The Best Collagen Supplements in the UK for 2024
Collagen has become a star supplement in recent years, promising to benefit everything from your skin to your nails to your joints and beyond. But as with any popular health and wellbeing product, choosing the right one for you isn’t always easy.
Which type of collagen is best? What exactly do those labels mean? And how do you separate the reputable brands from the chancers and scammers?
In this in-depth guide to the UK’s best collagen supplements, we’ll answer all those questions and more…
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, representing about 30% of the total protein content. It provides structure, strength and support all over the body, in tissues and organs such as:
• Blood vessels
Your body makes its own collagen by combining certain amino acids — mainly glycine and proline. You can produce these amino acids even if you’re not getting them in your diet, but you should still eat a plentiful supply to maximise your body’s ability to produce the collagen it needs.
Foods and drinks that contain collagen (or the amino acids you need to make it) include:
• Bone broth
• Tough cuts of meat
• Chicken or pork skin
• Fish (especially skin and scales)
Collagen can’t be produced without certain vitamins and minerals. For best results, make sure your diet also features plenty of:
• Vitamin C — found in citrus fruits, bell peppers and tomatoes.
• Zinc — found in red meat, seafood, dairy, nuts and whole grains.
• Copper — organ meats, shellfish, beans, nuts and whole grains.
As we get older, existing collagen breaks down and the production of new collagen slows. This happens much sooner than you think! From as early as 20 years old, you’ll lose around 1-1.5% of your collagen every year.
The effect of collagen loss is most obvious in the skin, where it shows up as wrinkles and sagging. However, loss of collagen also affects muscle and bone strength, joint health and flexibility, organ function, and hair and nail quality, among other things.
To keep collagen levels high, lots of people turn to supplements. They can be especially helpful if you don’t have a lot of collagen-rich foods in your diet. In fact, some experts believe that certain supplements may be even more effective than dietary sources.
That’s because no matter what protein you eat — collagen or otherwise — it will be broken down into its individual amino acids during the digestion process. Once this happens, your body will then use the amino acids to re-build the proteins it needs.
If a collagen supplement is hydrolysed, that means it’s already been broken down into peptides, or smaller chains of amino acids. You’re then able to break down these peptides faster, potentially absorbing much more of the amino acids for collagen production.
1. Collagen types
When you’re shopping for collagen supplements, you’ll notice they’re referred to by “type” — type I, type II, etc. There are about 28 types of collagen in the body, each slightly different depending on where they’re found and what jobs they do. The five main types are:
• Type I — found in large quantities in the skin, bones, ligaments and tendons.
• Type II — a more elastic type II collagen found in flexible tissues, mainly the joints and spinal discs.
• Type III — found mostly in the skin, muscles, internal organs, arteries and blood vessels.
• Type IV — found in the skin, kidneys, and the lens of the eye.
• Type V — found in the eyes, skin and hair, as well as the placenta of pregnant women.
The best type of collagen for you depends on why you’re taking a collagen supplement. For example, if you’re looking specifically for beauty benefits, you may look for a supplement that contains type I and/or type III collagen; these are the main types that make up your skin and hair. For joint support, on the other hand, you might look for a supplement containing type II collagen.
2. Collagen source
Collagen supplements can also be classified by source. Here are some common sources that you might see on the label, what they mean, and which one may be best for you…
Marine (fish) collagen is rich in collagen types I and II (found in skin, hair and joints). So if you’re looking for both a healthy glow and a spring in your step, marine collagen could be the right choice for you.
Marine collagen is more bioavailable than other types, so you absorb more. And it often comes from wild-caught fish, so it can be more sustainable than other types of collagen. It’s also ideal for those who don’t want to use pig, cow or chicken collagen for dietary, religious or health reasons.
Bovine (cow) collagen is rich in types I and III collagen, so it’s the supplement of choice for people who are interested mainly in skincare benefits . It also contains collagen found in hair, joints and muscles.
Porcine (pig) collagen, like bovine collagen, contains mostly types I and III collagen. It has a slight edge over bovine collagen, though, because it’s considered closer in structure to human collagen. That means it may be better absorbed and tolerated.
Chicken collagen is made mostly of joint-friendly type II collagen. It also includes lots of chondroitin and glucosamine, two essential nutrients for healthy joints. For that reason, chicken collagen is a good option for those looking mainly for joint support.
