What Is Liquid Collagen?

This supplement may improve the health of your skin, nails, joints, bones, muscles, and heart

Liquid collagen is a dietary supplement that is thought to improve skin elasticity, increase muscle mass, and prevent signs of aging and heart disease. Others contend that it can lead to shinier hair, stronger nails, and healthier joints, or even aid with weight loss.

Because the body produces less collagen as people age, products like liquid collagen are thought to restore this naturally occurring protein which supports the structure of skin, hair, muscles, bones, and connective tissues.

This article takes an unbiased look at the potential benefits of liquid collagen and what the current research says. It also outlines the possible risks of collagen supplements and describes ways to boost collagen levels as you age.

Mature woman with make-up mirror massaging her face and neck - stock photo

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Where Does Collagen Come From?

Collagen makes up one-third of the protein in the human body. It is the main component of connective tissues and provides the structural framework for tendons, ligaments, skin, bones, cartilage, blood vessels, hair, nails, and internal organs.

Collagen is produced by specialized cells known as fibroblasts that are widely distributed throughout the body. As people age, collagen production starts to slow down (which is why the texture of the skin, for example, starts to change as people get older).

Outside of our body's own production of collagen, collagen can be sourced through diet. This includes animal proteins like meat and fish that contain connective tissues or foods that provide the raw ingredients to synthesize collagen in the body.

How Age Affects Collagen Production

The production of collagen in the body starts to slow down in a person's 20s. By age 40, production will decrease by around 1% each year. By the time a person turns 80, the rate of collagen production will be roughly 75% less than it was in their 20s.

Aims of Liquid Collagen

Liquid collagen is marketed as a means to directly support the body's natural production of collagen. It is produced in the lab and made from the connective tissue of animals like cows, pigs, fish, or chickens.

Depending on the brand, liquid collagen may also contain ingredients like biotin (a.k.a. vitamin B7, which is said to promote healthy hair, skin, and nails) and silica (which the body uses to build bones and support connective tissues).

There are also vegan liquid collagen products that do not contain animal-derived collagen but instead contain ingredients like biotin and amino acids that support the body's synthesis of collagen.

According to manufacturers, liquid collagen provides the body with an "easier" source of collagen as the products are hydrolyzed. This means that the animal-derived collagen has been broken down into large proteins, called collagen peptides. that the body can more readily absorb.

Liquid collagen is just one form of collagen supplement alongside collagen tablets, gummies, capsules, powders, and gel caps. Depending on the brand, some of these supplements are made from collagen peptides while others are made from non-hydrolyzed collagen protein.

Health Benefits of Liquid Collagen

Liquid collagen and other collagen supplements are thought to offer health benefits. The research supporting these claims is often weak, but several studies have been promising.

Here is what some of the current research says:

Skin and Nail Health

Collagen supplements are frequently touted for their ability to improve the texture and appearance of the skin. As the skin is made up of around 75% collagen, liquid collagen may help improve elasticity while increasing skin hydration and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

A 2019 study from Germany explored the benefits of collagen supplementation in 72 older women, half of whom were given liquid collagen and the other half who were given a sham supplement. After four weeks, those given liquid collagen had significant improvement in skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density.

These findings were supported by a 2019 review of studies from the University of California, Irvine, which concluded that collagen supplements are "promising" in their ability to increase skin elasticity, hydration, and density. But, the study warned that further research is needed.

Many studies have also shown a direct association between collagen supplementation and improved nail health. One study published in 2017 reported that people with brittle nails had a 12% increase in nail growth and a 42% decrease in nail breakage after taking a collagen peptide supplement for 24 weeks.


Cartilage is composed of around 60% collagen, and the loss of collagen over time contributes to the onset of osteoarthritis ("wear-and-tear arthritis").

A 2016 review of studies from Brazil, which included both human and animal studies, suggested that the daily use of a hydrolyzed collagen supplement may slow the progression of osteoarthritis by promoting the growth and proliferation of collagen in joint cartilage.

Other researchers are more cautious in their conclusions.

A 2020 review from Belgium involving 41 published studies concluded that collagen supplements may aid with cartilage repair but warned that the quality of studies is generally poor and further research is needed "before any definitive conclusion can be made."


Osteoporosis is a condition in which the progressive loss of bone minerals makes bones increasingly porous and weak. Some studies suggest that collagen supplements can help slow or even improve osteoporosis by supporting the organic tissues within bones that produce bone minerals.

