Whether it’s in some influencer’s favorite smoothie or you read about it in a medical journal, you’ve probably heard the health buzzword collagen. Collagen is the most abundant component of our extracellular make-up and it’s the decisive protein that determines skin physiology by enabling its numerous functions to take place, according to the National Institutes of Health.
A placebo-controlled clinical trial from NIH confirmed that skin aging could be improved using collagen supplements to restore skin hydration, elasticity, and density. Better yet, the study indicates that collagen contributes to overall skin health without causing any adverse side effects.
Some research even indicates that the benefits of collagen may reach far beyond physical appearance. Researchers from The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai found increasing levels of type III collagen — the form of the protein cancer cells produce and cover themselves in — stops diseased cells from spreading.
While most people know collagen for its ability to help people look younger, it is more importantly a building block for the skin, bones and connective tissues, providing strength and elasticity. Many people have found collagen supplements have improved their skin health, while also creating an active interface between the internal and external environments of the body.
For our findings, we visited 10 of the leading health websites to see which collagen supplements and brands were rated the highest. Our list is ranked based on the most-recommended collagen products across these sites.
The List: Best Collagen Supplements Recommended By Expert Websites
1. Vital Proteins
Vital Proteins is one of the most popular lines of collagen due to its comprehensive list of diverse products ranging from flavored collagens, to collagens with added vitamin boosts.
“Their OG—Original Collagen Peptides—is their bestseller for a reason: one scoop gives you 18 grams of collagen as well as hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. It’s also soluble in hot or cold liquids. Need more convincing? The accolades for this product are hard to beat: Rated ‘Best Choice’ on Amazon,” Eating Well notes in its review.
It’s also bioavailable and produced from grass-fed cows, which means no hormones or pesticides, as reported by The Greatist. Another benefit? The powders dissolve fast with no added flavor, so you won’t have to suffer through the chalky, gelatine-like flavor that some other collagens have.
2. Ancient Nutrition
Ancient Nutrition is a frontrunner among the list of best collagens due to its pure source of protein and its blend of five types of collagen.
“The cows are grass-fed and pasture-raised, and the supplement is non-GMO and gluten-free. While Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein provides many collagen types, it does contain fish and egg, which are major allergens,” Very Well Health writes.
This powder is also GMO-free, soy-free, and dairy-free.
“This [product] provides the consumer with efficacious amounts of type I, II, III, V and X collagen,” Taylor Wallace, Ph.D., principal and CEO of the food science and nutrition research firm Think Healthy tells Forbes. “This product does the trick for skin, joint and bone health due to the larger dose and array of collagens present. It’s also easy to add to water or other beverages like coffee.”
3. Further Food
If you’re looking for a single-source collagen supplement, Further Food is a great option. “This hydrolyzed collagen powder is unflavored and designed to easily dissolve in your favorite drinks, shakes, and smoothies. With just one simple ingredient, Further Food Collagen Peptides is free of additives, sweeteners, fillers, and preservatives,” Healthline writes.
Each serving contains eight grams of collagen, sourced from grass-fed and pasture-raised hydrolyzed bovine hide.
“Further Food shines in testing, which is why it’s one of the best collagen powders you can get. Not only is it rigorously tested for purity, but it’s also third-party tested to ensure that the quality and potency of each bottle are what’s advertised,” CNet adds.
4. Nordic Marine Collagen
Marine collagen is a great alternative to bovine collagen and a great option for those who avoid using meat products.
“The protein is sourced from sustainably-sourced, wild-caught cod,” Dr. Jampolis tells Forbes. “This product also contains a healthy dose of vitamin C (45 milligrams—50 percent of the RDA), which may help with collagen production, especially if you aren’t getting enough vitamin C daily.”
The product is also non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, and free of artificial colors and flavors, and reviewed to mix well with liquids. “If you’re looking for a collagen powder that is backed by science, Nordic Naturals’ Marine Collagen Powder is the perfect choice for you,” Discover Magazine notes.
As always, before making any significant changes to your daily diet, lifestyle, or supplement routine, be sure to speak with your doctor first.