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Collagen supplements are having their moment—with market growth expanding from $3.6 million in 2016 to an estimated $9.8 million by 2025, it’s clear that our culture is captivated with collagen.
But collagen is more than just a powder you mix in your coffee—it’s a protein that is a major component of the extracellular matrix, an essential structural component of our skin’s dermis layer.
However, our internal collagen production starts to decline as early as age 20, with research suggesting that we produce about 1% less collagen in the skin each year after age 40.
With age, collagen becomes more fragmented rather than compact, which reduces the skin’s elasticity and contributes to signs of external aging, like sagging, wrinkles, and thinning skin.
This is why perhaps the most-studied aspect of collagen is its purported benefits to skin health—but with all of the dozens, if not hundreds, of collagen supplements on the market, how do you choose?
In this article, we’ll guide you through the top eight best collagen supplements for sagging skin, and dive into some recent research on taking collagen for loose skin, lost elasticity, and wrinkles.
If you want to load up on collagen but don’t want to drink an unflavored powder, Primal Kitchen’s Collagen Fuel (Vanilla or Chocolate) combines skin-supporting collagen with coconut milk powder, monk fruit extract, and either vanilla or cocoa to make a sweet-but-not-sugary, creamy shake.
This keto-friendly powder contains 10g of bovine collagen per serving in Type I and III forms—keep reading the next section for more information on collagen types—with no sugar, gluten, dairy, whey, or soy.
Plus, they also have an unflavored container of collagen peptides that can dissolve into just about anything for the purists who don’t want any extra flavor.
However, reviewers have mentioned that Collagen Fuel has some trouble fully dissolving in water, so blending it into smoothies might be the best way to consume this product.
One of the first brands to popularize collagen, Vital Proteins has come out with dozens of different high-quality collagen products over the past decade.
In addition to their flagship Collagen Peptides, Vital Proteins has appealed to people wanting to tighten loose skin with their Beauty Collagen, which is specifically formulated to support skin elasticity and hydration.
With tasty flavors like Strawberry Lemon, Tropical Hibiscus, Lavender Lemon, and Watermelon Mint, these refreshing drinks combine 15g of collagen peptides, probiotics, and hyaluronic acid—a compound that acts like a sponge to retain water in the skin—to support healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Plus, Vital Protein’s products are third-party tested in an NSF-certified, Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP)-compliant facility and do not contain gluten, dairy, fillers, sweeteners, or additives.
Similar to Primal Kitchen, some reviewers have found that these products do not dissolve well in cold liquids, so mixing with hot tea or smoothies might be a better option.
As the name suggests, Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein contains five types of collagen in an unflavored powder with vitamin C and probiotics.
In addition to four of the most common types of collagen (I, II, III, and V), Ancient Nutrition also utilizes Type X collagen, which facilitates new bone formation in articular cartilage—the smooth tissue that covers the ends of bones to make joints easier to move.
This collagen powder is uniquely sourced from multiple grass-fed, pasture-raised, or wild-caught animals, including hydrolyzed bovine hide, chicken bone broth, fermented eggshell membrane, and hydrolyzed fish collagen (don’t worry—it doesn’t taste like any of those.)
In addition to the unflavored powder, Ancient Nutrition also provides single-serve, vanilla, chocolate, cucumber lime, strawberry lemonade, and cold brew flavors.
For those wanting a pure and simple collagen boost, each serving of Further Food contains 8g of Types I and III collagen peptides from grass-fed and pasture-raised hydrolyzed bovine hide.
With just one ingredient, Further Food has a lower price point than many other collagen powders on this list, making it an accessible option for many.
Further Food also produces one of the few collagen powders that are solely marine-based, which is thought to be absorbed by the body faster than bovine-based collagen.
Plus, Further Food collagen products are all third-party-tested and cGMP-certified, and also come in Chocolate, Hazelnut, Vanilla, and Matcha flavors.
Another collagen powder specifically formulated for skin, hair, and nail health, Garden of Life Collagen Beauty provides a tasty strawberry lemonade flavor sourced from grass-fed and pasture-raised cows.
The “beauty” part of this collagen comes from its additional ingredients, including amla berry-sourced vitamin C, which is needed for collagen synthesis in the body, plus probiotics, biotin (vitamin B7), and silica sourced from bamboo—a compound thought to boost collagen production.
This product also comes in Cranberry Pomegranate flavor, and is certified gluten-free, GMO-free, Certified Keto, and made in the USA in cGMP third-party audited facilities.
