I’m sure by now you’ve seen collagen everywhere. In creamers designed for coffee, in capsules, in bars, as on the go packs, and even as an addition at your local smoothie bar. The main claims for taking collagen include helping with skin integrity, signs of aging, bone strength, and joint pain. Let’s do a deep dive to determine whether the science supports these claims.

In your body

Collagen is a type of protein found in the skin, joints, bones, and connective tissue. The body produces less collagen as you age. As adults, we lose about 1% of our internal collagen per year, leading to thinner skin and more wrinkles. Smoking, exposure to UV light, and refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, desserts) accelerate the breakdown of collagen.

In supplement form

Collagen supplements are derived from the parts of animals (usually cows, chickens, and fish) that contain the most collagen: skin, bone, and cartilage. There is no such thing as vegan or plant-based collagen, as plants do not produce collagen. If you’re taking something with this claim, you are likely consuming a collagen “booster” aimed to help your body to produce more collagen but you are not consuming collagen itself. 

To form a supplement, collagen molecules from animals are broken down by a process called hydrolysis (basically boiling) to make them bioavailable (easily absorbed).

The benefits

The benefits of collagen are more hyped on your IG and TikTok than the reality (duh, because companies and influencers are trying to SELL, SELL, SELL). The reality is that collagen does “work”, but the benefits are mild to moderate.

Skin: studies (in people) show that supplementing with hydrolyzed collagen can provide a modest (7-20%) improvement in wrinkles. The amounts used in these studies vary widely— from as little as 0.5 grams per day to as much as 10 grams per day.

Joints: several preliminary studies have shown a moderate improvement in joint pain and stiffness after 3-6 months of collagen supplementation. However, some studies have shown no benefit.

Building muscle and strength: collagen is NOT a complete protein— so it should not be used as an exercise recovery or muscle building supplement. You are much better off getting your protein from food or a complete protein powder like these.

Bone health: there is not currently enough evidence for me to recommend taking collagen for bone health.

My recommendations

I hate ruining my coffee with a collagen creamer (that said, some of my clients are totally fine with it). I don’t think it dissolves well enough and I want to enjoy the hell out of my coffee when I do drink it.

I’ve also hated most of the powders that are meant to dissolve in water. They make the water slimy and weird. However, lately I have been liking CB supplements (a local Orlando company). I put a single use, non-flavored packet in my water and let it sit for 10-15 minutes until it dissolves then drink it throughout the day when I’m in the office.

On non-office days, I take 2 of the TruNature Verisol capsules from Costco. They were rated highly in third party testing by Consumer Labs and are super cheap at $18.99 for 240 capsules.


If you’re already paying an arm and a leg for botox, you might as well add a collagen supplement to your repertoire. It’s a fairly cheap way to improve your skin integrity but you do have to be consistent with use to see a difference. I think capsules are the most convenient, but some people enjoy the collagen creamers. Don’t replace your regular protein powder in your shakes or smoothies with collagen powder, as it is not a complete protein.


Consumer Lab

Cleveland Clinic

CB Supplements

Cheers to non-clumpy collagen supplements and better skin integrity!

We were not paid to review any of the above products. All opinions are our own. This post may contain affiliate links.

About the author: Megan Poczekaj, RDN, LD, is a registered dietitian nutritionist in Orlando, FL. She owns the private practice, Nutrition Awareness, where she teaches other entrepreneurs how to maximize their productivity and performance with nutrition. She is the author of the book The Optimized Life: A Nutrition Guide for Entrepreneurs and co-host of the Nutrition Awareness Podcast.

If you need help losing weight, improving your performance, or increasing your energy, schedule your initial consultation here. Not in Orlando but still need some nutrition tips? We also do online or over the phone consultations.