Collagen is the most common protein found in the human body. It makes up most of the human body’s connective tissue, including the skin, cartilage, bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles (1).
Collagen accounts for 30% of all protein mass in the human body. There are over 28 types of collagen proteins in the body. In fact, the word ‘collagen’ itself means glue, which indicates its relevant role in holding and connecting structures together (2).
Yet with age, collagen production slows down. Certain lifestyle habits – such as sunbathing and smoking – can further decrease collagen production in the body. Consequently, joint pain may arise and wrinkles may start to appear (4).
Collagen supplements, on the other hand, decrease arthritis symptoms, joint pain, and wrinkles that emerge from a decrease in natural collagen production. In other words, they combat the age-related effects associated with collagen (5).
1Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate
Among the best of the best collagen supplements, Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate provides not only a great deal of value but versatility and quality as well.
Those looking for a full-service supplement option will want to take a closer look at this collagen product. Though it includes over 13g of collagen per scoop, you will also get a good amount of healthy fat, good cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, iron, and protein. Additionally, this a low-sugar option to help with weight loss and calorie count.
With options to buy in bulk and several flavors, there are very few supplements that can compete with this choice.
2Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen
Considered to be one of the top collagen supplements out there, Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen supplement surpasses many of its counterparts on multiple levels.
Most notable of all its characteristics is its all-around use formula. While many other collagen supplements focus on one type of collagen, this supplement focuses on all five; so it can benefit everything from bones, to tendons, to hair.
The only noticeable drawback can be found on the ingredient list. As it is comprised of hydrolyzed animal collagen, vegans and vegetarians will not be able to use this particular supplement. While not designed for everyone, however, there is no doubt this is a great bargain and gives a lot of value for your health and body
3Team Keto Collagen Peptides
For those who want the added convenience of a trusted online store with an exclusive manufacturer, Team Keto’s Collagen Peptides may be a perfect choice. Though it is not sold on Amazon or other popular sites, the exclusivity of Team Keto brings its advantages.
Bringing with it not only collagen but protein this supplement functions as a dual-purpose choice and is a great option for those with an established workout routine as well. While this is certainly one of the pricier options available, there are a myriad of benefits making this supplement well worth the cost.
4Sports Research Premium Collagen Peptides
Being one of the only collagen options to tout certification from the Paleo & Keto Foundation, Sports Research Premium Collagen sets itself apart from many of the other options available.
Made from bovine collagen, this powder is known for blending easily with both food and drink. The versatility of this option also makes it an ideal candidate for supplementation.
5Bulk Supplements Hydrolyzed Collagen
Though its packaging is not the most visually appealing, Bulk Supplements Hydrolyzed Collagen is not only effective but full of value. Of specific note is the option to buy this supplement in bulk. While there is always the risk of not liking the product, this supplement has a high review rate and will fit plenty of needs.
Though said to be both clean and pure in its powder form, there is a slight taste that is often described as “beefy”. This is partially due to its bovine source. For those that may not care for this taste, it can be masked in a variety of different beverages and foods.
6Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
For those who don’t mind making their smoothies or food, Vital Proteins Peptides will make a great choice. Bovine sourced, this supplement has a distinct focus on hair, nails, bones, tendons, and joints.
For those looking to reduce their sugar intake while also partaking in collagen, this will also prove to be a dual-purpose option. Offering 20g of collagen per serving, you can get your required intake with one serving mixed into tea, coffee, water, or milk
If you’re looking for a balance on cost and performance, this is the choice for you.
7Flamingo Hydrolyzed Collagen
Derived from fish, this hydrolyzed collagen option should not only appeal to those on a standard diet, but also those who want to take their collagen supplement any time anywhere. Though powders have become increasingly popular, many would prefer to take their supplements at various times of the day. Flamingo provides that option.
While it is not an option for vegetarians, those who follow a kosher or halal based diet will find these to be not only suitable but ideal. They focus on tendons and ligaments primarily and also provide over a month’s worth of supply, making it a great long-term investment.
8PlantFusion Collagen Builder Plant-Based Peptides
The choice of supplements for vegetarians can be difficult based on the origin of the specific product and manufacturer. If you’re looking for a high-quality plant-based option, this is one supplement to look at.
With its use of amla fruit extract, various amino acids, and plant proteins, this supplement proves that good products come from multiple different sources. In addition to being vegetarian-friendly, PlantFusion also touts a non-GMO certified product with no soy, dairy, fish, tree nuts, or artificial flavors.
