The Best Collagen Supplements, According to a Dietitian

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Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder Supplement

Verywell Health/ Peter Ardito

Collagen 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. While claims that collagen supplements can strengthen hair and nails have not been studied as thoroughly, there are potential benefits. As an added bonus, some collagen powders are also great sources of protein.

To determine the best collagen supplements on the market, our registered dietitians combed through the research and used their clinical expertise. 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.

While collagen supplements may provide added benefits, keep in mind that your body makes its own collagen, so it's not necessary to consume collagen supplements. And, since collagen is derived from animal tissues, it is not appropriate for vegans and vegetarians, though there are fish-derived sources suitable for pescatarians.

Verywell Health Approved Collagen Supplements

  • Best Overall: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides has approval from two of our top third party organizations, NSF and ConsumerLab.com, 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.

Best Overall: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

4.9
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder
Pros
  • ConsumerLab.com 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

Who else recommends it? Forbes, Healthline, and Byrdie all picked Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.

What do buyers say? 89% of 177,600+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

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 an approved choice from Consumerlab.com and is NSF-Certified for Sport. This means this collagen supplement does not contain substances prohibited by sports organizations and had the ingredient amounts listed on the label. 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.

Price at time of publication: $23 ($1.77 per serving)

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.com top pick

  • 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 and is a top pick from Consumerlab.com. 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.

Price at time of publication: $26 ($0.76 per serving)

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 is only ingredient

  • Flavorless taste

  • Every batch is third party tested

Cons
  • Not suitable for those with a fish allergy

  • Expensive

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.

We like Natural Force's transparency for testing their products to ensure purity of ingredients and no contaminants. Each batch of Natural Force Marine Collagen peptides is third-party tested by Covance, and they offer a Certificate of Analysis for each batch. Given that this is marine-derived collagen, it is not suitable if you have a fish allergy.

Price at time of publication: $40 ($2.67 per serving)

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.com tested and approved

  • Grass-fed, pasture raised cows

  • Contains vitamin C to support collagen formation

Cons
  • Not suitable for those with fish or egg allergies


Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein is an approved pick from Consumerlab.com and provides you with 10 grams of collagen per scoop of powder that is dissolvable in liquid. This product provides 90 milligrams of vitamin C, 100% of the Daily Value, to aid in collagen production. Each serving also contains the soil based organism (SBO) Bacillus coagulans probiotic strain. This probiotic is generally considered safe for most people, but if you are pregnant, breast feeding, taking antibiotics or take other probiotic supplements, talk to a healthcare provider before taking this supplement.

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, dairy, nut, soy, and gluten-free. While Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein provides many collagen types, it does contain fish and egg, which are major allergens.


Price at time of publication: $53 ($1.18 per serving)

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.com tested and approved

  • Form of collagen peptides clinically studied

  • Budget-friendly

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. This is one reason why these capsules are a top pick from Consumerlab.com for skin health from a pill form.

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.

Price at time of publication: $19 ($0.32 per serving)

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

  • Five types of collagen

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Not suitable for fish or egg allergy

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 making it a great option for athletes. It is also non-GMO and gluten-free.

The recommended dose is one scoop per 50 pounds of body weight, with one scoop providing you with 7.8 grams of collagen. Therefore, unlike other collagen supplements, the recommended dosing will vary based on your weight. While CB Multi Collagen Protein supplement offers many benefits, it is a more expensive choice.

Price at time of publication: $55 ($1.90 per 2 scoop serving)

Form: Powder | Collagen Type: Type I, II, III, V, & X | Source: Cow, Chicken, Fish, Egg | Potential Allergens: Egg and fish (tilapia) | Serving Size: 2-4 scoops | Collagen per scoop: 7.8 grams | Protein per scoop: 7 grams

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

Healthy Origins UC-II
Pros
  • ConsumerLab.com tested and approved

  • Contains UC-II, tested for joint health

  • Single capsule serving size

Cons
  • Not a good source of protein

  • Recommended to take specifically before bedtime

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. While it is convenient the recommended serving is just one pill a day, it is recommended to specifically take on an empty stomach before bedtime instead of anytime throughout the day.

