In the realm of supplements for your normal training regimen, there are a handful of staples that commonly fill most kitchen counters or cabinets. Proteins, pre-workouts and creatine come to mind, but there are other nutritional concoctions out there that can have just as much impact on your daily health and performance.
Take collagen, for example. Once pigeonholed for skin health and eliminating wrinkles, this particular protein has been found to be a great supplement for a number of factors outside of just aesthetics. From improved joint health and stronger hair, to improved bone structure and more, collagen peptides — the amino acids that make up collagen — have quickly become a mainstay in daily nutrition.
But like most supplements on the market today, not every tub, capsule or gummy is going to deliver the same results. Thankfully, we’ve paced through the aisles, downed plenty of shakes and compiled our notes to find the best collagen peptides available today. Before we dive into our roundup of these ever-popular supplements, it helps to understand just what these powders contain, some of their benefits and what to look for when making a decision for your personal routine.
BEST OVERALL COLLAGEN PEPTIDESVital Proteins Collagen Peptides Read More
BEST UPGRADE COLLAGEN PEPTIDESSwolverine Grass-Fed Hydrolyzed Collagen Read More
BEST BUDGET COLLAGEN PEPTIDESOrgain Collagen Peptide Powder Orgain Read More
BEST FLAVORED COLLAGEN PEPTIDESAncient Nutrition Collagen Peptides Protein Read More
BEST ON-THE-GO COLLAGEN PEPTIDESMomentous Collagen Shot Read More
What Are Collagen Peptides?
Collagen peptides, in essence, are minute particles harvested from animal collagen. Elizabeth McNear, R.D., C.S.S.D., states, “When cooked, collagen proteins get denatured and turn into what we know as gelatin. This process is taken one step further to create even smaller pieces while still maintaining the same amino acid complete, known as collagen peptides.”
Collagen peptides are typically made from bovine (beef) or porcine (pork) products, mostly the skin, cartilage and bones of these animals. Because of these origins, collagen peptides are traditionally not vegan-friendly, although many manufacturers, like some included in this list, have found a way to bring supported joint, hair and bone health to a wider array of enthusiastic athletes.
The Benefits of Collagen Peptides
Improved Joint Health
Collagen is naturally found in the body, but as we begin to age, our collagen stores can become depleted, thus resulting in creakier joints and aching tendons. By supplementing with collagen peptides, we can help dampen the inflammation and pain associated with this degenerating cartilage, keeping our hinges well-oiled and easier to move around on. This is why collagen peptides are a favorite supplement amongst athletes or those suffering from degenerative joint issues like osteoarthritis.
Increased Bone and Muscle Strength
Our bones are primarily collagen, so to help alleviate any weakening over time, supplementing with collagen peptides can help keep our frames sturdy, strong and ready for the training days ahead. Collagen peptides can also help improve the health of your bone’s support system — i.e., your tendons, ligaments and connective tissue — which can aid in creating that stable frame that’s less susceptible to in-training injuries.
On the muscular front, collagen peptides have been shown to help defend against sarcopenia or the natural loss of muscle mass that occurs with aging. Arginine and glycine, two of the amino acids found in collagen, are used to make creatine, another supplement that’s been shown to help aid in muscle growth and retention. While further studies are needed on its potency, supplementing with collagen peptides could be the ticket to help preserve those hard-fought gains you’ve battled to achieve all year.
Moisturizes the Skin and Scalp
When ingested, collagen peptides can help keep your skin well-hydrated and plump. This can keep your body’s largest organ plenty energized, leading to potentially fewer wrinkles and sagging. Your skin health is also tied to your scalp, so a well-moisturized dome can keep those hair follicles quenched for better growth and retention. Additionally, collagen supplements contain a number of key amino acids that can help in the production of keratin, the main protein found in hair follicles. Adding these amino acids can provide a helpful jolt of fuel for your hair, leading to stronger roots and fewer broken strands.
Who Can Take Collagen Peptides?
Anyone can take, and benefit from, collagen peptide supplements. Although they've been marketed heavily to women for their anti-aging properties, the benefits of collagen are greater than simply skin deep, as noted above.
When choosing a collagen peptide supplement, there are plenty of forms available, from powders to capsules, gels, gummies, drinks and more. While this can be overwhelming, look for products that feature anywhere from 2.5–15 grams of collagen per serving. This can help you cater your intake to your specific goals — for dietary support and joint health, try to consume 2.5–5 grams daily, while those seeking increased muscle mass may want to aim closer to 15 grams. Naturally, though, always consume the suggested serving listed by the manufacturer.
How We Tested
Over the course of multiple weeks, we added collagen peptides to our normal supplement regimen in multiple forms, noting key features like collagen per serving, mixability and, of course, taste. We followed the recommended dosages listed by each manufacturer to give each nutritional additive a fair shake, highlighting whether these measurements were reasonable or inconvenient in regard to our normal routine.
Now, let’s break out the shaker bottles and get down to improved joint, hair and bone health with the best collagen peptides available today.
