Know How To Be Aware Of Many Companies Tactics & Deceptions
Collagen supplements are not created equal. Learn what makes a good collagen supplement and what brand claims the #1 spot with this list of 9 popular collagen supplements.
What Is Collagen Good For?
Collagen protein一a newly popular supplement with prehistoric roots, suitable for keto, paleo, low-fat, and low-carb diets alike一gets attention as a cure-all for beautiful skin and nails, weight loss, and especially joint, bone & gut health.
Thankfully, the popularity is well-deserved. New research shows these and other benefits every week, suggesting that you could benefit from having this potent powder on your shelf and using it in your daily regimen.
Something many companies and most consumers overlook though, is how that research shows you should be taking collagen.
Let’s take a look at the products on your grocery store shelf or what’s popular on Amazon and compare their Supplement Facts to see what your body needs to experience positive results. See which companies use the right amounts and needed synergistic ingredients to resemble the scientific research on collagen, and which companies don’t.
Enter: ReSync. Our team translates that science into sound decisions you can make today.
If you want to learn more about the science behind the powerful effects of collagen, we’ve got you covered! Check out these articles on our blog:
If you’re not looking for the science and just want the takeaways, we’ve boiled it down for you. The research suggests that collagen can be used for:
✓ Better mobility and less joint pain
✓ Stronger tendons and bones
✓ Faster recovery from exercise
✓ Easier weight loss and better body composition
✓ Glowing, wrinkle-free, moisturized skin
✓ Stronger hair and nails
✓ And possibly better gut health and lower autoimmune inflammation
What Collagen Supplement Should I Buy?
These benefits are applicable to almost everyone. So just hop on Amazon and get the cheapest collagen supplement delivered tomorrow, right?
Nope, not even close.
Side effects from low quality supplements range from ineffectiveness to breakouts to rashes and mystery inflammation. Hardly what you want from a supplement that’s supposed to help fix all those symptoms.
As with any supplement, FDA regulation is pretty loose with collagen and the industry is full of over-hyped products that deliver little to no results.
It’s up to you as the consumer to make an informed decision, but choosing quality is not always an obvious decision.
If you want to know what we look for when developing one of the best collagen supplements, check out our article, part 1 on this topic:
Does Your Collagen Deliver Results? What to look for when shopping for a collagen supplement.
But if you don’t want to spend hours checking the labels of every collagen supplement, you’re making an informed decision when you buy Resync Your Joints - Collagen Blend.
Plus, if you invest in your health by buying our Resync Collagen, we’ll also give you 3 must have free ebooks:
“ The New Collagen Revolution For Beauty & Energy”.
“ Resync Your Performance & Recovery”.
“7 Drinks To Change How You Feel, Look and Perform”
We took a comprehensive look at the state of collagen science to help you optimize your beauty and performance goals. Now...
What Makes The Best Collagen Supplement?
We’ve spent more time researching collagen than the time it takes to prepare and compete in an Ironman, marathon, and triathlon combined!
The types of questions we ask (and so should you), include the:
Is the collagen hydrolyzed? It makes a difference when it comes to how much you absorb! What type of collagen is it?
Type 1 is the most common in your body, important for any application from refining wrinkles to easing joint pain and improving body composition and performance
Type 3 is usually found with type 1
Type 2 is the kind found in cartilage
The other types are found in low levels in the body and shouldn’t be in a supplement at higher levels than types 1, 2, and 3
Dose and price per serving
Is the dose within the researched 2.5 to 30 grams of collagen? The sweet spot seems to be 10-15 grams, but you may need more depending on the reason you use collagen, your activity level, age, and your particular body.
If it has a relatively high price per serving, is it because the supplement is vetted and certified for quality by a reputable third-party testing agency before and after the production? Or is it because the brand markets themselves with a boutique, designer product and they want to take advantage of collagen’s popularity?
Presence of important ingredients like vitamin C and hyaluronic acid vs. fillers
Most importantly, vitamin C has been clinically shown to enhance the activity of collagen. Other specific antioxidants can help reduce inflammation and oxidation that negatively affects the collagen in your body. Natural inorganic nitrates (think of beets, red spinach, and aronia) may help support the delivery of key nutrients. Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in the human body, especially in the eyes and fluid lubricant of the joints. It is a popular nutraceutical used not just for joint health, but also as an application on dermal tissues for wound healing, burns, and as a moisturizer [Bowman et al., 2018; Chen et al., 2018].
Whether the health claims are based on science or market needs
Does the company have a reputation for falsely advertising their supplements? Does the company fund research or do they fund click-bait?
And most importantly, if it's third-party certified (see why this is so important below)
If every product you use meets all these requirements, you’ll be pleased with the results. But not every collagen supplement checks all these boxes.
In fact, the companies that just want to make a quick buck don’t satisfy any of them.
