the label in full detail. Avoid companies that hide their dosages behind proprietary blends.
The type of collagen used may affect the cost of a collagen supplement. The most common type used in supplements, Type I, is less expensive than type II or type III.
Although more expensive, higher-quality collagen supplements are more likely to be pure and free of impurities. Look for supplements that have been potency and purity tested by a third party.
The method used to make collagen supplements can also have an impact on their cost. To ensure that supplements are prepared in accordance with stringent quality control requirements, look for products that are made in a GMP-certified facility.
User reviews can shed light on the company's quality assurance practices as well as the effectiveness of the supplement. Real users can give their opinions on the product's efficiency, flavor, and texture. This can give you insight into how the supplement performs and whether it has provided other users with the benefits that it claims.
Whether collagen supplements really work depends on what you want to get out of them. Although the research on collagen supplements' effectiveness is still in its early stages, and more research is required to properly grasp its potential advantages, some possible benefits of collagen supplements have been demonstrated. These include improved skin health. According to some research, collagen supplements could help to enhance the elasticity, moisture, and general appearance of the skin.
Collagen supplements may also improve joint health by giving cartilage and other connective tissues the building blocks they require. Collagen is a crucial component of bone tissue, and some research indicates that taking supplements of collagen may help to increase bone density and lower the risk of bone fractures. Finally, there is some evidence that collagen supplementation may help build muscle and increase strength levels.
Taking a collagen supplement every day will provide your body with a consistent supply of exogenous collagen to support the amount that comes through your whole food diet. This will help to improve your skin and joint health, increase your bone density, and potentially help you build more muscle. We discuss this in more detail in our article: Is Collagen Good For Men?
Although some doctors and healthcare experts do recommend collagen supplements based on anecdotal evidence or their own clinical experience, there isn't currently any across-the-board agreement among medical professionals about the usage of collagen supplements for particular health concerns.
Although collagen supplements are typically thought to be safe for the majority of people, some people may need to use caution or completely avoid collagen supplements. The following groups of people should consult a doctor before taking a collagen supplement:
Pregnant or nursing women: Because there is little information on the safety of collagen supplements during pregnancy and nursing, I recommend that pregnant or nursing women see a healthcare professional before taking collagen supplements.
Allergy sufferers: Since some collagen supplements come from animals (such as cows, pigs, or fish), they might not be safe for people who have allergies to these species. It's critical to carefully read the label and pick a collagen supplement that fits your dietary needs and tastes.
People who take medication: Supplements containing collagen may interfere with drugs like blood thinners or those that influence blood sugar levels. Before taking collagen supplements, people on these medications should consult a healthcare professional.
Individuals with kidney issues: As the kidneys are responsible for breaking down and excreting collagen, people with kidney problems need to be cautious when using collagen supplements.
Gout sufferers: Collagen supplements may contain high levels of purines, which may increase a person's chance of developing gout.
Collagen is the amplest protein in your body. By taking a collagen supplement, you may be able to enhance some key aspects of your health, including the skin, joints, and bones. Collagen may also help to boost muscle mass and strength for people who are doing resistance training. So what are you waiting for? Add a collagen supplement to your diet today.
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