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What to Look for in Collagen Powder: Buying Guide

UPDATED LAST ON

July 20, 2023

TOPICS

Medically Reviewed ✓

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For accuracy by Dr. Cate, M.D., a board-certified family physician, biochemist, and NY Times Bestseller.

Dr. Cate's Takeaway

The best collagen powder supplements contain quality collagen and don’t try to be something they’re not by adding other nutrients.

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Quick Summary

The collagen market has exploded and there are numerous brands to choose from. When looking for a collagen powder, start with ingredients and the quality of manufacturing. Then, move on to third-party certification to ensure safety and efficacy. Not all collagen powders contain the same types (I, II,  III, V, & X), there are single-source and multi-source. When evaluating price, a container of collagen powder could range from $10 to $70, so it’s essential to do the math and determine the cost and grams of collagen per serving. Be wary of added ingredients, such as vitamin C and probiotics, as they could react with collagen’s amino acids and impact effectiveness. Variety is also key, such as flavors and travel packs, which provide consumption versatility. Dissolvability, though important when mixing into liquids, is not necessarily a sign of better quality because collagen is a sticky protein when it interacts with water. Brand reputation, such as excellent customer service (e.g. returns, free shipping, response time) is worth inspecting as well as any “X” factor that is unique to the brand.

Collagen powder: the king of collagen supplements.

Unflavored collagen powder is incredibly versatile, allowing you to easily mix in your morning coffee, afternoon smoothies, whey protein shake, tasty baked goods, and more! And flavored collagen powder is delicious — you can mix it with water, and boom, done. Easy to take, big health benefits!

It’s no wonder collagen powder is widely popular.

But, therein lies the problem, folks.

The Collagen Powder market is saturated

Walk the supplement aisle of your local grocery store, or do an Amazon search, and you’ll notice more and more brands offering collagen powder. I’d guess there are hundreds to choose from today. Hundreds!

FDA says there are 29,000 supplements available to consumers today
Supplement options, in general, will only increase

The market is flooded with options and it can be confusing when trying to choose a brand. Are all these collagen powders the same? Does it really matter what you choose? You already know these answers, but we’re here to help clear things up. 🙂

When looking for a collagen powder, there are several factors you should consider to ensure you’re getting both quality and value. Here are 9 things to look for.

9 key things to look for in a collagen powder

Though it may seem daunting to evaluate a collagen powder in nine different ways, your health will thank you down the road if you put in the due diligence now. We are all creatures of habit, and once you start investing in a supplement it can be challenging to change (unless you’ve had a horrible experience). Put in the research now, and then set your collagen powder supplementation on autopilot with peace and confidence!

Here are 9 things to evaluate in a collagen powder:

  1. Ingredients & Sourcing
  2. GMP Manufacturing
  3. Third-party Certification (aka safest)
  4. Types of Collagen
  5. Price & Value
  6. Added Ingredients
  7. Variety
  8. Mixability
  9. Brand Reputation

Also, to address the elephant in the room, yes we offer multi collagen powder supplements. In fact, it’s the only kind of supplement we offer — we think most supplements suck. To be frank. After you understand what to look for in a collagen powder, compare us to other brands with this guide below.

SEE HOW WE COMPARE TO OTHER BRANDS

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Compare Collagen Powders

OK, onto the first thing to look for: quality ingredients and sourcing.

1. Ingredients & Sourcing

If a collagen powder doesn’t get this part right — all other subsequent criteria on this list simply don’t matter. Quality ingredients first and foremost!

A quality collagen powder starts with quality animal materials

Collagen powders can be derived from various sources, including bovine (cow), marine (fish), or poultry (chicken) — or all, such as a multi collagen. Consider your dietary preferences and potential allergies, though rare, when selecting a collagen powder.

Ensure these key ingredients are on the label:

  • Grass-fed Beef
  • Wild Caught Fish
  • Cage Free Chickens
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-free
  • Free of Artificial Sweeteners (especially their flavors)
  • Bonus: Dairy-free/Lactose-free, Soy-free, Paleo-friendly
KEY POINT
The MOST important ingredient is peptides. Unless you see “peptides” in the ingredients, the powder DOES NOT contain collagen’s special bioactive peptides. Also, collagen peptides and hydrolyzed collagen are the sameall collagen powders are hydrolyzed!

2. GMP Manufacturing

Where is the collagen powder made? In what kind of facility? How does that facility control quality? These are all excellent questions to ask.

The critical element to look for on the label is “GMP”, which stands for “Good Manufacturing Practice”. It typically comes in the form of a logo or emblem. Since there’s no standardization of design for GMP designation, this will be slightly different per collagen powder brand.

Look for a collagen powder that is manufactured in a GMP facility
A GMP logo/emblem ensures safety, quality, and efficacy with a collagen powder

When a collagen powder is manufactured in a certified GMP facility, this means the product relied heavily on regulations and guidelines set forth by regulatory authorities, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A GMP facility will test the collagen for heavy metals, proper ingredients, contaminants, bacteria, mold, and much more.