To get you started, here’s the scoring system we use:
And here’s the key we generated to help you compare products easily:
How Do I Know If What’s On The Label Is Actually In The Bottle? Answer: Proven Third-Party Certification
If the supplement isn’t NSF Certified, NSF Certified for Sport, or USP certified you really don’t know if your product delivers what’s on the label.
Informed Sport and BSCG certifications also provide additional testing (just like NSF Sport certification does) to make sure that the product isn’t contaminated.
To give you an idea of what other product and manufacturing certifications tell you, here are some common stamps you might find on a bottle:
GMP is the minimum level of certification required of manufacturers. It says nothing of the product itself. This means you really don’t know about the consistency, accuracy, cross-contamination, presence of banned substances or any level of final quality control in the product.
Non-GMO / certified organic / grass fed tells you that the original product was grown and produced with some level of environmentally-friendly standard. We agree on it’s importance, but these certifications say nothing of the quality of the product itself.
USP certification ensures that products provided by the manufacturer satisfy quality, purity, potency, performance, and consistency standards. Since it’s voluntary, there can be some discrepancies between what was tested and what you get when you buy it off the shelf.
Informed Sport (aka. “Informed Choice”) lets you know that the batches tested are not cross contaminated with banned substances. This is a great step, but the certification does not test for accuracy in the label and only includes certain batches, meaning you don’t know what’s actually in the bottle that you bought off the shelf.
BSCG is the most comprehensive “drug free” certification that assures each lot of a product is free from over 491 added ingredients banned in world-wide sporting standards. BSCG Drug Free lets you know that your supplement has consistently met these standards over time.
NSF certification is a high-level certification that confirms that what’s on the label is actually in the bottle. In addition, NSF certifies that the supplement is free from common contaminants .
NSF Sport certification is the highest supplement certification. Only “NSF Certified for Sport” supplements are allowed to be promoted by the NFL, PGA, LPGA, CCES, CPSDA and many other sports organizations. It carries the same standards as NSF’s other advanced certification with additional rigor to ensure that every batch is free of 270 banned substances, illicit drugs and other contaminants while also verifying the label claims against what’s in the bottle. If you want the peace of mind that your supplement does what it says it does, won’t end your career, and won’t cause nasty side-effects, look for the seal of approval from NSF Certified Sport.
Here’s the ranking we came up with when we looked at the most popular and the highest quality collagen supplements. Keep reading if you want to know why!
Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
Sports Research Collagen Peptides
Great Lakes Gelatin Co. Collagen Hydrolysate
Truvani Marine Collagen
SkinnyFit Super Youth Collagen
Ancient Nutrition Multi-Collagen Protein
HumanN SuperBeets Collagen
SunWarrior Collagen Building Protein Peptides
What Are The Best Collagen Supplements?
#1 Resync Your Joints - Collagen Blend
Resync Your Joints is the only hydrolyzed collagen + natural nitrate supplement on the market with BSCG Drug Free certification. No other product get close to the high standard of quality that Resync’s Collagen blend sets.
Natural nitric oxide precursors & hydrolyzed collagen peptides combined with calcium fructoborate, hyaluronic acid, and your recommended daily value of the antioxidant vitamin C ensures that no other supplement supports your connective tissue and cardiovascular health better than Resync. These natural peptides are optimized for digestibility and can support the health of your gut, skin, muscles, joints, other connective tissue, and even your hair and nails. A proprietary blend of natural nitric oxide precursors provides antioxidants, phytochemicals, and nitrates help boost the effectiveness of this collagen blend. Add to this the fact that the collagen in Resync comes from quality-certified and predominantly grass-fed sources, and it becomes clear why resync is the best collagen supplement of 2020. If you haven’t given this product a shot, taste the passion fruit flavor and一just like NBA player Lance Thomas says一you’ll see the results!
#2 Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
Vital Proteins offers a highly certified pure collagen. But without a supplemental source of vitamin C and other collagen-enhancing ingredients, this collagen supplement falls short of it’s potential.
Vital proteins boasts only one ingredient, grass-fed bovine collagen. Since there aren’t any additional effect-enhancing ingredients like vitamin C, this collagen protein doesn’t turn into collagen in your body as well as other products that have a couple more key ingredients. With Vital proteins, you get a highly-certified and pure product, but you’re paying a premium price for something that doesn’t do the job as well as it could.
#3 Sports Research Collagen Peptides
Sports research makes a good pure collagen supplement for an economical price. But again, without a couple of key extra ingredients, this collagen can’t deliver the results seen in the research.
Certified grass-fed, Informed Choice Safe for Sport certified, and with about 8800 five-star reviews on Amazon, there’s not much to not like about this product. If you are looking for a great unflavored collagen peptide supplement for an affordable price, look no further. The research suggests, however, that a couple key ingredients一like vitamin C and circulation-boosting nitrates the enhance nutrient delivery一added to the mix would make this product even better. Sports research offers a competitive advantage on price while still delivering a quality certified product, but without the additional collagen-supporting ingredients this supplement falls short.
