Best Collagen Supplements for Women, Digestion, and More

Learn how these collagen supplements may help build healthier skin, and decrease joint pain.

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Collagen is the most abundant type of protein found in mammals’ skin, organs, bones, cartilage, and other tissues (1). Research does suggest that collagen plays a role in skin health; as we age, our body naturally creates less collagen, potentially leading to wrinkles and sagging skin (2). Additionally, some studies suggest that collagen may be beneficial toward relieving joint pain, or for treating arthritis or osteoporosis, though more research is needed (3). 

In recent years, supplement brands have added a spate of collagen supplements to their product lines. Often referred to as collagen peptides, these are supplements that can be taken orally in the form of collagen hydrolysate (broken down collagen particles often in powder form). Collagen is often sourced from bovine (cattle) or other animals, and produced in a variety of ways, including powders, liquids, and even chewables. 

Since collagen supplements are mostly sourced from animals, they may not be suitable for folks following vegetarian or vegan diets. With so many collagen supplements available on the market, it’s important to know how to distinguish between all the options out there — we’ve picked out some of our favorites for you to consider.

Best Collagen Supplements

Best Collagen Supplement Overall

For our best overall pick, we opted for a straightforward, no-nonsense collagen supplements. This pick is about as simple as they come — it’s just collagen hydrolysate and natural flavors for taste. 

Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

It can be helpful to have a collagen supplement that keeps your supplement routine easy. Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate is simply 11 grams of hydrolyzed bovine collagen. This means it’s sourced from cattle, so it’s not going to be a fit for any vegans. However, this supplement is right in line with an average dose for collagen, and it comes in a tasty chocolate flavor. This flavor uses only natural flavors, cocoa powder, and stevia, so you won’t find any artificial ingredients here. And since collagen is a protein, you’re putting 10g of protein into your diet with this supplement, as well.

Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate
Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate
Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

It can be helpful to have a collagen supplement that keeps your supplement routine easy. Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate is simply 11 grams of hydrolyzed bovine collagen.

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

  • Folks who are looking for a straightforward collagen supplement will like that this product is simply hydrolyzed bovine collagen. 
  • Anyone who likes chocolate flavoring — this supp only comes in chocolate. 
  • If you’re looking for a naturally flavored collagen supplement, you won’t find anything artificial here.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

  • If you don’t like chocolate, you’ll want to look for a collagen supplement that comes in a different flavor. 
  • Vegans who want to stay away from supplements sourced from cattle.

If you’re looking for a solid 11g dose of hydrolyzed collagen and nothing else besides natural flavors, Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate is a great option. 

Best Collagen for Women

If you’ve already got a supplement regimen tailored to your needs as a female athlete, this collagen is simple enough to fit right in without adding a significant amount of calories or unwanted additives.

Swolverine Collagen Protein

The 10 grams of hydrolyzed collagen here come from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine. Since it’s unflavored, this product is easy to add to your coffee, post-workout shakes, smoothies, or even brownies (if you have a sweet tooth) without altering the taste. There are no other ingredients outside of the collagen, and each serving is only 35 calories — making this one of the leaner options on the market.

However, if you’re wanting added help with digestion or any other micronutrients included with your collagen, the lack of added ingredients here could be a downside. An upside though — this is a pretty cost-effective option, so you won’t be breaking the bank to help boost your skin and joint health. 

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Swolverine Collagen Protein
Swolverine Collagen Protein
Swolverine Collagen Protein

This blend is made from grass-fed hydrolyzed collagen peptides, and it provides 10g of collagen peptides and nine grams of protein. The powder is unflavored and there are no additional ingredients.

Who Should Buy Swolverine Collagen Protein

  • Anyone who wants a lean, low-calorie collagen protein will appreciate that this product only contains 35 calories. 
  • Women who want a collagen powder that only contains collagen (without any additional ingredients). 
  • Folks who want an unflavored collagen they can add to smoothies or cookies. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Collagen Protein

  • If you want added ingredients in your collagen, you’ll want to look elsewhere. 
  • Women who want a flavored collagen powder won’t have any luck with this pick.

Women looking for a collagen supplement that’s straightforward, low in calories, and easy to add to smoothies or other baked goods will like Swolverine Collagen Protein.

Best Collagen for Digestion

Collagen hydrolysate can be easier for the body to absorb. The hydrolysis process breaks the collagen down into smaller pieces, which can help them digest, and this collagen hydrolysate is one of our favorites. 

Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

Though collagen hydrolysate is one of the most common forms of collagen you’ll find on the market, many brands mix their collagen hydrolysate with additional ingredients, which may be more difficult for the body to digest. This supplement is simply collagen hydrolysate, natural flavors, and that’s it. You get 11g of hydrolyzed bovine collagen, cocoa powder, natural flavor, and stevia.

Transparent Labs also lists all of these ingredients and their amounts very clearly on the label, so there’s no question as to what you’re working with here. However, this supp only comes in a chocolate flavor, which may be limiting for some customers. 

Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate
Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate
Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

It can be helpful to have a collagen supplement that keeps your supplement routine easy. Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate is simply 11 grams of hydrolyzed bovine collagen.

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

  • If you’re just looking for a collagen hydrolysate that may absorb quickly, this product is for you.
  • Customers looking for a chocolate collagen powder will like this supp. 
  • Those who want a transparent label. This product has all its ingredients and their amounts listed directly on the label. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

  • Anyone wanting additional micronutrients with their collagen may want to look elsewhere. 
  • If you don’t like chocolate flavors then you will want to opt for a different brand that offers additional flavor options. 

Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate is a great option if you’re looking for a collagen that has been broken down to potentially be more easily absorbed. Plus, you won’t find any artificial ingredients here, which is also ideal for optimal digestion. 

Best Collagen for the Price

While the price of this pick may look similar to the others at face value, you’re actually getting 10+ more servings in this container than other similarly priced, standard containers on this list. 

Kylea Collagen Peptides

Kylea offers 11g of collagen peptides (a term used synonymously with collagen hydrolysate). This broken down collagen may be easily absorbed, and this product is non-GMO, gluten-free, and soy-free. Plus, you’ll find 10 grams of protein and 18 naturally occurring amino acids from the high-quality collagen.

Each container packs 41 servings (versus the typical 30), and costs around the same amount as you’ll pay for a 30-serving container, making this one of the most cost-effective collagen supplements on the market. However, it only comes in an unflavored powder, so if you’re looking for a flavored supp, this collagen may not be for you.

Kylea Collagen Peptides
Kylea Collagen Peptides
Kylea Collagen Peptides

Kylea offers 11g of collagen peptides — this broken down collagen may be easily absorbed. Plus, you’ll find 10 grams of protein and 18 naturally occurring amino acids here.

Who Should Buy Kylea Collagen Peptides

  • Buyers on a budget. This product is less expensive than many collagen supplements across the market. 
  • If you want a simple, unflavored powder, this product is a great option for you.
  • Anyone looking to get additional amino acids from their collagen will like that this collagen provides 18 naturally occurring amino acids

Who Shouldn’t Buy Kylea Collagen Peptides

  • Those looking for additional micronutrients with their collagen will want to look elsewhere. 
  • Anyone who wants a flavored collagen supplement. This powder is unflavored. 

If you’re shopping on a budget, Kylea packs 41 servings into each container, so you’re paying less than a dollar per serving — this is cheaper than most other collagen supps across the market. 

Best Tasting Collagen Supplement

Many collagen supplements come in an unflavored powder, but this pick is mixing things up with its delicious chocolate formula.

Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate offers 11g of collagen hydrolysate in a chocolate flavored powder. The flavor comes from natural flavors, cocoa powder, and stevia, which is great news for customers who want to avoid artificial ingredients. You won’t find any unnecessary additives here, and the blend is both gluten-free and non-GMO. While the chocolate flavor is tasty, if you’re looking for more flavor options, you won’t find them from Transparent Labs. But if chocolate is your number one (like it is for us), this powder can add great flavor (and only 50 calories) to coffee, post-workouts shakes, and baked goods. 

Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate
Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate
Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

It can be helpful to have a collagen supplement that keeps your supplement routine easy. Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate is simply 11 grams of hydrolyzed bovine collagen.

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

  • Customers looking for a delicious chocolate collagen will like this formula.
  • If you’re steering clear of artificial ingredients, you’ll appreciate that this powder is all natural.
  • Those who want just collagen without any added digestive help or micronutrients will like the simplicity of this product. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate

  • Those wanting a vanilla or unflavored powder will want to look elsewhere as this product only comes in chocolate. 
  • Anyone looking for a collagen supplement that contains additional helpful ingredients will want to opt for a different product. 

If you’re seeking a chocolatey collagen powder you can mix into your smoothies, baked goods, or morning cup of joe, you’ll definitely want to give Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate a try. 

