The 7 Best Collagen Powders of 2021, According to a Dietitian

Get glowing skin with our top picks

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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 Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate at thrivemarket.com

"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 our body's connective tissue—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.

The primary function of collagen 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 mixing 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. 

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 adding a supplement—including collagen— to your routine.

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), pork, fish, or eggshells. Although more studies need to take place, initial reports found that eggshells 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.

Potential Allergens: 

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.

Potential Side Effects: 

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 the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements, including 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.

Here, the best collagen powders:

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. The collagen mix also contains 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 Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate

Great Lakes Gelatin, Collagen Hydrolysate
Courtesy of Amazon.

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. Each scoop contains 6 grams of protein, including 7,000 milligrams of type I and III bovine collagen and 50 milligrams of a digestive enzyme blend to improve absorption.

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, keeping 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 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 percent 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 Tropical Hibiscus-flavored powder has 15 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 (view at Amazon). The best-selling powder offers 20 grams of protein per serving and is unflavored, making it the perfect addition to any food or beverage.

FAQs

What does "hydrolyzed" mean?

If a product is “hydrolyzed," that means that it has been broken down to a size that makes it easy for your body to absorb. Collagen products that are used mainly for beauty purposes may contain hydrolyzed collagen

Why does my collagen powder include vitamin C and hyaluronic acid?

Some collagen supplements include complementary ingredients like vitamin C, which stimulates collagen synthesis, and hyaluronic acid, which promotes optimal skin moisture.

Which is better, marine-based or bovine-based collagen?

Choosing marine-based collagen or bovine-based collagen really boils down to your preference. If you follow a pescatarian diet, then marine collagen would be a better fit.

Is grass-fed or wild-caught collagen worth the price?

Collagen products made from non-grass-fed cows 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 collagen products range from $20 to $70 for 10 ounces and can go up depending on the number 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.

What Experts Say

“Make sure your collagen supplement contains vitamin C. The presence of this important vitamin is 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.” —Olivia Pelaez, MS, functional nutritionist, and education coordinator at Vital Proteins

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 and she would take them herself if needed.

Brittany Leitner is a freelance writer for Verywell Health who provided helpful insight into the key considerations when purchasing collagen powders.

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  2. Varani J, Dame MK, Rittie L, et al. Decreased collagen production in chronologically aged skin: roles of age-dependent alteration in fibroblast function and defective mechanical stimulationThe American Journal of Pathology. 2006;168(6):1861-1868.