While it does provide roughly 14 grams of collagen for each scoop, it does come in a smaller container, minimizing the length of time this product may last for you. If you’re looking to try this supplement, it will be important to consider your frequency of use. Overall, however, this is one of the better plant-based options available.
9Nature’s Bounty Optimal Solutions Collagen
Nature’s Bounty is a very popular brand in the health care and supplement industry. Always known for good quality products at an affordable price, this supplement is no different. Though it is not a certified vegan or vegetarian option, it does tout a more natural ingredient list highlighted by the lack of soy, dairy, fish, milk, starch, artificial ingredients
While it is certainly on the cheaper end of collagen supplements, that in no way means that it is inadequate. Each collagen gummy comes with 50mg of this valuable protein and provides more value with the inclusion of Vitamins C, E, and Biotin. Those needing multiple supplements should take a look at this option for ongoing use.
10Youtheory Collagen Advanced
One of the primary benefits of collagen is its effectiveness for achy bones and joints. Adding a collagen supplement for this purpose can often bring a myriad of options to mind, but you may want to consider something made specifically for your desired purpose.
Youtheory’s Collagen not only comes with 18 amino acids but focuses solely on the repair of ligaments and tendons. Providing 20mg of collagen per serving, those who choose this option will be.
One thing of note, however, is the makeup of Youthery’s formula. Made of hydrolyzed protein, this may not be an ideal option for those who identify as vegan or vegetarian. Though this is one drawback, this particular option has much to offer at a reasonable price. For those who want a targeted solution, this is worth further review and consideration.
How We Rank
When looking at collagen supplements there were various factors to consider. The first thing we looked at was sugar content. Collagen tends to have a strong aftertaste, which is why sugars, sweeteners, or fruit juice are often added to formulations to improve taste; which can make the unhealthy. That why we eliminated popular brands like GoopGenes.
Second, we looked at the type of collagen included in the supplement. From hydrolyzed to plant-based, everybody needs collagen. The four main sources of collagen peptides found in supplements are bovine (cow), porcine (pig), chicken, and marine (fish) collagen. The best collagen supplements, like Ancient nutrition, contain marine collagen extracted from fish because it is the purest and safest form, and the optimum size for maximum absorption.
It was also important to include a variety of options for many different lifestyles and needs. Even though not everyone is a vegan or a vegetarian, there should always be choices that spread across multiple lifestyle choices.
The last thing we looked at was the concentration and potency. There are multiple clinical studies that confirm ingesting a high concentration of hydrolyzed collagen (10,000mg/day or more) helps to increase skin thickness and reduce wrinkles.
We favoured companies that provided more than this 10,000mg minimum, like Transparent Labs, and put other companies like YouTheory near the bottom. It’s also why popular companies like Moon Juice didn’t make the cut.
1Collagen decreases arthritis symptoms and joint pain. Research shows that collagen supplements reduce symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. In one study, scientists gave participants collagen supplements for 3 months. After the 3 months, 4 patients reported decreased swollen joints and pain, as well as complete remission of the disease (6).
Similarly, other studies showed that osteoarthritis patients experienced a decrease in symptoms via the use of collagen supplements. In fact, the patients involved in the study reported a significant improvement in their daily functioning. In turn, their overall quality of life drastically improved (7).
In addition, athletes suffering from joint pain also saw a reduction in their symptoms (8).
From this, many researchers and scientists alike have concluded that collagen supplements are useful in decreasing joint pain, reducing further deterioration of the joint, and improving overall joint health (9).
2Collagen improves skin health and appearance. Age contributes to wrinkles, dryness, fine lines, and looseness in the skin. Collagen, on the other hand, is a protein that is well-known for its potential to reduce these age-related skin effects (10).
In fact, aging reduces collagen by 1% every year (11).
A 2014 study explored the link between collagen supplementation and skin health. Researchers found a significant improvement in the skin elasticity of participants after 4 weeks (12).
Another study found skin moisture, elasticity, wrinkles, and roughness decrease after 8 weeks of taking a collagen supplement (13).
3Collagen can increase hair growth. In women with temporary hair thinning, collagen supplementation was reported to improve hair volume, thickness, and scalp coverage in just 90 days. After 180 days, hair shine, skin smoothness, and skin moisture retention also appeared to improve (14).