Vegan collagen is usually made from genetically modified yeast and bacteria. Because natural collagen is an animal product, vegan collagen is a popular alternative for vegans, vegetarians, and anybody else who prefers to avoid animal products. However, it’s not yet clear whether vegan collagen has the same benefits as collagen from animal sources.
3. Supplement form
The most common form of collagen supplement is powder, but it also comes in capsules, liquids, and even gummies.
People often enjoy collagen powder because it’s versatile and easy to take. It can be mixed into liquids, such as water, juice, protein shakes, smoothies, yoghurt or spreads. But beware that some brands can be difficult to mix, so you may end up with a slightly lumpy or clumpy consistency.
Liquid collagen is similarly versatile. Some liquid collagens come in a concentrate that you can mix with water or juice, while others are available ready to drink for added convenience.
If you’d rather take your supplement quickly without needing to down a drink, liquids or powders may not be the right choice for you. Also, if you want to be able to take your collagen supplements on the go, you might find them impractical.
If that’s the case, you might prefer collagen capsules. They’re pre-dosed and portable, so you can just pop them in your bag and take them anywhere, anytime, with no preparation. However, those who don’t like swallowing pills might struggle to take enough to reach their daily dosage.
If that sounds like you, collagen gummies might be a good alternative. They have all the portable, pre-dosed convenience of collagen capsules, but they’re more like your favourite sweet than a supplement. Just be conscious that you may need to take quite a few gummies to reach your desired dose, so try to choose high-quality, low-sugar brands.
When it comes to collagen supplements, TRUE MARINE have secured the top spot in the UK market. These exceptional capsules offer a unique blend of hydrolysed marine collagen, primarily type 1 collagen, constituting a remarkable 90% of your body's collagen content.
This potent formulation is complemented by the inclusion of Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C, creating a powerhouse of nourishment for skin, hair, nails, and joints. With each bottle containing 120 easy-to-swallow capsules, providing 30 servings of 2,400mg premium marine collagen.
Experience the TRUE MARINE difference – marine collagen has shown upto a 1.5x better absorption rate in clinical-studies compared to other collagen types like bovine, ensuring that you get the maximum benefit from your daily collagen regimen.
Don't compromise on your collagen supplementation, manufactured right here in the UK, TRUE MARINE adheres to the highest quality and safety standards, including GMP, ISO 9001, and HACCP certification. Choose TRUE MARINE Collagen and embark on the journey to a healthier, more beautiful you.
Unlike the other collagen supplements on our list, cult-favourite brand Vital Proteins doesn’t contain any extra nutrients. However, it more than makes up for this with a mega 20g of collagen, making it one of the most potent supplements we reviewed.
Vital Proteins mixes easily into any drink, and it’s even available in travel-friendly sachets so you can get your collagen fix on the go. It uses 100% bovine type I and type III collagen, sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows. The result is super-clean, high-quality collagen peptides that celebs like Jennifer Aniston swear by for their skin, nail and hair health.
Not only does Revive pack an impressive 20g of collagen per serving, it’s the only supplement on our list to feature all five of the main collagen types. If you’re looking to get a head-to-toe beauty and wellbeing boost, then, this great all-rounder might just be perfect for you.
For maximum benefits, Revive takes their collagen from a diverse range of high-quality sources, including free-range chicken, wild-caught fish, grass-fed cows and egg shell. And the collagen is hydrolysed, of course, giving you maximum absorption and tolerability.
As a bonus, 10% of the profits are donated to non-profit organisations that feed and clothe some of the world’s most disadvantaged children.
Made with the same enzymatic hydrolysation process as their liquid collagen, Nutrabytes’ marine collagen powder packs 10g of highly bioavailable collagen into each serving. The ultra-fine powder is completely unflavoured and doesn’t clump like some other brands, so it can be mixed quickly and easily into your drink without a trace.
Premium Marine Collagen is made from wild-caught fish, so you can rest assured that you’re buying a clean and sustainable product. It also contains 19 amino acids — even more than the collagen liquid — for an extra boost to your skin, hair and nails.
The Pretty Smart Food Co’s marine collagen liquid contains a relatively low dose of type I collagen compared to the other supplements on our list. However, when it comes to added nutrients, it outshines the rest by far. In addition to collagen-promoting copper, zinc, and vitamins C and E, you’ve got:
• Hyaluronic acid for plump, hydrated, youthful skin.
• Silica and sea kelp for shiny hair and strong nails.
• Superfoods blueberry and açai for an antioxidant boost.
