Collagen supplements increase the amount of collagen in your body, which is an essential protein. The protein is very abundant in your body. Over one-third of the protein in your body is collagen. Is also plays many roles in your body, from helping your blood clot to providing structure in your skin.
As one of the primary building blocks of your skin and muscles, collagen is essential to ensure that your body functions properly. Sadly, not everyone gets the proper amount of collagen in their diet. Collagen supplements can help bridge nutritional gaps and keep your body healthy.
Not all supplements are made equal, however. Below, we reviewed 10 of our favorite collagen supplements, allowing you to choose the best option for your situation.
1. LiveWell Collagen Peptides
If you want to get the most out of your collagen supplement, LiveWell Collagen Peptides has you covered. This supplement includes both hydrolyzed type I and III collagen in the highest quality possible. They source their collagen from grass-fed, pasture-raised, Grade-A bovine.
All their supplements are 3rd party tested and made in a GMP-certified facility. Each serving comes with 11 grams for collagen, which is more than most of the competition.
We particularly loved that it is free of fillers, additives, gluten, and soy. For these reasons, it is FitBug’s #1 collagen supplement.
2. Essential Elements Collagen Peptides
We also loved this collagen supplement by Essential Elements. It contains both type I and III collagen, which is sourced from Grade-A bovine. It also includes eight essential amino acids. These amino acids can team up with the collagen for even more pronounced benefits.
This brand also uses 3rd party testing for all their supplements, so you can rest assured that it is pure and safe.
3. Youtheory Collagen
This collagen supplement is enhanced with vitamin C, which helps fight the effects of aging similarly to collagen. It uses hydrolyzed collagen protein, making it more absorbable than other supplements.
The older generations may get the most from this supplement. This product also isn’t expensive, either.
4. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder
This supplement has far more collagen in it than most at 20 grams a serving. The unflavored powder is easy to use and can be added to things like coffee, smoothies and teat. It also included vitamin C, which can help with your hair, skin, and nails.
With no added sugars, this is a very clean supplement, which is one of the reasons it is rated so high on our list.
5. Collagen Pop Marine Collagen Drink
These tablets are full of collagen and are added to water to create a flavorful drink. This specific flavor is strawberry lemonade, which tastes quite good. It also includes vitamin C, like many other collagen supplements.
This supplement is also gluten-free, non-GMO, and sustainably sourced. We loved how easy it was to take these tablets on the go, allowing you to turn any bottle of water into a collagen drink.
6. Multi Collagen Pills
This is one of the more complete collagen supplements on the market. It includes five forms of collagen hat come from grass-fed collagen, chicken, eggshells, and marine collagen sources. It also has more collagen in it than others, which is usually a great feature.
We did love how clean this supplement was. It has no harmful additives, is non-GMO, and free of hormones, gluten, and dairy.
7. Advanced Collagen Supplement by ForestLeaf
This supplement includes collagen types I, II, and III. As an all-natural supplement, this supplement is non-GMO and free from dairy, gluten, eggs, and nuts. They have also been tested for absorption, which ensures that your body uses the collagen in the supplement.
Older folks may appreciate this supplement more since it is specifically designed to strengthen bones, repair connective tissues, and improving the elasticity of your skin.
8. MAV Nutrition Collagen Gummy Vitamins
If you don’t like taking pills and don’t want to mess with powders, these gummies are a reliable option. It includes type I and III collagen, which are two of the more critical parts. Vitamins C, E, and Biotin are also included.
The collagen is completely hydrolyzed, making it more absorbable than other sorts of collagen. Because of this, your body can get the most out of this supplement.
9. Ancestral Supplements Grass-Fed Collagen
This collagen is made with grass-fed bovine, making it higher quality than other options. It can support your joints, bones, cartilage, and connective tissue. They use multiple parts of the cow and bone to extract their collagen, making it more complete.
This collagen is mostly type II, which is rarer as far as supplements go. Some type I and III collagen have included as well.
10. Concentrated Liquid Collagen
This is an extremely cost-effective form of collagen. One dropper under the tongue delivers tons of collagen, as well as a bit of biotin. The liquid is naturally flavored and tastes decent.
It is also non-GMO, sugar-free, and made in the USA. We also liked that it is high potency.
How We Ranked
There are a lot of factors that go into a collagen supplement. While they are all aimed to bring you the benefits of collagen, some are better at it than others. To set the best above the rest, we used strict scientific standards when rating each collagen supplement.
