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Best Collagen Supplements of 2023, According to a Dietitian
Medically Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, MD
Last Updated on December 30, 2022
Collagen supplements are incredibly popular these days, but how do you choose the best one for you? The answer depends on your individual health goals and preferences.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body, making up 1/3 of our total body protein. However, while our body can make collagen, it doesn’t always make enough. This is particularly the case as we get older. (1)
Collagen supplements come in many forms but are generally powders (most popular) or capsules. The types of collagen, source of collagen, ingredients present, and pricing can vary significantly between brands.
Collagen is taken for several reasons — skin, hair, nails, joint health, exercise recovery, gut health, or weight loss.
However, because there is no scientific evidence for the claims on gut health or weight loss, I did not include these claims in this review.
Before you purchase a collagen supplement, the important thing is to know your primary reason for taking it. For example, if you are looking for a collagen product to strengthen your skin and nails, a product focusing more on joint health likely won’t really help you.
Doing a bit of research before you head to the store can save you time and make it easier to choose the type of collagen that best fits your needs.
If you’ve been thinking about taking collagen and feel overwhelmed with the number of products out there, we help narrow down the choices and simplify the process.
Summary of Our Picks
- Best for general health: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
- Best for hair, skin, and nails: Live Conscious Collagen Peptides
- Best for muscles and joints: Codeage Multi Collagen Peptide Powder
- Best marine collagen: Further Food Marine Collagen Peptides
- Best collagen pill: Vital Vitamins Multi Collagen Complex
- Best budget pick: Orgain Collagen Peptides
- Best subscription: Care/of
How We Chose These Brands
We evaluated each collagen brand based on the following factors of importance:
- Supported by Research: Is the brand committed to research and shares it transparently on its website?
- Price: Is the price of the product comparable to other similar products?
- Highly Absorbable: Is the product available in a highly bioavailable form, or does it contain ingredients that can improve absorption?
- Third-Party Tested: Is the product tested by an independent company to confirm its safety and purity?
Best for General Health
Some people may want to take a collagen supplement for general health purposes. They may not have a specific concern, but they know collagen may provide benefits.
For general health, collagen may help with healthy aging, physical wellness, skin, muscles, and joints. (2)
Your collagen supplements should be in the form of hydrolyzed collagen peptides, which are more broken down and more easily absorbed in the body.
While collagen is safe for most people, those who have food allergies, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding should consult with their doctor before starting.
For general health, we would suggest:
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
- Provides multiple collagen types
- Contains nutrients that may improve absorption
- Higher end of protein per serving
- More expensive than some other collagen products
- Product returns not guaranteed
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides is a solid choice for a general collagen supplement. It contains multiple types of collagen that are hydrolyzed for easy absorption.
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides is one of the most popular collagen supplements on the market. It is an unflavored powder that you can easily mix with your favorite hot beverage, such as coffee, tea, or a smoothie.
I take Vital Proteins daily and mix it in my morning coffee or smoothie. It is essentially tasteless, which makes it easier to incorporate into things.
The collagen comes in the form of hydrolyzed collagen peptides, which may be more readily absorbed than other forms. (3) The collagen is also sourced from grass-fed cows (bovine) with no hormones or pesticides.
Vital Proteins contain collagen types I and III. This product provides 20 grams of collagen peptides per serving.
Vital Proteins contain two additional ingredients — vitamin C and hyaluronic acid — which can help improve the production and absorption of collagen. (4) Not every collagen product contains these nutrients, which helps set it apart.
Vital Proteins is also processed in an NSF-certified facility. NSF stands for National Sanitation Foundation, a third-party company that tests and approves the safety and quality ingredients contained in products.
This product’s health claims are that it supports overall health and wellness and promotes collagen production and a youthful appearance.
A 2019 randomized controlled trial showed improved skin hydration and appearance in those taking 2.5 grams of collagen plus vitamin C daily. (5)
Cost: $44.88 for a 20-oz tub (about 28 servings) on Amazon.
Best for Hair, Skin, and Nails
One of the most popular reasons for taking collagen is to promote strong hair, skin, and nails. Out of all the health claims for collagen, these are the claims backed by the most research.