Collagen also has similar benefits when applied topically to the hair. It is able to reach the outer layer of hair follicles, improving the thickness of the hair (15).
4Collagen can help build strong bones. Collagen is a major building block for bones. And with age comes a decrease in bone density. In fact, individuals aged 70 and older have significantly decreased bone density, leaving them susceptible to injuries, such as bone fractures (16).
Further, individuals with osteoporosis or another porous bone disease lose bone density faster than the average person. Again, it increases an individual’s risk of fractures and injury (17).
Hydrolyzed collagen supplements cause an increased production in chondrocytes, cells that produce collagen. Studies that explored this link indicate the usefulness of collagen supplements for improving bone density (18).
5Collagen can help build muscle mass. In a 2015 study, researchers explored the link between collagen supplementation and body composition. The study consisted of 53 older male adults suffering from sarcopenia, a condition where one loses muscle mass as they age. After 12 weeks, the group taking collagen supplements had increased muscle strength, increased fat-free mass, and decreased fat mass (19).
This is because collagen contains glycine. Glycine is an amino acid necessary for creatine synthesis. Creatine aids your muscles in producing energy to perform weight-lifting exercises. Thus, an individual is able to get through an intense workout and gain muscle via collagen supplementation (20).
6Collagen may help reduce cellulite. Cellulite is caused by a layer of fat pushing against the connective tissue. As a result, the skin may appear lumpy or dimpled (21).
A 2015 study reported that long-term collagen supplementation (over 6 months) might lead to an improvement in cellulite appearance. However, more studies are needed to prove this claim since the study was sponsored by collagen supplement manufacturers (22).
7Collagen may aid in blood sugar regulation. While exercise and diet are often recommended for blood sugar regulation, collagen supplements may play a part as well.
In a 2010 study, 50 healthy participants took collagen twice a day for 3 months. After 3 months, these individuals had significantly lower levels of fasting blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure readings, and decreased cholesterol levels (23).
However, collagen is a great way for those with diabetes to consume protein, without also consuming high amounts of sugar. In fact, medium and high doses of marine collagen peptides were found to increase glucose metabolism and improve insulin sensitivity in rats. However, human trials are needed to further prove and support this link (24).
8Collagen can help heal bedsores. A 2006 study examined 89 residents in long-term care facilities that suffered from pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores. A collagen supplement was given to the experimental group 3 times a day for 2 months. The participants’ ulcers in experimental group healed twice as fast as the control group, indicating the potential use of collagen in treating bedsores (25).
9Collagen can improve gut health. Collagen plays a critical role in strengthening the lining in the digestive tract. This lining can become damaged, such as in the case of leaky gut syndrome (26).
Surprisingly, low levels of serum collagen were found in 170 individuals that suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (27).
Researchers have assumed from such studies that an increased intake of collagen could potentially help the tissues in the digestive tract. The collagen would be able to build up the lining and protect it. In turn, one’s gut health would substantially improve (28).
10Collagen helps to support heart health. As heart health has taken a front seat in the healthcare industry, attempting to find treatments has also become quite frequent as well. Though not originally considered as a possible help for heart health, researchers have discovered a positive correlation between taking collagen supplements and reducing the risk of heart-health related conditions.
In general, collagen provides structure to the arteries, blood vessels, and the overall human body. Those who do not have or produce enough collagen may find their arteries become fragile and inefficient which may lead to atherosclerosis. This disease is seen when the arteries become narrow and have the potential to lead to a heart attack or stroke.
According to one study conducted in 2017, collagen could be responsible for up to a 6% cholesterol reduction and a reduced amount of artery stiffness. Out of 31 adults participating in the study, those who took 16 grams of collagen daily for 6 months, experienced the greatest amount of benefits.
There were also indicators showing that the production of “good” cholesterol was increased through the use of collage. While these positive results indicate a strong correlation exists, the reasoning behind some of the changes is still unknown. More studies will need to be conducted to find concrete reasons for this correlation and subsequent changes.
11Collagen can improve and stabilize mood changes. Though it is not a common use for collagen, there is scientific evidence to support the use of collagen as a mood-boosting supplement. Studies have shown that taking 3g of glycine can provide quality sleep for those using collagen. Though it does not act as a traditional sedative such as Xanax, it is still highly effective.
