If you're trying to decide between the various types of collagen supplements, it's very helpful to know that there are actually many different types of collagen to choose from.
Collagen is an amazing health supporter in general, but the collagen that is "best" for you can depend on your health goals/concerns as different variations of collagen support different cellular functions of the body.
So, what are the different types of collagen? There are actually 26 types of collagen, however, there are three variations that are most common in both foods and available supplements in Australia.
It's important to know the difference between types of collagen, collagen sources, and specific collagen benefits by type.
Type I collagen is the most abundant protein found in humans. Type I helps to form our skin, bones, tendons, corneas, blood vessel walls, and other connective tissues.
If you're looking for collagen for supporting skin health, type 1 is a top choice since it's literally a building block of the skin. Generally speaking, our collagen production naturally decreases as we age, which is why many people are turning to collagen supplements featuring type 1 collagen to support healthy skin.
Type 1 collagen can be found in supplements featuring bovine or fish/marine collagen and is easily absorbed by the body. Being Marine-based, this is also a suitable option for vegetarians. Egg collagen, which is located in the whites and shells of eggs, contains mostly type I collagen but also can feature other types of collagen.
Type II is the major collagen found in cartilage. Cartilage is the connective tissue that protects the ends of long bones at the joints. It's also a structural component of the ear, the nose, the bronchial tubes, the rib cage, and more. For this reason, Type II is in support of healthy joints.
Supplements featuring chicken collagen, or chicken bone broth are a great source for type II.
Type III is fibrillar collagen and is a major component of our skin and organs. In the body, type collagen is often found in the same locations as type l.
Like type l, it is often in supplements designed to support healthy skin. Bovine collagen (which is derived from the muscles, bones, and skin of cows), is another collagen supplement option that features mainly types l and lll collagen.
Accessing & utilising the different types
You can obtain many types of collagen from your diet as well as supplements. When you read collagen supplement labels, you'll often find one, some, or all of these collagen sources in one product.
You may also notice that the collagens are hydrolyzed, this is great! Hydrolyzed collagen is broken down into collagen peptides, this process makes the collagen easier to absorb. Hydrolyzed collagen readily dissolves in hot or cold water meaning it’s the perfect addition to coffee, smoothies, juices, yogurt, etc.
Combining type I, II, and III (which many supplements provide), allows the full-spectrum amino acid. This is of great benefit to your overall immune function and liver detoxification process. However, if you have specific needs, and prefer collagen with just one type, this will still provide support for immune and liver health.