I first encountered collagen supplements and powders when I started doing a lot more work with competitive bodybuilders.
I was only a little bit familiar with the health benefits of these products and really didn't realize how important collagen is for athletes.
You might be familiar with it as it's often in beauty, hair, and skincare products because it contains hyaluronic acid and other amino acids, but there is so much more to it when it comes to your body.
For performance athletes, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissue can come under a lot of strain, and any lack of collagen can make things worse.
So, our team at Total Shape has done some extensive research and testing on the best collagen powders to come up with our recommendations.
Our Top Collagen Powders
1 - LiveWell Labs Collagen Peptides (Editor's Choice)
Our top recommended collage peptide is from one of my personal favorite brands, LiveWell Labs.
The brand sticks to their holistic approach when it comes to their collagen peptides supplement, sourcing it from grade A grass fed bovine collagen. This ensures that you won’t be ingesting unnecessary fillers -- just pure, high quality ingredients from grass-fed, hormone-free cows and other wild caught sources.
It’s also fat free and cholesterol free, making it ideal for a regular healthy snack.
- Contains 11 grams of top quality bovine collagen
- Has 0 carbs, fat, and cholesterol
- Mixes easily with water
- 3rd party tested for safety and potency
- Only available in unflavored option
The only thing I’d like to point out is that it’s flavorless, which might not be as interesting as other brands.
But you can easily add in your favorite flavor if you wish.
2 - Essential Elements Collagen Peptides
Next on this list is Essential Elements, which contains about 10g of protein collagen per serving. The best thing about this product is that it’s keto and paleo-friendly. If you’re serious about your diet, this one might be your best option.
This collagen is sourced from pasture-raised cows and wild caught sources, so you can be sure that you’re taking in a top quality supplement.
It’s non-GMO, cholesterol free, and fat free. And because the bovine source is free from any hormones, you can be sure that it’s all natural and safe.
- Has 10 grams of collagen protein
- Non-GMO, cholesterol free and fat free
- Keto and paleo safe
- I wish they had more flavors available
Like LiveWell, this one is only available unflavored. It works for many, but if you easily get bored with flavorless supplements, you might want to add some fresh fruits or natural flavoring to this.
3 - Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate
Over many months of testing out these products, our team has come to the agreement that of all the best collagen on this list, Transparent Labs has managed to create one that stands out the most.
From a nutrition perspective, it only contains collagen and some traces of carbs and iron.
In an industry where supplements are so commonly packed full of additives, it's something very refreshing to see. It's the purest out of all the collagen supplements we reviewed.
- Some more flavor options would be great
One thing I would say is that limiting it to just the chocolate flavor means you can get a bit bored with it.
4 - PaleoPro Grass-Fed Bone Broth Collagen
As someone who has had success with paleo, I know how difficult it can be to plan your diet.
PaleoPro bone broth collagen powder definitely fills that gap when it comes to premium collagen peptides, which you would only get in your diet by eating the less appetizing parts of animals.
The grass-fed collagen is also certified hormone-free and non GMO, which is something that a lot of paleo dieters take quite seriously especially when it comes to collagen supplementation.
- Some people have struggled with the texture
5 - Physician's Choice Collagen Peptides
This is specifically marketed as a health and beauty supplement for women. Because of this, it's important to note that the dosage is designed for women as well.
Many female users have reported in forums and Facebook groups that the this collagen powder supplement had a positive result on their skin, hair, and nails. Several reports consider it the one of the best collagen supplements in the market.
Because it is sourced from pasture raised animals that haven't been exposed to hormone or antibiotic treatment, you're also getting something that is of higher quality and much safer from a health perspective .
- Contains 7 g of grass fed bovine collagen per serving
- This collagen supplement includes some digestive enzymes that can help to absorb the collagen faster
- Comes unflavored, making it ideal for adding to snacks
- Sourced from grass-fed, wild caught, hormone, and antibiotic-free animals
- High quality collagen supplement but a bit on the expensive side
If you work it out per gram of collagen, then this one does come out on the high side out of all the collagen products we tested, but it is of high quality which is a big plus in many collagen supplementation reviews.