For example, a 2019 systematic review showed promise for collagen in improving skin hydration and elasticity and reducing skin aging. (6)
Additionally, a more recent 2021 meta-analysis of 19 randomized controlled trials was conducted on the benefits of taking an oral collagen supplement for 90 days. (7) The results showed that those taking the hydrolyzed collagen supplement saw improvement in skin elasticity, hydration, and wrinkles.
If your main goal is to strengthen your hair, skin, and nails, we would suggest:
Live Conscious Collagen Peptides
- Third-party tested and GMP-certified
- Lifetime return policy
- Contains essential amino acids that may provide additional benefit
- Does not contain additional nutrients that may improve absorption
- Customer reports of serving scoop size being inaccurate
Live Conscious Collagen Peptides is a good choice for someone who is looking specifically to improve their skin, hair, and nail health. However, the evidence to support the claims for collagen’s role in hair and nail health is not as strong.
Live Conscious Collagen Peptides are a hydrolyzed collagen powder containing both Type I and III collagen to support skin health. It is an unflavored powder that can be conveniently mixed with your favorite beverage and is essentially tasteless.
It also contains several amino acids (or protein-building blocks) that support tissue building and repair. The types of collagen present and amino acids may also help speed wound healing. (8)
Live Conscious Collagen is a bovine-sourced collagen supplement made from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows. It is non-GMO and free of additives and fillers.
It is also third-party tested and produced in a facility with good manufacturing practices, or GMP-certified. GMP certification ensures the product is produced under safe, well-monitored conditions.
The health claims for this product are that it replenishes hair, skin, and nails and has anti-aging powers. This product contains 11 grams of collagen peptides per serving.
Collagen has been studied for its potential anti-aging skin properties. Additionally, it may also help reduce or prevent thinning hair. (9, 10)
Cost: $34.99 for a 16-oz bag (about 41 servings).
Best for Muscles and Joints
Another primary health claim for collagen products is for joint health and muscle recovery after exercise. While the evidence for these health claims is mixed, there are a few small studies that have shown some possible benefits.
A 2006 research review demonstrated evidence that hydrolyzed collagen may help to manage pain and improve range of motion in those with osteoarthritis. (11)
Another small 2008 randomized trial involving 147 participants showed collagen to be effective for reducing joint pain in athletes and facilitating muscle recovery. (12)
On the other hand, another more recent 2019 double-blinded study was done involving 24 participants. (13) The results showed a moderate improvement in muscle soreness in those taking collagen, but these results were not statistically significant.
If you’re looking to improve joint pain, muscle strength, and flexibility, we would suggest:
Codeage Multi Collagen Peptide Powder
- Contains multiple types of collagen
- Third-party tested, GMP-certified
- Contains added beneficial amino acids
- Multiple sources of collagen may increase risk for allergens
- Only 30-day return policy
Codeage Multi Collagen Powder is a convenient supplement that may support joint health, muscle recovery, and flexibility. If you have an allergy to eggs, do not take this product.
Codeage Multi Collagen Peptide Powder contains five different sources of collagen:
- Grass-fed cows
- Fish (wild-caught cod and snapper)
- Organic beef bone broth
- Organic chicken bone broth
- Eggshell membranes
In theory, having more collagen sources may be better to provide a wider array of benefits. However, there is no research out there to confirm this.
Codeage also contains 18 amino acids to help provide additional protein and benefits for joints and recovery. The amino acid leucine present specifically may aid in muscle recovery. (14)
The health claims for this product are that it can support cartilage and protect your joints. This product contains 9 grams of collagen peptides per serving.
Cost: $39.99 for a 20-oz tub (about 63 servings) on Amazon.
Best Marine Collagen
If you are a vegetarian or want to limit your meat intake, marine collagen may be the best choice for you. Marine collagen supplements contain collagen sourced from fish.
Studies show that marine collagen may be just as effective as animal-based collagen in improving skin health and supporting healthy aging. (15)
If you want to reap the potential benefits of collagen without consuming animal products, we would suggest:
Further Food Marine Collagen Peptides
- Contains 3 types of collagen
- Third-party seal of approval (NSF)
- Sustainably sourced
- May contain allergens from processing- milk, tree nuts, gluten, peanuts, soy, egg
- More expensive than bovine or chicken-derived products
If you are vegetarian, marine-based collagen such as Further Food would be a good choice for you. The evidence for the claims is the strongest for this product’s skin and anti-aging properties. Those who have food allergies should check the label for possible cross-contamination from processing.
