The Best Collagen Supplements, According to a Dietitian

Our top collagen recommendation is Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

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Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder Supplement

Verywell Health/ Peter Ardito

Our body has more collagen than any other protein—it is a key component of our skin, bones, cartilage, muscles, and tendons. As we age, our body produces less collagen, resulting in decreased skin elasticity and more wrinkles. Collagen consumed in whole foods or as a supplement may improve skin appearance and joint pain, according to some studies. While claims that collagen supplements can strengthen hair and nails have not been studied as thoroughly, there are potential benefits.

Collagen supplements are typically sold as powders or capsules. They are derived from animal sources, including cows, pigs, chickens, or fish. According to Kylie Ivanir, MS, RD of Within Nutrition, it is important to look for high quality sources of collagen: “If bovine, make sure it’s pasture-raised and grass-fed. If it’s marine collagen, then wild-caught.” This helps ensure the collagen is of higher quality.

When deciding which collagen supplement is best for you, consider the form, type of collagen (different types are correlated with different potential benefits), source, dose, and budget that best suit your needs. Whether or not collagen improves skin, hair, and nails and reduces joint pain, most collagen powders are still great sources of protein. However, collagen capsules or pills or powders with small serving sizes usually do not serve as significant protein sources.

Verywell Health Approved Collagen Supplements

  • Best Overall: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides has approval from two of our top third party organizations, NSF and ConsumerLab, and is made from the hides of grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine.
  • Best Pescatarian: Natural Force Marine Collagen Peptides is made entirely from wild-caught cod and contains 10 grams of protein per serving from type 1 collagen.

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

Are Collagen Supplements Beneficial?

  • Skin appearance: Studies suggest that certain types of collagen may modesty help improve the appearance of aging skin. Various placebo-controlled studies conducted using hydrolyzed pig or fish-derived type I and type III collagen have demonstrated reduced wrinkle appearance, particularly around the eyes, and improved skin elasticity. 
  • Hair and Nails:  Small studies support the claim that collagen supplements will lead to modestly increased hair density, while there are mixed results regarding the impact of collagen on nails. Some studies report increased nail growth and reduction in brittleness, while others show no change. Larger long-term studies are required.
  • Joint pain: When it comes to joint pain, studies show supplementing with various forms of collagen, typically type II, for at least three to six months may modestly reduce joint stiffness or pain. However, some studies show no benefit.
  • Postmenopausal people with reduced bone mineral density: If you experience age-related declines in bone mineral density, supplementing with collagen peptides for at least 12 months may support increased bone formation.
  • Pregnant people: Collagen supplements may be beneficial if you are in the late stages of pregnancy when there is greater demand for the amino acid glycine. Collagen contains high levels of glycine, so you might consider using a supplement to ensure you obtain adequate amounts. It is best to consult your healthcare professional before using any supplements while pregnant.

Who May Not Benefit from Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplements are generally well tolerated. Some people report mild symptoms, including gastrointestinal upset, headaches, dizziness, insomnia, lack of appetite, itchy skin, and canker sores.

  • Those with a history of kidney stones: Though it has not been proven, it is theoretically possible that consuming collagen supplements in high doses may increase the risk of kidney stones. If you have a history of kidney stones, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider before using collagen supplements.
  • Those with certain dietary restrictions: Collagen supplements are derived from animal sources. If you are vegan or vegetarian or refrain from eating certain animals, you should avoid collagen supplements.
  • Those with certain allergies: If you have allergies to fish, shellfish, or eggs, you should avoid collagen supplements derived from fish sources or eggshell membranes.

Best Overall: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

4.9
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder
Pros
  • ConsumerLab approved and NSF Certified for Sport

  • Grass-fed and pasture-raised bovine peptides

  • Good source of protein

Cons
  • Does not contain collagen type II for joint health

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides provide you with 20 grams of collagen per two scoops. These collagen peptides are from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine, and the product is certified kosher. It also contains vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to support your skin appearance. Vital Proteins is produced in a facility that follows Good Manufacturing Practices and is NSF-Certified for Sport, so it does not contain substances prohibited by sports organizations. It is also free from gluten, dairy, and sweeteners.

