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Summary

  • What is collagen?

    Collagen is a type of protein found in the skin (types I and III collagen), joints (type II collagen) and other parts of the body. It uniquely contains the amino acid hydroxyproline, along with other amino acids. Collagen in supplements is typically hydrolyzed, i.e., broken down to amino acids and/or chains of amino acids (peptides) to improve absorption as well as the ease with which it mixes into liquids, such as cold water. The specific composition of these "collagen hydrolysate" or "collagen peptide" products can vary somewhat depending on how they are hydrolyzed (which typically involves heat and enzymes). Gelatin also contains collagen, but is not soluble in cold water (see What It Is).
  • Health benefits of collagen:

    Collagen appears to modestly reduce wrinkles and slightly improve the appearance of cellulite. It may also modestly improve joint pain and/or flexibility in osteoarthritis, help with tendons, and possibly help with the treatment of pressure ulcers, burns, and bleeding gums. These effects can require two to six months of daily use (see What It Does).
  • What did CL's tests of collagen supplements find?

    ConsumerLab's tests showed that products contained their expected amounts of collagen, ranging, per daily serving, from about 2.9 grams to 20 grams among powders, and from 1.8 grams to 6 grams for tablets and capsules. A cartilage-based product contained a much smaller amount (10 mg) but this is appropriate for that particular ingredient (see What CL Found).
  • Best collagen supplements?

    Among the products Approved in testing, ConsumerLab selected a Top Pick for skin (wrinkles) and a Top Pick for joint pain. In addition to passing tests for quality, these products contained brands used in clinical studies that suggest benefits and, for powders, had superior taste when mixed in liquid.
  • How much collagen should I use?

    Typical daily dosage of hydrolyzed collagen is 1 to 10 grams. Dosing with UC-II, a cartilage-based product, is much lower. Collagen may be taken with or without food. There is no "vegan collagen," as plants do not produce collagen. However, there are some supplements that contain certain vitamins, amino acids, and other ingredients used in building collagen. For details see ConsumerTips.
  • Collagen supplements safety and side effects:

    Collagen supplements are generally well-tolerated, but mild side effects including gastrointestinal symptoms, headache, dizziness and rash can occur. People with allergies to specific sources of collagen (such as fish) should avoid collagen products derived from these sources. Stop taking collagen before certain bone-related blood tests. Although there is theoretical concern that collagen and gelatin (including gelatin capsules) derived from cows could be contaminated with the infectious agent that causes “mad cow disease,” these ingredients are not derived from high-risk tissue and are subject to regulations that make this unlikely. For details, see Concerns and Cautions.

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Alphabetical list of collagen supplement brands compared in this review

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Alaya Multi Collagen

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Ancient Nutrition Collagen Peptides - Unflavored

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Besha Inc Collagen Peptides

View Larger Image 8315_large_GardenOfLife-CollagenPeptides-Collagen-2023.png

Garden of Life Grass Fed Collagen Peptides - Unflavored

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GNC Women's Collagen

View Larger Image 8308_large_GreatLakesGelatinCo-CollagenHydrolysate-Collagen-2023.png

Great Lakes Gelatin Co. Collagen Hydrolysate - Unflavored

View Larger Image 8314_large_HealthyOrigins-UCII-Collagen-2023.png

Healthy Origins Natural UC-II

View Larger Image 8316_large_LivingWell-MyDailyCollagen-Collagen-2023.png

Living Well Nutraceuticals My Daily Collagen

View Larger Image 8309_large_NativePath-CollagenPeptides-Collagen-2023.png

NativePath Collagen Peptides

View Larger Image 8310_large_Sparkle-CollagenForHealthyJoints-Collagen-2023.png

Sparkle Wellness Collagen For Healthy Joints

View Larger Image 8311_large_SR-MarineCollagenPeptides-Collagen-2023.png

Sports Research Marine Collagen Peptides - Unflavored

View Larger Image 8303_large_TruNature-Verisol-Collagen-2023.png

Trunature Verisol Collagen

View Larger Image 8312_large_VitalProteins-CollagenPeptides-Collagen-2023.png

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides - Chocolate

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Youtheory Collagen

You must be a member to get the full test results along with ConsumerLab.com's recommendations and quality ratings for collagen supplements. You will get results for 10 collagen supplements selected for testing by ConsumerLab plus four others that passed the same testing in CL's voluntary Quality Certification Program.

 


In this comprehensive review of collagen supplements you'll learn:  

 

  • Which collagen supplements failed or passed ConsumerLab's tests
  • CL's Top Pick collagen supplements for skin (wrinkles) and for joint pain
  • How collagen supplements compare on the amounts of collagen they contain, impurities, quality, price, and other ingredients  
  • The clinical evidence for and against using collagen supplements for wrinkles and dryness in aging skin, joint pain and stiffness, and building muscle, as well as information about hyaluronic acid (an ingredient added to some collagen products)
  • The differences among types of collagen (types I, II and III), forms of collagen (collagen hydrolysate, collagen peptides, gelatin, and "raw" undenatured collagen), and branded ingredients (Verisol, NeoCell, BioCell, UC-II, and NT2)  
  • Dosage for specific uses including wrinkles, joint pain, and building muscle  
  • Safety and side effects with collagen supplements

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Additional Information
Tested through CL's Quality Certification Program prior to, or after initial posting of this Product Review.