The 7 Best Collagen Powders of 2020, According to a Dietitian

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First Look

Best Overall: Vital Proteins Original Collagen Peptides at Amazon

"In addition to grass-fed bovine collagen, Vital Proteins adds Vitamin C to their powder to increase collagen absorption."

Best Bovine: Great Lakes at Amazon

"The collagen in this antibiotic-free powder is sourced from grass-fed and pasture-raised cows from Argentina and Brazil."

Best Post-Workout: Physician's Choice Collagen Peptides at Amazon

"The formula contains 14 essential amino acids to promote vitality and support hair, skin, nails, and joints."

Best Marine: Further Food at iherb.com

"This collagen powder is exclusively sourced from the skin of wild-caught cod from the North Atlantic."

Best Boosted Collagen: Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Glow at Amazon

"The strawberry lemon flavored powder has 10 grams of marine based collagen per serving to help support healthy hair, skin, nails, bones, and joints."

Best Tasting: Thrive Market Chocolate at thrivemarket.com

"The rich, chocolatey flavor dissolves quickly in hot or cold beverages and can be a great addition to smoothies, coffee, and overnight oats."

Best Keto: Ancient Nutrition at Amazon

"With 9 grams of protein, 10.2 grams of collagen, and zero grams of carbs and sugars, it's ideal for those on the ketogenic diet."

Collagen is the main structural protein that forms the connective tissue of our body—such as bone, skin, cartilage, and tendons. It is widely believed that if humans ingest collagen from outside sources it will support and optimize our health and address physiological needs posed by aging and exercise. Some studies have found that taking oral collagen supplements may "increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density," all things that decrease as we age.

It's paramount that you do your research and prioritize quality when choosing a specific collagen supplement. Products that use bovine collagen should be using grass-fed cows only. For marine collagen, opt for supplements derived from wild fish.

Remember that research on collagen supplements is fairly new and not enough studies have been done to support the many claims that can be found on bottles. Always speak to your health care team before trying something new. 

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Vital Proteins Original Collagen Peptides

With 20-grams of collagen per two-scoop serving, you'll get a good bang for your buck with this powder. It's sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows kept in alignment with the Global Animal Partnership 5-step animal welfare rating standard, so you can feel good about using it.

In addition to grass-fed bovine collagen, Vital Proteins adds vitamin C to their powder to increase collagen absorption as well as hyaluronic acid, a substance the body makes naturally that contributes to the promotion of collagen. It’s soluble in hot or cold liquids, so you can add it to your coffee, smoothies, or other beverages.

Best Bovine: Great Lakes

Great Lakes Gelatin Company uses grass-fed and pasture-raised cows from Argentina and Brazil to make their collagen powder. The product is keto- and Paleo-friendly, non-GMO, gluten-, preservative-, and pesticide-free, and contains no sulfates or antibiotics.

Consumer Labs, a third-party testing company, has also given this product its stamp of approval and has verified that the claims on the bottle match the actual ingredients. The powder is unflavored, so it mixes well with just about anything—from tea to a protein shake.

Best Post-Workout: Physician's Choice Collagen Peptides

Smoothies are a go-to when it comes to post-workout snacks, and adding a little extra protein to your drink will help build muscle as you recover. Physician's Choice Collagen Peptides gives you the protein fill you need while improving your hair, skin, nails, and joints. The formula contains 14 essential amino acids as well as digestive enzymes, so you know you're getting more than your typical protein powder.

Best Marine: Further Food

Premium Marine Collagen Peptides from Further Food

This collagen powder is exclusively sourced from the skin of wild-caught cod from the North Atlantic, making it easier for your body to absorb. The manufacturer does not use harsh enzymes or heat to extract collagen from the fish skin, which helps keep all of its beneficial properties intact.

