The skin is the largest organ in the entire body. Consumers should carefully care for their skin, as well as their hair, and nails. When it comes to hair, nail, and skin health, collagen is a protein essential to their well-being.
Collagen is the most abundant protein available in the human body. Collagen holds together everything from the hair, nails, and skin to the tendons and various connective tissues of the body. But as we age, collagen production gradually begins to slow, eventually almost stopping altogether.
Collagen peptide supplements can help users to increase both the health and appearance of the parts of their bodies that need collagen the most, returning an appearance of youthfulness that is often lost as we age.
But with so many collagen peptide supplements on the market, it can be tough to know which supplement is the best choice for you.
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about collagen peptides and collagen protein, including which supplement is best for your hair, skin, and nails.
What Are Collagen Peptide Supplements?
Collagen is a family of proteins. It’s the most abundant protein in the animal kingdom. We have identified 16 different types of collagen, and each type helps make up the structure of our skin, bones, cartilage, and muscles.
Our body produces collagen regularly. It keeps skin looking young and supple. It also helps tissues stay elastic and withstand stretching.
However, collagen levels decrease with age. After 25, your body starts producing much less collagen than it did when you were younger. Your natural collagen levels can also decrease due to environmental factors – like toxins, sun damage, and unhealthy diets.
Top 10 Collagen Peptide Supplements Available Today
Our best collagen supplements guide will outline the top collagen peptide products in 2020, complete with frequently asked questions about collagen peptides and more. Here are the top 10 best collagen peptides to research, buy and use of 2020 based on company research, product formula and dosage potency/price per serving.
Orgain Collagen Peptides
Organ Collagen Peptides promises to support hair, skin, nail, and joint health using grass-fed, pasture-raised collagen. The supplement contains Type I and III collagen, and there’s 20g of collagen peptides (18g of protein) in each serving. The formula mixes easily into anything.
Orgain Collagen Peptides is priced at $25 for 1 pound (23 servings / 46 scoops). There’s just one listed ingredient: collagen peptides.
Orgain Collagen Peptides is one of Amazon’s best-selling collagen peptide supplements. The supplement has 1400+ ratings and an average score of 4.4 out of 5.
Vital Proteins Original Collagen Peptides
Vital Proteins makes one of the best-known collagen peptide formulas on the market. The company’s Original Collagen Peptides formula was one of the first collagen peptide supplements to go mainstream. Today, the supplement continues to be extremely well-rated (4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon with 4,600+ ratings), although it’s priced slightly higher than other options on this list ($43 for 28 servings or 56 scoops).
Each scoop of Vital Proteins Original Collagen Peptides contains 20g of collagen peptides (18g of protein). In addition to collagen peptides, the formula contains 80mg of hyaluronic acid and 90mg (100% Daily Value) of vitamin C per serving.
LiveWell Collagen Peptides
LiveWell Collagen Peptides offers Type I and Type III collagen in an all-natural, hydrolyzed formula. Each 41 serving (16 oz) package is priced at $35.
LiveWell claims their formula helps replenish your skin, hair, and nails, restoring sagging skin, replenishing thinning hair, and renewing brittle nails, among other benefits. The formula is unflavored, low-sodium, and dissolves easily.
LiveWell, like the two other supplements at the top of our list above, is one of the best-rated and best-selling collagen peptide supplements available today. The supplement has an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon with 5,000+ ratings to date.
Garden of Life Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides
Garden of Life makes a popular Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides supplement that claims to boost hair, skin, nail, and joint health. Priced at $31 for 28 servings, it’s one of the most affordable collagen peptide supplements on this list.
Don’t let the low price fool you: Garden of Life Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides has a similar ingredient profile to most other collagen peptide supplements listed here. Each scoop contains 20g of collagen peptides (18g of protein). Garden of Life has also added 1.5 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus plantarum to enhance digestion.
If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced collagen peptide supplement from a trusted brand, then Garden of Life Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides is one of the best options on the market today.
BUBS Naturals Collagen Protein
BUS Naturals makes a collagen protein supplement made from hydrolyzed, pasture-raised collagen peptides. Unlike every other collagen peptide supplement on this list so far, the Bubs Naturals supplement comes in packets – not a tub. There are 20 x 10g packets in each box of Bubs Naturals Collagen protein, which currently sells for $34 on Amazon.
BUBS Naturals uses a smaller dose of collagen peptides than other formulas on this list: there’s 10g of collagen peptides (from bovine sources) per serving, compared to the 20g serving size used in most other supplements. That collagen gives you 9g of protein per serving, although there are no other listed ingredients.