Firstly, we looked at the types of collagen each supplement included. There are five main types of collagen, which all do different things. Type I and III are the most common, as they have some anti-aging effects. However, type II is also useful in some situations.
Generally, the more types included in a supplement, the better. However, there are some cases where you may only want and need types I and III, especially if you are more concerned with the anti-aging benefits of collagen.
Secondly, the safety of the supplement is essential. Collagen supplements are usually very safe; it isn’t much dangerous about this protein. However, unsafe manufacturing processes can cause harmful chemicals or collagen levels in pills.
Collagen supplements are not regulated by any organization, like the FDA. Because of this, the practices used to manufacture them can vary a lot.
The safest supplements are those made in GMP-approved facilities that are tested by third-party companies.
Thirdly, the cost is going to be important to most buyers. Surprisingly, there does not seem to be a massive variance in price among collagen supplements. While some are much cheaper than others, they’re all about the same price.
Because of this, you can usually choose whichever supplement works for you, instead of relying heavily on price as you may do with other wellness products.
Fourthly, we considered how clean each supplement was. Preferably, supplements should be made with grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine and free from GMOs and additives. We want collagen in each supplement and just collagen.
Collagen supplements can improve skin health. Collagen supplements can have a significantly positive effect on your skin health. Much of your skin is made out of collagen, so it only makes sense that your skin would be healthier if you provided it with the building blocks it needs to repair itself.
Collagen’s effects on your skin can be seen most obviously as you age. As you get older, your body produces less collagen, which can be seen directly by the development of wrinkles (1). When you consume extra collagen to make up for your body’s diminished production, you may be able to slow the effects of aging and reduce wrinkles and dryness (2, 3).
One particular study found that women who took a supplement of collagen for eight weeks had a significant increase in skin elasticity compared to those who didn’t take the supplements (4).
Some of these positive effects may be caused by dietary collagen, encouraging your body to make collagen of its own, which can help with your skin health (5).
Furthermore, collagen supplements may encourage the creation of other proteins that help with the structure of your skin, further improve your skin’s health (6).
Collagen can help reduce joint problems. As we get older, our joints often suffer. Our joints are mostly made up of collagen, which is used to create most of our cartilage. As the amount of collagen decreases as you age, degenerative joint disorders are common, like osteoarthritis.
Taking a collagen supplement may help replenish the amount of collagen in your joints, which can improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce overall joint pain (7).
One study looked at 73 athletes who reported joint pain while walking and resting. After 24 weeks of taking collagen, the athletes reported significantly less pain than those who did not take the supplement (8).
The exact reason collagen reduces joint pain is unknown. However, researchers have theorized that it may accumulate in cartilage, which may encourage your body to create even more collagen. They have also theorized that dietary collagen may lower inflammation levels, support joins, and reduce pain because of this (9).
Most studies agree that collagen supplements can help with joint pain and associated symptoms. If your goal of taking a collagen supplement is to improve your joint health, studies show that you need to take a dosage of 8-12 grams a day (10).
Collagen may improve heart health. While collagen is not usually taken to improve heart health, many studies have shown that it may have this effect. Collagen is used to structure your arteries. Without enough collagen, it is theorized that arteries may become weak and fragile, which may increase your risk for heart disease (11).
There have been only a few studies done on the effects of collagen on heart health. However, so far, the results have been promising. One study found that adults who took 16 grams of collagen a day had a significant reduction in artery stiffness after six months. However, this study was tiny (12).
This same study also found that participant’s levels of good HDL cholesterol increased by about 6%, decreasing their chance of heart disease further.
Collagen may improve the health of your hair and nails. There have not been that many studies into the matter of collagen for hair and nail health.
One small study had participants take 2.5 grams of collagen once daily. Their nail growth was checked regularly, as was the frequency of broken and cracked nails. While taking the supplement, 12% of participants had increased nail growth, and there was a 42% reduction of broken nails. 88% of participants saw an improvement in their nails over four weeks (13).
More studies are needed to know the actual effect of collagen on nail and hair health, however.
Collagen may prevent bone loss. As you age, bone loss can be a severe problem, especially among women. Collagen is the protein that gives your bones structure and keeps them healthy (14).
Collagen deteriorates throughout your body as you age, including in your bones. This can lead to severe conditions like osteoporosis. This disorder means your bones have a lower-than-average density, which can result in a higher risk for bone fractures (15).
Taking a collagen supplement may inhibit this bone breakdown according to studies (16). However, these effects have not been thoroughly studied, though some studies have shown positive results already.
One particular study found that women who took collagen had significantly lower blood levels of proteins that are associated with bone breakdown. The effects were even more significant than women who were taking a calcium supplement instead (17).
Furthermore, the women who took the collagen had a 7% increase in bone density when compared to those who did not take the supplement.
However, this study was relatively small and needs to be done on a larger-scale before we can be sure of any positive effects.
Collagen can increase muscle mass. A small but significant portion of muscle mass is made up of collagen. Without this protein, your muscles could not function properly. It is necessary to give your muscles the structure they need (18).
Muscle mass can decrease as we age, which is called sarcopenia. Some studies have suggested that taking a collagen supplement can reverse this disorder (19).
One particular study had one group of men with sarcopenia exercises and another group exercise and take collagen. At the end of 12 weeks, then men who took collagen had significantly more muscle mass than those who did not (20).
Because of this study, researchers have suggested that collagen may have a role in the creation of specific muscle proteins. However, this has yet to be researched thoroughly.
Collagen may cause an allergic reaction. If you’re allergic to the source of a collagen supplement, which is usually beef, then you may react to the supplement. Beef allergies are relatively rare, so allergic reactions to collagen are too. However, it is possible.
Sometimes, collagen is sourced for something besides beef. Marine sources are sometimes familiar and should be avoided by those allergic to things like fish.
Collagen may cause gastrointestinal side effects. Things like nausea, upset stomach, and diarrhea have been reported by those taking a collagen supplement. These sorts of side effects are common across many types of supplements and are usually not serious in the least (23).
Taking the supplement with food may help decrease the amount of intestinal discomfort you feel. Furthermore, you can also split your dosage up if you’re still having difficulties with side effects like nausea.
The dosage of collagen you should take depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Studies use a wide array of different dosages for different things. In most cases, it seems like even just a little bit of collagen can be helpful, but, likely, the benefits increase the more you take.
There are also different types of collagen. Each type is slightly different and is better at certain things. Supplementing with the write type is essential for success.
For skin wrinkles, you should supplement with at least 2.5 grams of collagen type I, with some collagen type II thrown in there as well (21). If you’re looking to reduce joint pain, 40 mg of type II collagen seems to do the trick, though 2 grams as been shown to be useful as well (20, 21).
For muscle building, you should time your collagen intake around your workout. Specifically, you should take 15 grams within the hour after any strength training (22).
For other benefits, the research is lacking on the specific dosages needed.
Do collagen supplements work?
It depends on what you mean by “work.” These supplements can increase the amount of collagen in your body, which can improve the health of systems that rely on collagen, like your skin and joints.
However, these supplements are not miracle pills. They will not reverse diseases or cure disorders. With that said, they can be a substantial part of your treatment, though.
These pills also aren’t going to keep you from aging altogether. However, they may help reduce the number of wrinkles that joint problems that develop as you age.
What are the side effects of taking a collagen supplement?
There are hardly any adverse side effects associated with taking collagen. Nausea and similar symptoms are reported occasionally. You can usually reduce these symptoms by taking the supplement with food or decreasing the amount you take at any one time.
The only serious side effect that may occur is an allergic reaction. Most collagen supplements are made from bovine. However, some contain common allergens, like fish. If you’re allergic to fish, you may have an allergic reaction to this supplement.
What is the best collagen supplement?
We reviewed many different collagen supplements for this article. Out of those we looked at, we preferred the LiveWell Collagen Peptides powder. This supplement contains collagen from grass-free, pasture-raised cows and is free from additives and GMOs.
It also includes 11 grams of collagen, which is more than most of the competition and plenty for you to reap some benefits.
Is it necessary to take a collagen supplement?
It depends on who you are. Older people with declining skin and stiff joints may get the most benefits from a collagen supplement. Collagen begins to break down as you age, which causes many of the difficulties associated with getting older. Because of this, taking a dietary supplement of collagen may help replace some of the collagen you’re losing.
Those with certain conditions may also benefit from collagen, including those with a higher risk of heart problems.
However, it is not necessary to take a collagen supplement. Your body can make collagen itself out of various amino acids. Still, many studies have shown that taking a supplement can help with this production.
Do collagen supplements make you gain weight?
It shouldn’t. Some suggest that collagen may help you lose weight by making you feel fuller. When you feel full, you eat less and, therefore, may lose some extra pounds. However, the research for this benefit is not very developed, which is why we didn’t include it in our benefits section. There just isn’t enough data as of yet for us to say that it will help you lose weight.
However, there is no evidence that collagen will make you gain weight.
How much collagen is needed daily?
It depends on what you’re trying to do. Most studies show that you need about 2-3 grams of collagen a day for most benefits. Luckily, most collagen supplements contain quite a bit more than this.
For example, our top pick includes 11 grams of collagen per serving, which is plenty for practically everyone.
When should I take collagen supplements?
Collagen can be taken at any time of the day. The only situation that requires you to take collagen at a specific time is if you need to gain muscle mass. In this case, you should take collagen after you work out.
For any other benefit, though, it does not matter what time of the day you take collagen.
Does a collagen supplement help with belly fat?
Not directly. Collagen doesn’t have anything to do with your fat production or anything of that sort. It will not make you break down your belly fat. However, collagen tends to expand in your stomach, which may make you feel full. This can reduce the amount of food you eat naturally and, therefore, may help you lose weight.
However, this benefit of collagen has not been heavily studied.
Our advice? Don’t take collagen specifically to lose belly fat, since it could likely not work. Still, collagen can be useful for other things, like improving the health of your skin.
Should you take a collagen supplement every day?
In nearly all the studies we’ve read, participants take collagen every day. When it comes to getting benefits out of supplements, it is essential to take them every day. Otherwise, you may never build up enough in your body to notice a difference.
If you’re looking to improve your skin or decrease your joint pain, you should plan on taking your collagen supplement every day.
What is the best way to take collagen?
It doesn’t seem to matter what form you take your collagen in. You can take it as a pill, powder, or gummy. It just depends on your preference and what specific supplements match what you’re looking for.
Collagen is tasteless, so the powder form is pretty popular. Just putting it in a glass of water and drinking is the chosen method of most people.
Can collagen supplements be harmful?
As long as you aren’t allergic to the source the collagen was taken from, there are hardly any side effects that are associated with collagen – and none of them are serious. Some report nausea and diarrhea, but these side effects can typically be overcome by taking your supplement with food or decreasing the amount you take at one time.
How long does it take for collagen to start working?
Most participants in the various studies we reviewed reported a noticeable difference in about 12 weeks. However, it also depended on what differences they were looking for.
Those who took collagen for their nail health seemed to notice a difference within four weeks, which bone density may take up to a year to improve. It is important not to stop your supplement just because you don’t see results instantly. It usually takes a while to build up in your system, so you must stick with it for a bit.
Can I take collagen and vitamin C together?
Yes. Many supplements contain both because both supplements are associated with anti-aging effects. Vitamin C is also a collagen builder, which means it encourages your body to make its collagen.
With that said, you don’t have to take collagen with vitamin C to get the benefits from it. Vitamin C may help and has plenty of its benefits, so you may want to consider taking it. But collagen is sufficient alone.
Can collagen supplements cause gas and bloating?
There have not been many studies done on the side effects of collagen. Because of this, we do not have a full picture of the uncomfortable effects collagen supplements may have.
However, collagen has been associated with some gastrointestinal side effects, like nausea. Because of this, we would not be surprised if it caused gas and bloating as well – even though these side effects have not been reported directly.
Can collagen supplements make your breasts bigger?
There is no direct evidence that shows collagen affecting breast size. However, breasts do have collagen in them. Theoretically, it is possible that collagen could increase your breast size. There have simply been no studies on the matter yet. For a sure answer, we’ll have to wait for more evidence.
Can I stop taking a collagen supplement?
It depends on why you started taking it, to begin with. Unless your doctor prescribed it, you could probably start taking it without any huge, adverse effects. However, the benefits of the supplement will wear off over time. You may notice more wrinkles developing, and your joint pain will come back.
Generally, if you’ve noticed benefits from taking a collagen supplement, you should keep taking it. The benefits are not permanent and will go away if you stop.
Is a collagen supplement the same as a biotin supplement?
No. Collagen and biotin are not the same things. They do different jobs in your body. However, they often affect the same parts of your body. Because of this, they are often added together into the same supplement for even more benefit.
Collagen supplements are great for your skin, nails, and joints. They may also be effective at preventing heart disease and bone loss. Because of this, they are recommended to many as an anti-aging supplement.
These supplements are also strikingly safe. There are no serious side effects associated with them. Again, this makes collagen a suitable supplement for preventing certain disorders.
For FitBug’s #1 collagen supplement, click here.