3. Third-party Certification

There’s no better way to ensure you’re taking the cleanest and safest collagen powder than to buy one with third-party certification. There is no gray here. Either a collagen supplement has gone through rigorous testing with a legit industry-leading third-party certification organization, or it has not.

Collagen powder third-party certification options
Look for one of these logos on the label

Why is third-party certification important?

In short, here’s why third-party certification matters:

  • The Government places responsibility on the manufacturer to ensure quality & accuracy — why choosing GMP (#2 above) is critical!
  • Supplement companies get away with using solvents, toxic ingredients, and banned substances. Unless tested for heavy metals, they may be present.
  • Supplement companies can use wildly inaccurate labels.

Safest Collagen Powder

If you’re looking for the safest collagen powder, look for third-party certification. This will ensure the collagen powder is:

  • Free of solvents, toxic ingredients, banned substances
  • No unsafe levels of contaminants, heavy metals
  • ACCURATE with its label (7g of collagen = 7 g of collagen!)
  • Guaranteed that the brand used a GMP facility for manufacturing
  • Annual or semi-annual quality audits of GMP facility

We believe in NSF Certified for Sport (frequently referred to as the “Gold Standard”). For those who want the safest and cleanest multi collagen powder, it provides the assurances and confirms efficacy.

4. Types

You know those Roman Numerals on the label? Pay attention, they’re critical.

Collagen supplements can include one to five types of collagen, including I, III, III, V, & X. Types I and III are the most common, found in popular single-source collagen powders such as bovine or marine. All 5 types are found in a multi-source collagen.

Each collagen type does something different and awesome in the body. For example, Type I collagen is beneficial for hair, skin, and nails. Type II is essential for joint and cartilage health.

The number of collagen types should be a key criterion in your decision-making process. We believe everyone at any age can take collagen and should maximize their supplementation with every scoop — it’s the reason why we’ve invested in multi collagen powder.

5. Price & Value

Containers of collagen powder can range from $10 to $70, or more! That’s a big range, especially if you’re going through a container a month — which will happen if you follow our 1 scoop of collagen powder per 50 lbs recommendation.

As an example, containers of our multi collagen powders average (factoring in our 2 lines and subscription discounts) $48 per container and have 58 scoops. Each scoop offers 7g of collagen protein. Here’s the quick math:

  • $0.82 per scoop for 7g of collagen protein

Collagen containers, and servings per container, come in all various sizes. Simply buying the cheapest is not an accurate gauge of collagen per serving. Certification, as we explored above, also adds to your cost in addition to the other items listed in this article.

KEY POINT
To ensure you’re getting the best price and value, inspect the grams of collagen per scoop on the label and do the math.

6. Added Ingredients

Man researching collagen supplement label
Always inspect labels to see what else was added to the collagen powder

Can you add “stuff” to a collagen powder? Absolutely. Collagen powder is no different than other protein powders in that brands will add vitamins and minerals such as:

  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Prebiotics
  • Keratin
  • Vitamin C
  • Ginger
  • and much more!

The question you need to ask yourself is:

Are added ingredients necessary when buying collagen powder?
— You

We believe vitamin C can react with collagen’s amino acids to reduce their effectiveness, and is not necessary to add to collagen powder (it’s a myth that added C to collagen helps with absorption). We also believe the more you add to collagen, the more things could go wrong during manufacturing, while it sits on a shelf, and possibly when consuming.

Why mess with a good, no, great thing? There are a few other collagen powder brands that feel the same. Look long and hard at added ingredients!

7. Variety

We all love variety, the spice of life! Though routine and consistency in taking collagen powder are great, having options some days with flavors and portability is nice.

Having an unflavored collagen powder should be a staple to a brand’s product line, but also they should give you options with flavors — without sacrificing quality ingredients. If you can get a variety of collagen powders from the same brand, it makes your life a lot easier with customer support and will probably save you money on shipping and subscriptions.

MORE FROM COLLAGEN COLLEGE™

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Flavored Collagen Powder: The Ultimate Guide to Yum

Of course, there are more ways to take collagen than just powders. The best way to take collagen depends a lot on personal preference (e.g. pills, drinks, bars, gummies, etc.). Though, collagen powder and pills are the most popular.

A few tips when evaluating variety

8. Mixability

Nobody likes clumps in their coffee and collagen. Eww.

Collagen powder dissolving in mug of hot water
Collagen powder should dissolve pretty quickly in hot water

However, since collagen is a protein and becomes sticky when it interacts with water, clumping can be an issue with some collagen powders based on their manufacturing processes such as temperature, drying methods, or additives.

Remember that just because a certain collagen powder is faster to dissolve does not necessarily mean it’s better quality. Dissolvability should not trump quality ingredients, certifications, and brand reputation! If this really worries you, simply get a frother and fuggedaboutit!

9. Brand Reputation

I don’t care what you’re selling, customer service better be top-notch or you’ll lose customers. A brand selling collagen powder gets no exceptions — demand excellence! Here’s how to evaluate a collagen powder’s reputation.

