The Best Collagen Supplements and Powders According to a Dietitian

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Best Collagen Supplements and Powders

Amazon

Collagen is a protein found naturally in our bodies. It’s used for many important jobs, like making connective tissue, bone, skin, muscles, cartilage, and tendons. While our bodies make their own collagen, research has shown that there can be benefits from taking a collagen supplement, and each type of collagen is associated with different potential benefits. In supplements, you’ll most commonly see types I and III associated with skin benefits, type II associated with joint pain alleviation, and type I associated with supporting bone mineral density.

Collagen supplements only come from animal sources, most commonly beef, chicken, fish, and egg, so a collagen supplement would not be suitable for a vegan. While a collagen supplement may provide additional benefits for those who choose to take them, it’s not necessary to add a collagen supplement if it doesn’t work for your lifestyle or budget. This is because our bodies naturally make collagen from protein-rich foods, including plant-based proteins. For those who eat animal products, you can also get collagen through collagen-rich foods, like bone broth, meat, fish, and gelatin.

When choosing a collagen supplement or powder, look for a type and dosage that correlates with the potential benefits you’re looking for and opt for a brand that does third party testing to ensure that the product contains the ingredients listed on the label, in the indicated amounts, and is free from contamination and adulteration. We were careful to only make recommendations for products that have been third-party verified.

Verywell Fit Approved Collagen Powders

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 to understand which dosage to take.

Is a Collagen Supplement Beneficial?

While more research is still needed, the risks of using a collagen supplement is relatively low, and there are potential benefits. Most of the research around collagen supplements looks at joint pain, skin elasticity, and bone mineral density. As this research continues to develop, we will have more data on potential benefits. 

On the other hand, collagen supplements tend to be expensive, and we can likely get the same benefits from eating a variety of protein-rich foods as well as vitamin and mineral-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

A collagen supplement or powder may be beneficial for the following conditions:

  • Joint health: Studies related to joints typically use type II collagen and have primarily looked at arthritis pain, joint mobility, and activity-related joint pain. In general, studies have shown arthritis pain is reduced in the short term (but not medium and long term) and exercise-related pain is reduced in otherwise healthy volunteers.
  • Bone mineral density: Studies looking at collagen supplementation in post-menopausal people have noted increases in bone mineral density in both short and long term supplementation.
  • Skin elasticity: Skin elasticity and hydration are often studied in relation to skin health. Some studies have found increased skin hydration and elasticity, but results vary depending on dosage and length of time.
  • Wound healing (pressure ulcers): Pressure ulcers result when continuous pressure is put on the skin for an extended period of time, causing damage. Researchers studied pressure ulcer healing with collagen peptides in addition to standard therapy and found the addition of collagen helped with healing.

Who May Not Benefit from a Collagen Supplement?

Collagen supplements are generally safe and well tolerated for most people. However, it’s important to keep in mind that most studies use between 2.5 grams and 15 grams of collagen peptides per day. 

Because collagen lacks all of the essential amino acids, you wouldn’t want to replace all of your protein intake with collagen. But, using the amounts seen in studies, in addition to other protein sources throughout the day, appears to provide amino acid balance that gives the full spectrum of essential amino acids.

If you’re not someone who is consistent with supplement use, collagen supplements may not be a good fit. “Consistency is key to realizing the benefits, says Jaclyn London MS, RD. Since these supplements are expensive, they may not be worth your money if you don’t take them regularly.

Those who may not benefit from collagen supplements or powders include:

  • People with certain dietary restrictions: All collagen comes from animals, whether that is pigs, chickens, cows, or fish. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you should refrain from using any collagen. If you don’t eat certain animals, it’s a good idea to call a company to ensure the animal source of both the collagen and other ingredients before using.
  • People with certain food allergies: Some collagen is sourced from potential allergens like fish, shellfish, and eggs. It’s important to not only look into the source of the collagen, but also any added ingredients in a supplement.
  • People exclusively looking to build hair and nail strength: We are waiting for stronger research to determine whether or not collagen supplements support hair and nail strength.. While you may see many brands and ads targeting hair and nails, there aren’t any solid research studies that support a link between stronger hair and nails and collagen supplementation.

Best Overall: Great Lakes Wellness Quick Dissolve Collagen Peptides Convenience Pack - Unflavored

Great Lakes Wellness Collagen Peptides Powder

Amazon

Pros
  • Travel-Friendly

  • Certified Kosher

  • Can mix into hot or cold food/drinks

  • Good source of protein

Cons
  • Expensive

Our top recommendation for a collagen supplement is Great Lakes Wellness Quick Dissolve Collagen Peptides Convenience Pack, since it is unflavored, convenient, and versatile. When traveling, it can be tough to get protein into meals–especially breakfast. This collagen powder comes in travel-friendly, individually packed sticks that can easily be added to hot or cold foods or beverages. Foods like yogurt, oats, or even coffee, tea, or juice can get a protein boost.