6 - Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
If you're looking for collagen supplement with a stronger dose per serving, then Vital Proteins is one of the best options.
With 20 grams in each serving, your body will have plenty to work with.
After speaking with my dietitian, she said that for most people, half a scoop of Vital Proteins collagen would be plenty as a nutrition boost especially with its vitamin C content. This means that you can make the powder last a good bit longer.
- 20 g of grass-fed collagen per serving
- With no flavor or odor, you can mix it with tea or coffee
- Vital Proteins has no added sugar or artificial flavors
- Many positive reports that it mixes easily with hot or cold water
- Some users reported a slight aftertaste and sensation
While Vital Proteins mixes easily with hot or cold water, I did notice a few comments online that said it left a slightly strange and grainy sensation in the mouth. But texture aside, it's still one of the best collagen powders that you can try.
7 - NeoCell Super Collagen Powder
Marketed more as beauty collagen product instead of a collagen powder, NeoCell is still a great choice, especially for female athletes.
This collagen powder formula is designed with the needs of women in mind, meaning you don't get too large a dose in each serving.
A lot of users provided positive comments that it's very easy on the stomach, and many women reported positive and noticeable results within 2 weeks.
Claims to provide the ideal amount of collagen to support skin, hair, and nails
- Claims to provide the ideal amount of collagen to support skin, hair, and nails
- Mixes very easily with no flavor to deal with
- Hydrolyzed collagen can make it a lot easier to digest
- Available in bulk containers to save on costs
- Some reports about damaged packaging
The main negative that I saw was that some people reported that the seal on the container was damaged during transport, but they were able to get a replacement shipped out.
8 - Sports Research Collagen Peptides
This Sports Research product is specifically marketed for supporting healthy joints and bones. This claim is backed up with several reports from users that they suffered less joint pain when taking the supplement.
It's also one of the few products that claim to provide the complete profile of amino acids that your body needs to repair and rebuild damaged tissue fully.
For performance athletes, that can make a significant difference when it comes to recovery from training.
- Claims to provide the full profile of amino acids
- Can be mixed with drinks and healthy snacks
- Doesn't leave an aftertaste or chalky sensation
- Good bulk order options available
- Can cause some bloating and gas
I liked that it had no flavor at all, so you can mix it with all types of drinks and food. But some people did report some initial bloating and gas.
9 - Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Powder
I follow the Dr. Axe blog a lot and have been using some of their supplements for years.
While this isn't one of the cheaper products available, Ancient Nutrition does provide a full range of the 5 main types of collagen.
Sourced from chickens, eggs, pasture raised cows, and fish, you get a very healthy blend to support various body functions .
- Low-calorie with no carbs to support most diets
- Provides a small boost of calcium
- Includes chicken, eggs, bovine, and marine collagen
- Also available in convenient stick packs that fit in your pocket
- Does have a slightly fishy smell
While the fish and other marine collagen source do provide benefits, be aware that it gives the powder a slightly fishy smell. This is common in marine collagen products like Ancient Nutrition.
Types Of Collagen In The Body
While there are 5 main collagen types, three of these are more commonly found in the human body. Some of the above product recommendations will have you covered for all 5 , but this is not always necessary.
The 3 main ones to make sure you get are:
- Type 1: Needed for skin, tendons, and bones
- Type II: Mostly found in cartilage
- Type V: Found in cell surfaces and hair
Type II Collagen is less prevalent within our bodies, it still offers great benefit to the aging body by promoting joint and cartilage health!
- Taylor KiserFood and nutrition blogger
Getting these 3 types through collagen supplements, along with some vitamin boosts, like vitamin C and E, can make a significant difference to your health and appearance. There are quite a few products that contain type III collagen as well.
Benefits Of Collagen
While collagen is needed in practically all vital organs of your body, it mainly provides noticeable health benefits in these 3 areas.
1 - Joint Health : Many studies have identified the direct link between collagen intake and joint health. One particularly interesting trial looked at the impacts on arthritis and revealed that it also provided an anti-inflammatory effect .
When coupled with a stringent diet, weight loss protein supplement, many people can make a significant difference in the health of their tendons and cartilage.
2 - Skin Health : Collagen is one of the most dominant substances needed for regenerating skin cells. You'll find it in many beauty products and skin creams, but taking it in the form of supplements can have the most significant impact on skin elasticity .
Many people are amazed how quickly it will impact the appearance of their skin, with even better results than topical skin application.
3 - Bone Density : Most people tend to just think of calcium intake when it comes to making sure that their bones remain healthy. But bone mineral density is also very heavily reliant on vitamins and collagen .
Collagen production in the body goes down once you hit the young age of 20, with a reduction of about 1% per year .
This decline in collage production explains the initial wrinkles and fine lines but eventually leads to more problematic issues with bone density.
How To Choose The Best Collagen Powder
To come up with the above list of product recommendations, we looked at the best-reviewed options considering the following 4 categories.
Type Of Collagen
Types I, II, and V collagen are the most important ones to improve your physical appearance as well as joint health. I would always focus on the collagen powder that contains these first, as they give you the most impact in terms of collagen production without needing to choose some of the more expensive options.
Source Of Collagen
You can get collagen from all types of animals, but the best options are from grass fed, pasture raised cows that are hormone and antibiotic-free. If you want to get the full range of all collagen types mentioned above, then you'll need a supplement sourced from different animals, including fish and other marine collagen sources. The best collagen powders featured in this list are sourced differently, so make sure to check that whatever your pick won't mess up with your diet.
The source of collage supplements also indicate the presence of other vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, vitamin C, or hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is common in collagen and serum products. Additionally, most animal sources also have complete amino acid profile, which may be helpful if you're doing some high intensity training.
Some collagen powders are available as flavored options, but I generally prefer to have something that is completely tasteless. The advantage of unflavored collagen powders and supplements is that you can easily mix them with drinks or into your breakfast cereal for a quick boost in the morning.
I would always say that you're better off taking a smaller dose of a more expensive but higher quality collagen. Some of the cheap options are difficult to digest, and you simply won't get the same results. The best collagen powders are typically packed with other vitamins and minerals too (ie vitamin C) to support collagen production and overall connective tissue health.
Potential Side Effects
Side effects of taking collagen are generally very rare. In most cases where I found comments in forums and Facebook groups, the reason was mainly down to taking very large doses.
Bloating And Gas
This can happen if you take a large dose with hot or cold water on an empty stomach. If you're in a fasting period, then it can often be safer to take the supplement in smaller amounts throughout the day.
Some people report that they feel a bit sick after taking collagen, and this can mainly be due to your stomach adapting to handle a sudden increase in this protein. The best solution for this is to mix the powder in hot or cold water and some food or to take it in smaller amounts several times per day.
Is collagen powder good for you?
Yes, collagen powders are good for you, as your body will gradually produce less of it as you age. Also, for performance athletes, it's best to take some regularly to ensure ligaments and tendons are adequately repaired.
Should you take collagen powder in the morning or at night?
You should take collagen powder in the morning with your breakfast. This gives you a consistent supply throughout the day. If you do some high-intensity training, then you can also take some collagen supplements along with your post-workout recovery drink.
Does collagen powder make you gain weight?
No, collagen powder doesn't make you gain weight unless you're taking it in large doses and not exercising enough. As part of a balanced diet, and along with a regular exercise routine, the best collagen powders can actually have the opposite effect.
How much collagen should you take?
You should aim to take about 10 grams of collagen for regular daily use. On training days where your body comes under more stress, about twice that amount is the best option to ensure optimal joint health.
What's The Best Collagen Powder?
Of all the best collagen powders that my clients and I have tested, I keep going back to LiveWell Labs. It’s all natural and contains only the purest bovine collagen. It’s also fat free, so it won't mess with other diet efforts you might have.
The dose is ideal for athletes, and on less intense days, you can easily just take a smaller amount to maintain a consistent supply.
If you've had some experience with any of these collagen powders, then let us know on one of our social media channels.
LiveWell Labs Collagen Peptides
Our #1 Collagen Powder
- Contains 11 grams of top quality bovine collagen
- Has 0 carbs, fat, and cholesterol
- Mixes easily with water
- 3rd party tested for safety and potency
- Get the BEST PRICE until the end of January