Physician’s Choice Collagen Peptides
Physician’s Choice Collagen Peptides markets its collagen peptide supplement as a post-workout and recovery formula: it’s not just a hair, skin, nail, and joint supplement. The unflavored formula consists of “double hydrolyzed” collagen powder “for enhanced absorption”.
The formula also specifically targets digestion. Each serving (7g scoop) contains 50mg of DigeSEB Digestive Enzyme Blend, which could support healthy digestion. There’s 7g of bovine collagen (6g of protein) in each scoop and 30 servings per container, with Amazon selling a container for around $25.
Physician’s Choice is one of the most-reviewed and most-popular collagen peptide supplements available today. The supplement has an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 with over 9,200 (!) reviews.
Sports Research Collagen Peptides
Sports Research (SR) Collagen Peptides contains hydrolyzed Type I and Type III collagen. There’s 11g of collagen peptides (10g of protein) per serving. You can mix the unflavored powder with the beverage of your choice, although Sports Research actually recommends mixing it with coffee or shakes.
Each 41 serving (1 x 11g scoop per serving) container is priced at around $28. That’s a cheap price-per-serving compared to other options on this list. However, the collagen peptide supplements at the top of our list all have 20g of collagen per serving.
Dr. Emil Nutrition Multi Collagen Plus
Dr. Emil Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Plus is the first collagen supplement on this list so far that comes in the form of pills – not powder. It’s also the first supplement so far that contains Types I, II, III, V, and X of collagen (most others contain just Types I and III).
Dr. Emil Nutrition claims their hydrolyzed collagen peptide pills are made from a blend of 100% grass-fed bovine, chicken, eggshell, and marine collagen sources. The five types of collagen purportedly provide “maximum benefits”, including anti-aging, joint support, and digestive support.
Each three capsule serving (30 servings per container) has 1,735mg of a multi-collagen complex. Dr. Emil Nutrition has added 2.5mg of BioPerine black pepper extract for better absorption. Each 90 capsule (30 serving) container is priced at $25. It also has the best Amazon rating of any collagen peptide supplement on this list: 4.8 stars out of 5 with 5,700+ reviews.
Vital Vitamins Multi Collagen Complex
Vital Vitamins Multi Collagen Complex, like the Dr. Emil Nutrition Multi Collagen Plus supplement, is a capsulated form of collagen peptides. Each capsule contains Types I, II, III, V, and X of collagen. Vital Vitamins claims their formula offers enhanced absorption for anti-aging, hair growth and nails, and healthy joints and skin.
Each three capsule serving contains 1,600mg of a multi collagen complex sourced from bovine hide, chicken bones, fish, and eggshell membrane. There’s also 50mg of the DigeSEB Digestive Enzyme Blend, which may boost your digestive health.
There are 150 capsules (50 servings) in each bottle. Vital Vitamins is also one of the most affordable collagen peptide supplements on this list, priced at just $13 per bottle. You get 20 more servings than Dr. Emil’s Multi Collagen Plus at half the price.
Perfect Keto Collagen
Perfect Keto Collagen mixes collagen peptides with MCT oil to support a ketogenic diet. It’s also one of the few supplements on this list available in multiple flavors, including unflavored, chocolate, salted caramel, and vanilla.
Each 20 serving container of Perfect Keto Collagen is priced at $39, and you get 10g of collagen powder (10g of protein) in each serving. That price seems to make Perfect Keto Collagen one of the more expensive supplements on this list, although the supplement also contains MCT oil – something no other collagen peptide supplement listed here contains. You get 5g of pure MCT oil powder in each serving to support ketosis.
NeoCell Collagen Protein Peptides
NeoCell makes a Collagen Protein Peptides supplement that promises to support healthy, beautiful skin. Priced at $20 for each 20-serving tub, NeoCell Collagen Protein Peptides has 20g of hydrolyzed bovine collagen peptides (18g of protein) in each serving. To enhance skin, hair, and nail benefits, NeoCell has added 30mg of hyaluronic acid, 60mg of vitamin C, and 5mg of amla fruit extract in each serving.
NeoCell is available unflavored or in two flavors (Pomegranate Acai or Mandarin Orange). You mix the powder with the beverage of your choice to support good skin, nail, and hair health.
How Do Collagen Supplements Work?
Collagen supplements give your body the collagen it needs as you age. Your collagen levels naturally decline with age, and collagen supplements help replenish your levels.
