When we hear about collagen supplements, most of us probably assume that all collagen protein is the same. But here’s a little known fact: Researchers have identified at least 16 different types of collagen within the human body, including type 1 collagen (the most abundant type), types 2, 3, 5 and 10.
The majority of the collagen within your body is type 1 collagen, which accounts for an estimated 90 percent of your collagen stores.
Generally speaking, collagen type 1 helps to form our skin, bones, tendons, corneas, blood vessel walls and other connective tissues. It’s considered a very strong type of collagen and one of the best for supporting skin health, since it literally builds the skin and helps to maintain skin elasticity.
What Is Type 1 Collagen?
Collagen is a structural protein made up of 19 different amino acids. It’s a key component of connective tissues in the human body, as well as in many other animals, including cartilage, skin and bones.
One of the main reasons that collagen is so beneficial is because it’s full of amino acids like arginine, glutamine, glycine and proline that help to support healthy skin, a healthy gut lining and more.
Type 1, in particular, is supportive of skin health, while also helping to maintain healthy hair and nails, along with gut health and joint health.
What is type 1 collagen made from? Three sources that are most often used to make collagen supplements that contain type 1 collagen include bovine collagen (derived from the muscles, bones and skin of cows), egg shell membrane collagen and fish/marine collagen.
When it comes to increasing your intake of collagen type 1 (and other varieties), options for incorporating more into your diet include consuming bone broth daily, or taking a collagen protein supplement or bone broth powder supplement.
Type 1 vs. Type 2 vs. Type 3
What are the types of collagen and what makes them different from one another?
The five most common varieties of collagen include type l collagen, type l, type lll, type V and type X.
What are type 1, type 2 and type 3 collagen good for? While all types are helpful for the healthy formation of connective tissues, each is thought to be uniquely capable of supporting different areas of the body.
Type 1 collagen
Type 1 is most beneficial for keeping skin healthy. Because collagen production naturally decreases with older age, supplements containing 1 collagen are commonly sought out to help support healthy skin.
Type 2 collagen
It's found most abundantly in sources such as chicken breast cartilage and includes benefits such as supporting healthy joints, healthy cartilage, and more.
This is the primary type that helps to form cartilage (connective tissue found at the ends of long bones at the joints). Another added benefit of getting collagen type 2 from chickens is that it inherently contains chondroitin and glucosamine, two compounds that help promote healthy cartilage, thereby supporting joint mobility and comfort.
Type 3 collagen
It's similar to type 1 in that it’s a fibrillar collagen that helps form skin and certain parts of our organs. In the human body, type 3 collagen is often found in the same locations as type l and offers many of the same benefits, such as aiding in maintenance of healthy skin.
What is type 1 collagen used for? General benefits and uses include maintaining the integrity of your skin, tendons, blood vessels, organs and bone matter.
For example, hydrolyzed bovine hide collagen peptides, which are one of the leading sources of collagen type1, offer body-wide benefits including:
- Promoting healthy skin
- Promoting healthy nails
- Supporting joint health (including support for healthy ligaments and tendons), joint comfort and healthy joint function
- Promoting bone health
- Supporting healthy hair
- Supporting a healthy gut
Of all the types of collagen, type 1 is especially impressive when it comes to its ability to support skin health.
Perhaps the No. 1 reason why people choose to supplement with collagen protein (in particular type 1) is because they are looking for help supporting healthy aging, particularly when it comes to maintaining healthy skin.
Type 1 collagen is derived from sources that are high in amino acids including proline, glycine and hydroxyproline, which help to promote healthy skin.
Certain multi collagen supplements featuring clinically studied ingredients, including Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein Capsules, have been shown to improve the appearance of crow's feet after 28 days, and to promote healthy hair thickness and growth while reducing hair breakage.
Best Type 1 Collagen Supplements
While the human body makes collagen on its own, production naturally starts to decline as someone gets older (typically once someone has reached their 40s, or even before), especially if they are chronically stressed or unable to get enough amino acids from their diet (for example, if they avoid all animal products which are rich in protein).
Under these circumstances, it can be beneficial to take a collagen supplement — particularly a multi collagen powder that contains several different types — in order to help fill in the collagen gaps in one’s diet.
Which collagen type is best when taken in supplement form?
Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein does not only feature type 1 collagen, but it also provides five types of collagen in total (types 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10) from four food-based sources — including bovine, chicken, fish and egg shell membrane collagen.
This non-GMO formula, which is available in both protein powder and capsule forms, is made without hormones, is grass-fed and pasture-raised, is made from cage-free and cruelty-free sources, so it supplies you with a high-quality collagen that you can feel good about consuming.
Additionally, the Multi Collagen Capsules features fermented and hydrolyzed collagen that has been broken down into smaller units of collagen peptides, which are thought to be more bioavailable, in other words easier for the body to absorb and utilize. The one-of-a-kind ancient fermentation process used to make AN’s Multi Collagen Capsules also helps maximize collagen support within the body.
How to Use
For most adults, a general recommendation is to consume 1-3 servings of collagen protein powder daily, or 3 capsules daily with your favorite beverage. Of course, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen, including dietary supplementation.
Collagen protein powder is unflavored on its own and mixes easily into smoothies, soups and other recipes; however, you can also opt for a flavored variety such as chocolate or vanilla that can be used in baked goods like muffins, oatmeal, etc.
To get the most from taking a multi collagen supplement, it’s ideal to also eat a nutrient-dense diet that includes “collagen cofactors” such as vitamin C, manganese, copper, and zinc which help the body to utilize and make its own collagen.
- Collagen is a structural protein that’s a key component of cartilage, bone and other tissues.
- What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 collagen? Both are abundant in the human body; however, type 1 is thought to support skin health more, while type 2 helps to promote healthy cartilage and aid in joint health.
- Type 1 collagen sources include bovine collagen, egg shell membrane collagen, and fish/marine collagen.
- To boost your intake of collagen type 1, you can drink real bone broth, use protein powder made from bone broth, or take a multi collagen supplement, such as collagen hydrolysate (which helps support absorption).
- Eating a well-rounded, nutrient-rich diet helps increase absorption of collagen and facilitates your body in making its own.
Jill Levy has been with the Dr. Axe and Ancient Nutrition team for five years. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Fairfield University, followed by a certification as a Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Jill takes a “non-diet” approach to health and really enjoys teaching others about mindful eating, intuitive eating and the benefits of eating real foods.