The unflavored version can be mixed into your coffee, water, smoothies, or soups, but Vital Proteins also makes flavored options. This collagen supplement contains collagen types I and III which are meant to support your skin, hair, and nails.

Form: Powder | Collagen Type: Types I & III | Source: Bovine | Potential Allergens: None | Serving Size: 2 Scoops | Collagen per serving: 20grams | Protein per serving: 18 grams

Best Powder: Besha Natural Collagen Peptides

Besha collagen
Pros
  • ConsumerLab tested and approved

  • Collagen is the only ingredient

  • Powder form can be mixed into drinks

Cons
  • Pig-derived collagen may not be suitable for all

  • Not a good source of protein

Besha Collagen Peptides contain collagen powder from the branded ingredient Verisol. This pig-derived collagen supplement has been tested in placebo-controlled studies and has shown modest improvement in wrinkles after eight weeks. It comes in powdered form and requires mixing 2 teaspoons into your beverage of choice daily, providing 2.9 grams of collagen per serving.

The only ingredient in this supplement is collagen, and it does not contain any fillers or additives. However, given that Verisol is derived from pigs, this product may not be suitable if you do not consume pig products.

Form: Powder | Collagen Type: Types I and III | Source: Pig | Potential Allergens: None | Serving Size: 2 teaspoons | Collagen per serving: 2.9 grams | Protein per serving: 2.6 grams

Best Marine Derived: Natural Force Marine Collagen Peptides

Natural Force Clean Marine Collagen Powder
Pros
  • Wild caught fish

  • Fish is the only ingredient

  • Produced in a cGMP facility

Cons
  • Not suitable for those with a fish allergy

If you prefer marine-derived collagen peptides, Natural Force Marine Collagen Peptides contain 11.1 grams of collagen from wild-caught cod per scoop. This supplement contains type I collagen, which is meant to support your skin, hair, and nails.

Each batch of Natural Force Marine Collagen peptides is third-party tested by Covance, and they offer a Certificate of Analysis for each batch. Their products are produced in a cGMP facility. Given that this is marine-derived collagen, it is not suitable if you have a fish allergy.

Form: Powder | Collagen Type: Type I | Source: Fish (cod) | Potential Allergens: Fish | Serving Size: 1 scoop | Collagen per serving: 11.1 grams | Protein per serving: 10 grams

Best With Vitamin C: Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Peptides Protein Powder Pure

4.7
Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Peptides Protein Powder Pure
Pros
  • ConsumerLab tested and approved

  • Grass-fed, pasture raised cows

  • Contains vitamin C to support collagen formation

Cons
  • Contains fish and egg, major allergens

Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein provides you with 10 grams of collagen per scoop of powder that is dissolvable in liquid. This product also provides 90 milligrams of vitamin C, 100% of the Daily Value, to aid in collagen production.

Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein contains a blend of five types of collagen, meant to support the health of your skin, hair, nails, joints, and bones. The cows are grass-fed and pasture-raised, and the supplement is non-GMO and gluten-free. While Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein provides many collagen types, it does contain fish and egg, which are major allergens.

Form: Powder | Collagen Type: Type I, II, III, V, X | Source: Bovine, chicken, fish, eggshell membrane | Potential Allergens: Egg, fish (haddock, cod, pollock) | Serving Size: 1 scoop | Collagen per serving: 10 grams | Protein per serving: 9 grams

Best Capsule: Trunature Healthy Skin Verisol Collagen

Trunature Healthy Skin Verisol Collagen

Costco

Pros
  • ConsumerLab tested and approved

  • Form of collagen peptides clinically studied

Cons
  • Requires four capsules per day

  • Not a good source of protein

If you prefer to use capsules over powders, Trunature Healthy Skin Verisol Collagen provides 2.5 grams of collagen per four capsules. This supplement contains Verisol collagen, which has showed benefits for skin health in several placebo-controlled studies.

