Ranking the Best Collagen Peptides of 2021

Collagen works as the fundamental building block for your body’s ability to maintain and support everything from your skin to bones to cartilage.

As we age, our body’s natural collagen stores typically start to decrease, and diets today have less collagen which can lead to symptoms such as stiffness, sagging skin, wrinkles swollen joints, and more.

Collagen peptides come from processed animal bones, tendons, or fish scales and are broken down so your body can use them for all their benefits. They are also a good source of protein and BCAAs making them great to help recovery and support damaged muscles.

When looking for collagen peptides it’s important to understand the following:

  • Collagen peptides help to support your body’s natural joint and ligament health as well as help repair and alleviate pain from arthritis or injury.
  • Collagen peptides help your skin to maintain its elasticity giving you a more smooth and younger-looking appearance.
  • Due to its high protein and BCAA content, collagen peptides can help support muscle growth, recovery, and metabolism.

Our Winners

Best Collagen Peptides Overall: Live Conscious Collagen Peptides

Best Collagen Peptide for Women: Vital Proteins

Best Collagen Peptide Capsule: Vital Vitamins Multi Collagen Complex

Best Collagen Peptides for Men: Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

Rankings

1. Live Conscious Collagen Peptides

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Live Conscious doesn’t mess around when it comes to high-quality products, and their collagen peptides follow suit. This product contains 20 amino acids and 11g of collagen, formulated to ensure the highest absorption.

This all-natural hydrolyzed protein provides support to your hair, skin, nails, and joints. Live Conscious uses pasture-raised, hormone-free and grass-fed cows to ensure their bovine collagen is top-notch.

There are no fillers, pesticides, additives, soy, gluten, or shellfish in this product and it’s also been 3rd party tested made in a GMP facility.

Live Conscious ticks all of our boxes for the highest-quality product and therefore takes the #1 spot on our list.

2. Essential Elements Collagen Peptides

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Grass-fed and pasture-raised and hormone-free, Essential Elements delivers a solid collagen peptide powder. This supplement contains hydrolyzed type I and III grade A bovine collagen to ensure quality.

This product is unflavored making it easy to dissolve into any drink. It’s non-GMO, gluten, dairy, soy, and preservative-free as well as being both keto and paleo-friendly.

This is a great all-around choice for muscle and ligament repair, joint health, and recovery.

3. Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

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Hydrolyzed collagen is the way to go because our bodies are easily able to absorb this form of collagen and put it to work.

Transparent Labs collagen hydrolysate is packed with 11g of collagen and 10g of protein per serving, competing with the top products. The chocolate flavor is from natural cocoa and easily dissolves in any drink for an added kick.

4. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

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Vital Proteins has created an entire brand around collagen supplements, and their original collagen peptides powder is a great addition to your everyday routine.

Per serving it has a whopping 20g of collagen with the addition of vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid to help hydrate your body from the inside out. It’s sugar-free and easily dissolves so with no flavor you won’t even notice it.

5. Vital Vitamins Multi Collagen Complex

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Vital Vitamins collagen capsules contain all five types of collagen hydrolysate to help restore your body from your skin to your tendons and bones.

This product contains DigeSEB which is a proprietary digestive enzyme to help the absorption of collagen. Non-GMO, made in the US in a GMP-certified facility, this multi collagen complex is a great and easy-to-take product.

6. Sports Research Collagen Peptides Powder

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Each scoop of the Sports Research supplements contains 11g of type I & III collagen peptides, 18 amino acids, and 10g of protein.

Non-GMO, keto and paleo-friendly, and 3rd party certified, this is a great choice for someone looking for beef-derived collagen.

7. Orgain Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides

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Orgain contains 10g of unflavored bovine hide collagen per serving along with 9g of protein.

This supplement is fortified with 6 essential amino acids and is from grass-fed and pasture-raised cows to ensure quality.

8. Physician’s CHOICE Collagen Peptides

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Physician’s Choice has created a double hydrolyzed formula enhanced with DigeSEB to ensure optimal absorption of the collagen peptides.