What to inspect

  • Return policy. If you hate the product, what can be done? Do they offer a money-back guarantee?
  • Reviews. 5 stars are great, but you’ll learn the most with 4-star or 3-star reviews. Ensure most of the reviews are “verified” purchasers.
  • Shipping Policy. Most supplement companies will offer free shipping over a certain order amount.
  • Response speed to comments/questions. From their website, social media, etc.
Customer Love banner CB Supplements
Customer appreciation is one of our three founding pillars

Extra Bonuses

  • They have a strong WHY. Our founder, Charlie, has an incredible collagen testimonial that was fueled by the health complications of his daughter.
  • An M.D. and/or Nutritionist support. For example, Dr. Cate, M.D. supports our collagen.
  • The “X” factor. For example, you’ll get a handwritten note with every CB Supplements order thanking you — seriously.

Final Thought

When looking for a collagen powder, be curious and methodical. Don’t choose supplements on flashy marketing or wild promises.

Unfortunately, there are many supplement companies that are only profit-driven and will cut corners to jump into the flourishing collagen market. However, empower yourself with these 9 elements and put them to the test before buying.

Your health, and your wallet, will thank you!

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This Collagen College™ article created by:

Author

Eric Sharp CMO

Eric Sharp

Eric discovered collagen back in 2019 (thanks to Charlie) and been a believer since. He brings 20+ years of digital marketing experience to the CB Supplements team. As CMO, he's directly responsible for crafting the CB Supplements positioning, content, branding, and overall marketing direction.

Contributors

dr-cate-shanahan-avatar-square-color

Dr. Cate

Dr. Cate Shanahan is our Medical & Scientific Advisor. She is a Board-certified Family Physician, biochemist trained at Cornell University, and New York Times Bestseller.

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A type of collagen supplement made by sourcing from 2+ animals which provides all 5 types of collagen (I, II, III, V, X). A multi collagen has benefits over a single source collagen (such as bovine-only collagen). Multi collagen is also referred to as All-in-One collagen, Multiple collagen, Multi-Sourced collagen, or a Multi Complex collagen.
When buying a collagen supplement, always inspect labels and look for confirmation that it was produced in a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility. This ensures the products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards.
Collagen is everywhere in our bodies and each kind is given a type — represented by Roman Numerals. We need different types of collagen for different functions in different parts. The 5 types of collagen that are mainstream and see in today's collagen supplements are I, II, III, V, & X.
This magical handheld electric utensil helps mix your collagen powder into any drink. Also called a "Milk Frother". If your coffee mug was Batman, a frother would be Robin. Here's one for under $12 on Amazon.
A type of collagen supplement made by sourcing from 2+ animals which provides all 5 types of collagen (I, II, III, V, X). A multi collagen has benefits over a single source collagen (such as bovine-only collagen). Multi collagen is also referred to as All-in-One collagen, Multiple collagen, Multi-Sourced collagen, or a Multi Complex collagen.
When buying a collagen supplement, always inspect labels and look for confirmation that it was produced in a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility. This ensures the products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards.
Collagen is everywhere in our bodies and each kind is given a type — represented by Roman Numerals. We need different types of collagen for different functions in different parts. The 5 types of collagen that are mainstream and see in today's collagen supplements are I, II, III, V, & X.
This magical handheld electric utensil helps mix your collagen powder into any drink. Also called a "Milk Frother". If your coffee mug was Batman, a frother would be Robin. Here's one for under $12 on Amazon.
A type of collagen supplement made by sourcing from 2+ animals which provides all 5 types of collagen (I, II, III, V, X). A multi collagen has benefits over a single source collagen (such as bovine-only collagen). Multi collagen is also referred to as All-in-One collagen, Multiple collagen, Multi-Sourced collagen, or a Multi Complex collagen.
When buying a collagen supplement, always inspect labels and look for confirmation that it was produced in a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility. This ensures the products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards.
Collagen is everywhere in our bodies and each kind is given a type — represented by Roman Numerals. We need different types of collagen for different functions in different parts. The 5 types of collagen that are mainstream and see in today's collagen supplements are I, II, III, V, & X.
This magical handheld electric utensil helps mix your collagen powder into any drink. Also called a "Milk Frother". If your coffee mug was Batman, a frother would be Robin. Here's one for under $12 on Amazon.
A type of collagen supplement made by sourcing from 2+ animals which provides all 5 types of collagen (I, II, III, V, X). A multi collagen has benefits over a single source collagen (such as bovine-only collagen). Multi collagen is also referred to as All-in-One collagen, Multiple collagen, Multi-Sourced collagen, or a Multi Complex collagen.
When buying a collagen supplement, always inspect labels and look for confirmation that it was produced in a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility. This ensures the products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards.
Collagen is everywhere in our bodies and each kind is given a type — represented by Roman Numerals. We need different types of collagen for different functions in different parts. The 5 types of collagen that are mainstream and see in today's collagen supplements are I, II, III, V, & X.
This magical handheld electric utensil helps mix your collagen powder into any drink. Also called a "Milk Frother". If your coffee mug was Batman, a frother would be Robin. Here's one for under $12 on Amazon.