The recommended dose is four capsules per day. These collagen peptides contain porcine-derived collagen, so they may not be suitable if you do not consume pig products.

Form: Capsule | Collagen Type: Type I and III | Source: Pig | Potential Allergens: None | Serving Size: 4 capsules | Collagen per serving: 2.5 grams | Protein per serving: 2 grams

Best Collagen Blend: CB Supplements Multi Collagen Protein

CB Supplements Multi Collagen Protein

CB Supplements

Pros
  • NSF Certified for Sport

  • Grass-fed, wild-caught, cage-free animals

Cons
  • Expensive

CB Multi Collagen Protein offers unflavored and flavored varieties of their collagen in powder form. This supplement contains collagen from grass-fed cows, cage-free chickens, wild-caught fish, and eggshell membrane, providing five types of collagen. It is NSF Certified for Sport, is non-GMO, gluten-free, and is manufactured in a GMP Facility.

The recommended dose is one scoop per 50 pounds of body weight, with one scoop providing you with 7.8 grams of collagen. While CB Multi Collagen Protein supplement offers many benefits, it is a more expensive choice.

Form: Powder | Collagen Type: Type I, II, III, V, & X | Source: Cow, Chicken, Fish, Egg | Potential Allergens: Egg and fish (tilapia) | Serving Size: 1 scoop | Collagen per serving: 7.8 grams | Protein per serving: 7 grams

Best for Joint Pain: Healthy Origins UC-II with Undenatured Type II Collagen

Healthy Origins UC-II
Pros
  • ConsumerLab tested and approved

  • Contains UC-II, tested for joint health

Cons
  • Not a good source of protein

Healthy Origins Natural UC-II contains undenatured type II collagen from chicken cartilage, which has been studied in clinical trials for managing joint pain. It provides 40 milligrams of UC-II cartilage which contains 10 milligrams of collagen.

Healthy Origins Natural UC-II supplements come in capsule form, so you cannot mix them into liquids, and it is meant to be taken once daily. ​​This product is non-GMO, gluten-free, and is manufactured in a cGMP facility.

The packaging on this supplement confusing because it highlights that the capsule is vegetarian. While the capsule the collagen is cased in is vegetarian, the collagen itself is derived from chicken cartilage.

Form: Capsule | Collagen Type: Type II | Source: Chicken | Potential Allergens: None | Serving Size: 1 capsule | Collagen per serving: 10 milligrams | Protein per serving: <1 gram

Final Verdict

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides is a great choice, as it is sourced from grass-fed and pasture-raised bovine and contains hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. This product is also both NSF Certified for Sport and ConsumerLab approved, so you can rest assured it contains what it says it contains. Choose their unflavored or flavored varieties to mix into your daily coffee, oatmeal, smoothies, or soups.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab. 

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

What to Look for in a Collagen Supplement

Third-party Testing

Supplements that are third-party tested are sent to a lab where they are tested to ensure they contain what they say they contain and are not contaminated with specific high-risk, common contaminants. However, it’s important to note:

  1. Third-party testing does not test to see if a product is effective or safe for everyone, and it does not ensure the supplement will not interact with other supplements or medications.
  2. Not all third-party testing is created equally. It is not uncommon for supplement companies to pay labs for certificates after conducting minimal to no testing. 
  3. The third-party certifications we can trust are ConsumerLab, NSF, and USP. However, these certifications are difficult to obtain and/or expensive, so many companies choose not to get their products tested by one of these three organizations. 
  4. Sometimes products tested by these three companies are more expensive to try to offset the cost they pay for certification.
  5. Just because a supplement is not tested by one of these three companies does not mean it’s a bad product. We recommend doing some research on the reputability of the manufacturer and calling up the manufacturer and their testing lab to determine their protocols and decide if you feel comfortable consuming the supplement.