This formula has 7g of collagen per serving which is on the lower end but it may be great option for someone just starting out in their collagen supplementation.

9. Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Capsules

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Ancient Nutrition’s capsule gives you 5 types of collagen with the added benefits of ancient principles from Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicinal ingredients.

This multi collagen product has been clinically and 3rd party tested giving a great capsule alternative.

10. Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate

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Great Lakes collagen supports joint health, better hair, skin, and nails, and provides post-workout recovery benefits.

It is gluten-free and kosher certified and a great option for anyone looking to improve overall health.

Best Overall Collagen Peptide

1. Live Conscious Collagen Peptide

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Whether you are looking for beauty benefits, health benefits or a mix of both, Live Conscious Collagen Peptides is a fantastic supplement to cover all your bases. It has 11g of hydrolyzed bovine collagen and ensures the highest quality.

Best Collagen Peptide for Women

1. Vital Proteins

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Vital Proteins contains non-ascorbic acid vitamin C, which is a key ingredient to help support your body’s natural production of collagen. It takes the top spot for best collagen for women as it’s easily digestible as well as containing some additional key ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid for a superior product.

If you are looking for a different flavor, collagen source, or additional beauty aid, Vital Proteins has a ton of other products to chose from with the same standard for quality.

Best Collagen Peptide Capsules

1. Vital Vitamins Multi Collagen Complex

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Vital Vitamins takes the top capsule spot for its super clean and easily delivered collagen peptides. It contains 1600mg of 5 types of collagen per serving, beating out some other competitors.

It also has the added bonus of incorporating a digestive aid to ensure you are absorbing as much of the collagen as possible without experiencing any discomfort.

Best Collagen Peptides for Men

1. Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

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Transparent Labs takes the top spot in this category as it contains 11g of ultra-clean, ultra-pure collagen peptides with a great amount of protein. This supplement will help to support healthy joints, work on joint pain, and aid in muscle recovery and strength.

This is a great product that men can take with confidence.

Who Should Use a Collagen Peptide Supplement?

The most effective collagen peptides are broken down and highly digestible forms of the amino acids make up structure in your body like cartilage, bones, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues. If you are looking for a natural product to increase overall health, improve the elasticity of your skin, decrease joint pain, or aid in recovery, supplementing with collagen peptides may be something to consider.

Collagen peptides have become a popular low-carb option for protein powder due to the nature of the product. Because of the virtually no carb content, these products are widely used by the keto community looking for a protein powder.

Despite the high protein, collagen plays an integral role in your body. Collagen itself naturally occurs in the body and is the building block from some of the most important structures in our musculoskeletal system like ligaments, bones, and cartilage. Due to the role collagen plays in the body, it has kickstarted a lot of research looking into the benefits of using collagen to alleviate the symptoms of things like rheumatoid arthritis and joint injuries that occur in sport.

Another and one of the most well-known benefits of collagen is its effect on your hair, skin, and nails. All of these things are made up of collagen, and naturally, as we age, we begin to lose collagen and these structures will become weaker. Supplementing with collagen and help restore elasticity to your skin giving you that youthful look along with stronger more resilient hair and nails.

Since it naturally occurs in the body, is safe and simple to use, collagen peptides can make a great addition to anyone’s daily routine. Whether you’re more interested in the physiological benefits, or the beauty enhancing ones, taking collagen consistently will benefit you in more ways than one.

Methodology

There are thousands of collagen peptide products out there that vary from the delivery method, sources of collagen, types of collagen, and even the flavor. When we started our research to develop this ranking we took several key things into consideration in order for products to make it on the list.

Purity: When looking at collagen peptides, one of the top priorities was to have products that only worked with the highest quality and purity of ingredients. We made sure the products that made the list were supplements that contained collagen from cows that were grass-fed and pasture-raised.

Bonus points were rewarded for products that were hormone-free as well as non-GMO and part of the reason why products like Live Conscious and Transparent Labs ranked so highly.

Bioavailability: In order for our bodies to be able to absorb the supplements we ingest, companies have to do a fair amount of research to determine the best way to formulate these products where they are the most bioavailable to the body.