• Turmeric to fight inflammation.
• Black pepper to boost absorption.
If beauty is your main goal from a collagen supplement, this UK-made supplement may just be your key to a gorgeous glow. It also places a heavy emphasis on ethically sourced, sustainable ingredients, so you can feel as good as you look!
Collagen provides a sturdy framework, or scaffold, for the skin, giving it shape and structure. Collagen also gives the skin elasticity and smoothness, locks in moisture, and forms a protective barrier against external stressors like UV radiation. When the skin starts to wrinkle or sag, this is a sign that the collagen content is starting to decline.
That’s why skin health is one of the most popular reasons people use collagen supplements. Fans claim that collagen supplements help to keep their skin firm, smooth, hydrated and youthful — and there’s some evidence to back this up.
A 2022 review in the Dermatology Practical & Conceptual journal concluded that collagen supplements improved skin moisture, elasticity and hydration, and reduced wrinkling and roughness. This echoes the findings of an earlier 2019 review that found similar positive results.
The hair follicles depend on collagen to grow and regenerate hair. Collagen also influences hair quality by providing strength, thickness and smoothness to the hair shaft. Because of this, some collagen supplements promise to leave you with healthier, longer and shinier hair. Is this too good to be true, though?
Maybe not! It’s worth noting that there isn’t a great deal of research on this topic, but one study did find that women with thinning hair experienced significant improvements in hair quantity and thickness after taking collagen supplements.
Collagen provides the nails with certain amino acids needed for growth. It also keeps nails flexible, strong and hydrated, reducing the risk of brittleness, breakage and splitting. So does that mean collagen supplements can give you stronger, longer, healthier nails?
Possibly! Again, there’s limited research on this topic. But a recent study did find that taking daily collagen peptides increased nail growth by 12% and reduced nail breakage by 42%. And if you’ve got brittle nails, you’ll be happy to hear that 88% of people in the study reported improvements in brittle nails after four weeks.
Your joints are the places in your body where two bones meet, e.g. the elbow, shoulder, spine, knee, etc. There are various different tissues that give support, strength and stability to the joints:
• Cartilage — a tough, rubbery material that cushions your joints and absorbs force.
• Synovial fluid — a lubricating fluid that reduces friction between bones.
• Tendons — strong, flexible cords of tissue that connect bones to muscles.
• Ligaments — bands of tissue that connect the bones and keep them in place.
All of these joint tissues rely heavily on collagen for their health and function. For example, two thirds of the cartilage in your knees and other joints is made up of collagen. That’s one reason why your joints start to become stiff and achey as you get older, when your collagen levels decline.
So can collagen supplements soothe your aching joints? While it’s too early to say whether supplemental collagen can treat joint problems, some clinical studies suggest it may be able to support healthy joint function.
One study explained that supplemental collagen accumulates in the cartilage and stimulates natural collagen production. In theory, this may improve joint support and keep inflammation low. Another study suggested that collagen supplementation may have a protective effect on the cartilage between the joints. And in a further study, student athletes who took collagen supplements reported that their joints felt better than usual after exercise.
Collagen supplements are generally safe and well-tolerated for most people. However, some people do experience mild side effects like nausea, bloating or indigestion. If you’re at all concerned, stop taking your supplement and contact your doctor.
Collagen supplements are often made with common allergens like fish, shellfish and eggs, so be sure to check the label carefully if you have allergies. If in doubt, speak to the manufacturer for confirmation or consider an alternative collagen product.
Pre-existing medical conditions
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or you have a medical condition, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before taking a collagen supplement. This is especially important if you suffer from kidney problems or connective tissue disorders.
As with all animal products, there is a risk of contamination from microbes (e.g. bacteria or fungi), heavy metals or other toxins. To be sure you’re getting a clean and safe product, always buy your collagen supplements from a reputable brand, like the ones on our Top 5 list.
A 2019 review of clinical studies found that taking 2.5–15 grams of hydrolyzed collagen peptides each day may be safe and effective.
There’s no evidence to suggest that collagen should be taken at a specific time of day. Take it whenever is most convenient for you.
There’s a lot of hype around the benefits of collagen supplements, and there is some research to suggest that they can support healthy skin, hair, nails and joints. If you struggle to get enough collagen in your diet, they’re an especially helpful way to quickly and easily boost your intake.
For best results, always choose a clean, responsibly sourced collagen supplement from a reputable brand (like those on our top 5 list!), and combine it with a diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals.
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