Great Lakes Wellness tests every lot of product with a third-party lab to ensure their supplements contain what they say they contain without potentially harmful contaminants. This product is more expensive than other collagen powders. However, you are paying for the convenience of the travel-sized sticks. If you purchase the company’s 10-ounce canister, the price per serving drops.

Price at Time of Publication: $31 ($1.55 per serving)

Form: Powder | Source: Bovine | Collagen type: I and III | Serving size: One packet (12 grams) | Collagen per serving: 12 grams | Protein per serving: 11 grams | Other ingredients: None | Potential allergens: None

Best Gummy: Olly Collagen Gummy Rings

Olly Collagen Gummy Rings

Amazon

Pros
  • Third party certified by NSF

  • Tasty gummy form

  • Ready-to-eat

Cons
  • Not a good source of protein

Olly Collagen Gummy Rings are flavored gummies that are third-party certified by NSF, which means they were tested to ensure they contain what the label says without contaminants.  

Gummies can be a helpful way to get a daily dose of collagen for people who don’t like to, or can’t, swallow a pill. And unlike powders, there’s no preparation needed to take this collagen. “I’d advocate for whichever form of collagen hydrolysate or peptides you’re most likely to take consistently, and ones that you personally tolerate the best,” says London. Since gummies are tasty, it may be easier to remember to take them on a regular basis.

The dosage is two gummies, which provides 2.5 grams of Verisol® collagen. This is a patented collagen peptide made from bovine collagen that has been studied for its impact on skin. While these gummies do contribute 3 grams of protein per serving, this amount doesn’t add much protein to a meal or snack.


Price at Time of Publication: $19 ($1.27 per serving)

Form: Gummy | Source: Bovine | Collagen type: I and III | Serving size: 2 gummies | Collagen per serving: 2.5 grams | Protein per serving: 3 grams | Other ingredients: Glucose syrup, beet sugar, water, inulin, gelatin, lactic acid, citric acid, natural flavor, coloring (from carrot, apple, and blackcurrant juices), pectin | Potential allergens: None

Best Powder: Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Peptides Protein Powder Pure

4.7
Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Peptides Protein Powder Pure

Amazon

Pros
  • Good source of protein

  • Contains vitamin C to support collagen formation

  • More affordable than other high protein options

Cons
  • Not suitable for someone with egg or fish allergies

Ancient Nutrition Multi-Collagen Protein contains vitamin C, which is an important component in supporting collagen formation in our bodies. It also contains multiple types of collagen, including the major types studied for skin, joint pain, and bone density. A serving of this collagen provides 9 grams of protein, making it a good choice if you’re looking for ways to add protein to a meal or snack. 

Each serving contains Bacillus coagulans, a probiotic that has been studied for potential digestive and immune benefits. While some people might want to take a probiotic each day, some people may not or may prefer a different type. Currently, there are no clear recommendations for probiotics that will benefit the general population—current recommendations for gut health are to eat a diet rich in dietary fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This powder therefore may not be a good fit if you prefer not to take a probiotic or to take a different probiotic strain or combination of strains.Additionally, this product isn’t suitable for those with egg or fish allergies.

Price at Time of Publication: $40 ($0.89 per serving)

Form: Powder | Source: Bovine, chicken, fish, fermented eggshell membrane | Collagen type: I, II,  III, IV, V, VII, VIII, X, XII and XXII | Serving size: 1 scoop (10.1 grams) | Collagen per serving: 10 grams | Protein per serving: 9 grams | Other ingredients: Bacillus coagulans, vitamin C (from lipid metabolite ascorbate) | Potential allergens: Egg, fish

Best Liquid: LiquiVive Liquid Collagen Protein Peptides

LiquiVive Liquid Collagen Protein Peptides

Amazon

Pros
  • Great option for those who want something flavored

  • No high-intensity sweeteners

  • Decent source of protein

Cons
  • No unflavored available

  • Contains added sugar

If you don’t want–or can’t use–a pill, powder, or gummy collagen supplement, a liquid like LiquiVive Liquid Collagen might be a good fit. This product can be taken on its own or added to a smoothie, sparkling water, or anything where the cherry flavor and sweetness would be a good fit. Because the product doesn’t come in an unsweetened version, you are limited with the things it can be added to.

