Are you looking for more youthful skin, healthier hair, and nails, as well as stronger muscles and joints?
If so, you might consider taking collagen supplements!
Given the long list of potential benefits, the collagen industry is expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2026.
But with so many collagen powder supplement options on the market, it can be hard to choose the right product for you.
In this article, we’ll review some of the best collagen powders in 2021 to help you make the right selection.
Top 5 Collagen Supplements – Favorite picks
- Live Conscious– Best Overall
- Essential Elements – Best Collagen Peptides for Skin
- Foundation Hair La Vie – Best For Hair and Nails
- NeoCell – Amazon pick
- mykind Organics Organic Collagen Plant Builder – Organic Collagen Booster
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein that makes up about ⅓ of the body’s total protein.
It plays a vital role in the connective tissues, serving as a building block for skin, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. It is also found in other areas of the body including your blood vessels, eyes, and teeth.
This sticky, ‘glue like’ protein essentially holds your body together, and perhaps most notably works alongside other proteins like elastin to support your skin’s elasticity, texture, and shape. It is also incredibly strong meaning that it plays a fundamental role in the strength of your bones.
Unfortunately, as you get older, you naturally start losing collagen. According to a 2012 review we produce 1% less collagen each year after the age of 20.
And as we age further our collagen levels decline even more quickly, with one study finding that women lost 30% of collagen in the first 5 years of menopause alone.
This leads to our skin becoming looser and more fragile over time and eventually results in wrinkles, saggy skin, brittle nails, stiff joints, brittle bones, and muscle aches.
Can I boost my Collagen levels?
The good news is that you can counteract this loss and reduce signs of aging with the help of collagen peptides. Peptides are small protein molecules made by breaking down the larger, tough collagen molecule.
Collagen supplements are hydrolyzed or broken down to improve absorption and utilization. Meaning that adding these products to your daily routine may help to improve your skin and relieve joint pain among other benefits.
How We Chose the Best Collagen Powders in 2021
There are so many collagen peptide powders out there, it can be overwhelming to try to find the best one for you. When evaluating supplements, we use a simple method that includes these factors:
Company Reputation & Size
We only recommend supplements from the most well-established, trusted companies that offer high-quality products.
We only included products from companies that are passionate about your health and committed to safety and efficacy.
When selecting your collagen supplement, it’s important to choose a product made with the highest quality ingredients and proper dosage.
We made sure that supplements in our collagen peptides review come from pasture-raised, grass-fed, or wild-caught marine sources. We also only included non-GMO products that did not contain any unnatural or unnecessary ingredients
Price is an important factor when choosing any supplement. When looking for a collagen product, you want it to be effective for a reasonable cost. Our collagen supplement review selected only the products with the optimal dosage and efficacy, while considering the price as well.
5 Best Collagen Powders: Reviews
Without further ado, let’s look at the 5 best collagen powders we recommend.
Live Conscious– Best Overall
Live Conscious Collagen Peptides contain types 1 and 3 collagen. This product is made from pasture-raised, grass-fed grade A bovine collagen. It is non-GMO and does not have any additives or fillers.
This product contains 11 grams of collagen peptides with 20 amino acids, including all the essential amino acids. It is perfect for skin, hair, and nails. Customer reviews rave about smoother skin and stronger nails. The cost of the Live Conscious product is $28.99.
Essential Elements – Best Collagen Peptides
Essential Elements Collagen Peptides are high-quality type 1 and type 3 grade A bovine collagen. The product is made from pasture-raised, grass-fed, certified hormone-free, and non-GMO sources. This collagen supplement is designed for skin, hair, and nail support.
The 10.23 grams of collagen protein provides 19 amino acids, including eight essential amino acids. It dissolves easily with no aftertaste or smell. It is the perfect addition to your daily coffee. Customers find that this product helps with stronger nails and better skin. The cost of Essential Elements peptides is $24.99.
Foundation Hair La Vie – Best For Hair and Nails
The Hair La Vie Foundation Collagen elixir is specifically designed for healthy hair and nails. It’s more than grass-fed bovine collagen. It also offers immune-boosting vitamin C, the protective antioxidant ginger, gut-healing prebiotics, hair-enhancing keratin, and plant-based superfoods, such as blue spirulina.