Collagen peptide supplements typically look like a white powder. The powder is a broken-down, digestible form of collagen. Most collagen comes from bovine (cow) sources, although some manufacturers have switched to marine (fish) sources.
Collagen supplements go by different names, although they all refer to the same thing. We’ve seen collagen supplements labeled as hydrolyzed collagen, collagen hydrolysate, collagen peptides, or gelatin. These terms are all used interchangeably, although there are slight differences between the terms.
Hydrolyzed collagen is collagen that has been broken down into collagen peptides or gelatin through hydrolyzation, which means a molecule of water has been added to a substance. All collagen supplements have been hydrolyzed to some degree, although some are specifically labeled as hydrolyzed collagen. Others are labeled as collagen hydrolysate, which means the same thing.
Collagen peptides are collagen molecules that have been fully broken down into digestible chains of amino acids called peptides.
Gelatin is a form of collagen that has not been fully hydrolyzed, which means it will remain in gel form.
Collagen peptide supporters argue that collagen peptides are the best form of collagen. Research shows that peptides may be more easily absorbed by the body, which means you can more easily access the benefits of collagen. Collagen peptides can also be mixed with hot or cold liquids, while gelatin collagen will form a gel in cold liquids.
Types of Collagen Peptide Supplements
Collagen peptide supplements come in two broad forms:
Marine-Sourced: Marine-sourced collagen peptide supplements are derived from fish. Cod and snapper are particularly common fish to use. Manufacturers use the skin and scales of the fish.
Bovine-Sourced: Bovine-sourced collagen comes from the connective tissues, bones, cartilage, and hides of cows. Bovine-sourced collagen is popular because it’s structurally similar to human collagen: three types of collagen (Type I, Type II, and Type III) comprise about 90% of the collagen in the human body, while bovine collagen supplements typically contain Type I and Type III.
As you can see, neither type of collagen peptide supplement is vegan or vegetarian-friendly. However, marine-sourced collagen peptides are pescatarian-friendly.
Other Ingredients in Peptide Supplements
Some peptide supplements contain just collagen. Others, however, contain antioxidants like vitamin C, moisture-boosting compounds like hyaluronic acid, or nutrients like biotin.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a vital molecule for skin health. It’s also a crucial antioxidant. Manufacturers add vitamin C to collagen peptide supplements to enhance skin-boosting benefits.
Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid is a molecule found naturally in the skin. Like collagen, hyaluronic acid production decreases with age. Taking a hyaluronic acid supplement can help keep your skin healthy and hydrated. This study from 2017 showed that taking oral hyaluronic acid supplements legitimately improves skin moisture.
Biotin: Biotin is another name for vitamin B7. Biotin deficiency is linked with hair loss, and biotin also plays a crucial role in overall hair health. Multiple studies have reinforced the idea that biotin supplements can support good hair health.
Digestive Enzymes: Some collagen supplements contain digestive enzymes to complement digestive benefits. Digestive enzymes help your body break down, digest, and extract nutrients from food.
Probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial gut bacteria. Some collagen peptide supplements contain probiotics to boost the digestive benefits of the supplement.
Collagen Peptide Supplement Benefits
Collagen peptide supplements are linked with many crucial health benefits. For clarity, we’ve separated collagen peptide benefits into skin, hair, and nail benefits.
Skin Benefits of Peptide Supplements
First, collagen supports your skin’s natural collagen and elastin production. Your body produces collagen naturally, but your levels of collagen drop with age. Some people take collagen supplements to prevent wrinkles and provide the skin with the ingredients it needs to stay firm and taut.
Our skin is made up of two main layers, including the epidermis and the dermis. The dermis contains cells called fibroblasts. Fibroblasts produce elastin and collagen. As fibroblasts get older, however, they produce less collagen, leading to visible signs of aging.
Can you really take a collagen peptide supplement to support your body’s natural collagen production? Surprisingly, research says yes.
This study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, for example, reviewed available evidence for collagen peptides, including randomized, placebo-controlled studies on collagen supplements over 12 to 24 weeks involving 800+ patients. Researchers concluded that results “are promising for the short and long-term use of oral collagen supplements for wound healing and skin aging” and that “oral collagen supplements also increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density.”
Second, collagen peptide supplements enhance skin hydration. Several studies have shown that collagen peptide supplements can boost moisture retention in your skin, helping your skin stay hydrated. Hydrated skin looks younger than dehydrated skin.
