Collagen Peptide Supplements: How to Choose the Best One

Collagen is the most common protein found in your body. It’s in your skin but also in tendons, cartilage, bones, blood vessels, teeth and many other body parts. Collagen plays several roles in your health, all related to providing structure and support to tissue throughout your body. Overall, it plays a role in:

— Keeping your joints healthy and flexible

— Maintaining the elasticity, or stretchiness of your skin

— Allows tendons and ligaments to remain flexible and supple

Collagen peptide supplements are a popular choice for people looking to improve skin appearance, strengthen hair and nails, reduce joint pain and even improve gut health. Companies claim that these benefits and more make it worthwhile to purchase a collagen supplement, which today come in many different flavors and forms. There’s even vegan collagen available. Here’s everything to know about choosing a collagen supplement.

[READ: The Best Supplements to Build Muscle.]

What Is Collagen?

Over time, your body produces less collagen, says Dr. Heather D. Rogers, a dermatologist and founder of Modern Dermatology in Seattle and Doctor Rogers Restore Skin Care. Starting in your 20s, you start to lose about 1% of your collagen production each year. There are a few things that can cause collagen loss and damage:

— Ultraviolet rays from the sun

— Pollution

— Smoking

— Changing hormone levels in women, particularly in the first five years after menopause

The quality of the collagen that you produce also changes over time. The lower quality and quantity of collagen in your body causes you to lose skin elasticity, leading to more wrinkles and fine lines. It also can lead to more fragile joints.

Collagen is made in the body using the amino acids glycine and proline along with other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C.

[READ: Are There Foods to Fight Wrinkles?]

Should You Take Collagen Supplements?

There are a few small studies in humans related to collagen supplementation that show it can improve skin elasticity and skin aging. A 2023 review in the journal Nutrients showed some evidence of improved skin hydration and elasticity in people who took oral hydrolyzed collagen supplements.

However, most people can get the collagen they need from their diet, says Dr. Diane C. Madfes, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

There isn’t any research to show that supplemented collagen powder is any better than food sources of collagen. While the 2019 study notes that supplementation is generally safe with no reported safety events, dermatologists believe that more research is needed on safety.

There are some occasions when dermatologists may recommend collagen supplementation:

— You have a hard time absorbing nutrients from food.

— You’re healing from a burn, trauma, skin surgery or accident.

— You’re having aggressive resurfacing procedures on your skin, such as CO2 lasering. In those patients, Rogers encourages them to take collagen supplements for at least three months afterward to help produce new collagen during the healing process.

[See: Questions to Ask a Dermatologist.]

Best Collagen Supplements

If you decide you want to try collagen supplements or your dermatologist recommends them to you, keep these tips in mind to choose the most effective product:

1. Check for allergens. Collagen supplements are sometimes made from shellfish or eggs. If you have an allergy related to these, you’ll want to double check you can still use the supplement.

2. Choose hydrolyzed collagen. Hydrolyzed collagen, also called collagen peptides, is the type that can easily be absorbed from your gut to your bloodstream. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s in a powder, liquid or gummies, but the hydrolyzed form is key,” Madfes says.

3. Read the label. Some collagen supplements have added sugars. Do your best to stick to collagen that has minimal sugar. Don’t take more collagen than what’s recommended on the packaging for daily use.

4. Look for collagen products that have a U.S. Pharmacopeia verification seal.That’s because collagen supplements aren’t closely regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The U.S. Pharmacopeia seal indicates that a third party has verified the supplement contains the ingredients listed on the label.

Here’s a breakdown of the most popular collagen supplements, which you can use to find the best collagen supplement for you:


Many of the companies that make collagen peptide supplements also offer them in flavored options, like chocolate, vanilla and even lemon collagen powders. They can be mixed into water or other drinks, and some people swear by adding unflavored collagen to their coffee.

[READ: What Does Vitamin C Do for the Skin?]

How to Get Collagen Without a Supplement

Protein-rich foods provide your body with the amino acids needed for collagen production, says Madfes. Protein food sources that help the body to make collagen include:

Bone broth from animals

— Chicken, turkey and meats


Salmon and various types of shellfish

— Soybeans and lentils

However, because vitamin C is required to produce collagen, vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables also assist with collagen production. Those include:

— Brussels sprouts.

— Kiwis.

— Oranges.

— Pineapples.

Sweet potatoes.

Bottom Line

After discussing it with your doctor, you may decide that a collagen supplement is a worthy addition to your diet. To choose the best collagen powder supplement, think about cost per serving, check out all of the ingredients and look for third-party safety verification labels. Most dermatologists say that it will take a month or two to notice a difference in your skin or joints after you start taking collagen, so don’t give up if you don’t immediately see the results you’re looking for.

Additionally, monitor and discuss any side effects you feel with your doctor. Constipation is one potential side effect of using too much collagen.

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Collagen Peptide Supplements: How to Choose the Best One originally appeared on

Update 05/17/24: This story was previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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