Best Straightforward Collagen Supplement

Just collagen — that’s what you’re getting with this supplement. If you want a solid dose of collagen peptides with none of the additional nonsense, this pick is for you.

Swolverine Collagen Protein

This blend is made from grass-fed hydrolyzed collagen peptides, and it provides 10g of collagen peptides and nine grams of protein — that’s it. The powder is unflavored and there are no additional ingredients, which makes this supplement about as straightforward as it gets. This flavorless factory also makes it pretty versatile, so you can add it to smoothies, coffee, or even a post-workout shake. This is a fairly cost effective option, but if you’re looking for a collagen powder with additional ingredients, this simple blend may not be for you. 

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Swolverine Collagen Protein
Swolverine Collagen Protein
Swolverine Collagen Protein

This blend is made from grass-fed hydrolyzed collagen peptides, and it provides 10g of collagen peptides and nine grams of protein. The powder is unflavored and there are no additional ingredients.

Who Should Buy Swolverine Collagen Protein

  • Folks who want an easy collagen product. This supplement is simple yet effective, with a minimal ingredient list.
  • Those who want an unflavored powder will like how versatile this tasteless blend is.
  • Customers who want a less expensive option will like that this formula comes at a lower cost than many collagen supplements. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Collagen Protein

  • If you’re looking for a flavored powder, Swolverine is not for you.
  • Anyone who wants additional micronutrients in their collagen powder will want to opt for a different pick on this list. 

Collagen supplements don’t have to boast a robust ingredient list to be effective. This supp is just 10g of collagen peptides in an unflavored powder, and it’s one of our favorite blends out there. 

Benefits of Collagen Supplements

Collagen supplements can help with skin, bone, and joint health. As we age, one of the reasons we may get wrinkles or dry skin is because our bodies naturally start to produce less collagen. Supplementing with this protein may help preserve some of this skin elasticity. (2)

In addition, collagen can help reduce joint pain — this is something that happens not only as we age, but it can especially affect athletes of all ages who are consistently putting their bodies through tough training sessions. And on a similar note, collagen may help our bones stay strong as we get older, keeping osteoporosis at bay by increasing bone mineral density. (3)

Collagen may also help with gut health as it contains the amino acids glycine, glutamine, and proline, which can be beneficial to the intestinal tract. However, our gut is a vast and complicated place, so a lot of other factors go into gut health (think: prebiotics, probioticsfiber, and most importantly, a diet of whole foods) — using collagen as your main supplement to promote gut health may not prove extremely beneficial, but more research is needed. (5

And as collagen is a protein, it can potentially help with muscle protein synthesis as well. While not as effective as a more hefty protein powder, collagen supplements can provide around 10 grams of protein, which can help you build that muscle mass little by little, nonetheless. 

How Much is Collagen?

Collagen supplements typically cost between $1.00 and $2.00 per serving. The more expensive blends may contain additional ingredients, like micronutrients or digestive enzymes, while the less expensive options may just contain collagen peptides.

There’s no better or worse here — it all just depends on your preference. But if you are looking for that more robust ingredient list, you can expect to dish out a little extra cash for those vitamins and minerals

Why is Collagen Hydrolyzed?

All supplemental collagen is hydrolyzed. Because it is difficult to absorb the nutrients from the main sources of collagen (which are typically cow hides and bones), hydrolysis can help break down the protein and amino acids in collagen to help make the nutrients more absorbable. 

A similar process occurs with whey hydrolysate, which is a form of whey protein that is considered the most easy to absorb. However, unlike collagen, we can absorb the nutrients from whey protein without hydrolysis.

When Should I Take Collagen?

You can take collagen at any time of the day. The key with collagen is consistency, not timing. Many times, brands will recommend you take collagen right after you wake up, on an empty stomach. This isn’t necessary, but it may help maximize absorption as your body won’t have any other foods in its system to process through just yet, allowing the collagen to potentially digest better. 

How We Decided the Best

While the vast majority of collagen supplements come in the form of collagen peptides, or hydrolyzed collagen, we did also consider price and ingredients when making our picks.

Type of Collagen Supplement

Most collagen supplements come in the form of collagen peptides. This is supplemental collagen that has been derived from animal tissue (like organs, bones, cartilage, or even hides), and hydrolyzed to make the particles smaller and potentially easier to absorb. 

However, you will occasionally see collagen that comes in the form of a gelatin supplement. Gelatin is more often used in our foods, but some brands do sell it in powder form that you can add to foods to amplify the collagen levels of a hot meal. 

Though gelatin can still be just as effective as collagen peptides, we only included collagen peptides on this list, as they are easier to use and much more common across the market.

Additional Ingredients

Whenever you’re shopping for supplements, you may take a peek at the ingredients label to make sure there’s no surprise additives you didn’t know about. You may also look to see if there are additional micronutrients. We made sure to point out both of these traits on our list as we walked you through our picks. 

If a collagen supplement contained artificial flavors, or sweeteners, you heard about it, and if it had some extra vitamins, we also let you know. No matter if you’re avoiding certain ingredients and just want a straightforward collagen powder, or you’re looking for a robust ingredients list, we found a great option for you to consider.

Price

While collagen is a fairly inexpensive supplement, there are still some variations in price. The more robust ingredient lists generally increase the price tag, while the basic just-collagen powders will typically be less expensive. We’ve included both higher and lower price points here, so no matter your budget, you should be able to find something in your price range. 

What to Consider Before Buying Collagen Supplements

Some evidence exists to suggest that collagen peptide supplements may be a convenient and effective way to improve your skin and joint health. As the popularity of this natural supplement has increased in recent years, more and more manufacturers are producing their own collagen peptide powders. In order to determine which one is the best option for you, it’s important to distinguish between a few key factors. 

Extra Ingredients

As with any supplement, you’ll want to check out the ingredient list to ensure you know what you’re putting in your body. Maybe you want to steer clear of any artificial flavorings or extraneous additives. Or maybe you don’t mind artificial flavors, but you’re looking for some extra vitamins or digestive enzymes. Make sure you read the entire label before just picking out the supplement with the highest dose of collagen you can find. 

Collagen Is Not Vegan

Many collagen peptide supplements are sourced from bovine (cattle). If you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet, these collagen supplements are not going to be ideal for you. Some brands have created vegan collagen supplements using genetically modified yeast and bacteria, but these are not true collagen supplements — though they may allow you to retain some of the same benefits as collagen would. 

Dosage

Different brands offer different levels of collagen per their suggested serving size. A typical dosage you’ll see across the supplement market may range from two to 15 grams of collagen. While a lower dose won’t harm you, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck if you’re supplementing with collagen by not opting for a supplement that offers a lower and likely less effective dose. 

Price

Check the price per serving, rather than the price of the full container, when you’re buying collagen. To figure out the cost per serving, divide the total cost of the container by the amount of servings provided. This will give you an idea of the value you’re getting, and help provide a clearer budget for you to stick to. 

Final Word

Collagen can be a key supplement for skin, bone, and joint health — especially as we age. Since our bodies may not make as much collagen as we get older, popping a scoop of collagen peptides into your coffee or smoothie can help keep your collagen levels closer to what they were in our younger years. While no supplement is a scientific solve-all, a little boost in skin elasticity or a decrease in joint inflammation can’t hurt.

Most collagen supplements come in the form of hydrolyzed collagen, or collagen peptides, sourced from bovine tissue. If you’re vegan, some brands do offer genetically modified yeast and/or bacteria in the form of a “vegan collagen supplement,” but as far as true collagen goes, vegans will want to steer clear. For everyone else, once you’ve set your price, noted the ingredients you’re looking for (or looking to avoid), and know the dosage you want, this list can help walk you through the rest. 

FAQs

Is collagen vegan?

No, collagen is typically sourced from cattle, so it is not vegan. Vegans may be able to find a vegan collagen supplement in the form of genetically modified yeast/bacteria, but true collagen is not vegan.

How much collagen should I take per day?

A typical dose ranges from two to 15 grams of collagen. Most of the picks on this list (and across the market) fall around 10 grams, which is a solid dose.

What is bovine collagen?

Bovine is a group of cattle, bison, and buffalos. Collagen peptides are often sourced from bovine, which is why many products will list their collagen as “bovine collagen” on the label.

References

  1. Ricard-Blum S. The collagen family. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology. 2011;3(1):a004978. 
  2. Asserin J, Lati E, Shioya T, Prawitt J. The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Journal of cosmetic dermatology. 2015;14(4):291-301. 
  3. Bello AE, Oesser S. Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders: a review of the literature. Current medical research and opinion. 2006;22(11):2221-2232. 
  4. Proksch E, Segger D, Degwert J, Schunck M, Zague V, Oesser S. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin pharmacology and physiology. 2014;27(1):47-55. 
  5. Choi FD, Sung CT, Juhasz ML, Mesinkovsk NA. Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019 Jan 1;18(1):9-16. PMID: 30681787.