Updated September 1, 2021
While collagen is a simple and effective supplement, there's a lot of information on it that can sometimes get confusing. This is because there's different types, varieties, and animals it can be derived from. It's important to understand the differences between collagen supplements so that you can find one that works for you, and one that you trust to be high-quality and clean.
There aren't many differences between the types of collagen, other than where they came from and some specific benefits that may differ from other types.
Photo by Hans Reniers
Collagen is a structural protein, and it is the most abundant protein in our body. It's formed through chains of triple helix amino acids (like glycine and proline) that act as building blocks. Smaller strands of collagen then make up collagen fibrils. It can be used in the medical world for wound healing.
Our natural collagen synthesis starts to slow down as we age, causing a need for taking supplements and increasing our collagen-containing food intake. Your collagen genes determine how effective your natural collagen production and supply will be as you age.
Collagen supplements are derived from animals, and come in the form of bovine, marine, porcine, and chicken. Supplements also come as hydrolyzed collagen, collagen protein, collagen peptides, collagen powder, liquid collagen, and collagen pills. There are so many varieties in order to ensure everyone finds a supplement that works for them. However, not all supplements are created equal. It's important that your collagen is hydrolyzed, which means it's broken down into particles that are easily digestible. Otherwise, the collagen molecules will be too big and you won't be able to absorb the collagen.
The benefits of collagen are extensive, and cover a wide range of issues. It can help with joint pain, weight loss, supports clean arteries and blood vessels, improving skin plumpness and hydration in the dermis, strengthening hair and nails, improving gut health, and more.
While collagen is an excellent dietary supplement for daily maintenance, it can also provide relief and support for so many issues. Collagen type I and collagen type II are the most common types of collagen found in supplements. They are the easiest to source, and the most reliable in their results. There are quite a few types of collagen, which makes learning about supplements a bit overwhelming.
In this article, we will focus on type 1 collagen, and discuss it in more detail. Read on to learn more about this type, and find out if you should be taking it.
Where does type 1 collagen come from?
Type 1 collagen comes from humans and animals, and is found in our bodies. Type 1 collagen is the most abundant type of collagen found in our body, because it is formed in the most places. It can be found in our skin, tendons, and organs.
Our skin is our largest organ, which really puts it into perspective how abundant collagen type 1 is. Propeptides are inactive proteins that become active through translational modifications, which happens in relation to the endoplasmic reticulum (involved in protein synthesis), mRNA, and the golgi.
Collagen is a protein, so this does come into play with collagen synthesis. Type 1 collagen telopeptides (fragments of peptides) are the smallest form of peptides. Cross-linking is a process that adds extra bonds between collagen fibers. Collagenase is a type of enzyme that breaks down peptide bonds in collagen. Type 1 collagen is involved in the mineralization of our bones, which is why it's helpful for bone strength.
Does Type 1 collagen help joints?
Yes, type 1 collagen does help joints. Most, if not all, types of collagen can offer you support in your joints and connective tissues. Whether it's your joints, tendons, bones, or connective tissues, collagen supplements can help to alleviate pain and aches. However, some people like to take collagen type 2 for these types of issues, because type 2 comes from our cartilage. This is a type of tissue that helps to protect your joints. Therefore, by boosting your collagen with type 2, you are utilizing a collagen that is derived from the area in which you are having issues.
According to NCBI, the tensile strength of collagen (the resistance of a material under tension) is insensitive to some outside factors, meaning it's pretty durable.
While collagen supplements are an excellent way to keep your joints and body healthy, also consider turning to food containing procollagen molecules for a natural source of collagen and collagen boosters. Foods high in vitamin C and vitamin A (beta carotene) help to promote your own production of collagen. Foods that contain an abundance of collagen include meat, fish and other seafood, and bone broth. Turning to these as your main source of collagen is smart so that your body can build a foundation for utilizing it.
Taking supplements is a great way to ensure you get all the essential nutrients you need, in case your diet alone isn't enough.
Type 1 collagen vs type 2 collagen, what’s the difference?
There are a few differences between these two types. It's important to remember that, overall, collagen supplements help to give you the same benefits and results. But, if you have a more specific issue you are trying to address, the small differences between types may be of relevance to you.
Type I is a protein and helps form our bones, skin, and other tissues. It’s also the most abundant type of collagen found in the human body. In addition, it’s the strongest type, meaning it works the most effectively to heal and rebuild in your body.
Type II collagen is found in the body’s cartilage. This means that it is used to support joint and connective tissue health.
There's also type III, type IV, type V, and type X. These are the most common types, as well as the types you find in supplements. These types are also fibrillar, which means they are composed of small collagen fibers.
In total, there are 16 types of collagen, but most of these cannot be found in your supplements. If you are just taking collagen for daily maintenance, pretty much any clean and high-quality one will be sufficient. People typically tend to go for type 1 or type 2 for their dietary supplements.
Is type 1 collagen better than type 2?
One is not better than the other, but they are different. As we mentioned, type I is found in skin, tendons, and organs. Type II is found in cartilage. The type in your collagen supplement is determined by which part of the animal's body the collagen was taken from. For example, marine collagen is taken from scales (skin) and connective tissues. Therefore, it's a type 1 collagen. Similarly, bovine collagen can be made from skin or cartilage, so it depends on the brand.
For example, our Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars are non-gmo and use wild-caught fish. They contain 8 grams of marine collagen. The bars also have 11-13 grams of protein. Conveniently packaged in individual, wrapped bars, they're perfect for busy days on-the-go, and are more convenient than messy powders and annoying pills. Besides collagen, they are formulated with other beauty-boosting ingredients such as sweet potato and cocoa butter which can help to improve your natural collagen retention.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.