In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial published in Nutrients in 2018, for example, researchers found that participants’ moisture levels in the skin were seven times higher than a placebo.
There’s also some evidence that collagen reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making it a powerful anti-aging tool. We’ve already shown that collagen enhances moisture retention and collagen production in the skin, but studies have also shown it can support skin elasticity.
One study published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, for example, found that participants taking collagen peptide supplements “showed a statistically significant improvement in comparison to placebo” in terms of skin elasticity. Researchers praised the collagen supplement for enhancing skin elasticity and skin moisture in older women.
Hair and Nail Benefits of Peptide Supplements
Collagen peptide supplements may also significantly improve the health of your hair and nails.
First, oral collagen peptide supplements provide your hair with essential nutrients. Hair is mostly made from the protein keratin and structural lipids. Your body needs amino acids to build keratin, and it gets those amino acids from collagen peptides. In fact, collagen peptides contain significant levels of one amino acid called proline, and that’s the main amino acid the body uses to create keratin.
Your hair can get damaged by oxidative stress, and collagen peptides may reduce that oxidative stress to improve hair health. Oxidative stress doesn’t just damage your hair: it can also lead to hair loss. Oxidative stress comes from environmental factors – like air pollution – and other factors – like stress. Researchers have found some collagen supplements act as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals and fighting overall inflammation in your hair.
Researchers have also found that collagen peptides can support scalp health. Collagen peptides improve the health of your scalp for the same reason they improve the health of your skin: remember, your scalp is just like other skin on your body but with hair follicles. When you take a compound like collagen that benefits your skin, it can also benefit your scalp.
Finally, there’s evidence that collagen peptide supplements can significantly improve nail health. Researchers in this study gave participants a collagen supplement daily for 24 weeks, then found that their nail health improved. Researchers observed faster growth rates, reduced nail breakage, and improved nail appearance.
Other Benefits of Collagen Peptides
Collagen peptide supplements are best-known for benefiting the hair, skin, and nails. However, there’s also plenty of evidence linking collagen peptides to other health benefits – including improved joint health, digestive health, and more.
First, collagen peptide supplements may support joint health. Many people take collagen peptide supplements to reduce arthritis symptoms and boost joint mobility.
One study published in Current Medical Research and Opinion in 2008 found that 147 male and female athletes taking collagen supplements over a 24-week period experienced overall improvements in joint health.
More research needs to be done to confirm the joint health benefits of collagen peptide supplements. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence supporting collagen peptides and joint pain, and many people take collagen peptide supplements to reduce joint pain.
Second, collagen supplements may support good gut and digestive health. This study published in 2014 found that one of the main amino acids in collagen, L-glutamate, supports the intestine by neutralizing oxidative stress. This study published in the Journal of Clinical Pathology, meanwhile, found that collagen supplements improved digestive health in those with existing digestive conditions.
FAQs About Collagen Peptide Supplements
Q: What is collagen?
A: Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It plays a crucial role throughout the body, giving structure to your skin, hair, and nails, helping blood clot more effectively, and serving a number of other important bodily functions. As we age, the amount of collagen naturally produced by our bodies begins to decrease; collagen supplements can help to replenish the supply of natural glue known as collagen.
Q: What does collagen do?
A: Collagen provides the infrastructure of the musculoskeletal system, making it essential for mobility and joint health. From an aesthetic standpoint, collagen can help the skin to appear more youthful, more tight, and healthier. This can help consumers feel more happy in their own bodies, increasing wellness and psychological well-being.
Q: Where do collagen peptide supplements come from?
A: Collagen peptide supplements come from bovine (cow) or marine (fish) sources. This means that consumers are able to use collagen supplements that are completely natural and ethically raised, avoiding unnatural and artificial supplement supplemental aids.
Q: Are collagen peptide supplements vegan?
A: No, collagen peptide supplements are not considered vegan or vegetarian. This is because they are typically derived from cow or fish sources. Some forms of protein serve similar functions in the body and do fit within vegetarian or vegan diets, but consumers should conduct this research separately.
Q: What’s the deal with Type I, Type II, and Type III collagen?
A: 90% of human collagen comes from Type I, Type II, and Type III collagen, and bovine-sourced collagen consists of Type I and Type III collagen, making it the closest parallel to natural human collagen.
Q: Are collagen supplements safe for breastfeeding or expecting moms?
A: Collagen supplements are thought to be safe for breastfeeding or expecting moms, although you should talk to your doctor before taking any supplements while nursing or pregnant.