One scoop provides 3.84 grams of protein. It is perfect for full-body health and wellness. The customer reviews of this product enthusiastically talk about stronger nails, thicker hair, and glowing skin. Foundation Hair La Vie costs $32.99.
NeoCell Collagen – Amazon Pick
NeoCell Collagen Peptides contain 20 grams of types 1 and 3 peptides. To help support skin health this product also contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and amla. Hyaluronic acid helps the skin retain moisture, which enhances the smoothing effect of collagen. The antioxidants vitamin C and amla protect the skin from environmental damage, such as sun and pollution.
It comes in three different flavors, including mandarin orange, pomegranate acai, and unflavored for greater versatility. Customer reviews find that it helps with glowing, smooth skin.
mykind Organics Organic Collagen Plant Builder – Organic Plant Collagen Builder whilst not strictly a collagen powder this product includes ingredients in capsule form designed to boost your collagen levels. is the best vegan collagen booster. While there is no such thing as vegan collagen peptides, you can support your body’s collagen supply with the help of plant-based nutrients.
This supplement offers 10 mg silica from organic bamboo, 2,500 mcg organic and vegan biotin from sesbania, and antioxidants from organic pomegranate, turmeric, amla, green tea, and rooibos tea.
It’s USDA organic certified, non-GMO project verified, and NSF certified gluten-free. If you prefer pills over powders, this supplement is a perfect choice. Reviews mention better skin, stronger nails, and no upset stomach.
Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Are you looking for youthful skin, thicker hair, strong nails, healthy joints, muscle growth, or improved bone strength? Then this might be your lucky day, there is growing research that suggests collagen supplementation might help with all of these goals. Let’s look at some of the research-backed benefits:
Collagen is the most well-known protein for skin health. The theory is that supplementing with collagen can improve the appearance of your skin, by encouraging the body to produce new collagen to replace what is naturally lost with age.
According to a 2013 study, taking collagen peptide supplements can improve collagen and elastin synthesis, which in turn leads to reduced wrinkles. The study followed 57 subjects over 8 weeks who were given either a collagen supplement or a placebo.
Researchers observed statistically significantly higher levels of type I procollagen (65%) and elastin (18%) in subjects who received the supplements. These results lasted for at least 4 weeks after the study.
Healthy Hair & Nails
According to research, your hair and nails can also benefit from collagen supplementation. This is likely because amino acids found in collagen aid the body in producing keratin, the primary protein found in hair and nails.
A 2012 double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that collagen can help hair growth and reduce thinning. Women between ages 21 and 75 were given collagen or a placebo for 180 days.
The study found a significant change in hair thickness and coverage, meaning the collagen helped reduce the embarrassing problem of hair thinning.
There is also some evidence that antioxidants found in collagen may protect hair and nails from damage.
A study involving 25 participants taking 2.5mg of collagen peptides daily found that sixty four percent of participants noticed an improvement in nail strength, 12 percent in nail growth, and 42 percent in a decrease in broken nails.
Stiff joints and pain when getting up, walking, or exercising is no fun. But joint inflammation, pain, stiffness and loss of mobility can develop due to low collagen levels associated with aging.
Several studies have found that collagen, particularly type 2, can help support and even improve joint health. According to a 2008 study, athletes that used collagen supplements for 24 weeks experienced less knee joint pain during a variety of activities, when compared to a placebo group.
Another 2006 review found that collagen may also help to relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis, a painful degenerative condition of the joints. This review found that supplementation may help simulate the production of new joint tissue by cells called chondrocytes. If the body is able to replenish lost collagen in the joints, this could lead to improved mobility and less pain.
Healthy joints are not enough for maintaining mobility and strength as the joints work hand in hand with strong muscles. Fortunately, there is evidence that collagen can help support muscle mass as well.
A 2015 study found that collagen supplementation helped elderly male participants with age-related muscle loss gain more muscle while strength training when compared to those in a control group.
A 2019 study with younger participants found similar results. 25 participants were given 15 grams of collagen peptides or a placebo daily and completed a strength training workout three times a week for 12 weeks. Subjects who received collagen had significantly more muscle mass and strength at the end of the study period.