Even so, it is unclear how effective these supplements are given that collagen only makes up 10% or less of bone matter.

Some health experts warn that it is "still unclear" if collagen supplements are of any help. Studies results are often contradictory, with some reporting increased bone mass density and others showing reduced bone mass density.

Muscle Mass and Strength

As with bones, muscles are comprised of only around 10% collagen or less. As such, collagen doesn't help "build" muscles but instead supports the structural stability of muscles so that they remain strong.

A 2019 study published in the journal Nutrients reported that a 15-gram daily dose of hydrolyzed collagen peptide combined with 12 weeks of strength training increased muscle mass and strength compared to 12 weeks of strength training alone.

Although promising, the findings were limited by the fact that there was no control group (meaning a group of people provided a collagen supplement without strength training to assess if collagen supplements have any benefits on their own).

Heart Health

Blood vessels are composed of more than 50% collagen. It is thought by some that taking a daily collagen supplement may help reduce the stiffening of arteries, known as atherosclerosis, which contributes to heart disease.

A 2017 study from Japan reported that healthy people who took a twice-daily dose of a collagen supplement for six months experienced a significant reduction in arterial stiffness along with improved cholesterol values.

At present, there is not enough research available to support claims that collagen supplements can either prevent or treat heart disease.

Types and Dosage

There are different types of liquid collagen available online or in drugstores and supplements shops. Packaged liquid collagen, sold in bottles or single-served packets, is almost invariably made with hydrolyzed collagen peptides.

Powdered formulations, which you mix with water or added to smoothies or juice, may either be made from hydrolyzed collagen peptides or collagen protein, so be sure to check the label.

There is no recommended dosage of collagen supplement in any form, but some studies have reported that daily doses of 3,200 milligrams for six months were both safe and tolerable.

Liquid collagen can be stored at room temperature, but it is best to keep it on a cool, dark shelf away from direct sunlight. Keep track of the expiration date, and dispose of any supplement that has expired.

It is also important to note that vegan collagen supplements don't contain any collagen, which can be misleading. Instead, they have ingredients like biotin and amino acids that the body uses to make collagen which you can derive from other sources.

Because supplements aren't strictly regulated in the United States, opt for brands that have been voluntarily submitted for certification by the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), ConsumerLab, or NSF International.

Third-party certification does not mean that product works or is safe for all people. It simply means that the supplement contains the ingredients listed on the product label without any additives or contaminants.

Possible Side Effects and Risks

Liquid collagen is generally safe and well-tolerated. Side effects are few and tend to be mild

Common side effects include:

  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea

If you have diabetes, search for brands that don't contain sugar as many liquid collagen drinks are flavored and sweetened.

Also, be sure to read the product label to check which form of animal collagen. Some collagen supplements are derived from fish and shellfish protein and can trigger nasal congestion, rash, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea if you have a known fish or shellfish allergy.

Other Sources of Collagen

A great source of collagen is also the easiest: food. Collagen supplements are made from animal products, so consuming protein-rich foods like red meat, poultry, and fish can give you a healthy boost of collagen without supplements.

You can also eat foods that are rich in the amino acids that make collagen—namely, glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline—such as eggs, dairy, legumes, and soy.

Bone broth is also a natural source of collagen as it is made from animal bones that have been stewed in water. Even so, studies suggest that bone broth does not deliver as much collagen as collagen peptide supplements like liquid collagen.


Liquid collagen is a supplement primarily derived from connective tissues in animals. When used as a dietary supplement, liquid collagen may improve the health of your skin, joints, muscles, bones, and heart and help you avoid diseases like osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and atherosclerosis. Even so, the evidence supporting these health claims is generally lacking.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can collagen supplements really help hair grow?

    Research is limited, but a small study did show that women who said their hair was thinning experienced increased hair growth after taking oral collagen supplements for three to six months.

  • Can collagen supplements help you lose weight?

    Most studies investigating the effects of collagen supplements on weight loss have been done in animals. However, a 2019 study found that people taking a daily collagen supplement derived from skate (a type of fish) had less accumulation of body fat than those given a sham drug. Even so, the effect was not considered significant.

14 Sources
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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  8. Royal Osteoporosis Society. ROS comments on cow collagen supplement for osteoporosis.

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Additional Reading

By Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH
Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH, is a health writer with over a decade of experience working as a registered nurse. She has practiced in a variety of settings including pediatrics, oncology, chronic pain, and public health.