Collagen is one of the most common proteins in the body and a major building block for your skin, bones and ligaments.
While collagen can be found in various natural sources, its many different forms – from gelatin to collagen peptides – can be confusing.
In this article, we’ll be breaking down the difference between each form of collagen and discussing the benefits of collagen peptides vs collagen protein to help you choose the best supplements for your needs.
As a naturally occurring protein, you can consume collagen in various ways, from the rustic (in bone broth, for example) to the highly refined (in high-end cosmetics, etc.). However, each form has different pros and cons, so which is best for your needs, and do you really need to take collagen supplements to stay healthy?
Table of Contents
- What is Collagen?
- What Are the Types of Collagen?
- Collagen Peptides vs Collagen Protein – Main Difference
- What Is the Best Form of Collagen to Take?
- Best Collagen Supplements for a Healthy Life
- The Bottom Line
What is Collagen?
Collagen is categorised as a ‘structural protein’ and helps provide structure to your connective tissue, including skin, muscles and tendons. Regardless of which form you prefer in the battle of collagen peptides vs collagen protein, this protein is vital for keeping your bones strong, your tendons flexible, and your skin elastic, so you must get enough to stay healthy.
Without adequate collagen levels, your connective tissue will begin to lose structure, putting you at increased risk of osteoarthritis and elastosis, among other conditions. Although your body naturally produces enough collagen to maintain your connective tissues, the amount will decrease over time, especially when exposed to harmful environmental factors.
What Are the Types of Collagen?
While there are approximately twenty-eight known types of collagen, not all of them are created equal, so you should focus on the five types most commonly found in collagen supplements. Forget the arguments over collagen peptides vs collagen protein for a moment, as those are different forms of collagen, rather than types; the five most common of which are:
- Type 1 collagen is the most common type, making up to 90% of your body’s collagen content and providing structure to your skin, bones, blood vessels and connective tissue.
- Type 2 collagen is commonly found in elastic cartilage and helps promote joint health, even curing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in some studies.
- Type 3 collagen is made of meshy fibers and provides structure for blood vessels, muscles and organs, leading some to believe that it supports healing and exercise performance
- Type 4 collagen is less common than the other types but helps your kidneys and other organs filter out harmful chemicals, as it forms in sheets.
- Type 5 collagen is a fibrous form of collagen found in some layers of your skin and hair, which has been linked to eye and reproductive health.
Collagen Peptides vs Collagen Protein – Main Difference
Collagen peptides are short chains of amino acids derived from collagen, made by breaking down full-length collagen molecules into shorter, more bioavailable molecules. Because collagen and collagen peptides are made of the same 18 amino acids, they are often used interchangeably, though they have unique benefits due to their different molecular makeup.
The main difference between collagen peptides and plain collagen (sometimes called “collagen protein”) is that peptides are generally more bioavailable. Thanks to their shorter amino acid chains, your body can break down collagen peptides into a usable form much more easily than regular collagen, resulting in quicker and more effective absorption of collagen from supplements.
What Is the Best Form of Collagen to Take?
Bioavailability is key in the battle of collagen peptides vs collagen protein, as if a supplement is packed with loads of collagen that your body can’t absorb or use, what good is it? Therefore, we believe that collagen peptides, being a more bioavailable form of collagen, are the best way to get the health benefits of collagen.
So now you know to look for collagen peptides the next time you’re shopping for supplements, but what’s the best form of collagen supplements to take? Well, thanks to the enduring popularity of collagen supplements, there are hundreds of brands and thousands of products available in 5 main forms:
1. Collagen Powder
Pure, powdered collagen is available to buy from a wide variety of manufacturers, and because it is water-soluble and (generally) mild-tasting, you can mix it into all kinds of food and drinks.
People have been putting health-boosting chemicals into pills long before the collagen peptides vs collagen protein debate even began, so there are plenty of cool capsules to choose from.
Although this is more of a recent trend, you can buy ready-mixed collagen drinks designed to be a tasty, refreshing way to boost your collagen, including concentrated collagen shots.
Just like protein or energy bars, you can now buy collagen bars for an easy way to boost your collagen levels whilst snacking on the go.
Because gelatin is a form of collagen, it only makes sense to add collagen to those famous gelatin-based treats – gummies – for a sweet and satisfying way to get more collagen in your diet.
Honourable Mention – Natural Sources
In addition to all these wonderful forms of collagen supplements, you can find collagen in a variety of natural foods such as stock (or bone broth), chicken and seafood, so you could always forget about the collagen peptides vs collagen protein debate with a nice bowl of chicken soup.
Best Collagen Supplements for a Healthy Life
When looking for supplements to help maintain or improve your general health, collagen has some of the most impressive benefits, supporting healthy skin, joints, muscles and much more. However, not all types of collagen are equally effective, so you should try to find a form of supplement high in collagen peptides you can easily fit into your daily routine to enjoy all the benefits of collagen.
While collagen drinks and bars may seem like the most convenient way to take collagen, they are often hideously expensive (gram-for-gram) and restrictive, offering far fewer flavours and strengths than other supplements. Therefore, we believe that simple collagen powder – with its lower price point, flexibility, and strength – is the best choice in the discussion of collagen peptides vs collagen protein.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re looking to revitalise your sagging skin, restore your creaky joints or boost your muscle gain with fancy protein powder, collagen has something for everyone! Furthermore, you can find this naturally occurring protein in a wide variety of foods as well as a growing range of supplements, so it’s easy to keep up healthy levels of collagen.
However, you should avoid supplements that use basic collagen, as your body will struggle to absorb and use it as effectively as collagen peptides. We believe that collagen peptide powder is the best way to add collagen to your diet due to its superior bioavailability, making it our pick in the collagen peptides vs collagen protein battle.