The product is non-GMO, antibiotic-, hormone-, and sugar-free, and is suitable for those following a keto or Paleo diet. You'll get 6.6 grams of collagen per a one-scoop serving and only 23 calories. The flavorless powder can be easily mixed with your morning coffee or added to your favorite baked goods. Consumers can feel good about packaging, as the collagen is stored in 100% Post-Consumer Recycled jars.

Best Boosted Collagen: Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Glow

Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Glow is a unique powder option containing collagen, biotin, and hyaluronic acid. The strawberry lemon flavored powder has 10 grams of marine based collagen per serving to help support healthy hair, skin, nails, bones, and joints.

The powder is both gluten and dairy free, and can be added to any drink including smoothies, water, and tea. Having great skin never tasted so good.

Best Tasting: Thrive Market Chocolate

thrive-market-grass-fed-collagen-peptides-chocolate

Courtesy of Thrive Market

Thrive Market's chocolate collagen powder is sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows. The rich, chocolatey flavor dissolves quickly in hot or cold beverages and can be a great addition to smoothies, coffee, and overnight oats.

It's made with organic cocoa powder, organic vanilla flavor, and monk fruit extract to provide a rich, satisfying flavor. With 10 grams of protein and 118 milligrams of potassium per a one-scoop serving, it'll boost any drink for post-workout muscle recovery.

Best Keto: Ancient Nutrition

With 9 grams of protein, 10.2 grams of collagen, 35 calories, and zero grams of carbs and sugars, this collagen powder is ideal for those on the ketogenic diet. Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein offers a blend of collagen from four different food sources, including beef, chicken, fish, and eggshell membrane. It's designed to benefit skin, gut, and joint health, and it's free of antibiotics, growth hormones, and chemicals.

Stick to the original Multi Collagen Protein if you are looking for a product with four ingredients and no flavorings or sweeteners. This unflavored formula mixes easily into liquids without any clumping or chalkiness, so it’s perfect for adding to hot or cold drinks or to use in cooking or baking.

Final Verdict

You can't go wrong with Vital Proteins' Original Collagen Peptides. The best-selling powder offers 20 grams of protein per serving and is unflavored, making it the perfect addition to any food or beverage. Try Vital Proteins' Collagen Beauty Glow (which includes added biotin, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid) if you want to give your beauty routine an extra boost.

What to Look for in a Collagen Powder

Type: There are many types of collagen; however there are three that are generally used. Type 1 and type 3 are generally used for skin health and elasticity, whereas type 2 is used for cartilage and joint health. Choose a type that aligns with your needs.

Source: Collagen comes from various sources such as bovine (cow or beef), chicken, fish, or egg shells. When selecting a source, consider quality such as grass-fed, pasture-raised beef collagen or sustainably-sourced fish collagen.

Flavor: Some collagen supplements are flavorless, whereas others come in a variety of flavors. When choosing a flavor, consider how you will use the supplement, for example, are you baking with it, mixing it into a smoothie, or simply drinking it mixed with warm water.

Additional Ingredients: Some collagen supplements include complementary ingredients such as vitamin C, which stimulates collagen synthesis, and hyaluronic acid which promotes optimal skin moisture.

Why Trust Verywell Health

As a Registered Dietitian, Sydney Greene takes supplement recommendations seriously. Every product has been researched and vetted by her against clinical research, product reviews, and third-party testing websites. These are products she would not only feel comfortable recommending to her clients but she would take them herself if needed.

The Ultimate Collagen Buying Guide

By: Brittany Leitner

By now, you’ve likely heard of collagen or at least heard that it can be good for you. But it can be intimidating to know where to start when you’re adding yet another step to your beauty, diet, or everyday routine in general. Collagen is extremely popular in the beauty industry because of claims that it can improve skin elasticity and help improve complexion overall, amongst other things. Though there are some products and lotions that infuse collagen into the product, the most popular way to use collagen is to ingest it, either in supplement or powder form. 