If you are looking to gain muscle strength in combination with regular strength exercise, collagen may be a great addition to your routine.
Did you know that your bones contain a significant amount of collagen? Collagen provides the structure of bone, which helps keep bones strong. The natural loss of collagen with aging may contribute to the weakening of bones over time.
A 2000 clinical trial found that collagen supplements may help prevent bone density loss and may be a beneficial option for the treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. This is great news for any active person who wants to age pain-free with healthy, strong bones.
What Should I Look for in a Collagen Supplement?
There are three main types of collagen found in supplements, although there are over 28 types in the body. Each type plays a specific role, so let’s take a closer look at what each one does exactly.
Type 1 Collagen
Type 1 collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is the primary collagen in the skin, cornea, and blood vessels. It is the strongest type of collagen that serves as the building block for the tissues of many organs.
If you are looking to support your skin and other connective tissues, you want a collagen supplement rich in type 1 collagen. Typically, this type can be found in bovine and marine collagen powders.
Type 2 Collagen
Type 2 is the major collagen in your cartilage and joints. It also serves as a structural component of your nose, ears, rib cage, and bronchial tubes. If joint health is your goal, this is the collagen for you. Supplements that are rich in type 2 are usually made from chicken.
Type 3 Collagen
Type 3 is a fibrillar collagen that serves as an important component in your skin and organs. It is found in the same locations as type 1. Just like type 1, type 3 is also important for skin health. If you are looking for a product that contains types 1 and 3, which is optimal for skin health, bovine collagen is the best choice.
Most collagen products you will find on the market are hydrolyzed. This means that the collagen is broken down into smaller and easy-to-process particles that make it more bioavailable or easier to digest.
Do Collagen Supplements Work?
The question of whether collagen supplements work has been hotly debated, however, there is growing research to support the benefits of collagen.
According to the research, collagen peptides taken orally are the best way to optimize your collagen levels. The peptides or small protein molecules are well-absorbed, so they can be quickly used by the body to start making brand new collagen.
Orally ingested collagen peptides work in an interesting way as the body doesn’t actually store the collagen protein you’ve ingested directly.
Instead, when you take collagen, the presence of peptides tricks the body into believing that too much collagen has been broken down. This triggers the skin or joint cells to start producing more collagen to replace what the body believes has been lost. Eventually, this helps replace what has naturally been lost with age.
Whilst ingestible collagen supplements have exploded in popularity, many topical products including moisturizers and face creams also include collagen. The efficacy of these products has been subject to great controversy, as collagen is a large protein and it is unclear how it can be absorbed by the skin.
Collagen Powders or Pills?
Collagen is found in either powder or pill form. Collagen powders are great for adding to your smoothies, shakes, or coffee. Most are unflavored and dissolve completely into any liquid. Some come with fruity flavors that can be consumed as a stand-alone beverage.
Collagen pills are capsules filled with collagen powder. Many collagen pills may have other ingredients like vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants that can add value to the product. Both pills and powders have the same health benefits, the form you choose will depend on your personal preference.
What Are the Main Sources of Collagen?
Collagen comes from animal sources since collagen is the protein found in the connective tissues of animals. Most products on the market are made from bovine (cow), fish, or chicken. Vegan collagen can be made in the lab from certain types of yeast and bacteria, but there are currently no brands that offer a vegan-based collagen product for popular use.
Animal Based vs Marine Collagen
You may not be surprised to learn that different types of collagen may have differing benefits. Here are the benefits of each specific type:
The Benefits of Collagen from Animal Sources
Bovine collagen is made from the skin, ligaments, tendons, and bones of cows. It is known for being rich in types 1 and 3, which are also the most abundant types in the human body. This type is a good source of the amino acids proline and glycine that are required for the production of new collagen.
Compared to the other types, bovine collagen has been the most extensively studied. It is beneficial for skin, hair, and nails. It is also a source of antioxidants that may offer further protection to these tissues.
Chicken collagen is rich in type 2, which is not found in bovine collagen. According to a 2012 study, chicken collagen may have anti-aging benefits for skin. This 14-week study found that chicken collagen helped reduce UV damage in skin, a primary cause of aging.