Further Food collagen is sustainably sourced from wild-caught cod from the North Atlantic. It is GMO, antibiotic, hormone, and sugar-free. This powder is unflavored and can be easily mixed with your morning coffee or smoothie.
The health claims for this product are that it supports superior beauty and provides gut and joint benefits.
A 2021 randomized study was conducted where participants took a hydrolyzed marine collagen supplement for 12 weeks. (16) Those taking the marine collagen saw improvements in skin health and wrinkles, with recommendations made for the safe use of marine collagen in the anti-aging population.
The strongest research seen in regards to collagen is related to skin and anti-aging benefits. However, the research related to marine collagen and joint or gut health is limited, with only one animal study for its role in joint health. (17)
This product contains 6.6 grams of collagen peptides per serving, which is less than most other bovine and chicken-derived collagen supplements. However, it is typical for marine collagens to contain less protein than animal-based products.
Cost: $29.99 for a 6.5-oz tub (about 28 servings) on Amazon.
Best Collagen Pill
If you don’t like adding powder to your morning coffee every day, a collagen pill may be more convenient for you.
It’s important to note that while taking a pill may be more convenient, collagen in pill form generally contains significantly less collagen peptides per serving. Therefore, you may have to swallow multiple pills daily to get the same amount from a single powder serving.
Otherwise, collagen pills typically contain similar ingredients as powders — different types of collagen, enzymes, or amino acids.
Based on our research, we would recommend:
Vital Vitamins Multi Collagen Complex
- Contains 5 types of collagen
- GMP-Lab verified for good manufacturing practices
- Sustainably sourced
- Not third-party tested
- Contains significantly less collagen per serving as powder forms
If you prefer the convenience of taking collagen in pill form, Vital Vitamins Multi Collagen is a good choice. If you can tolerate taking multiple pills, I would suggest taking the higher end of the serving size to get the most benefit.
Vital Vitamins Multi Collagen Complex contains hydrolyzed collagen peptides for easy absorption.
It contains five types of collagen derived from 4 different sources — bovine, chicken broth, fish, and eggshell membranes. Collagen types I, II, III, V, and X are present. The collagen sources are pasture-raised and grass-fed and also contain marine collagen.
In theory, having more collagen sources may provide a wider array of benefits. However, there is no research yet out there to confirm this.
Vital Vitamins Multi Collagen Complex also contains a digestive enzyme blend called DigeSEB that is intended to improve the absorption of the product.
The health claims for this product are that it tones, rejuvenates, helps hip joints, promotes vitality, and has anti-aging properties. The claims for any type of collagen are strongest for its skin and anti-aging effects. (7)
This product contains 1.6 grams of collagen peptides per serving. Per the manufacturer’s instructions, you can take up to 2 servings per day, equaling 3.2 grams of collagen per day.
Cost: $23.85 for a 150-capsule bottle (25–50-serving supply, depending on if you take 3–6 capsules a day) on Amazon.
Best Budget Pick
Orgain’s Collagen Peptides
- Reputable brand
- Paleo & keto-friendly
- Free of major allergens
- Not third-party tested
- Some users report poor taste
If you’re watching your budget but want to enjoy all the possible benefits of collagen, Orgain Collagen Peptides is a solid choice from a reputable brand. It is a clean-label collagen product that can conveniently be mixed with your favorite beverage. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, this product is not for you as its collagen is derived from animals.
If you’re on a tight budget, Orgain’s Collagen Peptides are a solid choice.
Orgain is a well-known and respected brand in the nutrition world. Their brand is known for creating natural products free of harmful chemicals, additives, and artificial flavorings.
Orgain’s collagen powder contains Type I and III collagen derived from cattle, and is promoted for both men and women. It also contains 18 additional amino acids (protein-building blocks), with many of them being essential for health.
The health claims for this product are that it supports joint function and health, strong hair and nails, as well as muscle recovery and radiant skin.
This product is also non-GMO, gluten, dairy, and soy-free, and paleo and keto-friendly. Orgain’s Grass-Fed collagen peptides are hydrolyzed for easier absorption and contain 10 grams of collagen per serving.
Per the manufacturer’s instructions, you can take one scoop per day mixed with water, coffee, smoothies, or food.
Cost: $22.94 for a 16-oz tub (about 22 servings) on Amazon.
