The Basics of Collagen


Type I? Type II? Marine? Bovine? Powder? Capsule? Are you deciding which type of collagen to take or playing a round of go-fish? With all the collagen products on the market, it’s easy to get bogged down. Read on to find out what collagen really is, and which type is right for you.

What is collagen?

Collagen is found in all our connective tissues, tendons, ligaments and bones. It gives these body parts their strength, structure and elasticity. In the simplest sense, it’s the glue that holds everything together—and it’s essential for healthy growth and development.1

Types of Collagen

Did you know that there are 29 different types of collagen?1 The most popular are the kinds that support your tissues, like Type I, Type II and Type III collagen. Types I and III collagen are known for their skin, hair and nail benefits, while type II collagen is best for your joints.*

Collagen Sources

Since collagen helps build and maintain connective tissues—the structures that bind body parts together—it’s only found in animals. Types I and III collagen is often sourced from cows, while Type II collagen comes from chicken cartilage. There are also marine sources of collagen, like fish, that some people prefer due to its enhanced bioavailability.

With so many sources, it’s plausible that certain types of collagen may be more effective than others. However, the research is unclear as to whether this is the case.

Benefits of collagen

You produce less and less collagen as you age. The good news is, a daily collagen supplement can slow that process, can help to improve skin health and elasticity and reduce signs of aging. But that’s not all; collagen can help keep your joints healthy and comfortable too.


If you’re looking for a little extra support in the skin or joint department, collagen may be a good option. Look for a collagen powder sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals to ensure quality and sustainability. And, whether it’s in powder or pill form, be sure to find a supplement that you’ll stick with. Afterall, consistency is key.

Not sure where to start?

You can take a look at our selection of supplements.

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This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.


  1. Collagens – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics.

  2. Bolke L, Schlippe G, Gerß J, Voss W. A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. Nutrients. 2019;11(10):2494. Published 2019 Oct 17. doi:10.3390/nu11102494

  3. Vollmer DL, West VA, Lephart ED. Enhancing Skin Health: By Oral Administration of Natural Compounds and Minerals with Implications to the Dermal Microbiome. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(10):3059. Published 2018 Oct 7. doi:10.3390/ijms19103059

  4. Lugo, J.P., Saiyed, Z.M. & Lane, N.E. Efficacy and tolerability of an undenatured type II collagen supplement in modulating knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutr J 15, 14 (2015).

  5. The Basics of Collagen March 4, 2022 By Hayley Miller, RDN