Collagen is a structural protein found in connective tissues throughout your body, including skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments. Its primary function is to help tissues withstand stretching. Although collagen loss starts between the ages of 18 and 29, after age 40, the body can lose around 1% per year; at around age 80, collagen production can decrease 75% overall in comparison to that of young adults. This is where supplements and powders come in. By taking a supplement or mixing in a powder into your favorite smoothie or morning coffee, you can replenish some of the collagen your body has lost, and hopefully see the real effects of adding this supplement to your diet. 

But collagen comes in many different forms and types, and there’s no one-size-fits-all way to ingest your collagen. We’re breaking down everything you need to know to choose the collagen supplement that’s right for you. Whether you want to take a supplement or mix in a powder, these are the benefits and cons for each. Plus, we’ll explore marine collagen vs. animal collagens, and even take a look at how vegan collagens may work. Is one better than the other? Which one makes the most sense for you to take now? 

Here’s everything you need to know:

Key Considerations

Supplements Vs. Powders

According to Lisa Pineiro, the founder of Glotrition, there is a very real quality distinction between collagen products you find on the shelves, but quality is not necessarily measured in powders vs. supplements. “All collagen powders are considered a dietary supplement,” she says. 

Olivia Pelaez, MS, functional nutritionist, and education coordinator at Vital Proteins agrees. “The key difference between a collagen powder and collagen supplement is the delivery method. Collagen supplements that come in a pill-form are simply capsules filled with powdered collagen. Choosing between the two really boils down to personal preference,” says Pelaez. 

If you are someone who prefers the convenience of simply taking a capsule with a glass of water and calling it a day, then opt for a pill form of collagen. If you have a morning routine of starting your day with coffee or a smoothie and adding a scoop of collagen is an easy add-on, then powder-form might be the best choice, she notes.

Main Ingredients 

The ingredients list of your collagen product should be tailored to what you’re looking for. For example, some powders and supplements have added ingredients like vitamin C, which stimulates collagen synthesis, and hyaluronic acid which promotes optimal skin moisture.

But if you’re looking for 100% pure, authentic collagen then that should be the only ingredient on the label. “A true clean source of collagen should have one single ingredient: collagen,” says Pelaez. 

But shopping for collagen with additional ingredients can be beneficial. “Make sure your collagen supplement contains vitamin C,” says Pineiro. “The presence of this important vitamin is absolutely necessary for collagen synthesis. And be sure to add antioxidants to your collagen regimen. Collagen fibers are a food source for free radicals, so antioxidant protection is super important, as free radical damage is the number one cause of aging,” she says. 

As with any dietary supplement, it’s always best to visit with your physician first if you are pregnant or nursing. Talk to your doctor about the potential benefits of a collagen supplement paired with other ingredients. 

When researching different brands, make sure there is real, tangible science to back up the claims they are making. For example, a higher amount of collagen in a product doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get better results or see a difference in your skin. “When shopping for a collagen supplement, look for one that has superior bioavailability, meaning it can be easily absorbed into your system and start working immediately on your connective tissue (in this case, your skin!),” says Pineiro.

Collagen products that are used mainly for beauty purposes may contain hydrolyzed collagen. If a product is “hydrolyzed,” it’s “broken down to a size that makes it easy for your body to absorb,” says Pineiro.

Bovine, Marine, Vegan

Collagen comes from various sources such as bovine (cow or beef), pork, fish, or egg shells. Although more studies need to take place, initial reports found that egg shells do not contain a significant amount of collagen, so if you’re looking to add this supplement to your diet, it’s best to stick with bovine or marine collagen.

Unfortunately, there is no vegan source of collagen that’s available. To ensure you’re getting a high quality product, look for collagen that’s grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine or made from wild caught marine sources. “Collagen is inherently an animal protein,” says Pineiro. “It can be a little misleading when brands say things like ‘plant based collagen support.’ These are plant based products that may or may not help nourish or support existing collagen, but they are not collagen based products.” 

Again, choosing marine based collagen or bovine based collagen really boils down to your preference. If you follow a pescatarian diet than marine collagen would be a better fit. “There are more similarities than differences between marine collagen and bovine collagen,” says Pelaez. “For example, they both deliver very similar amino acid profiles and therefore the same collagen benefits.”