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
With a whopping 20 grams of collagen peptides per serving, this easy-to-drink, unflavored powder was our top performer throughout testing. We enjoyed how simple it was to add this Vital Proteins supplement to a number of our traditional shakes, and the paleo-friendly composition also lent itself to a cleaner makeup, too. While some might not enjoy the unflavored composition of this collagen peptides powder, we have no doubt you’ll be able to find a tasty beverage to mix with for your tastebuds.
Swolverine Grass-Fed Hydrolyzed Collagen
If you’re looking for that sweet spot between muscle growth and joint health, take a gander at this premium collagen offering from Swolverine. With 10 grams of Grass-Fed Hydrolyzed Collagen Type I & Type III Bovine, this quick-dissolving supplement can boost any morning beverage or post-workout shake. Our tester did note, however, that they experienced a mild aftertaste on occasion. While this wasn’t completely off-putting, it is worth mentioning if you’d rather not deal with lingering flavor notes.
Orgain Collagen Peptide Powder
Orgain’s Collagen Peptides powder can be a great way to promote better joint and hair health without spending your last dime. At roughly $1.25 per serving, this is one of the most approachable collagen peptides supplements we found on the market. Plus, if you want an added boost of protein with your powder, Orgain offers collagen peptides in a tasty chocolate flavor that adds an extra gram of the vital macronutrient to the supplement facts. Just make sure to mix this particular supplement well, as we did notice some clumping and grainier concoctions when trying to rush through the mixing process.
Ancient Nutrition Collagen Peptides Protein
If you get a little more on your tastebuds, give this collagen supplement from Ancient Nutrition a go. Our tester found the orange flavor palette to be a nice addition to their morning routine, and the 20 grams of collagen complex was exceptional for providing that enhanced joint, hair and muscle support. Also, if you want to see results quicker, Ancient Nutrition is the only leading collagen brand on the market currently with a proprietary fermented collagen ingredient backed by human clinical studies. The only caveat to sustaining a month-long routine, you’ll need to order multiple tubs, as this flavored supplement is only available in 12-serving containers.
Momentous Collagen Shot
For those that live a really active lifestyle, getting all your supplements in during the morning can be a struggle. Thankfully, this collagen peptides supplement from Momentous comes in a convenient single-serving gel packet, perfect for tossing into a gym bag or pocket for on-the-go nutrition. Each shot contains 10 grams of the nutrition-backed amino acids, and the flavor is nice, too, albeit after you get used to it. While this collagen peptides supplement does have a higher cost per serving when compared to others in this list, you can’t beat the convenience of these easily packable single-serving shots.
Olly Collagen Gummy Rings
We won’t blame you if you misinterpret these gummy rings for your favorite road trip snack. Seriously, it’s difficult to differentiate these Olly Collagen Gummy Rings from the more sugary, less healthy candies. Taking the prescribed two gummies in the morning was a breeze for our tester, who normally munched on these tasty treats as they made their morning coffee. While the amount of collagen per serving is a little lacking, if you’re looking for a quick way to mix pleasure and performance, these are the perfect nostalgia trip for the job.
Rae Vegan Collagen Boost Capsules
Capsules can be a quick and simple way to get your daily collagen dosage without the hassle of finding a shaker, mixing up powders and drinking down your mixture. These Vegan Collagen Boost Capsules boast a powerful blend of vitamin C, bamboo, and plant collagen boosters, prime for treating your skin, joints, hair and more. Just don’t expect to find “collagen” in the listed ingredients. Because of the vegan-friendly construction, these capsules are more of a support system to your natural collagen production rather than a dose of collagen itself.
Manna Liposomal Collagen Peptides
Want to have your collagen peptides ready at a moment’s notice? This ready-to-drink blend from Manna can be ideal for those quick mornings when you don’t want to waste time mixing and blending your own beverage — or worse, powdering up your kitchen countertop. Despite the syrupy composition, which might be a little distasteful for some athletes, this liposomal collagen supplement is easy to absorb for all the benefits of the drier, messier options out there.
Nordic Naturals Marine Collagen
Collagen peptides don’t always have to be sourced from beef or pork. Marine collagen can be ideal for those wanting to mix up their supplementation or those following pescetarian diets, and this offering from Nordic Naturals checks all the marks. A flavorful strawberry profile gives every smoothie a sweet taste profile, and the added natural vitamin C provides helpful antioxidant support. At just 5.29 ounces though, you’re not getting a lot for the near $40 price tag.
Further Food Matcha Collagen Peptides
For those seeking a morning energy boost with the added notes of joint, skin and hair health, this matcha-infused collagen peptides powder could be the answer to your needs. Organic matcha and cordyceps mushrooms give this supplement a jolt of energy that can sustain your levels throughout your day without the unnecessary comedown you may experience with other caffeinated beverages. Plus, 8 grams of collagen are plenty to give this nutritional additive the framework it needs to help support your joints, hair, muscles and more. We do recommend, however, that you mix this powder with room temperature liquids or hotter, as some have found it can get rather clumpy when trying to combine it with ice cold water.