Is Liquid Collagen Better than Powder Collagen?

Table of contents

  1.  What is collagen?
  2. Most abundant types of collagen
    1. 2a. Type 11
    2. 2b. Type 11
    3. 2c. Type 111
  3. What are the potential benefits of collagen (1)
  4. Natural collagen
  5. How is collagen digested? 
  6. How much collagen should I take a day?
  7. Liquid collagen vs. Powder collagen
    1. Liquid collagen
    2. Powder collagen
  8. Research about liquid vs. powder collagen vs. placebo.
  9. Is liquid or powder collagen better?
  10. Tips for choosing a collagen


What is Collagen?

Collagen is an essential protein produced by the body. It is the main structural protein found in the skin, tendon, and bone. Collagen is found in bones, ligaments, tendons, skin, blood vessels and internal organs. It helps provide elasticity and strength. As you age, you begin to lose the collagen within your body, making it harder to make more.

At least 30% of the protein content in your body is made from collagen. Collagen is made up of four amino acids, proline, glycine, lysine, and hydroxyproline. They are the building blocks for protein. These amino acids group together to form a triple helix, and make up collagen. For this triple helix to form, you need enough vitamin C, zinc, copper, and manganese in your diet.

Protein is composed of 20 amino acids, 11 are produced by our bodies and the other 9 are essential, and 9 from food. Foods are considered a complete protein when it contains the 9 essential amino acids. Collagen is a protein and contains 19 amino acids, including 8 essential amino acids, missing the essential amino tryptophan. By definition, collagen isn’t a complete protein. Despite not being a complete protein, their amino acids and bioactive peptides that are unique to collagen and help optimize your body’s collagenous tissues. Some supplements have fortified tryptophan into their collagen, but this requires heavy processing of fragile amino acids which could destroy them and generate toxins.

29 types of collagen have been identified within the human body, with three types making up the vast majority.

Most abundant types of collagen

Type I  Found in bones, ligaments, tendons, and skin for elasticity and strength. It makes up 90% of our body’s collagen.

Type II  This type is found in elastic cartilage, which provides joint support.

Type III  This type is found in muscles, arteries, and organs.

Most collagen supplements contain types I, II, and III, which account for most of the collagen found in your body. They have a digestible form of collagen called collagen peptides or hydrolyzed collagen.

What are the potential benefits of collagen (1)

  1. Skin Health
  2. Heart health
  3. Improve muscle mass
  4. Improve bone mass
  5. Wound Healing
  6. Dental Health
  7. Prevent Sarcopenia-muscle wasting
  8. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  9. Gastroesophageal Reflux
  10. Blood vessel health
  11. Osteoarthritis

Natural collagen

Certain foods, including bone broth, beef, fish, chicken, dairy, and eggs, either contain collagen or help your body produce it by providing essential amino acids and other nutrients needed.

Because your body can produce all of the collagen you need if you eat a balanced diet, supplements may not be necessary for everyone. Still, you may choose to do so to reap certain health benefits or help treat collagen deficiency or other conditions.

How is collagen digested? 

If you plan to take a collagen supplement, the body cannot be absorbed in its whole form, either in liquid or powder form. The body breaks down the triple helix that makes up collagen. It will be broken down into individual amino acids within the gastrointestinal tract before reaching the bloodstream. The body will then reassemble and form new proteins where it deems necessary.

These new proteins may not contain the same amino acids that were initially ingested in the collagen supplement, and it is unknown if these restructured proteins will target the area a supplement manufacturer is advertising. Therefore, it is undetermined now if the body will use a collagen supplement advertised to help certain health concerns. 

From a general health perspective, ensuring adequate protein within your diet is important. Your protein needs to increase slightly as you age to maintain lean body mass. Consuming foods that contain the primary amino acids that makeup collagen may help support skin, hair, nail, and joint health as you age.

How much collagen should I take a day?

According to (2), the benefits of 2.5-15 grams of collagen a day are adequate to promote collagen’s health benefits. There has been no established upper limit for collagen consumption.

Liquid collagen vs. Powder collagen

Liquid collagen 

Liquid collagen is a supplement that contains collagen proteins suspended in a liquid, such as purified water. 

Powder collagen 

Collagen in a powdered form. It can be mixed into liquids, water, smoothies, hot drinks, etc.

Research about liquid vs. powder collagen vs. placebo.

Research has shown that preliminary results are promising for oral collagen supplements’ short- and long-term use. Liquid and powder collagen has been shown to increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density, as has powder collagen. Collagen supplementation is generally safe, with no reported adverse events.

Few studies have studied liquid collagen, and none have compared liquid to powder collagen.  

There was a small study (3) of 72 women over 35 to see the effects of placebo vs liquid collagen on skin aging and health. Half of the group (36) received liquid collagen, and the other half (36) received a placebo. They received the placebo or the liquid collagen for 12 weeks and then followed 4 weeks after stopping either treatment. At the end of 12 weeks, the group received the liquid collagen. After 12 weeks, the group that took the liquid collagen significantly improved skin hydration, elasticity and wrinkle depth. After 4 weeks without further ingestion of the product, skin hydration was still significantly increased in comparison to the original state of the skin. 

Is liquid or powder collagen better?

What form of collagen to choose is a personal choice. Research supports that use of collagen improves skin hydration, wrinkle depth, elasticity, and some changes lasting at least 4 weeks after stopping the product. There is also support for using collagen for bone and joint health, hair, wound healing, dental health, blood vessell, heart health, and arthritis and autoimmune diseases.  

There is more limited research on using liquid collagen vs. powder collagen. Most of the studies have used powder collagen.

There has been no research comparing liquid collagen to powder collagens regarding the benefits of using either. Research is complicated due to the bodies digestion and reformation of protein to suit the needs of the individual body. Therefore, no scientific research supports liquid collagen as a better choice than powder collagen.  

It is important to remember what you hope to gain from taking a supplement when choosing a supplement. It is also important to remember that the demand for nutraceuticals, such as collagen, is increasing. Still, regulations are lacking on quality, absorption, and efficacy.   

Tips for choosing a collagen

  1.  Type of collagen- bovine, marine, or plant-based collagen.
  2. Any other fillers? 
  3. Diverse amino acid profile.
  4. Hydrolyze or not.
  5. Ease of taking the supplement regularly.
  6. Amount of collagen in a serving.
  7. Cost.