The Difference Between Collagen Types: A Simple (But Complete) Guide

collagen protein chains

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If you are into health, beauty and anti-aging, you may have heard of collagen. Although there is more than one form of collagen, what is the difference between collagen types?

Although there are over 28 types of collagen, there are five that are most common in your body.

Today, we are here to talk about the difference between collagen forms and much more.

Let's get started...

What are the Different Kinds of Collagen?

Collagen is a very important protein found in living animals. It is found in skin, hair, nails, bones, muscles, and connective tissue.

It brings many benefits to the table, both in terms of overall health and your youthful appearance. However, did you know that there are many different types of collagen?

In fact, there are over 28 different kinds of collagen known to man. Yet, there are 5 types of collagen which are most common, and the main ones, so to speak.

These 5 main types of collagen are the most important ones for the human body, and they include I, II, III , IV and V collagen. 

Let’s talk about the 5 main types of collagen, what they do, and the differences between them.

What is Type I?

Type I collagen is by far the most abundant with over 90% found in the human body. ​

It's what helps form everything from skin and tendons to blood vessel walls and connective tissues. It is the main component in bones and what rushes in to heal a skin injury.

Also, it's the strongest or most potent form of collagen.

If you're looking to strengthen your hair, increase nail growth, make your skin look younger, or help your skin heal from wounds, Type I collagen is what you want to go for.

The production of all collagen categories decreases the older we get, which is especially true with this version of collagen.

Therefore, as humans age, in order to stay at peak health, it is often recommended to take collagen supplements.

Finally, collagen from marine (fish) sources has a higher concentration of Type I as compared to bovine sourced from cattle/cows.

Difference Between Others

Now that we know what Type I is, what about the other main categories?

Let’s talk about the different collagen types, the main ones at least and the difference between them.

Type II  - Cartilage

This form of collagen is the most abundant found in cartilage.

Cartilage is the connective tissue that protects the ends of bones at your joints.

Importantly, it's  very important for your mobility and joint health.


Cartilage is also a structural component found in your ears, nose, the rib cage and in a few other places too.

Therefore, adding and protecting this kind in your body is considered the best one out there to help improve bone and joint health.

Also, the II version is also found in the cornea and tissue behind the eye ball.

One of the best sources of Type II  is chicken bone broth, which is very rich in this kind of collagen.

Type III

Type III collagen is somewhat similar to I, at least in the sense that both are often found in the same sources and offer many of the same benefits.

Further, Type III is known for maintaining the structural integrity of the heart, as well as the skin.

Bovine (cattle/cow) sourced collagen, often in the form of gelatin (results from boiled animal joints and bones), is a great source of III and I.

Type IV

Type IV collagen serves as the mechanical support that divides tissues into compartments and also affects cell behavior. This category of collagen is contained in what's called basement membrane.

To spread in the body, malignant cells must pass through the basement membrane. A lack of this type of collagen in your body may make it easier for cancer to spread

Importantly, not having enough Type IV collagen has also been associated with strokes.

Type V

Type V collagen also helps to form cell surfaces and hair.

It's required to create the cells of a pregnant women’s placenta, which is the organ that attaches to the lining of the womb and provides the baby with vital elements of survival, including oxygen and nutrients.  

Which Collagen Is Best?

When it comes down to it, which type of collagen is best is not really a question that is easily answered. It depends on your personal goals.

What you should have gathered by now is that all of these forms of collagen are very important for the human body in one way or another.

However, if you are going for anti-aging skin, hair, and nail benefits, you will probably want to stick with Type I and III.

Concerned about joint health? Type II is the one to focus on.

How about blood vessels and heart health? Types III and IV would be a good bet.

If you'd like to keep things easy and take one supplement that contains all the important kinds of collagen, these options may be perfect for you:

Capsule form that are convenient and for those who don't mind pills:

Powder form for more versatility, easily adjust dosage and those who don't like or have trouble taking pills: