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What Are the Best Types of Collagen & Benefits of Each?


Types of collagen - Dr. Axe

If you’re trying to decide between the various types of collagen supplements, it’s very helpful to know that are actually many different types of collagen to choose from. Which collagen is best? Collagen is an amazing health booster in general, but the variety of collagen that is “best” for you can depend on your health goals since different types of collagen target different concerns.

At least 28 types of collagen have been identified so far, but there are certain types of collagen that you’ll most often find in supplements due to their desirable benefits. As more and more collagen products come on the market, it’s important to know the difference between types of collagen, collagen sources, and specific collagen benefits by type.

Types of Collagen

What are the different types of collagen?  There are many different types of collagen (at least 28 as just mentioned), but five types are considered to be most common.

What are the 5 types of collagen? The five most common varieties include type 1 collagen, type 2 collagen, type 3 collagen, type 4 collagen, and type 5 collagen. These types of collagen are an absolutely essential part of our physical makeup and can be found all over the body.

Type I Collagen

What is type 1 collagen? Without a doubt, type I collagen is the most abundant protein found in humans (and in all vertebrates). Type I helps to form our skin, bones, tendons, corneas, blood vessel walls, and other connective tissues.

Type I or type 1 collagen is the strongest variety of collagen. If you’re looking for a collagen for skin health, type 1 is a top choice since it’s literally a building block of the skin making it great for anti-aging and wound healing. As we age, our collagen production naturally decreases, which is why many people are turning to collagen supplements containing type 1 collagen to boost their levels. 

Type 1 collagen, for example, can be found in supplements containing fish collagen, which mainly contains type 1 collagen as well as several amino acids, including proline, glycine and hydroxyproline.

Fish or marine collagen has a reputation for being easily absorbable by the body. Egg collagen, which is located in the whites and shells of eggs, contains mostly type 1 collagen, but also contains type 4 along with type 3 and type 10.

Type II Collagen

What is collagen type 2? Type 2 is the major collagen found in cartilage. Cartilage is connective tissue which 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.

Since type 2 collagen helps to form the cartilage that protects our joints, it’s no wonder that this variety of collagen is often considered best for improving joint health and symptoms of arthritis.

Supplements containing chicken collagen, such as chicken bone broth protein powder, are a top source of type II collagen. Chicken collagen also contains chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate, which are both popular for treating arthritis and general joint problems.

Type III Collagen

Type 3/type III is a fibrillar collagen and is a major component of our skin and organs. In the body, type 3 collagen is often found in the same locations as type 1.

Like type 1, it is often in supplements designed to boost skin elasticity and firmness. Type 3 collagen as well as type 1 collagen also help to maintain the functional integrity of the heart

Bovine collagen, which is derived from the muscles, bones and skin of cows is another collagen supplement option that contains mainly types 1 and 3 collagen. These are two of the most abundant types of collagen in the human body.

Type V and Type X Collagen

Type V collagen is required to create the cells of a pregnant women’s placenta, which is the organ that attaches to the lining of the womb and provides the baby with vital elements of survival including oxygen and nutrients.  Type 5 collagen also helps to form cell surfaces and hair.

Type X collagen is described as a “network-forming” collagen and is mainly found in cartilage. It’s also known to be a dependable marker of new bone growth in joint cartilage.

How to Get These Types of Collagen

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 a good thing! Hydrolyzed collagen is broken down into collagen peptides, which still contain the same nutrients and benefits as the original collagen, but the process of hydrolysis makes the collagen more easy to absorb. Hydrolyzed collagen readily dissolves in hot or cold water so it’s easy for the body to digest and process the collagen.

Read Next: What Is Microneedling? 5 Benefits of Collagen Induction Therapy

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