While not common, collagen supplements may contain contaminants such as lead, arsenic, or cadmium—a carcinogen and kidney toxin. Ivanir says, “You should always ask for a Certificate of Analysis. This report should be provided by the company. If they don’t, I wouldn’t use the product.” You should therefore aim to choose a collagen supplement that has been third-party tested.

Form

Collagen supplements are sold as powders, tablets, capsules, chews, and liquids. Collagen supplements can usually be found in three forms: 

  • Collagen peptides: This is the type of collagen you will see most often in supplements. Collagen peptides are collagen that has been broken down for better absorption.
  • Gelatin: Partially hydrolyzed collagen, or gelatin, dissolves in hot but not cold water. 
  • Raw or undenatured collagen: Collagen can also come in raw or undenatured form, as in UC-II collagen, which is used for joint pain.

Collagen supplements typically contain either type I, II, III, or a combination. Type I and III are used for hair, skin, and nails, while type II is used for joint health. Certain supplements may also contain type V and type X, which are involved in muscle, lung, liver, placenta, and bone health.

If you are interested in giving it a try and it feels like a worthy investment, you can add collagen powder to smoothies, baked goods, yogurt, oatmeal, gummies, and even soups. 

Ingredients & Potential Interactions

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Please bring the supplement label to your healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.

If you have allergies to fish or eggs you should avoid collagen supplements derived from marine sources or eggshell membranes, respectively. Marine-derived collagen supplements may also lower blood sugar. Thus, if you are taking blood-sugar-lowering medication including insulin, metformin, glyburide, and others, you should be cautious. It is always best to consult with your healthcare provider to review any potential interactions between supplements and medications you are taking.

Collagen Supplement Dosage

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

The recommended dose for collagen supplements varies. For wrinkles or joint pain, the typical recommended daily dosage of collagen peptides is 2.5 to 15 grams, though it is safe to consume more than this. You can take this once or in divided doses, with or without food. If you are using undenatured type II collagen for joint pain, the recommended dose is smaller at 40 milligrams per day. You should follow the recommended dose on your supplement of choice as this will vary.

How Much is Too Much?

Collagen supplements are generally well tolerated. Some people report mild symptoms, including gastrointestinal upset, headaches, dizziness, insomnia, lack of appetite, itchy skin, and canker sores.

Research has shown that as 36% of your daily protein intake can come from collagen peptides without sacrificing protein quality, so we do not recommend consuming more than 36% of your daily protein from a collagen supplement.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does it take for collagen supplements to work?

    According to available studies, collagen supplements may take around eight weeks for wrinkle improvement. They may take three to six months to help alleviate joint pain. For other benefits such as increased bone strength, results may take up to 12 months.

  • What happens when you stop taking collagen supplements?

    You should not experience any side effects when you stop taking collagen supplements. The benefits experienced while using the supplements may gradually fade, although it may take a few weeks.

  • Can collagen supplements cause joint pain?

    Small studies demonstrate collagen supplements may help alleviate joint pain. There are no current large-scale studies backing the claim that collagen supplements cause joint pain.

  • What does "hydrolyzed" mean?

    Collagen supplements are often hydrolyzed. This means the protein is broken down via heat or enzymes into amino acids or chains of amino acids, known as peptides. This makes it easier for our bodies to absorb and allows it to easily mix into liquids.

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

    Collagen powder may include vitamin C due to the role of vitamin C in collagen production in our bodies, namely by adding a hydroxyl group to proline to form the amino acid hydroxyproline, a component of collagen. However, most people are not deficient in vitamin C, so this addition does not necessarily provide extra benefit. Furthermore, supplements meant for skin often combine collagen with hyaluronic acid, a component of skin, joints, and eyes that helps maintain hydration and lubrication.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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