It also delivers 7.5 grams of protein in one tablespoon, making it a simple way to boost the protein in a meal or snack. Because this product is sweetened with fructose, it does contain sugar. There’s a little more than a teaspoon of added sugar per serving. For people who are sensitive to the flavor of high intensity sweeteners, this might be a more palatable option since it doesn’t contain any.

Price at Time of Publication: $30 ($0.94 per serving)

Form: Liquid | Source: Bovine | Collagen type: I and III | Serving size: 1 tablespoon | Collagen per serving: 7.5 grams | Protein per serving: 7.5 grams | Other ingredients: Filtered water, crystalline fructose, malic acid, natural cherry flavor, L-Tryptophan, polylysine | Potential allergens: None

Best Capsule: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Capsules

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Capsules

Amazon

Pros
  • Travel-friendly

  • May be a good choice for those avoiding eggs, pork, or fish

Cons
  • 6-12 capsules per day

  • Not a good source of protein per serving

We love Vital Proteins collagen products because of the company’s dedication to quality and purity. Vital Proteins collagen peptides are NSF certified to make sure they not only have the ingredients they claim but also no contaminants. They’re also travel-friendly, since they can be stashed in a tote or luggage. The gelatin capsule used to make these is bovine-derived, making this product accessible if you don’t eat pork products.

The instructions for this product suggest taking six capsules twice per day, resulting in 6.6 grams of total collagen in 12 capsules. This not only means a lot of capsules to swallow, but also more cost compared to some other low-protein collagen supplement options. You’ll be paying more per gram of collagen than you would with a powder, and you’ll only get 3 grams of protein per serving. While the price per serving might not look too high, remember that the recommendation is two servings per day, which would double the cost but provide a more significant source of protein.

Price at Time of Publication: $40 ($0.67 per serving)

Form: Capsule | Source: Bovine | Collagen type: I and III | Serving size: 6 capsules | Collagen per serving: 3.3 grams | Protein per serving: 3 grams | Other ingredients: Gelatin capsule (bovine derived gelatin) | Potential allergens: None

Best Fish-Derived: Procaps Marine Collagen Peptides

Procaps Marine Collagen Peptides

HSN

Pros
  • Suitable for pescatarians

  • Contains added MSM

Cons
  • Not suitable for someone with a fish allergy

Procaps Laboratories Marine Collagen Peptides powder is unflavored and can be added to hot or cold liquids. While the collagen is sourced from fish, the powder doesn’t have a fishy flavor. The company suggests that it dissolves best if you add it to room temperature or hot liquids rather than cold liquids. While a serving contributes five grams of protein, you’ll need another protein source in addition to this powder to meet your protein needs for meals.

This powder contains methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), an organosulfur compound that has been studied in combination with collagen and vitamin C for its potential to reduce joint pain and reduce muscle soreness after resistance exercise. The addition of MSM may be appealing to you if you were planning on taking it anyway. This product may not be the right fit if you do not want any additional supplements in your collagen.

Price at Time of Publication: $40 ($0.67 per serving)

Form: Powder | Source: Fish (tilapia) | Collagen type: type I | Serving size: 1 scoop (5.5 grams) | Collagen per serving: 5 grams | Protein per serving: 5 grams | Other ingredients: MSM (as methylsulfonylmethane) | Potential allergens: Fish

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

Healthy Origins UC-II

Amazon

Pros
  • Only one capsule needed

  • Contains a form of collagen tested for joint health

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • Should be taken before bed on an empty stomach

  • Not a good source of protein

Healthy Origins Natural UC-II uses UC-II, which is a type of collagen sourced from chicken that has been researched specifically for joint health benefits. Healthy Origins Natural UC-II states they do third-party testing to verify the potency and purity of their products.

This type of collagen doesn’t require as large a dosage, requiring just one capsule. However, because the dosage is small, it also provides one of the lowest amounts of protein per serving (less than 1 gram). The label suggests it should be taken right before bed on an empty stomach, which may or may not make it more difficult to take consistently.

This product may be a good choice for those with allergies or who are avoiding certain ingredients, as it is gluten-free and soy-free and is not manufactured with wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, fish, shellfish, peanut, or tree nut-derived ingredients. It is made with chicken cartilage inside of a vegetarian capsule, so it might be a good fit if you avoid beef, eggs, fish, or pork.