With the tagline “Way more than just collagen,” Thorne Collagen Plus lives up to its motto, boasting a unique formula of collagen peptides, a patented black and red currant polyphenol blend, an extract from Japanese white peaches, and nicotinamide riboside.
Polyphenols are plant-based compounds that act as antioxidants in the body, fighting oxidative damage from free radicals and reactive oxygen species—a common cause of skin aging.
The Japanese white peach extract is a source of natural ceramides—compounds that make up the protective barrier on the outer layer of skin, preventing water from evaporating and supporting skin hydration.
Nicotinamide riboside is a precursor to NAD+, an essential coenzyme found in virtually every cell in the body; its typical age-related decline is linked to internal and external signs of aging.
Thorne also performs four rounds of testing for each product they manufacture, are NSF certified, cGMP-compliant, and certified by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, an Australian government agency that ensures supplement safety.
As a simple, affordable, and unflavored collagen supplement, Sports Research contains just one ingredient—hydrolyzed bovine collagen peptides with types I and III collagen.
It contains 11g of collagen peptides per serving, is non-GMO verified, and is keto- and paleo-certified by the Paleo Foundation.
Sports Research also produces marine collagen peptides, a chocolate-flavored multi-collagen complex, and vanilla collagen peptides.
Lastly, Hum Nutrition’s Collagen Love is perfect for people who don’t want to mix powders and prefer the simplicity of taking capsule supplements.
However, this product contains much lower doses of collagen than most powders, at just 600mg of collagen per serving.
This skin-supporting supplement also contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, polyphenolic extracts from red wine and grapeseed, and chondroitin sulfate, a compound found in cartilage.
It’s made without any artificial ingredients and is triple-tested for purity and verified by a third-party lab.
|Product||Price Per Serving||Pros||Cons|
|Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel||$1.19||Creamy from coconut milk; multiple flavors; no sugar||May be hard to dissolve in cold water; some don’t like the taste of monk fruit|
|Vital Proteins Beauty Collagen||$1.60||Third-party tested; contains vitamin C, probiotics, and hyaluronic acid; multiple flavors||Only 14 servings per container; expensive; doesn’t dissolve well|
|Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen||$0.95||Contains 5 types of collagen from multiple animal sources; relatively inexpensive; multiple flavors||Not third-party certified; some are offput by the flavor|
|Further Food Collagen Peptides||$0.65||Inexpensive; contains just one high-quality ingredient; third-party tested||Lower collagen dose per serving (8g)|
|Garden of Life Collagen Beauty||$1.20||Tested by an independent lab; contains probiotics, vitamin C, biotin, and silica||Expensive|
|Thorne Collagen Plus||$1.84||Contains many skin-supporting ingredients, including nicotinamide riboside, polyphenol extracts, and peach ceramides; third-party certified||Most expensive on this list|
|Sports Research Collagen Peptides||$0.64||Affordable; contains only one ingredient; paleo-certified by the Paleo Foundation||May not dissolve well in cold liquids|
|Hum Nutrition Collagen Love Capsules||$1.27||Useful for people wanting to take capsules; contains herbal skin-supporting ingredients||Expensive; very low collagen dose per serving compared to powders (600mg)|
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, contributing not only to skin elasticity, but also to nail strength, gut integrity, and joint mobility.
The collagen protein is formed primarily by the amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, which are not commonly found in high amounts in other dietary proteins.
The proline and hydroxyproline in collagen are thought to support skin elasticity by facilitating the growth of dermal fibroblasts—the main cell type present in skin connective tissue.
However, collagen is not a complete protein, meaning it does not contain all nine of the essential amino acids that our bodies don’t produce on their own—it only contains eight of them.
Nearly 28 different types of collagen have been identified, but types I through V are the most abundant in the body, and types I, II, and III are most commonly found in supplements.
In addition to the different types, there are collagen supplements from varying animal sources, including from the bones and cartilage of chickens, pigs, and cows, or from the scales of fish (known as marine collagen).
You may also have heard the term collagen peptides, which can also be referred to as collagen hydrolysate or hydrolyzed collagen.
The difference between these terms is that collagen protein is made up of long chains of amino acids, while collagen peptides are shorter chains of amino acids that are essentially broken down portions of the larger collagen protein.
Due to their shorter structure, collagen peptides are more bioavailable and easier to digest.
Due to collagen’s rising popularity, several studies have examined the effects of supplemental collagen on skin health.