Glycine decreases core body temperature naturally and inhibits body movement during the REM stage of the sleep cycle. Though more research is generally needed, it is believed that the decrease in core body temperature creates a path for a true and relaxing sleep cycle to occur.
Currently, Glycine is viewed as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This inhibitory element helps to increase serotonin levels without increasing the dopamine levels within the body. Thanks to its effects on circadian rhythms, sleep is much more peaceful which in turn leads to better moods overall.
As conditions such as anxiety can be heightened by sleep deprivation, the presence of glycine following the use of collagen only serves to increase moods and reduce sleep deprivation. Glycine has also been shown to not only relieve feelings of anxiety but also provide liveliness.
1Collagen can have very high calcium levels. It is cautioned that collagen supplements derived from fish sources contain high levels of calcium. It’s important to carefully read each label, especially if you suffer from an allergy (29, 30).
2Collagen can cause heartburn (31).
3Collagen may cause an allergic reaction. Some supplements are made from common food allergens, such as fish, shellfish and eggs. People with allergies to these foods should avoid collagen supplements made with these ingredients to prevent allergic reactions.
Overall, the risk of taking collagen supplements is low, especially for those that do not suffer from food allergies of any kind.
Collagen peptide comes in a powder that can be easily incorporated into foods.
The peptide form does not gel, so you can mix it into smoothies, soups or baked goods without affecting the texture.
According to Dr. Buchanan, MD, consuming a minimum of 8 grams of hydrolyzed collagen per day to increase the levels of glycine and proline circulating in your bloodstream. However, she suggests increasing dosage to 15 to 30 grams per day if you need a skin, hair or nail boost.
What does collagen do to your face? One of the most well-known benefits of collagen is its ability to promote glowing, vibrant skin. This essential protein provides elasticity to the skin, helping it to appear more youthful and healthy.
Is collagen safe to take? Research suggests that supplementing with collagen is a safe and effective way to improve the health of skin and joints. But, as with any supplement, it’s best to be cautious. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements, making it impossible to know if the supplement matches what’s on the label.
What are the side effects of taking collagen? Collagen supplements have the potential to cause digestive side effects such as feelings of fullness and heartburn.
How much collagen do you need in a day? It’s recommended to take a minimum of 10-15 grams daily, and up to 30 grams daily if: Your skin, hair, and nails could use a boost.
Do you take collagen on an empty stomach? Many people abide by this method because you need stomach acid to digest proteins, so in theory, taking collagen on an empty stomach ensures you will be able to better break down the collagen. However, you do not need to take collagen on an empty stomach to obtain the benefits.
What food is full of collagen? Orange produce, like carrots and sweet potatoes, are loaded with vitamin A, which restores collagen that’s been damaged. Omega-3-rich fish like mackerel, salmon, and tuna along with grass-fed meat (which is also high in omega-3) protect the fatty membrane around skin cells.
Does collagen help you lose weight? So collagen can help you lose weight, but it won’t do all of the work for you. Instead, collagen is great for providing you just the right tools to act on your diet plans – adding collagen into your diet can help to decrease your food and energy intake, beat cravings, and prevent pain due to physical activity.
Is collagen hard to digest? For most people, the answer is no. However, if you have chronic digestive issues and gelatin-rich bone broths may be hard to digest. In this case, collagen hydrolysate has a lower molecular weight than gelatin and is thus easier for the body to absorb.
Does collagen help you sleep? The glycine collagen peptides can help calm your mind to get a restful night’s sleep.
Does collagen make you gain weight? Collagen is a major component of muscle tissue, so it should come as no surprise that it can have a big impact when it comes to building muscle mass. Plus, collagen also contains a concentrated amount of glycine, an amino acid involved in the synthesis of creatine.
Should I take collagen at night? There is no best time to take it. Some swear by taking collagen in the morning while your stomach is empty to maximize absorption. Others swear by taking it at night, so your body has ample time to process the collagen while you sleep.
How do you increase collagen naturally? When your body makes collagen, it combines amino acids nutrients you get from eating protein-rich foods, like beef, chicken, fish, beans, eggs and dairy products. The process also requires vitamin C, zinc and copper.
Does collagen help the brain? Glycine makes up roughly 20% of the amino acids in collagen peptides. Glycine can help to improve sleep and has inhibitory functions that take action against excessive excitation in the brain. This allows your mind to calm down and focus.
