Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
Which Is Better? Liquid vs. Powdered Collagen
You may have heard that taking collagen peptides can support more youthful-looking skin and healthier joints. Although there is a wealth of research that suggests taking collagen has health and beauty benefits, choosing a supplement isn't always simple. When you begin to research your options, you'll find that there are multiple forms of collagen available. Liquid and powder collagen are two of the most popular options, which leads to the question "is liquid or powder collagen better?" Read on to explore the answer.
Benefits of Collagen Peptides
Collagen peptides are the building blocks of the structural protein collagen. It is the most abundant protein in your body and is a key component of joint cartilage and skin. As you age, collagen production slows down, contributing to lost skin elasticity and a breakdown of cartilage. Exposure to free radicals in ultraviolet energy and pollution can also damage collagen and make the problem worse.
Collagen peptide supplements give your body key materials that can be used to increase your body's supply of collagen. People take collagen powder and liquid to diminish the appearance of fine lines, promote firmer skin and support healthy joints.
Types of Collagen
There are three main types of collagen found naturally in the human body:
- Collagen Type 1 present in bones, skin, hair, nails, tendons and the lining of the digestive system
- Collagen Type 2 present in cartilage
- Collagen Type 3 present in skin, muscle and blood vessels
If you're most concerned about skin health, collagen type 1 and 3 are most important for you, while collagen 2 is the type required by people hoping to support joint health.
Most collagen supplements contain collagen from one or two sources:
- Marine collagen from shellfish and other sea life; typically contains collagen types I and II
- Grass-fed bovine collagen from cows; typically contains collagen types 1 and III
What Is Liquid Collagen?
As the name suggests, liquid collagen is a form of collagen supplement that comes in liquid form. You can buy standalone liquid collagen to take like a liquid medication or to mix into smoothies and drinks. Pre-made beverages that contain collagen are also available. These are sometimes called "collagen waters."
What Is Powdered Collagen?
Powdered collagen is hydrolyzed collagen. This means that the collagen fibers have undergone a process that breaks it down into its peptide chains and stabilizes it. Powders are usually mixed with water, beverages, shakes or smoothies.
Powdered Collagen vs. Liquid Collagen
Whether powdered collagen or liquid collagen is better depends on your specific needs. To choose the right supplement for you, consider the following.
Amount of Collagen Per Serving
Both liquid and powder collagen can be easily absorbed by the digestive system. However, collagen powder delivers more collagen peptides per serving than liquid collagen. As a result, when comparing liquid vs. powder collagen absorption on a serving-to-serving basis, powders often come out on top because they provide more of the beneficial key ingredient to start with.
Source of Collagen
Most liquid collagen supplements are made from marine collagen and therefore are lacking in type 3 collagen, which is important for skin health. Powdered collagen may contain grass-fed bovine or marine collagen. The best products on the market feature both types of collagen, giving you the most complete profile to support healthy joints and skin.
Liquid collagen products are much more likely to contain artificial flavorings, additives and preservatives than collagen powders. This is especially true of ready-to-drink collagen waters and beverages because manufacturers need to add ingredients to give sips a pleasant taste. Although additives do not necessarily mean a liquid collagen product is unhealthy, people striving to cut processed foods out of their diet as much as possible may prefer collagen powder.
Ease of Use
Whether liquid or powder collagen is more convenient is a matter of personal opinion. Some people find liquid collagen to be easier to use on the go because they can simply open a bottle and sip.
However, people who travel frequently may prefer collagen powder because it takes up less space in a travel bag and is less likely to cause spills.
Do Collagen Powders Work?
Scientific studies indicate that collagen powders generally do work to increase levels of collagen in the body. However, not all collagen powder supplements are the same. When choosing a product, be sure to compare the number of dipeptides per serving. The more concentrated a product is, the greater the collagen absorption is likely to be.
Keep in mind that no supplement will deliver results overnight. Studies indicate that noticeable changes in skin texture and improvements in joint health may become apparent within 8 to 12 weeks of using a collagen powder.
"on my third or fourth bottle and everything is better, skin especially, my facial wrinkles are less deep and seem to have a bit of a glow about me" - Rhonda