Collagen is, without a doubt, is on fire in the health and wellness world, but the real question is, "are they all made equally?"
Sold as pills, liquids, gummies, and powders collagen supplements can be taken on their own, mixed into beverages, sprinkled on foods, added into protein shakes, and more.
While the terms are often used interchangeably, a few key differences distinguish them from each other. Knowing these differences can help you determine which type can help you achieve the best possible results.
In this article, we’ll compare liquid collagen vs. powder to help you determine the best option for you.
A QUICK COLLAGEN RUNDOWN
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It provides strength and structure to our skin, muscles, bones, and connective tissues.
Around age 20, collagen production begins to slow down. Once you turn 40, you lose about 1% per year. This loss of collagen can cause wrinkles, sagging skin, joint pain, muscle aches, gut health issues, and more.
Most people don’t consume enough collagen-rich foods, like organ meats and bone broth as we've strayed far off the path of traditional foods that would use the whole animal...but that conversation is for another time.
Supplementing with high-quality collagen can help replenish what is lost in the normal aging process.
As the salt doctor, Dr. James Dinicolantonio says in his new book The Collagen Cure, "you can think of aging as a collagen deficiency."
Use collagen to support your body's natural collagen products and improve joint functions and gut health, rebuild and repair connective tissues, strengthen skin, hair, and nails, and protect your lean body mass.
TYPES OF COLLAGEN
There are 28 types of collagen, but five are most commonly used in collagen supplements. Each type serves its own purpose.
The five most common types of collagen include:
- Type 1
- Type 2
- Type 3
- Type 4
- Type 5
TYPE 1: Accounts for 90% of the total collagen in your body. It Improves your skin’s elasticity and hydration, rebuilds your muscles, bones, and spine, and strengthens your hair and nails.
TYPE 2: A major component of joint cartilage. It may improve skin health and appearance and reduce joint pain by lubricating the joints. It also supports the health of your eyes and spinal disks.
TYPE 3: Found in muscles, organs, and arteries, type 3 supports gut health, improves digestion, supports skin elasticity, and helps strengthen nails and bones.
TYPE 4: Is found in the layers of your skin and helps filter waste products from the blood.
TYPE 5: Is found in your eyes, some layers of skin, hair, and tissue of the placenta. It plays a major role in regulating the development of collagen fibers of connective tissue. It also may support eye health and the tissues in the body's placenta, and cell membranes.
DIFFERENT SOURCES OF COLLAGEN
Collagen peptides can be sourced from various types of bovine collagen, marine collagen, poultry collagen, and eggshell collagen.
BOVINE: Bovine collagen comes from cows and contains type I and III collagen.
MARINE: Marine collagen comes from the skin of fish. Marine collagen is rich in type I and II collagen.
POULTRY: Poultry collagen primarily comes from the breast cartilage of a chicken. It is high in type II collagen.
Simply put liquid collagen is collagen powder...added to a liquid. Ta daaaaa.
You can do this yourself with your favorite collagen peptides or you can buy a ready to drink for convenience, but is it worth it? Maybe, maybe not.
Liquid collagen supplements contain collagen and liquid - simple as that. The liquid is typically fruit juice, purified, or sparking water.
Supplement companies sell liquid collagen in pre-made drinks shots, drops, or smoothies that contain dissolved collagen powder.
Most often liquid collagen drinks use bovine or marine collagen.
If you look closely at the ingredient label, you’ll likely notice that liquid collagen supplements contain many more ingredients than collagen powder and more isn't always better, we're talking...
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Artificial Colors
- Unnecessary Additives
- Unnecessary Vitamins
The more the merrier? Not always.
These added ingredients are generally not necessary ﹘ especially if you are already consuming a balanced diet.
In order to compensate for all of these added ingredients, you get less collagen per serving, which means less collagen benefits. Which leaves us with...what's the point?
Most liquid collagen supplements contain LESS than 3 grams of collagen per serving.
But here's the trickery and where some brands try and get ya, if you take a look at the nutritional label and read 3,000mg...just know that it's the same as 3 grams.
Because you know 1 gram = 1,000 milligrams.
Don't let these brands feed you less collagen and insult your intelligence, you're better than that.