Type 2 is the primary type of collagen found in joints. Research has shown benefits for joint health, such as pain reduction and improved mobility, with supplementation with this type. If you are looking for a product to support joint health, a chicken-based collagen may be your best bet.
The Benefits of Marine Collagen
Marine collagen is generally sourced from the bones and scales of fish. Similar to bovine collagen, marine collagen is also rich in type 1 as well as the amino acids glycine, and proline.
However, according to a 2015 study, marine collagen is more bioavailable and easier to digest than collagen from other animal sources since fish collagen peptides are smaller. As a result, marine collagen may help to support gut health more effectively than other types.
According to a 2016 study, marine collagen combined with a diet high in antioxidants offers anti-aging benefits for skin improving elasticity and moisture. For those looking for improved skin health, marine collagen peptides may be a good option.
Collagen FAQ’s in 2021
Do you have any more questions about collagen supplements? Here are some commonly asked questions about these popular products:
Do collagen supplements really work?
Scientific evidence suggests that collagen supplements can help with wrinkles, stronger nails, joint pain, muscle strength, bone health, and many other areas. More research is needed to fully understand the benefits and determine an ideal dosage for each health concern.
Do vegan collagen supplements exist?
The short answer is: no, there is no vegan collagen. Collagen is derived from animal tissue. There are vegan and plant-based supplements that may help decrease collagen loss and increase production. These products generally contain a combination of vitamins and antioxidants that help improve skin health.
What are collagen peptides?
Collagen peptides are small protein fragments created from hydrolyzing (breaking down) a large collagen molecule. As we mentioned, collagen is a very tough and strong protein. If consumed whole, the digestive system is unable to break down the protein into the individual amino acids that it needs. Therefore, collagen must be hydrolyzed to be more absorbable and usable.
Are there any other ingredients that boost collagen production?
Yes, certain nutrients may support collagen production in your body. Some of these nutrients include amino acids, like lysine, arginine, and proline. Antioxidants like flavonoids and anthocyanin also support collagen.
Minerals, including silica, manganese, zinc, and copper, and vitamins, including vitamin A and C can also help. Many of these collagen-boosting nutrients are suitable for vegans.
What dose of collagen do I need?
The dose of collagen may depend on the brand, type of collagen, and the individual. According to a 2019 study 2.5 to 15 grams of hydrolyzed collagen peptides per day is safe. Always read the label on any product and don’t take more than what’s recommended.
It may be a good idea to start with a smaller dose and increase it gradually to see what works for you. Some people report mild digestive discomfort with collagen peptides. Your healthcare provider may be a reliable source of advice to help you determine the right dose.
Are there any side effects of collagen supplementation?
Collagen is safe for most people since it is just a type of protein. According to a 2000 report, collagen supplements may cause some digestive discomfort. If you have a fish, shellfish, or egg allergy, certain collagen supplements may not be right for you.
Always read the labels before buying. Start with a small dose and watch for possible side effects. If you notice any ill effects, you may just need another brand or form of collagen supplement. It’s always advised to consult your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplements.
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in your body that plays an essential role in the health of your skin, tendons, ligaments, muscles, hair, and nails. Unfortunately, as you age, your body produces less collagen. This can potentially lead to wrinkles, dull skin, aching joints, brittle nails, thinning hair, and muscle loss.
By taking the best collagen supplements regularly, you can support your body’s collagen supply and keep your skin, bones, joints, and muscles healthy. Collagen powders are easy to add to your daily routine as it can be mixed with coffee or other beverages.
When choosing the right collagen supplement and determining the right dose for you, talking with your healthcare provider is a great way to start.
While there are countless studies discussing the benefits of collagen, like other supplements, collagen peptides don’t carry backing or approval by the FDA. it is advisable to buy these products from a recognizable, well-reviewed, and trusted brand. You can be sure to trust our best collagen supplement (2020) recommendations.
* The information in this article does not constitute medical advice, and is only to be used at your own risk.
As such the statements in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Fact checked by Ana Reisdorf RD
The reviews and statements published here are those of the sponsor and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position or views of Observer.