Price at Time of Publication: $28 ($0.23 per serving)

Form: Capsule | Source: Chicken | Collagen type: Type II | Serving size: 1 capsule | Collagen per serving: 10 milligrams | Protein per serving: Less than 1 gram | Other ingredients: Microcrystalline, cellulose, vegetarian capsule (cellulose, water), magnesium stearate, potassium chloride | Potential allergens: None

Best for Skin: Trunature Healthy Skin Verisol Collagen

Trunature Healthy Skin Verisol Collagen

Costco

Pros
  • Well-studied form of collagen

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • Not a good source of protein

  • Four capsules per day

The Trunature Healthy Skin Verisol Collagen uses a patented form of collagen called Verisol®. This collagen is well-studied for potential effects on the skin. Verisol® can be made from porcine or bovine sources. This product uses the bovine source of the Verisol®, and they use a porcine gelatin capsule. So, if you don’t eat pork products, you may want to choose a different supplement.

Trunature’s collagen have been verified to contain what they say they contain without potentially harmful contaminants.It’s suggested to take four capsules each day, though the label doesn’t specify if these should be taken all at once or spread out throughout the day. A four-capsule serving delivers 2 grams of protein, so this product won’t add much additional protein to your diet. 

Price at Time of Publication: $19 ($0.32 per serving)

Form: Capsule | Source: Bovine (collagen), porcine (gelatine capsule) | Collagen type: I and III | Serving size: 4 capsules | Collagen per serving: 2.5 grams | Protein per serving: 2 grams | Other ingredients: Gelatin capsule (gelatin, purified water), magnesium stearate (vegetable grade), silica | Potential allergens: None

Best Flavored: Vital Proteins Lemon Collagen Peptides

Vital Proteins Lemon Collagen Peptides

Amazon

Pros
  • Excellent source of protein

  • NSF certified for sport

  • Supports drinking more water

Cons
  • Contains stevia

  • Expensive

Because Vital Proteins Lemon Collagen Peptides gets added to water, it not only provides collagen but also hydration. With 18 grams of protein per serving, it is also an excellent source of protein. This product could be enjoyed alongside a lower-protein meal or snack to increase the protein you’re taking in.

Vital Proteins collagen peptides are NSF certified for Sport, which is a rigorous certification program that verifies that the label is accurate without potentially harmful contaminants or ingredients that have been banned for competitive athletes. Because of this, it could be a good choice if you’re an athlete looking to add a collagen supplement to your routine, especially because athletes tend to need more protein than the general population.  You may want to keep in mind that this product is sweetened with stevia. This provides no added sugar, but stevia does have an aftertaste for some people.

Price at Time of Publication: $25 ($1.79 per serving)

Form: Powder | Source: Bovine | Collagen type: I and III | Serving size: 2 scoops (22 grams) | Collagen per serving: 20 grams | Protein per serving: 18 grams | Other ingredients: Citric acid, natural flavors, sea salt, stevia sweetener | Potential allergens: None

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. 

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 Collagen Supplements and Powders

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:

  • 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.
  • Not all third-party testing is created equal. It is not uncommon for supplement companies to pay labs for certificates after conducting minimal to no testing. 
  • The third party certifications we can trust are: ConsumerLab.com, NSF, and USP. However, these certifications are difficult to obtain and/or expensive for manufacturers, so many companies choose not to get their products tested by one of these three organizations. 
  • Sometimes products tested by these three companies are more expensive to try to offset the cost they pay for certification.
  • Just because a supplement is not tested by one of these three companies, it 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.

Given that collagen supplements and powders are supplements that are minimally regulated by the FDA, the quality of the brand matters even more to ensure a safe product. If you are taking other supplements or vitamins, we recommend avoiding collagen supplements with overlapping added vitamins, minerals, and other supplements to help prevent over-consuming these nutrients.

Form

You can find collagen supplements sold as liquids, capsules, powders, chews, and gummies. Collagen in supplement form comes in three forms: peptides, raw or undenatured, and gelatin. Peptides are the most common type of collagen supplements and consist of collagen that has been broken down into pieces small enough to be absorbed by your body. Raw or undenatured collagen is collagen that has not been broken down into the smaller pieces. It is sold mostly as capsules and requires a much smaller dosage. Gelatin is cooked collagen. Collagen peptides will dissolve in hot or cold liquids, and gelatin will dissolve in hot liquids.

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 a 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.

While collagen peptide supplements are relatively safe, people with allergies to fish, shellfish, or eggs should be aware that the supplements may contain ingredients made from these components. In addition, if you’re taking a collagen supplement that includes any additional  supplements, you must consider the effects and interactions of those added supplements as well,especially if you take other supplements or medications. For instance, a common addition is vitamin C, which has the potential to reduce the efficacy of Statins.