So to wrap up this section, sure added vitamins, minerals, hyaluronic acid, oils, and blah blah blah definitely make the product seem more attractive, but are they really worth it?
A. If you're at the gas station convenience store just looking for a drink, grab the ready-to-go Collagen, it's better than downing a Coke.
B. If you're looking for the best bang for your buck financially and the most effective, then no, liquid collagen drinks ain't the vibe.
PLUS you can make your own "liquid collagen" by dissolving your favorite powdered collagen into a drink of your choice like coffee, tea, or better yet a protein shake.
Collagen powder supplements are made by extracting collagen from cattle, chicken, fish, and/or eggshell membranes.
Collagen has 19 amino acids but is not considered a complete protein because it is missing tryptophan, one of the 9 essential amino acids. However, collagen is uniquely rich in the amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline, which are required by the body to build collagen properly.
Like liquid collagen, some collagen powders include added sugar, artificial flavors, and other ingredients, such as vitamin C, that aren’t really necessary.
Quality collagen powders are just that...collagen, with no added ingredients and in effective dosages.
You can choose from:
- Bovine Collagen
- Marine Collagen
- Chicken Collagen
- Eggshell Membrane Collagen
- Multi Collagen
Quality collagen powder comes in a one-ingredient solution and contains collagen in effective doses so that you can get the most out of your supplement.
LIQUID COLLAGEN VS. POWDER: WHICH IS BETTER?
Before we give you a final verdict, let’s answer some frequently asked questions surrounding liquid and powder collagen supplements.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LIQUID COLLAGEN?
Liquid collagen products are convenient and generally taste better than plain collagen supplements. Plus, they don't require mixing, so many people find them easier to use when on the go.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF COLLAGEN POWDER?
Collagen powder is extremely versatile and can easily be dissolved into your favorite beverage, blended into smoothies, and even used in baking. (see our article on ways to use collagen for more recipes)
Collagen powder is also much cheaper and delivers more collagen peptides per serving than liquid collagen drinks. The average protein content of a scoop of collagen powder ranges from 10 to 20 grams.
Most studies recommend consuming between 2.5 to 15 grams of collagen per day for general health benefits. However, doses of 10 to 15 grams of collagen peptides seem to be a pretty good sweet spot.
IS LIQUID COLLAGEN MORE EFFECTIVE?
There are not many studies looking specifically at the liquid form of collagen. Likewise, no studies compare a liquid collagen supplement to a powdered collagen supplement. This means that we cannot say for sure which one is more effective.
It’s also important to remember that liquid supplements tend to contain less collagen than powdered collagen. Unless you drink multiple liquid collagen supplements daily, you may not consume enough collagen to enjoy its full health benefits.
WHICH COLLAGEN IS BETTER FOR ABSORPTION AND DIGESTION?
Both powder and liquid collagen supplements contain hydrolyzed collagen peptides, meaning that the collagen’s amino acid structure has been broken down into small, easy-to-dissolve pieces.
Because of this, both forms can be used and absorbed by the body and do what they’re meant to do.
With that said, many liquid collagen supplements contain artificial sweeteners, which may upset the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut.
WHAT ARE COLLAGEN PEPTIDES?
Collagen peptides are tiny pieces of protein from animal collagen.
Your body cannot absorb whole collagen, so it has to be broken down into smaller amino acid chains called peptides.
This is done through a process called hydrolysis.
Fact: Fish collagen peptides are smaller than bovine collagen peptides making them superior for bioavailability. However, bovine collagen has a higher amount of amino acids and is higher in glycine - the body's most important building block.
SO, WHICH IS BETTER? LIQUID OR POWDER FORM?
We believe that a pure collagen powder is best due to its potency and the fact that you can control the amount of collagen and other added ingredients you are taking in.
That said, all liquid collagen supplements aren’t necessarily bad. If you are set on choosing a liquid collagen supplement, carefully read all product labels to ensure it contains adequate amounts of collagen.
Liquid collagen and collagen powder both contain collagen peptides, which are easy for the body to digest. Collagen powder is generally a better option because it contains fewer additives and more collagen than liquid collagen. You can also control how you use it and what you use it with.
The most important thing is that you choose high-quality collagen from a reputable source. Look for collagen that comes from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals or wild-caught fish. The collagen should also not have any additional additives or fillers.