Collagen peptides are the broken-down form of collagen, a protein that is the fundamental building block for everything from from skin to tendons to cartilage.
Its found in several beauty products as well as many joint supplements.
It’s useful for improving skin health and reducing joint pain. Collagen peptides come from processed animal bones, tendons, or fish scales, and are hydrolyzed (broken down) in a way that makes them easier for your body to digest.
They are also a good source of protein and BCAAs, so thanks to their broad range of benefits, they are becoming an increasingly popular supplement.
Want the best source of collagen peptides for improved skin and joint health? We’ve ranked the ten best collagen peptide supplements on the market according to quality.
1. Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate
Taking collagen can improve the appearance of skin and muscle recovery, but it matters how much you’re getting.
That is why we like Collagen Hydrolysate by Transparent Labs. It supplies 11 grams of collagen per scoop, yielding 10 grams of quality protein content. That type of quantity can’t be matched by a handful of pills.
Collagen Hydrolysate is also a breeze to take. Its flavored with natural cocoa and tastes delicious in both water and milk-type drinks.
Take Collagen Hydrolysate consistently once a day to reap all the benefits, like more youthful appearing skin, stronger joints, and faster healing muscles.
2. Team Keto Collagen Peptides
Collagen protein is extremely popular in the ketogenic community due to its naturally low sugar content.
Team Keto focus on this characteristic, and bring forward their own grass-fed collagen peptides with a hefty 10 grams of collagen per scoop.
Team Keto’s collagen Peptides are flavored and sweetened 100% naturally. But what makes Team Keto extra special are their flavors.
Collagen Peptides is available in: chocolate, salted caramel, strawberry’s n’cream and unflavored. With so many great tasting flavors, there’s no way you can go wrong.
3. Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen
Ancient Nutrition has a great solution for people who can’t stand the taste of standard hydrolyzed collagen peptides—this supplement delivers them in a pill.
The multi collagen blend also includes a wider range of collagen types than you’d encounter in a normal collagen supplement, thanks to the broad range of sources (eggs, fish, and plant sources).
If you want a broad range of benefits from a collagen supplement, this should be a supplement you consider.
4. Dr. Axe Multi Collagen
Dr. Axe is one of the biggest proponents of the skin and joint benefits of collagen protein, and his company makes one of the best collagen supplements out there.
It goes the extra mile, using four different sources of collagen to deliver a wider range of collagen types than you’d find in a single-source collagen.
This means you’re more likely to reap the wide-ranging benefits that these different collagens support, like better skin, stronger hair, healthier gut bacteria, and improved joint health.
5. Zhou Collagen Peptides
Zhou Collagen Peptides is one of the few collagen peptide supplements that goes out of its way to ensure purity and quality by having a third-party lab test its collagen for purity and amino acid content.
This means you don’t have to worry about the presence of things like toxic heavy metals, which some nutritionists have expressed concern over. Heavy metals can accumulate in animal bones, so there is worry—mostly theoretical—that some of this may end up in collagen peptides. Not a concern with Zhou.
It’s definitely the best unflavored powder-based collagen peptide supplement that comes from a single source.
6. Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Collagen
Ancient Nutrition is the solution you’re looking for if you want the ultra-pure and complete protein content of bone broth as well as the skin and joint benefits of collagen peptides.
This supplement contains both; the bone broth is derived from chicken, beef, and turkey bones, while the collagen is derived from eggshell membranes.
It’s flavored with cocoa powder, stevia, and monk fruit, so it tastes good without adding any sugar or artificial sweeteners. Its taste and protein content make it a high-quality and versatile choice.
7. Sports Research Collagen Peptides
Sports Research makes a collagen peptide powder that uses grass-fed and pasture-raised cows as the source of its collagen.
The blend contains type I and III collagen, and is not flavored or blended with any other ingredients, making it a great choice if you want a beef-derived collagen peptide supplement.
8. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
Vital Proteins derives their collagen peptides from the hides of grass-fed and pasture-raised cows, and provides it in an unadulterated and unflavored powder form.
It’s a solid source of collagen peptides, though the taste is fairly bland. We don’t quite understand how collagen from different sources (bones, hide, eggshells, fish scales) interacts with your body, so it’s difficult to say whether the fact that this collagen comes from hides versus bone has any impact on how it affects your body.
9. Mav Nutrition Collagen Peptides
Mav Nutrition makes a single-source collagen peptide supplement in powder form with no flavoring. It uses pasture-raised and grass-fed cow hide as the source for its protein, which is pretty standard among collagen peptide sources.
10. Zammex Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides
Derived from grass-fed and pasture raised cows, Zammex has a solid collagen peptide supplement. Like many other competitors, it’s an unflavored powder-form supplement, which means it’s very pure but tastes pretty unremarkable.
The manufacturer is not as well-known as some of the other collagen peptide supplement makers, which docks it a few places in the rankings, but it’s still not a bad pick.
11. Further Food Collagen Peptides
Further Food makes a powder-based, unflavored collagen peptide supplement. It’s pretty standard in most regards, though the company is not clear on exactly how and from where they derive their collagen peptides.
If you want technical details on the animal and animal part from which this collagen peptide supplement comes from, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
12. Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate
Great Lakes makes a pretty basic collagen supplement, but it’s unclear where this collagen is sourced from.