Potential Allergies

Those with a fish, shellfish, or egg allergy should avoid collagen supplements as many of them are made from these ingredients. Make sure to check the full ingredients list including any notes that indicate that the product was processed in a facility that processes other ingredients you may be allergic to.

There are some reports that collagen supplements may cause mild digestive symptoms or a bad taste in the mouth. It’s important to go over the labels of supplements you’re using with your physician because dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and that includes collagen

Price

Collagen products that are made from non-grass fed bovine or farmed fish may be cheaper, but it also comes with the knowledge that you won’t know the history or entirety of what you’re putting into your body. 

Most products range from $20 to $70 for 10 oz, and can go up depending on the amount of ounces in the product. 

If clean eating is important to you, you may want to opt for a higher priced collagen supplement that clearly states where it gets the collagen in its products. “Because the dietary supplement industry and the beauty industry aren’t regulated, brands are allowed to call out ingredients even though they may only have a ‘fairy dust sprinkle’ of that actual ingredient,” says Pineiro. Remember, you can’t choose where collagen supplements “work” in the body. For example, if your muscles are collagen-deprived, your skin likely won’t see a benefit. This is where it can come in handy to do additional appointments and blood tests with your doctor to see if your collagen supplements will have the desired outcome. 

Brands

There are endless collagen supplement brands on the market, but here’s a little more info on these six stand out brands that VeryWell has covered in the past. 

Glotrition

Glotrition was founded by a former health and beauty reporter who noticed how many products were lacking science and evidence-based research in products. Glortirtion products feature patented Bioactive Collagen Peptides, which are hydrolyzed and broken down, to levels that can be easily absorbed by the body. 

Vital Proteins

Vital Proteins is one of the most popular collagen supplement brands and only uses cows that were raised in alignment with the Global Animal Partnership 5-step animal welfare rating standards for its collagen products. Vital Proteins also only uses wild-caught non-GMO marine collagen for non-bovine collagen. It also features only clean ingredients on its labels, meaning you can pronounce every ingredient on the list, and can do research to know exactly where it comes from. 

Thrive Market

Thrive Market sells a diverse selection of goods, food, and even wine, and this is its namesake brand. If you notice that you can taste your collagen when you mix it into your beverages, Thrive Market features flavored options, like chocolate, which will make it a little less noticeable. 

Great Lakes

Great Lakes collagen also uses only grass-fed pasture free bovine and is available at reasonable prices. This product is pareve, gluten-free, non-GMO, keto-certified, Paleo-friendly, verified Glyphosate free, USP/NF Compliant, and contains no MSG. 

Physician’s Choice

The collagen peptides produced by Physician’s Choice are double hydrolyzed and contain DigeSEB digestive enzymes, making for easy absorption. Physician’s Choice also highlights clinical research as one of the cornerstones for choosing and including ingredients in its products, so know that every ingredient has a purpose. 

Further Food

Further Food produces marine collagen that is made from wild caught fish, is sustainably sourced, tested for heavy metals, and is manufactured in the U.S.A. It produces products that are Non-GMO, Antibiotic-Free, Hormone-Free, Sugar-Free, Paleo, and Keto-friendly. 

Conclusion

Luckily, choosing a collagen supplement is pretty simple, because choosing either marine or bovine, or supplement or powder both come down to personal preference. Choosing one over the other doesn’t differ too drastically; all forms will have health benefits. It’s important to understand your body before you add a collagen powder or supplement to your daily routine. For example, if you’re looking to use collagen for beauty purposes, it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor about what state your body is currently in, because if your muscles are lacking collagen, you might not see a beauty benefit from supplements.

Remember that these supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so you should do your research, talk to your doctor, and make sure you’re choosing the best collagen for your needs. If you find the right fit, collagen can be a great added benefit to your skincare routine. 

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Article Sources
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