One randomized controlled trial published in Nutrients found that women aged 40-60 who consumed 1g of type I marine collagen peptides—a notably low dose—daily for 12 weeks had improved skin hydration and elasticity and reductions in the appearance of wrinkles.
A triple-blind study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that women aged 45-60 who supplemented with 10g of marine collagen for 12 weeks experienced a 35% reduction in wrinkle scores from baseline, and a 24% greater reduction in wrinkles on the right side of the face compared to those taking a placebo.
Plus, women taking the collagen supplement also showed a 23% improvement in skin elasticity, 14% improvement in hydration, and 25% improvement in firmness compared to placebo.
Lastly, a study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity looked at marine collagen supplementation in men and women aged 35-75.
After taking a low dose of 800mg marine collagen peptides combined with antioxidant compounds (grape-skin extract, coenzyme Q10, luteolin, and selenium) for two months, the participants’ skin showed significant improvements in elasticity, sebum production, and ultrasonic markers of dermal and epidermal thickness.
Although excess sebum is a common cause of acne in younger adults, low sebum in older adults can cause skin dryness and flakiness.
Type I collagen is thought to be most supportive for skin, but all types of collagen are beneficial.
Also, marine-based collagen peptides are believed to be the most bioavailable and easiest to absorb, which could provide greater benefits to skin health.
Studies have indicated that supplemental collagen is beneficial for skin health, including tightening sagging skin (known as elasticity), boosting hydration, and lessening the appearance of wrinkles.
Collagen could possibly reverse sagging skin, as research studies have shown that taking collagen—especially marine collagen—improves skin elasticity, hydration, and firmness.
Most research on collagen and skin health uses a study period of 8-12 weeks, which would likely be the amount of time it would take to see skin-related improvements from collagen.
Yes, collagen is thought to be beneficial for reducing wrinkles, as seen in several research studies.
De Luca C, Mikhal’chik EV, Suprun MV, Papacharalambous M, Truhanov AI, Korkina LG. Skin Antiageing and Systemic Redox Effects of Supplementation with Marine Collagen Peptides and Plant-Derived Antioxidants: A Single-Blind Case-Control Clinical Study. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:4389410. doi:10.1155/2016/4389410
Evans M, Lewis ED, Zakaria N, Pelipyagina T, Guthrie N. A randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel study to evaluate the efficacy of a freshwater marine collagen on skin wrinkles and elasticity. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2021;20(3):825-834. doi:10.1111/jocd.13676
León-López A, Morales-Peñaloza A, Martínez-Juárez VM, Vargas-Torres A, Zeugolis DI, Aguirre-Álvarez G. Hydrolyzed Collagen-Sources and Applications. Molecules. 2019;24(22):4031. Published 2019 Nov 7. doi:10.3390/molecules24224031
Koikeda T, Tokudome Y, Okayasu M, et al. Effects of Peach (Prunus persica)-Derived Glucosylceramide on the Human Skin. Curr Med Chem. 2017;17(1):56-70. doi:10.2174/1871522217666170906155435
Kim DU, Chung HC, Choi J, Sakai Y, Lee BY. Oral Intake of Low-Molecular-Weight Collagen Peptide Improves Hydration, Elasticity, and Wrinkling in Human Skin: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2018;10(7):826. Published 2018 Jun 26. doi:10.3390/nu10070826
McReynolds MR, Chellappa K, Baur JA. Age-related NAD+ decline. Exp Gerontol. 2020;134:110888. doi:10.1016/j.exger.2020.110888
Rinnerthaler M, Bischof J, Streubel MK, Trost A, Richter K. Oxidative stress in aging human skin. Biomolecules. 2015;5(2):545-589. Published 2015 Apr 21. doi:10.3390/biom5020545
Shen G. The role of type X collagen in facilitating and regulating endochondral ossification of articular cartilage. Orthod Craniofac Res. 2005;8(1):11-17. doi:10.1111/j.1601-6343.2004.00308.x
Varani J, Dame MK, Rittie L, et al. Decreased collagen production in chronologically aged skin: roles of age-dependent alteration in fibroblast function and defective mechanical stimulation. Am J Pathol. 2006;168(6):1861-1868. doi:10.2353/ajpath.2006.051302
Energy drinks and sugary snacks may be louder, sweeter, and faster-acting than natural sources of sugar, but rarely are those benefits conferred without some form of reckoning down the road.
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