That makes it a poor choice for people looking to optimize their collagen source, or at least be consistent when trying different supplements.
Collagen peptide benefits and side effects
Collagen is the protein that forms the structure for your skin, hair, nails, joint cartilage, and tendons. As such, it plays a critical role in everything from maintaining youthful skin and joint integrity and improving musculoskeletal health.
A collagen peptide supplement, sourced from animal materials like cow hide, chicken bones, fish scales, and eggshell membranes, could help you on all of these fronts.
Collagen peptides can improve your skin health. A scientific study published in 2014 by researchers in Germany investigated the effects of a collagen peptide supplement on skin health in elderly women who took a collagen peptide supplement or a placebo for the eight-week study (1).
The researchers found that skin elasticity improved in the women taking the collagen peptides, and there was some additional evidence that the supplement helped with skin hydration too.
These results make sense, given that collagen is what gives skin its stretchy, elastic properties. Many wrinkle creams use formulations that are intended to regenerate collagen in your skin, and this study suggests that ingesting it directly may help as well.
Additional research in the Journal of Medicinal Food suggests that a collagen peptide supplement aids skin by reducing some of the changes seen with aging (2).
This study used rats as an animal model, and demonstrated that increasing collagen intake over the course of four weeks led to an increased synthesis of new collagen in the skin, as well as a decrease in a different protein associated with skin aging.
While more research is needed to see if these results apply to humans, too, it’s a promising start.
Collagen peptides may be a useful treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. A study published in the prestigious journal Science in 1993 first outlined the potential for collagen peptides when it comes to treating inflammatory joint pain (3).
The study examined the effects of a chicken-derived collagen supplement in 60 people with severe rheumatoid arthritis.
The authors observed a significant decrease in swollen and tender joints, and four people who received the collagen supplement went into complete remission.
Interestingly, even though joint cartilage is made largely of collagen, the biological rationale for why collagen peptides help with joint pain isn’t as straightforward as replacing old and damaged collagen with new material from the supplement.
Instead, at least in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the most likely explanation is the mediation of the immune system’s response to collagen.
Ingesting collagen of the same type as that in your joints forces your immune system to become more tolerant to these proteins, thereby reducing the amount of inflammation that occurs in the joint.
Osteoarthritis can also be treated by collagen peptides. This was the conclusion of a clinical trial published in 2009 in the International Journal of Medical Sciences (4).
The trial compared a collagen supplement to a glucosamine supplement among patients with osteoarthritis. The results showed that a greater proportion of people who received the collagen peptide supplement improved their quality of life, leading the authors to recommend it as a potential treatment for osteoarthritis.
A review article published by researchers at the University of Illinois College of Medicine analyzed some of the emerging research on using collagen peptides to treat osteoarthritis (5).
The authors cited numerous studies which identified benefits to using collagen peptides, including decreased osteoarthritis pain and increased quality of life. Though they noted that large clinical trials are still lacking, the evidence is promising.
Ingesting collagen peptides also appears to increase your body’s rate of synthesis of collagen, according to a 2014 article in the journal Food Chemistry (6).
In this study, the authors demonstrated that ingesting a dose of collagen led to an increase in the levels of hydroxyproline in the blood, which is an important building block for the collagen that makes up your joint surfaces.
It may be this upregulation that is responsible for the regenerative and pain-relieving properties of collagen peptide supplements.
Collagen peptides can help athletes with joint pain. A clinical trial on varsity athletes at Penn State University investigated the use of a collagen peptide supplement over the course of 6 months (7).
Athletes with joint pain were randomly assigned to either a placebo group or a collagen peptide supplement group. The athletes were evaluated by a physician at the end of the study and also filled out a survey describing their joint pain.
The researchers found that the collagen peptide supplement was effective at decreasing a number of measures of joint pain.
When they restricted their analysis to athletes with knee pain, the collagen peptide supplement appeared particularly effective.
These findings are especially encouraging because they suggest that collagen protein might actually be able to slow down or prevent arthritis and other types of joint damage in the first place, instead of just being used as a treatment.
So far, there have been no significant side effects reported in the clinical trials of collagen peptides. A few patients suffered headaches and constipation in one trial, but the overall rate of side effects was not different from the glucosamine supplement that was used as a control in this study (8).
Overall, collagen peptides appear to be very safe, which is logical given that they are derived from foods not typically associated with any acute health risks—chicken, fish, eggs, etc.
The optimal dose of collagen peptides appears to differ based on the purpose you are using it for. To improve your skin health, and that of other connective tissue on your body like hair and nails, most studies use doses of 2.5 to 5 grams per day of collagen hydrolysate.
In contrast, doses are often higher when collagen peptides are used for treating joint pain, and especially arthritis. Doses more along the lines of 12 grams per day appear more appropriate, based on what clinical trials have used thus far.
Some studies have people split the dosage into two equal amounts, taken in the morning and the evening, though it’s not clear if this approach is superior.
Collagen peptides show promise as a way to increase the elasticity and youth of your skin, and there is strong evidence supporting its use as a treatment for joint pain.
The appropriate dose appears to be dictated by whether you want to use collagen peptides for cosmetic or injury-related purposes.
Whether you are an athlete with activity-related knee pain, are suffering from osteoarthritis, or even rheumatoid arthritis, there is reason to believe that the proteins in a collagen peptide supplement is a safe and effective way to substantially improve your symptoms.