Does collagen help receding gums? Receding gums often result in tooth sensitivity and can lead to decay of the root and persistent inflammation of the gum. New research demonstrates that a novel method using bovine collagen is able to enhance gum healing.
How long does it take to see results from taking collagen? As with any health supplement, results vary from person to person. Some people may start to see results in as little as three weeks, with some differences being noticeable after about two months.
Will collagen supplements help acne scars? Collagen also provides immediate improvement to scars by replacing lost volume. Collagen can help speed collagen formation and tissue repair to heal acne scars. Your skin will become smoother and more hydrated to boot.
What happens if you have too much collagen? Collagen is a protein that makes up connective tissues, such as the skin. When you have too much collagen, your skin can stretch, thicken, and harden. It also can cause damage to internal organs, such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Can collagen help with anxiety? Yes, collagen can be very beneficial for those experiencing anxiety. Though it does not have the same effects as sedatives and anti-anxiety medication, it does help in the treatment of anxiety. While some additional studies are needed to determine the reasoning behind these changes, collagen has profoundly positive effects for those suffering from anxiety.
What is grass-fed collagen? Grass-fed collagen comes from grass, fed pasture-raised cowhides. This type of collagen tends to be more organic and avoid some common concerns regarding the quality of some collagen supplements.
Why is collagen important to the human body? Overall, collagen is important because it is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is a critical component of connective tissues and is prominently found in the tendons, ligaments, and muscles. If this particular protein is low, it can have dire consequences on your quality of life.
Should pregnant women take collagen supplements? In general, all peptide collagen is considered to be safe and beneficial for women who are pregnant. This does not include marine collagen, however, as fish and seafood are highly regarded as dangerous foods during pregnancy. Collagen can help women with skin elasticity, as well as overall health, and hydration. It is recommended that all pregnant women consult their doctor for further guidance before starting collagen supplements.
Is collagen safe to take while breastfeeding? Yes, there have been several studies showing that hydrolyzed collagen has properties that support bone health and calcium absorption. As breastfeeding can be especially taxing on the human body, supplements such as collagen are highly recommended. Nursing mothers should consult their doctor with any questions or concerns that may arise during or before use.
Is collagen also good for men? Yes, though commonly thought of for injections or plastic surgery, collagen is also a good supplement choice for men. The needs of men and women taking collagen tend to differ. Most men take collagen to help with hair thinning or hair loss depending on the severity of the issue. Collagen provides a much more natural alternative than surgery.
What does collagen taste like? While taste is one of the primary senses, those with an aversion to odd tastes do not need to fear a collagen supplement. Collagen generally has no taste and can be put into coffee, tea, milk, or even water without interrupting the natural flavors of the chosen beverage. Keep in mind that some collagen supplements come pre-flavored as well, however, the collagen itself should blend well.
What are the types of collagen in the body? There are five common types of collagen found naturally in the human body. Type I collagen encompasses the skin, tendon, vasculature, organs, and bone. Type II is made up of cartilage. Type III is the reticulate fibers found with Type I. Type IV is found in the basement membrane, and Type V is found in the cell surfaces, hair, and placenta.
What is the best form of collagen to take? Ultimately, the choice of which collagen to take will vary greatly depending on the person involved. Most people will choose hydrolyzed collagen, however, it is always best to either research or consults with a physician before taking a collagen supplement
How should you choose the best collagen supplement? Choosing a collagen supplement could be very difficult with so many options available. Consumers should first research collagen options and confirm the manufacturer is legitimate and has reviews that reflect this. Generally, users will want to avoid purchasing supplements that make outlandish claims that cannot be proven or have not been associated with collagen use.
Can collagen help with cholesterol? Though there is a need for further study and review, there have been several smaller studies indicating that collagen can aid in the prevention of “bad” cholesterol. Overall, collagen supplements could reduce artery stiffness and reduce low-density lipoprotein.
Collagen is a well known all-natural supplement, with many benefits and very few side effects. It has been shown to relieve joint pain, increase muscle mass and improve overall skin complexion by reducing wrinkles, dryness and improving elasticity.
There are many other benefits of collagen; however, the science is inconclusive and needs much more time to prove the truths.
The best natural sources of collagen include bone broths, egg whites, spirulina, and some fish. However, it is unknown whether the collagen in food has the same benefits as supplements.