Q: Can your child take collagen?
A: Talk to your pediatrician before giving collagen to your child. Most children can take collagen, but young children still produce collagen naturally. Consumers should have a conversation with their child's physician before giving them any supplement.
Q: How long should you take collagen?
A: Collagen can be taken daily to support its targeted benefits. Many studies on collagen have demonstrated its long-term efficacy (3 to 6 months). For best results, consumers should take the supplement consistently over several months.
Q: How much collagen should you take per day?
A: Most collagen peptide supplements contain 10g to 20g of collagen peptides, with 20g of collagen per day being the most popular dosage. Taking anywhere from 10 to 20 grams per day is recommended, but users can tailor their dosages to their needs once they start to see initial results.
Q: How do you take collagen supplements?
A: Most collagen peptide supplements come in the form of an unflavored white powder. You mix the powder into any hot or cold beverage, including water, coffee, a shake, or anything else. Some collagen supplements are in gel pill form, so users should evaluate specific product instructions and dosages to ensure they're taking the supplement the right way.
Q: How do you get collagen from cowhide?
A: Most collagen peptides get their collagen from cowhide. The hides are cleaned and soaked in hot water to remove the fat, then soaked in a solution to release the collagen. The hides are cooked in water, and then the collagen is extracted from the hides. Many collagen supplements are ethically sources, which means they come from pastures that treat their cows respectfully and provide a sufficient quality of life.
Q: What’s the difference between collagen peptides and gelatin?
A: Collagen peptides and gelatin are two versions of collagen. The two have similar properties and benefits. However, gelatin will gel in cold liquids, making gelatin ideal to add to hot beverages (like soups, broths, sauces, or gravy). Collagen peptides, meanwhile, typically come in the form of a powder.
Q: Do collagen supplements improve hair growth?
A: Some studies have shown that collagen peptides can improve the health of your scalp, boost hair growth, and improve hair quality. There are many ways to improve hair growth, however, so consumers should consult their hair-care specialist to figure out what method will be best for them.
Q: Why do people take collagen?
A: Some people take collagen to improve skin health. Others take it for joint health. Some take collagen to improve digestion, hair health, or nail health, among other reasons. Collagen can help consumers obtain a number of benefits all over the body.
Q: Is marine or animal collagen better?
A: Bovine-sourced collagen has been shown to have better bioavailability than marine collagen. Marine collagen, however, is popular among those who do not want to eat beef products. If you eat beef products, we'd recommend going with bovine-sourced collagen.
Q: How much collagen do you need per day?
A: Experts recommend getting a minimum of 5g of collagen per day, although for significant benefits, you may want to take 10-15g of collagen per day. Some people take 30g of collagen per day, especially if they have an especially active lifestyle.
Q: How much protein is in a collagen peptide supplement?
A: Collagen has a significant amount of protein. An average 20g serving of collagen will have 18g of protein, which makes it more filled with protein than most other forms of protein supplementation users might have access to.
Q: What is hydrolyzed collagen?
A: Hydrolyzed collagen is a processed form of collagen. It has a water molecule added to it, making it easier to digest. This form of collagen is best for consumers who have trouble ingesting regular collagen.
Q: When should you take collagen?
A: Collagen can be taken at any time of day. Some recommend taking collagen at night to help your body repair itself while it sleeps. However, it is recommended that consumers use collagen at relatively the same time each day to maximize results and establish a healthy schedule of wellness.
Q: Can you get collagen from food?
A: Collagen is found in certain foods, including bone broth (bone broth is essentially just cooked collagen). However, you have to consume significant amounts of bone broth to get the equivalent dose in a single serving of a collagen peptide supplement. For users who want the effects of collagen on their hair, skin, and nails, should generally use collagen supplements directly.
Q: What’s the difference between collagen peptides and other collagen?
A: Collagen peptides are small chains of amino acids formed when large collagen proteins are hydrolyzed (i.e. a water molecule is added). Collagen peptides are easy to digest, easy for the body to absorb, and can easily be dissolved in hot or cold liquids – unlike other collagen supplements.
Collagen peptide supplements are trendy anti-aging products with proven benefits. Many people take collagen peptides to boost skin health. Some take collagen peptides to boost joint, hair, or nail health.
Scientific evidence is increasingly supporting the benefits of collagen peptides. As more research gets published, collagen peptide supplements are becoming more and more popular.
With more collagen peptide supplements on the market than ever, it’s easy for anyone to enjoy the benefits of collagen peptide supplements.