One of the biggest things to look out for when choosing a collagen powder is that it’s hydrolyzed. Hydrolyzed collagen means that the collagen has been broken down into smaller amino acids that are easier to dissolve and more easily absorbed by your body. This allows the products to be much more bioavailable to your body and therefore your body is able to use and benefit from more of the collagen.

Type of Collagen: We preferred supplements that contained multiple types of collagen versus just one. While there isn’t any concrete evidence to prove that more than one type of collagen is better than one, it doesn’t hurt to have a variety and get your collagen from different types and sources.

It’s very common in collagen peptide supplements to have types I & III and you can also find products that have 5 different types.

Amino Acid Content: Amino acids can be split into two separate groups; essential and non-essential. Non-essential amino acids can be made by the body where essential amino acids cannot and require you to eat them from your diet.

It was important for products on this list to have a combination of these amino acids to have a balanced and effective protein source. Products like essential elements and vital proteins ranked highly due to their high essential amino acid content.

Supporting Ingredients: Collagen itself is a fantastic ingredient to be included in other supplements to help promote healthy skin. Products on this list that had additional ingredients to further boost the benefits of the collagen peptides were given bonus points.

For example, vital proteins have vitamin C which helps the body’s natural collagen production. This supplement also has hyaluronic acid which is one of the top ingredients to support hydration of the skin. Other supplements had digestive aids or even ancient Chinese medicinal ingredients to give the user more benefits in addition to that of the collagen peptides.

Delivery Method: For many people taking supplements already, adding in yet another capsule is probably the last thing you want to do. For people who can’t or don’t like swallowing pills, powders take this problem out of the equation. Our team found that there were far better collagen powders compared to the pills.

They typically had greater amounts of collagen per serving, additional ingredients and came in a bunch of different flavors and options. There are beauty collagen elixirs that come in strawberry lemonade flavors and even collagen creamers on the market today.

Even a collagen peptide powder as simple as chocolate or vanilla can be made to be almost like a treat to feed that sweet tooth that many people have.

There are more options to chose from and overall seem to outperform their capsule competitor. There are some great capsule options (as listed above) if you are looking for something really convenient and quick.

Benefits

Collagen peptides can improve joint health. Due to its abundance and importance, collagen plays an integral role in structural components in the body, including your joints. It helps to maintain the integrity of your cartilage, which is the little rubber disc-like tissue between joints to help protect them. As the amount of collagen in your body decreases with age, these structures like cartilage start to degenerate and can cause disorders like osteoarthritis (1).

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that causes our bones to deteriorate because the cartilage between the two bones that make up the joint is damaged or non-existent. Some studies have actually proven that taking collagen supplements may help to improve symptoms of osteoarthritis and reduce overall joint pain (2).

Another study looked at 200 patients, both men, and women who were experiencing joint pain and who were at least 50 years of age. They were split into a placebo group and a collagen group and found that by taking 1200mg of collagen per day, these individuals saw a decrease in their joint pain (3).

Collagen peptides gives you better skin. Collagen has been deemed by many as a beauty supplement because of the effects it has on your hair skin and nails; let’s start by looking at the skin. Collagen is a major component of your skin. It’s what keeps you looking young, gives you elasticity, and plays a role in the hydration of your skin.

As you age, the decreased levels of collagen can lead to dry skin and the formation of unwanted wrinkles (4). One study found that women who supplemented with 2.5-5g of collagen for a 2 month period saw less dry skin and a big increase in skin elasticity compared to the participants who took the placebo (5).

The wrinkle-reducing effects of supplementing with collagen can be due to its ability to stimulate your body to produce more collagen on its own. Additional to having fewer wrinkles, taking a collagen supplement can also promote the production of other proteins like elastin and fibrillin that help support structure to your skin (6, 7).

Collagen peptides help improve nail strength. Supplementing collagen peptides may help to increase the strength of your nails. It does this by making them less brittle and may help to stimulate the growth for overall longer nails and also prevent your nails from breaking as frequently. One study found that individuals who supplemented with bioactive collagen peptides saw a 12% increase in nail growth rate and a 42% decrease in the frequency of broken nails (8).