#4 Great Lakes Gelatin Co. Collagen Hydrolysate
Great Lakes Gelatin Co. hydrolyzed collagen is an economical option if you’re looking for an eco-friendly product and you don’t need quality certification.
Products from Great Lakes Gelatin Co. are third-party tested but not independently certified, which makes them an automatic “no” for professional athletes. That being said, they have a 100-year track record of innovation, transparency, and a reputation for quality. They test every batch of raw material before it’s processed in a certified facility, but that still leaves room for post-processing contamination. Plus without vitamin C to enhance your collagen-making machinery, you won’t get the maximum benefits shown in the research. Overall Great Lakes Gelatin Co. may be a good choice at the price point for someone willing to sacrifice certified quality.
#5 Truvani Marine Collagen
At a premium price you would imagine a premium product, but the lack of quality certifications and the mixed customer reviews behind this expensive fish-based collagen are enough to turn up our noses.
Polarized reviews reflect the inconsistency of this product and proves that you need quality certification to make sure you’re always getting the best. That being said, Truvani claims their marine collagen is free from contaminants like mercury and is even proposition 65 compliant, but they do not disclose what third-party certification process their product goes through. The company ha sa brand centered on purity and quality, which is better than many other companies can say, but without the seal of approval we can’t say whether it’s all hype or the real deal. Overall, Truvani carries a hefty price for a product that’s no better than others on this list.
#6 SkinnyFit Super Youth Collagen
At $70 for 58 servings, this might look like a good price for a popular brand, but look at the label and you’ll find a mediocre-quality supplement at a boutique price.
SkinnyFit appeals to a broad beauty and well-being audience, but their flashy marketing and unfounded claims are fillers for their lack of verified quality. Per unit of collagen, this is one of the more expensive products available and offers no clear advantage over other brands. The formulation assumes “more is better” with the addition of typesss five and ten collagen, and their excessive emphasis on these minor collagen types detracts from an accurate representation of their brand. Although SkinnyFit is conscientious in their sourcing, the ethics of their ingredients doesn’t make up for the inconsistent quality of their final product.
#7 Dr. Axe / Ancient Nutrition Multi-Collagen Protein
This fashionable bottle may get a lot of hype for its endorsement by collagen-advocate and celebrity, Dr. Axe, but read the reviews and you’ll know why it takes a celebrity’s name to keep driving sales for this blend.
A product that doesn’t dissolve well, has a bad aftertaste, triggers allergic reactions, and has little consistency batch to batch needs some serious publicity to stay afloat. With no quality certifications, no rationale for their ingredients blend, and enough added flavors to throw out whatever you’re drinking it in, this collagen blend goes to the bottom of the barrel in our ranking.
#8 HumanN SuperBeets Collagen
Superbeets collagen comes from a relatively well-regarded company, but look at the ingredients and you’ll see how close this product is to falling off the collagen bandwagon.
With only 1 gram of collagen per serving (that’s right, check the label: 1 gram), you’d have to take an alarming amount of SuperBeets Collagen to get the clinically studied results. Even though this supplement checks out as coming from a pasture-raised source, it doesn’t carry the same quality certifications as HumanN’s other products and is a clear example of deceptive advertising practices. If you’re looking for a collagen blend that actually supports your connective tissue and cardiovascular health, or a brand that respects and values their customers, you’ll have to look somewhere else.
#9 SunWarrior Collagen Building Protein Peptides
Though suitable for vegan diets, these “collagen builders” actually contain no collagen, no quality certifications, and have little research supporting their claims.
SunWarrior is a new product on the market with big claims for vegan audiences. Will it really work though? Plant peptides don’t have the same positive effects as an animal-based collagen supplement when it comes to reducing inflammation and affecting metabolism. Additionally, plant-based proteins are contaminated by heavy metals more often than animal-based proteins, which SunWarrior dismisses as irrelevant on their website. SunWarrior’s Collagen Builder does have other collagen-enhancing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, however it has so many added flavors to mask the taste that many customers don’t become repeat-buyers. This product could feasibly replace a different plant-based protein shake, but it can’t compete with the benefits of a real collagen peptide supplement.
Between the kettle bell swings and the HIIT-Pomodoro strategy, it took a few shots of the best supplement on the market, Resync’s Collagen Blend, to put this guide together. We hope this helps next time you’re looking for the best collagen supplement!
We want to hear from you!
While some companies try to sell their stuff with clickbait and fake news, we make sure you have the research that backs up our claims. We believe that if you have the right information, you’ll be empowered to make the best decision for yourself. That’s why we break down the complex science of nutrition and supplements into practical takeaways you can incorporate into your life today.
Have something to say? Leave a comment or question below and we’ll get back to you!
Written by registered dietitian, Detrick Snyder, MPH, RDN. Updated 09/22/2020