The 5 Most Common Types of Collagen Explained

by Jessica Bippen, MS, RD

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Jessica Bippen, MS, RD, author of Collagen: Self-Care Secrets to Eat, Drink and Glow, breaks down everything you need to know about the different types of collagen.

By now, you’re probably on board with the beauty-boosting benefits of collagen. With its wide range of skin and health benefits, it’s rightly become one of the trendiest wellness products. But when it comes to collagen types, how do you know which one to choose? Keep reading to learn about the different types of collagen and how to decide which is best for you.

What Are the Different Types of Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. You can think of it as the glue that holds your body together. Almost all the parts of your body contain it, with the majority found in your bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Out of all the collagen in your body, there are 28 different types. Each type contains a slightly different sequence of amino acids, which determines the specific role and function of that type of collagen in the body. Of the 28 types, five of them make up the majority, with Types I, II and III used in the most popular in supplements on the market.

Type I

Type I collagen makes up about 90 percent of the collagen in your body. Almost every tissue of your body contains Type I collagen, including tendons, skin, bones, cartilage, and connective tissues. Densely packed fibers wound into a triple-helix structure comprise this type. Its unique shape gives these structures their incredible strength and elasticity. As Type I collagen degrades, it becomes most apparent in your skin. You’ll likely start to notice wrinkles, fine lines, and a loss of elasticity.

Type II

Type II collagen is found primarily in cartilage. While its structure is also a triple-helix, it has more loosely packed fibers. Type II provides the cushion in the cartilage for your bones and joints.

TYPE III

This type of collagen is often found alongside Type I. It makes up muscles, organs, arteries, and some connective tissues in the liver, spleen and blood vessels, and internal organs, including the uterus.

Type IV

Type IV collagen doesn’t form a fibrous triple-helix structure like Types I, II, and III. Instead, it creates a web-like pattern. This type makes up the thin layer outside the cells, giving the cell structure. It’s also found in the skin, liver, kidneys, and other internal organs.

Type V

This unique type of collagen helps form cell surfaces and hair. It’s also required to form the cells that create a pregnant woman’s placenta (aka your baby’s life support in the womb).

Mature woman laughing, with no wrinkles because she takes different types of collagen for plump skin

Does the type of Collagen Matter?

While there are five main types, your body can’t differentiate them. The collagen you ingest breaks down into its individual amino acid structure, which happens with all types of protein, as well. From there, these amino acids form a “pool,” and your body uses them for any function that requires protein. There have not been conclusive studies that look at the different types of collagen in comparison to a particular outcome. Essentially, we’re still unsure whether or not ingesting a single type will target a specific area.

So, what’s the best choice? Simply opt for a collagen supplement with a variety of collagen types to cover all your bases.

How To Take Collagen

You can ingest collagen through whole foods such as bone broth and untrimmed animal proteins. However, it’s best to take a daily collagen supplement to get desired results. It’s the easiest way to ensure you’re constantly supplying your body with a daily dose. And as always, consistency is key with taking supplements!

Great options include adding Collagen Love capsules to your morning routine or drinking Collagen Pop as an afternoon pick-me-up. Collagen Pop is a delicious, fizzy way to supplement, particularly perfect for those who have a hard time swallowing pills.

To learn more, check out Jessica’s new book, Collagen: Self-Care Secrets to Eat, Drink and Glow. It details the benefits of collagen and how to incorporate it into your daily wellness regimen.


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