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Types of Collagen and What's the Difference?

Chelan Wilkins, RHN

Types of Collagen and What's the Difference?

We already know that Collagen has become the talk of the health industry, fitness industry as well as the beauty industry for the last few years- but Why? Well, let's dig a bit deeper into what exactly collagen is and why this fantastic protein – that is known as the glue that holds our body together is getting so much attention! Collagen is the most abundant form of protein in our body!  It makes up around 1/3 of protein in our body as well as we find it in our bones, connective tissues ( joints, ligaments, and cartilages), muscles, hair, skin, nails and even our blood vessels.  We need collagen for various things in our body; however, its primary job is for strength and structure.   It is what holds the elasticity in our skin and structure in our joints. There are various types of collagen in the body, over 16 different types to be exact; however, the most talked about types of collagen are type 1, 2, and 3. Type 1 Collagen is what we hear a lot about in the beauty world!  Type one collagen in what we find in our skin, hair, and nails.  It is the most abundant type of collagen in our body making up around 90 %.  Type 1 collagen also can be found in our bones – making up around 40 % of our bone matrix as well as in our ligaments. Type 1 collagen is essential when it comes to the beauty benefits of Collagen as it is what is responsible for our skin elasticity, strength and helps with anti-ageing.  Cellulite – is a loss of elasticity in our skin and type 1 collagen plays a significant role in that. Type 2 Collagen is what we find in our connective tissues – think joints, ligaments, and cartilages.  Type 2 collagen is what is responsible for maintaining the structure of our bones and cartilages.  When we have a loss of collagen in our body ( it naturally decreases as we age – more rapidly if you smoke or exposed to UV light ), it will affect our cartilages strength and our cartilage and ligaments will start to get weak and break down.  This leading to ligament damage and osteoarthritis in our body.   Chicken is known to have a very high amount of type 2 collagen in it, so you will see collagen products such as Organika’s Biocell high in type 2 collagen derived from chicken sternum as it is rich in type 2.   Another excellent source of type 2 collagen is from Chicken bone broth!  It contains over 94% of type 2 collagen and an excellent source of nutrients and minerals as well. Type 3 Collagen is also an abundant form of protein found in our body and found alongside type 1 in our body!  It is located in our reticular fibers in our body.  Those reticular fibers are our bones, muscles, organs, blood vessels, dentin, tendons as well as some other connective tissues.  Type 3 collagen alongside type 1 collagen is essential for improving the elasticity in our skin, anti-ageing, improved circulation, healthy bone matrix, healthy nails and thicker hair. With the various types of collagen that we have in our body and the primary top 3 that we have reviewed up top, we can begin to understand why it has become the hot topic these days and how the beauty benefits aren’t the only benefits when supplementing with collagen. So, what are the recommended supplements for the various types of collagen and how do you know which one to use?  My recommendations are to find proper sourcing of each one;  they are hydrolyzed collagen ( meaning it is created into a peptide for optimal absorption ).  Collagen is a large molecule and hard to absorb in the body, so the hydrolyzation process is essentially making it the most absorbable form of protein the body can uptake. Choose your collagen supplement based on what your health needs are, what benefits you would like to see and how each type of collagen can help your body overall. Collagen is an excellent source of protein, containing over 17 different amino acids.  So on top of the various types of collagen, you can obtain, you are also getting the benefits of specific amino acids like Glycine, Proline, Hydroxyproline, and glutamine that are found in a variety of collagen types that are essential for your digestive tract, moods, sleep, and muscle recovery, repair, and growth. There are all types of collagen products on the market – however which ones are the best and how do you decide which one best serves your health needs?  Well here are a few of my favourite Organika collagen products – Did I mention our Enhanced Collagen is the # 1 selling Collagen in Canada & the very first Organika product that I started using two years ago!   Here is a breakdown of a couple of great products that will overall three types of collagen:

Type 1:

  • Enhanced Collagen  (Relax & soon Vitality): Sourced from North American grass-fed bovine, no growth hormones or antibiotics used – Very high in Type 1 & 3 collagen.  Excellent for healthy hair, skin, and nails.
  • Salmon Collagen: Naturally sourced from Australia, very rich in type 1 collagen; enzymatically hydrolyzed for optimal absorption.  Rich in over 17 amino acids – ( similar to bovine ) excellent for radiant skin, hair and nails as well as excellent for reducing the appearance of cellulite, inflammation in the body and anti-ageing purposes.
  • Beef Bone Broth: Rich in Types 1 & 3 collagen alongside beef bone broth contains GAG’s ( glycosaminoglycans ) – known to contain chondroitin, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid known to increase moisture in the skin and lubrication in the joints.

Type 2 :

  • Biocell Collagen: An excellent source of type 2 collagen derived from Chicken cartilage ( sternum ) essential for joint health and repair as well as it contains Hyaluronic Acid and Chondroitin Sulfate for optimal joint health.   Biocell is an excellent choice for those who suffer from connective tissue injuries or osteoarthritis as it maintains the cartilage function and structure.
  • Chicken Bone Broth: An excellent source ( 94 % ) of type 2 collagen as well as those essential GAG’s ( listed above in the beef broth ) known to help with connective tissues and moisture in the skin.

Type 3:

  • Enhanced Collagen ( Relax & Vitality):  Sourced from the hides of grass-fed bovine, very rich in type 3 collagen.  Excellent for our reticular fibers in our muscles, organs, blood vessels and even our bones.
  • Beef Bone Broth: Excellent source of type 3 collagen! Rich in essential minerals and GAG’s known to contain Hyaluronic acid, chondroitin, and glucosamine. All necessary for healthy skin, hair, and nails.
I often get asked a lot " is it ok to supplement with all three types of collagen?" - Yes of course!  I supplement with all three types of collagen daily. (Another Question: When is the best time to take Collagen) My recommendations, however, would be to choose a type of collagen that you want the benefits from most ( so if beauty is your purpose - choose enhanced collagen-rich in type 1 & 3 ). Then if you would like to have the additional benefits of type 2 collagen for healthy joints and ligaments, you can supplement with bone broth as or Biocell Collagen for more added beauty properties, and the high amount of Type 2 collagen. For the best results, make sure to take your different collagen supplements separately. This is just to ensure optimal absorption in the body for maximum benefits!   - Chelan Wilkins, RHN - National Education Trainer