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 an approved pick from Consumerlab.com. Healthy Origins states they do third party testing on products, but the details of what that entails is not clear.

The packaging on this supplement is a little 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.

Price at time of publication: $27 ($0.23 per serving)

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

Best for Athletes: Momentous Collagen Peptides

Momentous Collagen Peptides

Momentous

Pros
  • Made from grass-fed and pasture-raised bovine

  • Good source of protein and vitamin C

  • NSF certified for sport

Cons
  • Suggested to take one hour before exercise

If you are an athlete or active individual looking for a collagen supplement, you might like Momentous Collagen peptides. If you experience joint pain, this particular supplement may be especially beneficial since it contains FORTIGEL collagen hydrolysate which may help reduce joint pain in healthy athletes. The recommended time to take this collagen supplement is one hour before exercise for best results which may be hard to remember.

Momentous is NSF certified for sport, a reputable and rigorous third party certification that verifies the supplement contains what it says it contains with no harmful contaminants and no substances banned for competitive athletes. It's also Informed Sport Certified, a certification that tests supplements for hundreds of substances banned for sport.

It contains 15 grams of protein and over 50% of the daily value of vitamin C to enhance collagen production. The 60 milligrams of sodium is a small amount but may help replenish some of the sodium lost in sweat. For more insight on replenishing sodium, the most abundant electrolyte, take a look at the best electrolyte supplements.

Price at time of publication: $50 ($1.65 per serving)

Form: Powder | Collagen Type: Type I, II, III | Source: Bovine | Potential Allergens: None | Serving Size: 1 scoop | Collagen per serving: 16.9 grams | Protein per serving: 15 grams

Best Liquid: Vital Proteins Vital Collagen Water Lemon Slice

Vital Proteins Collagen Water

Amazon

Pros
  • Simple ingredients

  • 10 grams of collagen

  • No artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners

  • Easy to drink on the go

Cons
  • Expensive

  • No clear third party testing

If you're looking for a convenient collagen supplement that requires no mixing or pills, liquid collagen can be an easy choice. We like Vital Proteins Collagen Water because it provides 10 grams of collagen per 12 fluid ounce bottle and has simple ingredients without anything artificial. The lemon slice flavor only contains reverse osmosis filtered water, lemon juice, and collagen peptides.

Other flavors include lemon ginger, blackberry hibiscus, strawberry lemon and are lightly sweetened with fruit juice or monk fruit extract. Each flavor has less than 3 grams of sugar and no artificial flavors or sweeteners. Because of this, there is just a hint of flavor for these waters which some may find underwhelming. However, the collagen water can be added to smoothies or mixed with other beverages if you desire a stronger flavor.

This pre-mixed drink has the same bovine collagen peptides in the Vital Proteins collagen powder in our best overall pick. While the Vital Proteins powder is NSF sport certified and ConsumerLab.com approved, the collagen water is not clearly third party tested. Also, this liquid collagen has half the collagen per serving compared to the collagen peptide powder form.

Price at time of publication: $15 ($3.75 per 12 fluid once serving)

Form: Liquid | Collagen Type: Types I & III | Source: Bovine | Potential Allergens: None | Serving Size: 12 fluid ounces | Collagen per serving: 10grams | Protein per serving: 10 grams

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.

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. Kylie Ivanir MS RD 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.

  • How much do collagen supplements cost?

    The cost of collagen supplements will vary based on the form of the supplement, ingredients used and size of the container. Collagen tablets usually have a low price point at less than $1 per recommended daily serving. Collagen protein powders can range between $1 to $3 per recommended daily serving. For example, our best overall pick Vital Proteins collagen peptides is around $1.77 per serving. Liquid collagen, while convenient, can be most expensive at closer to $4 per serving.

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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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Additional Reading

By Tamar Kane, MS RD
Tamar is a former combat fitness instructor in the Israel Defense Forces.Tamar is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist with Master's in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology.Tamar is the founder of Tamar Kane Nutrition, a nutrition practice that supports athletes.