Collagen peptides improve the strength and growth of your hair. Making collagen part of your daily routine can benefit your hair in multiple different ways. Hair is made up primarily of keratin which is a type of protein. Amino acids are components of protein that work together to create a complete protein structure like keratin.

Collagen is made up of three of these amino acids including proline which is one of the main components of keratin. Therefore, consuming collagen can help to create more keratin and support strong healthy hair (9). Hair can also be damaged by free radicals and some research suggests that collagen can act as an antioxidant to your hair and help to prevent hair damage from occurring.

Collagen peptides may contribute to improved gut health. Without a healthy and happy gut, you can run into a whole world of issues with your health. Your gut plays a role in basically all physiological functions and health; it’s been deemed the second brain.

A 2017 study showed that collagen peptides helped to improve the intestinal barrier and protect against leaky gut (10). A healthier gut means healthier metabolism and better absorption of the nutrients to need to be in optimal shape.

Collagen peptides improve sleep quality. We all know how important sleep is and yet most of us sacrifice it pretty frequently. Even if you try to get good sleep, sometimes insomnia or just restless sleep can take over. The good news is that there are tons of supplements to support good, restful sleep.

Glycine is one of the main amino acids found in collagen and can act as a neurotransmitter to help reduce the body’s core temperature and in turn promote better sleep. Studies also show that glycine can help to reduce symptoms of insomnia and improves sleep quality by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain which is responsible for making you feel relaxed (11).

Collagen peptides allow you to age gracefully. Many factors can have an effect on how quickly our bodies age internally and how old we look on the outside. Exposing your skin to chemicals, prolonged hours in the sun with no protection, not exercising, and eating poorly can all expedite the natural aging process.

In our environment today, if you want o have optimized health, you almost need to incorporate some kind of supplement, whether it’s vitamin D or turmeric. Even if you live a healthy life with adequate exercise and a good diet, supplementation will only enhance your health if you use the right products.

Research is starting to show that taking collagen peptides enhances blood microcirculation and can lessen facial signs of aging (12). Another study showed that just after 12 weeks of daily collagen supplementation, there was a clear reduction in visible signs of aging (13).

Collagen peptides promote better post-workout recovery. Collagen is the main protein found in most connective tissues within the body. Simply put, after an extensive training session your body will undergo a repair cycle to restore these tissues even stronger than before. In order to maximize results, it is imperative to give your body the ingredients it needs to perform the physiological functions to fully recover.

By taking a collagen supplement, you are ensuring that your body has the optimal amount of peptide to efficiently rebuild the damaged tissue after rigorous physical activity which will ultimately help enhance your post-workout recovery and significantly decrease soreness.

Collagen peptides can help prevent bone loss. Maintaining good bone health plays a crucial role in injury prevention as we age. As we age, our bone mass decreases leaving us more prone to broken bones from falling. Despite this, you can increase your bone strength and prevent decay by combining exercise with effective supplements.

Collagen plays a huge part in bone strength and a study in 2005 claimed that the amount of collagen each bone has is important for the overall strength of that bone (14).

Collagen peptides can help postmenopausal women with changes to their bone mass. Postmenopausal women are particularly prone to decreased bone mass and strength due to the nature of changes in hormones that occur. Menopause causes a drop in estrogen, and this drop can accelerate bone loss and lead to osteoporosis.

A study looking at postmenopausal women found that after 12 months of taking specific collagen fibers daily, these women saw an increase in bone mineral density (15).

Recap

The research behind collagen peptides has proven that this supplement has promise when trying to maintain youthful-looking, elastic skin. Collagen peptides also work to help support healthy bones and joints and have strong evidence backing the use of this supplement to treat joint pain.

Whether you’re an athlete suffering from an injury, the everyday person experiencing signs of aging, or have some degree of arthritis, it’s safe to say that collagen peptides could work with your body’s natural abilities to substantially improve your symptoms.

For food4me.org’s #1 recommended collagen peptides supplement, click here.

 

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