If you want a more personalized supplement experience, a subscription-based service may be for you. Signing up for a monthly subscription service can also ensure you never run out of your supplements and make it easier to remember to take them.
For collagen supplement subscription, we would suggest:
- Monthly subscription may help with adherence
- Transparent in sharing research
- No fillers or artificial sweeteners
- Not third-party tested
If you want a high-quality, conveniently packed collagen supplement, Care/of is a solid brand to choose. This product may be good for someone who values convenience and wants more personalization. The individual serving-size packs also make it easier for people who are frequently on the go.
This product is not for you if you are a vegan or vegetarian (as its collagen is derived from animals) or if you’re on a tight budget.
Care/of is a monthly subscription-based service that supplies personalized vitamins based on the results of a health quiz.
It is a well-known company that is fully transparent in sharing research on their supplement ingredients on their website. This is very helpful and unique, as many times you really have to search for that information.
Care/of makes their own hydrolyzed collagen powder derived from grass-fed cows.
The health claims for Care/of’s collagen are that it can help keep skin moisturized and supple, helping to reinforce the skin’s barrier and support elasticity. Other claims are that it may reduce the appearance of wrinkles and keep joints strong.
Care/of’s collagen is free of all major food allergens and is made from grass-fed bovine (cattle) collagen.
The manufacturer’s instructions are to mix two scoops of collagen powder with 8–10 ounces of your favorite beverage and stir vigorously. It contains 10 grams of collagen peptides per serving.
Care/of’s subscription is flexible and you can choose to cancel at any time.
Cost: Around $24 for a 5.5-oz tub (about 15 servings).
Things to Consider When Shopping for a Collagen Supplement
When choosing the best collagen supplement for you, look for these seven things on the bottle:
The Type of Collagen Present
While there are 28 types of collagen, there are 3 main types that are most commonly found in supplements — Types I, II, and III. They all serve slightly different purposes.
- Type I: Most commonly found in skin, bone, teeth, tendons, ligaments, vascular system, and organs. May be involved in bone and skin health. (18)
- Type II: Gives strength and elasticity to joints by supporting cartilage.
- Type III: A major structural component in the large blood vessels, uterus, and bowel. It helps facilitate blood clotting and is involved in wound healing. (19)
Some collagen supplements only contain one type of collagen, while others may contain multiple types.
Collagen is derived from animals or fish, not plants.
The most common collagen sources are bovine (cow), porcine (pig), chicken, or marine (fish). Some collagen supplements contain a combination of these sources, while others contain only one.
If you don’t eat meat, a marine collagen supplement from fish may be a good choice for you. Unfortunately, there is currently no vegan collagen on the market.
This is a form of collagen most commonly used in supplements because it is broken down to be absorbed more readily. (18)
It’s also ideal for your collagen to contain vitamin C as an ingredient, as it helps to boost collagen production. (20)
Look for the recommended dose and serving size of protein in grams. Collagen products can contain anywhere from 2.5–20 grams of protein per serving size.
The ideal dose can vary depending on your daily protein needs and what you are taking it for. There is currently no optimal dose for collagen set forth by the FDA.
Knowing what the product is intended to do helps you select what’s best for you. For example, if you are seeking a collagen product for weight loss, search for this claim on the label.
Keep in mind, however, that a claim does not always guarantee a certain result.
There are several types of third-party testing for supplements that help ensure purity, potency, and quality.
Some common seals of approval to look for include Consumer Labs, US Pharmacopeia (USP), and NSF International. This is a type of “guarantee” of the quality of the product.
This quality seal of approval for a product is a plus, as dietary supplements are not monitored with the same level of scrutiny from the FDA as medications are.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the benefits of collagen?
While we are still learning about the potential benefits of collagen, but it is clear it has several. These include skin, hair, and nail health, joint and muscle health, and general well-being.
The research on collagen for weight loss and gut health is still lacking.
What is the optimal dosage for collagen supplements?
There is not currently an optimal dose for collagen set forth by the FDA. Collagen supplement doses range from 2.5–20 grams of collagen per serving. The optimal dose is dependent on your protein needs and reasons for taking it.
Which type of collagen is best: I, II, or III?
The best strain depends on your health concern. Each one plays a different role. A product with several different strains may be optimal to get a variety of effects.
Does collagen need to be refrigerated?