Dosage

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding any supplement into your regimen. While certain doses of collagen are typically used in research, only you and your healthcare team can determine if a supplement is right for you and in what dose. 

There is no RDA (recommended dietary allowance) set for collagen. Most studies use somewhere between 2.5 grams and 15 grams a day, and this is often cited as a dosage range that is considered safe. A study looking at how many grams of collagen peptides could safely be incorporated into total protein intake each day found that it’s likely safe to consume more than this amount.

In general, the studies looking at skin health, joint pain, and bone mineral density stick to dosages within this 2.5 grams to 15 grams dosage. Studies looking at type II collagen study much smaller dosages–typically 40mg a day. 

How Much is Too Much?

Because collage is not a complete protein (it’s missing the amino acid tryptophan), it’s not recommended to replace the majority of your daily protein intake with collagen. One study looked at the maximum level of collagen peptides that can be incorporated into the diet while maintaining indispensable amino acid balance. They found that as much as 36 percent of protein intake can safely come from collagen peptides. Based on this, we do not recommend getting more than 36 percent of your protein from a collagen supplement.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What’s the difference between collagen and collagen peptides?

    Your body needs to break protein rich foods into smaller pieces, called amino acids, in order to absorb them. Collagen is no exception. Collagen is broken into smaller amino acid chains, called peptides, during digestion. You may have seen collagen supplements labeled as “peptides”, which means they’re already broken down into the smaller components our body absorbs without the need to break them down further. This doesn’t mean that collagen that isn’t in the peptide form doesn’t get absorbed, but your body needs to break it into those peptide pieces during digestion before it can use it, so a lot of supplements do this first step for us.

  • Does collagen help with weight loss?

    There’s nothing specific about collagen that would create changes in your body’s weight. It’s possible that, if your meals didn’t include enough protein, adding a collagen supplement with 10-15 grams of protein could help you feel more satisfied. When meals feel more satisfying, it may be easier to tune into your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues throughout the day, which may help your body settle at a weight that is comfortable and natural for it, whatever that weight might be.

    Eating satisfying meals that follow your hunger and fullness cues may be the best course of action, as intentional weight loss (which focuses on restriction rather than intuition) fails in around 95% of people who try it. In addition, intentional weight loss–whether via caloric restriction, supplement use, or a combination of the two–can lead to weight cycling (where you lose weight and then gain it back multiple times). Weight cycling is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease as well as other health risks.

  • What brand of collagen do doctors recommend?

    Doctors may recommend a specific brand of collagen because they know it is third party tested, they know and trust the brand, they partner with a brand, or they’ve had patients offer anecdotal evidence that supports a specific brand. 

    However, doctors are more likely to specify the type of collagen (type I and III or type II) rather than a brand since that relates more to a patient’s specific use for the collagen.

    For example, a patient experiencing joint pain related to cartilage might be encouraged to find a type II collagen while a patient looking for a collagen that might support skin may be encouraged to look for type I and III. It’s within your right as a patient to ask why a specific brand is recommended as well as to gain clarity regarding whether the doctor is paid by that brand in any way.

  • Can you take collagen while pregnant?

    Collagen is found naturally in foods like meat, fish, gelatin, and bone broth, which are all safe to include during pregnancy. In fact, because protein needs increase during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, these foods are all ways to get protein into the diet.

    When it comes to collagen supplements, there are three main factors to consider. One is that there isn’t a lot of research on collagen supplements during pregnancy. Two, many supplements have other ingredients added, from herbs to additional vitamins, so the pregnancy-related safety of each ingredient needs to be considered beyond just the collagen. Three, finding a supplement that is tested to ensure purity is especially important since there is risk of inaccurate labels or potential contamination. 

    If you’re finding it difficult to get enough protein into your diet during pregnancy and wondering if a collagen supplement could help supplement protein rich foods, it’s possible. However, it’s often more expensive and not a complete protein on its own. If you are pregnant, it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian before taking any supplements, and a collagen supplement is no exception.

  • How long does it take collagen supplements to work?

    The time that it takes to see or feel results of collagen supplementation depends on the type of collagen you’re taking, what results you’re looking for (i.e. skin, joint, etc.), and the response of individual body. Studies show varying times that people report seeing or feeling results. Many of the joint related studies suggest that results are seen between three and six months.

    The skin-related studies found results between eight and 24 weeks. Bone mineral density related studies have looked at results at 12 months. In addition to looking at how long it might take to see or feel results, it’s important to consider how long you’ll need to continue taking the collagen supplements in order to retain results. Collagen supplements must be continued, since our bodies are in a constant process of breaking down and rebuilding collagen.

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Verywell Fit 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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