4 Best Collagen Powders, According to a Nutritionist

Collagen may help improve skin, hair, nails and even joint health. Here's how to choose the best collagen powder for you.

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Updated on September 22, 2023

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Photo by: Svittlana/Getty

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Our Top Collagen Picks

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in humans and animals. It’s a structural component of skin, nails, bones, cartilage and other connective tissues. Collagen also helps with cell turnover and organ protection. As we age our bodies produce less collagen, which can lead to a decline in skin integrity, less efficient soft tissue healing, as well as weakened joint cartilage.

Collagen supplements provide an external source of collagen peptides, that are believed to potentially help boost the body’s ability to produce more collagen. There are serval types of collagen: Types I, II and III are the most common varieties found in supplements. Types I and III give structure to skin, bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles and organs, while type II plays a more significant role in cartilage and joint health. These supplemental versions are derived from animal sources like chicken, cow and pig; marine sources are also available. Vitamin C also plays a role in collagen production and is often included in collagen powders.

Like most supplements, collagen powders are not thoroughly regulated by the FDA and therefore carry an increased risk of contamination, adulteration and product inconsistency.

This lack of regulation also limits the amount of scientific research conducted on product safety and efficacy. Athletes who are subject to drug testing should be especially careful with taking any supplements and it is recommended they seek brands and specific batches of products that have been tested by a 3rd party verification company such as Informed Sport or NSF-certified for sport.

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Photo by: Yulia Lisitsa/Getty

Yulia Lisitsa/Getty

Does Collagen Work?

The jury is still out on the overall effectiveness of collagen supplements, but there has been scientific research to support its use. A systematic review of 11 articles published in 2019 determined that oral collagen supplementation showed promise for wound healing and skin aging. This study also found no adverse effects of collage supplementation over time frames ranging from 8 to 24 weeks.

Even before the hype surrounding collagen supplements was popular, collagen therapy was studied in exercise and rehabilitation. A study published in 2018 determined consumption of collagen and vitamin C one hour prior to exercise may help increase collagen production during exercise. A study from 2022 found a similar type of collagen therapy can help enhance outcomes of lower body strength training.

Best Collagen Powders

Here are our top picks for the best collagen powders. Look for these brands and products, and use each as directed. These powders can be added to beverages and soups or blended into smoothies and smoothie bowls.

$42.98
Photo Courtesy Amazon

From grocery stores to gas stations, you can find this brand in many retailers including online. It’s odorless, flavorless and easily dissolving, and it contains vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. The brand offers a performance line with NSF certification.

$39.99 $29.22
Photo Courtesy Amazon

A trusted brand that checks all the boxes, this diverse product contains collagen types I, II and III along with vitamin C and grapeseed extract.

$32.26
Photo Courtesy Amazon

Nordic Naturals is an excellent brand for fish oil products, and they also offer collagen powder extracted from wild-caught cod. This powder contains vitamin C and comes in a pleasant strawberry flavor.

$51.95
Photo Courtesy Amazon

An NSF-certified brand made from bovine sources and vitamin C to help target tendons and ligaments, this a good choice for competitive athletes who are training regularly.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. She is the author of four cookbooks First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers, The Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook, The Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook and Healthy Quick and Easy Smoothies.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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