Typically, collagen supplements are to be stored at room temperature in a dry, cool location. They do not need to be refrigerated.
When is the best time to take collagen?
There is no recommended best time to take collagen. The best time to take it is at a time you will remember every day or the time you will have your favorite beverage to mix it in with. It can be taken with or without food.
Are there any side effects to taking collagen?
While rare, mild side effects may occur.
Those who have food allergies to fish, shellfish, or eggs may be more at risk for allergic reactions and should avoid collagen products from these sources.
Other reported side effects include a bad aftertaste in the mouth or digestive upset such as heartburn or bloating. (21)
I don’t want to take a supplement all the time. Is collagen also found in food?
A few foods contain collagen directly, while a few others contain nutrients that support collagen production in the body.
Fish, chicken, bone broth, and egg whites naturally contain collagen in varying amounts.
Plant-based foods such as citrus fruits, berries, garlic, tropical fruits, and leafy greens contain vitamin C and other nutrients that help improve collagen production and absorption in the body.
However, only consuming plant-based foods without a supplement may make it more difficult to get enough collagen.
Who should avoid collagen supplements?
While collagen is generally safe for most people, those that have allergies to any of collagen’s sources, such as shellfish, fish, or eggs, should not take it.
Those who are vegetarian should choose marine-based collagen, and those who are vegan should focus on plant-based food sources in their diet to increase collagen production.
Is collagen safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
If you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding, check with your doctor prior to starting a collagen supplement. Most collagen supplements have not been researched specifically in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Is collagen safe for kids?
A proper dose for collagen in kids has not yet been established. Always check with your child’s pediatrician prior to starting them on any supplement, including collagen.
How long does it take to see results?
If you don’t feel a difference right away, this is normal. When starting any new supplement, it can take up to 6–8 weeks of taking it daily to see any results.
Make sure you are taking the recommended dose, and if you are taking a powder, you are mixing it with at least 8–12 ounces of water for maximum absorption.
Other tips for taking collagen supplements?
Do some research to determine which product may be best for you based on your needs. Be patient and know that taking it consistently every day will increase your chances of getting the maximum benefits.
If you experience any physical side effects after taking collagen, such as bloating or heartburn, consult with your doctor to see if another product would work better for you.
The Bottom Line
Collagen peptide supplements are generally safe and possess many possible health benefits.
Although there is still a lot to learn about the optimal dose and specific types of collagen, the potential benefits of taking collagen supplements generally outweigh any risks in most cases.
Before choosing a product, always know your specific goal and research the best product for your health goals. Taking the right product will increase your chances of seeing results.
As with any dietary supplement, it is always best to speak with your doctor before to make sure it is right for you.
At WellnessVerge, we only use reputable sources, including peer-reviewed medical journals and well-respected academic institutions.
- Skin collagen through the lifestages: importance for skin health and beauty:
- Significant Amounts of Functional Collagen Peptides Can Be Incorporated in the Diet While Maintaining Indispensable Amino Acid Balance:
- Enzymatic Hydrolysis of a Collagen Hydrolysate Enhances Postprandial Absorption Rate—A Randomized Controlled Trial:
- Enhancing Skin Health: By Oral Administration of Natural Compounds and Minerals with Implications to the Dermal Microbiome:
- A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study:
- Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications:
- Effects of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on skin aging: a systematic review and meta-analysis:
- Collagen-Based Biomaterials for Wound Healing:
- Skin anti-aging strategies:
- A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair:
- Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders: a review of the literature:
- 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain:
- The effects of collagen peptides on muscle damage, inflammation and bone turnover following exercise: a randomized, controlled trial:
- Effect of a leucine-enriched essential amino acids mixture on muscle recovery:
- A randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel study to evaluate the efficacy of a freshwater marine collagen on skin wrinkles and elasticity:
- A randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel study to evaluate the efficacy of a freshwater marine collagen on skin wrinkles and elasticity:
- Daily oral consumption of hydrolyzed type 1 collagen is chondroprotective and anti-inflammatory in murine posttraumatic osteoarthritis:
- Hydrolyzed Collagen—Sources and Applications:
- Type III collagen (COL3A1): Gene and protein structure, tissue distribution, and associated diseases:
- Efficacy of Vitamin C Supplementation on Collagen Synthesis and Oxidative Stress After Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Systematic Review:
- Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease: