The 6 Best Collagen Supplements of 2020

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The most common form of protein present in the body is collagen. It is the main structural component of almost every part of your body, including your skin, bones, and joints.

This vital component is what gives your skin its suppleness and health to your joints, muscles, and bones. It is naturally produced in the body, but as we age the rate at which it’s formed starts to slow down.

Smoking, excess sun exposure, and other conditions like arthritis can also affect its production. The skin slowly loses its elasticity and develops wrinkles, the joints get stiff and painful, and bones get weaker and prone to breaking.

Although many foodstuffs provide amino acids needed to produce collagen, some opt to supplement their diet with collagen powder, capsules, or pills to increase and optimize their collagen availability to enjoy it’s other health benefits.

Most collagen supplements are made of hydrolyzed collagen, which is essentially collagen broken down into peptides to increase its absorption.

Here’s our list of the best six collagen supplements available on the market.

Our Favorite Picks

1. Best Fortified Collagen Supplement: Vitauthority’s Multi Collagen Peptides

2. Best Collagen Powder Supplement: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder Supplement

3. Best Low Sodium Collagen Supplement: LiveWell™ Collagen Peptides

4. Best Budget-Friendly Collagen Capsules: VitaPost Collagen Complex

5. The Best Ketogenic Collagen Supplement: Orgain Keto Collagen Protein Powder with MCT Oil

6. Best Collagen Blend: DR EMIL NUTRITION’s Multi Collagen Pills

1. Best Fortified Collagen Supplement: Vitauthority’s Multi Collagen Peptides

It is a well-known fact that vitamin C has a big role to play in skin health. Being an antioxidant, it removes the free radicals that cause premature skin aging and protects the skin from photodamage (1). What’s more, vitamin C is essential for the synthesis and hydroxylation of collagen (2).

By adding hyaluronic acid (which helps retain moisture in your skin) into the mix, the product has set itself upon the higher ground in terms of quality.

About Multi Collagen Peptides 

Vitauthoirty’s Multi Collagen Peptide powder boasts of not just providing a gluten-free mix of five types of collagen (I, II, III, IV, and X) but fortifying their collagen complex with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. This keto-friendly powder is manufactured in the U.S in a non-GMO, cGMP facility.

This sugar-free and odorless powder can easily be dissolved in any liquid coffee or tea, without distorting the drinking experience.

What it Contains:

Each container has 80 servings of powder. A single serving size of 1 scoop (7.9gm) contains:

  • Multisource Collagen complex  – 7.8gm
  • Vitamin C  – 50mg
  • Hyaluronic acid  – 50mg

The hydrolyzed collagen complex comes from several sources such as a bovine, chicken bone, eggshells, and beef concentrate, so those with egg and fish allergy should avoid it.

The manufacturer recommends mixing 1 scoop of the powder with 6-10 ounces of any beverage, 1-2 times a day. They advise not to use plain water as the liquid medium.

The Pros:

  • Fortified with hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C
  • Gluten-free and keto-friendly
  • Non-GMO
  • Lab verified 

Summary: Vitauthority’s Multi Collagen Peptide powder offers a unique blend of multi-source collagen mix along with vitamin C and hyaluronic acid that helps in collagen synthesis and enhances the effects of collagen.

2. Best Collagen Powder Supplement: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder Supplement

Taking supplements in the capsular or tablet form is easy for a lot of people, but there are a few who have extreme gag reflexes and generally find it difficult to swallow pills. For them, the powder form makes more sense.

What makes this product unique from the others is that each serving is in a convenient, no-mess sachet, which is travel friendly.

About Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder

Vital Proteins claim to source their collagen from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hide from Brazil, so they are completely organic and of high quality. They are dairy-free and gluten-free. They have no artificial sweeteners or flavoring. The collagen peptides are of type I and III collagen.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides are Whole30® Approved & Paleo-Friendly, which makes it a great option for those on paleo diets.

With the premeasured travel size stick packets, they have made the supplement very consumer-friendly.

What it Contains:

Each box contains 20 packets, serving 10g of collagen peptide powder per packet. The main ingredient is collagen peptide from the bovine hide – 10g

It also contains trace amounts of sodium, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C.

It is easily digested and soluble in hot or cold liquids and can be added to food such as sweets or sauces.

The manufacturers suggest consuming 1-2 packets a day, anytime.

The Pros:

  • Gluten, and Dairy-free
  • Convenient travel-sized stick packets
  • Paleo-friendly and Whole30® Approved
  • Unsweetened and Unflavoured

Summary: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptide Powder supplements come in neat travel-size packets that can easily be consumed with hot or cold liquids and foods.

3. Best Low Sodium Collagen Supplement: LiveWell™ Collagen Peptides

Most of the collagen supplements out there have a good amount of sodium in their product. For those who have moved to a low sodium diet to stay heart-healthy, this supplement helps to maintain your dietary regimen.

About LiveWell™ Collagen Peptides

LiveWell™ Collagen Peptides are made in the US in cGMP approved facilities, producing 98% all-natural hydrolyzed protein. The hydrolyzed type I and type III collagen are from Grade A bovine. They are hormone-free and 100% non-GMO certified.

LiveWell labs ensure that their product is gluten, soy, and dairy-free and contains no preservatives which can potentially be allergenic. To ensure quality and authenticity, they even get their product tested by independent third parties.

What it Contains:

Each bag contains 451g of powder supplement, which is 41 servings of 11g. each.

The serving size of 11g of bovine collagen contains 14g of sodium along with other trace ingredients.

It is to take 1 scoop of the powder and mix it in 8-9oz of any hot or cold beverage. LiveWell™ Collagen Peptide has a mild natural taste.

The Pros:

  • Hormone-free, non-GMO product
  • Low sodium content
  • Soy, gluten, and dairy-free
  • Keto and paleo-friendly
  • Uses eco-friendly packaging
  • Third-party tested

Summary: LiveWell™ Collagen Peptides contain 98% all-natural hydrolyzed collagen protein with a low sodium content that makes it heart-healthy.

4. Best Budget-friendly Collagen Capsules: VitaPost Collagen Complex

When we’re looking for a dietary supplement that’s got it all but will not burn a hole in your pocket, look no further than VitaPost Collagen Complex!

Vita Balance Inc. produces nutritional supplements that are not only made with the finest quality natural substances but they go a step ahead and make it very affordable.

About VitaPost Collagen Complex

This collagen Complex is made in a GMP certified and FDA registered facility in the US. Their high-quality collagen peptides are laboratory tested and include type I to III collagen which is specially focused on improving skin, bone, and joint health.

VitaPost Collagen Complex is a completely non-GMO product from bovine, avian, and marine collagen sources.

What it Contains:

The serving size of 3 capsules contains 1500 mg of premium collagen complex, packed into easy to swallow capsules made of gelato and magnesium stearate.

It is recommended to take 3 capsules a day to reap the benefits of the dietary supplement.

The Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Premium quality hydrolyzed collagen complex
  • Non-GMO

Summary: VitaPost Collagen Complex is made of an all-natural complex of type I to III hydrolyzed collagen and sold in the capsular form at a good affordable price.

5. The Best Ketogenic Collagen Supplement: Orgain Collagen Protein Powder With MCT Oil

For those who are following a strict keto or paleo diet, this is the supplement you can turn to. Their ingredient ratios are uniquely designed such that the protein to fat ratio will ensure protein will be used for recovery rather than glucose, ultimately supporting the state of ketosis (the process of burning fat to form ketones which produce energy).

About Orgain Collagen Protein Powder With MCT Oil

Orgain is a US-based supplement provider started by a cancer survivor which markets their products as being completely organic and clean. Their Collagen Protein Powder with MCT oil has an ideal protein to fat ratio of 2:1, supporting a ketogenic diet.

The collagen is obtained from grass-fed and pasture raised bovine cattle. The product is gluten free, dairy-free and sugar-free along with being keto-, and paleo-friendly.

The added ingredient of MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oil powder from coconut only furthers the benefit of ketosis, as they can easily be broken down into ketones in the liver and become an instant source of energy. They are also known to help in obesity and weight loss (3).

For those who prefer to have a mild flavor to their collagen supplement, they come in a yummy chocolate flavor that mixes easily and makes consumption palatable.

What it Contains:

A single scoop of 20g of Orgain Collagen Protein Powder contains 10g of hydrolysed bovine collagen (Type I and III) along with 5g of MCT oil powder. Other ingredients include organic stevia and alkalised cocoa, which imparts the flavor.

The manufacturers recommend taking a scoop of the powder anytime of the day with 8-10 fl. oz of water, coffee or any of your preferred drinks. They dissolve easily without leaving any clumps.

The Pros:

  • Keto and Paleo-friendly
  • Dairy, sugar, and gluten-free
  • No soy ingredients
  • 100% pure collagen peptides with no preservatives
  • Great chocolate flavor

Summary: Orgain Collagen Protein Powder with MCT oil is a gluten-free supplement that is ideal for those on a keto or paleo diet with the added benefits of MCT oil.

6. Best Collagen Blend: Dr. Emil Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Pills

It’s a widely known fact that piperine, which is extracted from black pepper helps to increase the metabolism and enhance the absorption of nutrients (4).

The active ingredient of Bioperine® is Piperine (95%). This compound is known to increase the bioavailability of supplemented nutrients (5).

Piperine is also known to promote gut health which is a bonus (6).

About Dr. Emil Nutrition Multi Collagen Pills

The “Dr. Emil” brand claims to be doctor-driven and science-backed. Their  Multi Collagen Pills have incorporated the absorption enhancing goodness of Bioperine® to their high-dosage multi collagen complex that includes all 5 types of collagen peptides. The result is a cohesive super collagen blend.

All their products are manufactured in the USA in an FDA-registered, GMP certified laboratory and are also third-party tested.

The collagen peptides used in their formula are from organically fed and grown bovine, chicken, fish, eggshells, and beef sources. So, it is non-GMO, 100% natural, and free from hormones, soy, and dairy.

What it Contains:

  • Multi Collagen Complex – 1735mg
  • Bioperine® – 2.5mg

Other ingredients include gelatin (capsule) and magnesium stearate. Each bottle gives 30 servings of 3 capsules each.

As a dietary supplement, they recommend taking 3 capsules a day with at least 8oz of water.

The Pros:

  • Five Phase collagen complex (Type I, II, III, V, and X)
  • Bioperine® enhanced
  • Gluten, soy, dairy-free
  • Non-GMO and keto- and Paleo-friendly
  • Supports digestion and gut health

Summary: These Multi Collagen Pills enhance all 5 collagen types with Bioperine® which enhances its absorption and supports gut health.

Collagen and Skin Health

Collagen is an integral part of the skin structure, making up about 75% of our skin’s dry weight. It gives the skin strength by triggering the formation of hyaluronic acid, provides volume, and keeps it looking plump and smooth.

Over the years several studies have been done to examine the effect of collagen supplementation on the aging process of the skin. Aging simply means that when the collagen production slows down, the skin slowly loses its capacity to retain moisture, becomes dry and less elastic, and lines and wrinkles appear (7).

A study done in 2013, at the University of Kiel, Germany, reported that when women between 35-55yrs were administered with 2.5g or 5g of collagen peptides for 4 weeks, they showed a significant improvement in the skin elasticity. The elasticity seemed to stay even after 8 weeks (8).

Another study the previous year revealed that ingesting 1g of a dietary collagen supplement for 12 weeks, led to a significant reduction of skin dryness and wrinkles (9).

A systematic review was even done to consolidate evidence on the efficacy of collagen supplementation on improving skin quality, anti-aging benefits, and possible dermatological applications. They concluded that these supplements could help in boosting skin elasticity and dermal density (10).

Almost all of these studies have noted no adverse effects with oral supplementation of collagen peptides. In addition to that, a daily intake of collagen hydrolysate was found to increase the skin’s collagen expression (11).

With all this evidence, it is safe to say that collagen supplementation can help rehydrate your skin and bring back and sustain its healthy glow.

Dosage and Instructions for Collagen Supplements

Typically, we follow manufacturers’ recommendations when thinking of dosage. Yet, it can be rather ambiguous, since collagen has so many uses and the dosages are somewhat dependent on our goals, on what we are trying to achieve by supplementing.

So, let’s look at it terms of our needs:

1. For Skin Health (to fight dryness and boost elasticity): A study published in 2014 showed that 5g of collagen peptide supplementation resulted in a reduction of skin dryness, wrinkles, and even a significant increase in the collagen density and skin firmness in 12 weeks (12).

In 2015, a randomized controlled study trial revealed that using 10g of collagen peptide supplements caused a significant increase in skin hydration after 8 weeks (13).

So an average of 5-10g of collagen can show a fairly significant improvement in the skin hydration and elasticity.

2. For Bone and Joint health (to improve density and reduce pain): A systematic review conducted in 2016 summarised that a daily dose of 12g of collagen hydrolysate fostered a significant improvement in bone mineral density etc (14).

While a clinical trial conducted in 2000 noted a reduction in pain in patients with osteoarthritis with daily ingestion of 10g of collagen hydrolysate (15). For postmenopausal women, 5g of collagen peptide showed a significant increase in the bone mineral density (16).

3. For muscle mass ( to boost mass and strength): In 2015, a study done among 53 male subjects with sarcopenia showed that supplementing with 15g of collagen along with resistance training resulted in a greater fat-free mass and muscle strength (17).

4. For Supporting Heart health: A small study showed that a daily dose of 16g collagen tripeptide resulted in a significant reduction in arterial stiffness and LDL which is “bad” cholesterol (18).

On the whole, for skin health and for strengthening bones and joints 8-12g per day is sufficient to experience great results. If you’re looking for increasing muscle mass and strengthening, 15g will be a great start.

Instructions

The method of consumption is mostly according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. For powder form, most of them suggest mixing the powder into the liquid while constantly stirring to avoid clumps.

Flavored powders can easily be mixed into water (hot or cold) but those unflavoured ones are better consumed with milk or other beverages.

Tablets or pills are easier to consume once rather than splitting them during the day.

Summary: Dosage mainly depends on the individual’s specific needs. Supplementing our diet with 8-15g per day will help boost skin joint and bone health. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on how to take the supplements.

The Side Effects of Collagen Supplements

Collagen is a very safe nutrient and so far, there aren’t many known risks associated with supplementing your diet with collagen.

Some supplements, however, have products from shellfish, fish, and eggs, which are common food allergens, so those who are allergic will need to be cautious and avoid those brands.

It might cause digestive symptoms such as heartburn and bloating, according to some reports (19). They also reported leaving a bad taste in the mouth that lingered.

One must remember that supplements don’t come under FDA specifications, so they aren’t tested by them. Therefore, be sure to look into each of the products before settling on one.

Since there isn’t enough known about its safety for pregnant or breastfeeding women, it’s better to avoid taking collagen during that time.

Summary: It is generally safe for consumption except for mild heartburn and a bad aftertaste.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Collagen Supplements Safe for the Kidneys?

Collagen is the most common protein found in the body and supplementing collagen in our diet has proven to yield many benefits. There is a lack of any evidence that links a high protein diet to renal failure in healthy individuals. 

In fact, a meta-analysis was done in 2018 of data collected from 28 papers as far back as 1975, which clearly showed that a high protein diet did not affect the function of the kidneys in healthy individuals (20).

Many studies have been done examining the effect a high-level protein diet (3.4-4.4g/kg/day) has on the kidney function, and they showed no adverse effects on kidney or liver function (21) (22).

So, to conclude, in individuals having no preexisting or established kidney issues, the intake of collagen supplements will not cause any harmful effects on the functioning of their kidneys.

Can Collagen Supplements Cause Weight Gain?

One of the properties of collagen is its ability to build lean muscle mass. In conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet, it can actually help reduce weight.

A study showed that 20g of gelatin (which is actually hydrolyzed collagen) produced an increased feeling of fullness after a meal by stimulating the release of satiating hormones (23). They concluded that collagen could be used for adherence to diet control for obese people and help diabetic patients.

To put it simply, collagen supplements can help with weight loss by simply building lean muscle mass and reducing the need to snack constantly.

The Final Note

With the role this unique protein takes on, by being essentially the “glue” that binds every structure in the human body, it’s easy to understand how important it is to each of our organ systems.

So many factors can cause the reduction of collagen produced within the body and its effects are multiple! So when supplementing our diets with collagen, we see a very noticeable change in every part of the body, be it joints, bones, and even in the smoothness of our skin.

With so many supplements around, it’s confusing to choose a good one. We have tried to make it easier for you by listing a few of our favorite brands with their facts and advantages.

Our advice is when choosing supplements for a specific condition, make sure to be well informed about its benefits, side effects, and drug interactions. It is always better to consult your physician and discuss your options.

Ultimately, collagen is a harmless protein and its ingestion has shown to be of more help than harm. So try it! See how it helps you!

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