What Is the Best Form of Collagen to Take?

Medically Reviewed on 5/17/2021

Collagen peptides are usually considered the best form of collagen for ingestion.
Collagen peptides are usually considered the best form of collagen for ingestion.

Collagen peptides are usually considered the best form of collagen for ingestion. Hydrolyzed collagen should be taken if a person wants to take a collagen supplement. Hydrolyzed collagen means the collagen has been broken down into small peptides, which are easy for the body to digest. Consuming collagen with vitamin C gives the body the best shot at taking the full advantage of the collagen being consumed. Vitamin C will optimize the collagen supplement's bioavailability because it is essential for collagen synthesis to occur. While picking up the collagen peptide supplements, it is recommended to skip the flavored versions and always look for third-party certification. Choosing the best type of collagen also depends on specific health goals.

  • To maintain skin elasticity and hydration and for healthy eyes, bones and wound healing: Try one to two servings daily of marine collagen, which is high in type 1 collagen or bovine collagen, to get high amounts of both type 1 and 2 collagens. Usually, 2.5 to 10 grams of collagen peptides taken orally daily for 8 to 12 weeks may make the skin healthy.
  • For joint pain and inflammation: Add one to two servings daily of type 2 collagen from organic bone broth protein or bovine collagen. 10 grams of collagen peptides taken daily in one or two divided doses for three to five months work well for joint pains.
  • For gut health: Aim for one to three servings daily of organic bone broth protein.

Check for collagen products that come from grass-fed, pasture-raised (in the case of bovine collagen) or wild-caught sources (for marine collagen).

What are the different types of collagen?

There are 16 different types of collagen. However, the most researched types of collagen are types I, II and III. Collagens are minute ropes of protein in the skin. When people are young, these protein ropes remain tight. However, with increasing age, the ends of these proteins begin to fray. Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body. Collagen is the main structural protein that forms the connective tissue throughout the body, from the skin to bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. It can be said collagen is the glue that holds everything together.

Type I collagen:

  • It is usually considered best for the skin. It is the most prevalent type of collagen in the body.
  • This collagen preserved the levels of collagen in the skin, hair or nails.
  • Levels of type I collagen begin to decline around 25 years of age.
  • Because it is so prevalent in the connective tissues, the decrease of type I collagen can be observed when the skin starts to sag, fine lines appear, nails become brittle and the hair becomes thin.
  • However, type I collagen isn’t just a beauty-related substance. It’s also a major component of the tendons, organs and bones. This makes it a vital component of any diet or wellness routine. Collagen peptides are primarily composed of type I collagen.

Type II collagen:

  • Another common type of collagen to find in supplements is type II collagen.
  • Though somewhat less prevalent in the body than type I and II collagen, it is extremely important.
  • It is the main component of cartilages and extremely healthy for the skeletal system.
  • Active people who need to rely on their joints could also benefit from adding type II collagen into their diet. Cartilage collagen is composed of type II collagen.

Type III collagen:

  • Type III collagen is also found in the vital proteins line of collagen products.
  • Type III is generally found in reticular fibers, such as in the bone marrow.
  • It’s usually found alongside type I collagen in the body.
  • Vital proteins, collagen peptides and marine collagen are rich in types I and III collagen.

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How to increase collagen naturally

Collagen is often referred to as a complex protein because it contains 19 different amino acids. A few common foods may be included in the diet to increase collagen naturally:

  • Whole food sources of collagen come from meat, fish and eggs. However, since the best sources of collagen are found in tendons and cartilage, lean meat may not have enough collagen.
  • Another whole food source of collagen is bone broth. This can be made by simmering the collagen-rich parts of the animal, such as bones.
  • Vitamin A and C, iron, zinc and copper are all necessary for proper collagen production. A whole food, plant-based diet can easily provide these nutrients. Good sources of these nutrients are carrots, sweet potatoes, kale (vitamin A), strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi (vitamin C), pumpkin seeds, cocoa powder, cashews (zinc), sunflower seeds, chickpeas (copper), spinach, lentils and black beans (iron).
  • Omega-3 fatty acids protect the body’s collagen stores from damage and work to reduce free radicals and inflammation. The best sources of omega-3s include hemp seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds and fatty fishes (such as salmon).

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Medically Reviewed on 5/17/2021
References
Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th ed. W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 22.3, Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/

León-López A, Morales-Peñaloza A, Martínez-Juárez VM, Vargas-Torres A, Zeugolis DI, Aguirre-Álvarez G. Hydrolyzed Collagen-Sources and Applications. Molecules. 2019;24(22):4031. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6891674/