Collagen Types 1, 2 and 3 – What’s the Difference?

May 31, 2021

beautiful middle aged woman of menopausal age

Our bodies produce the collagen we need for strong health tissues; in fact, we have special cells that produce 16 different types of collagen.  Collagen is a big deal, and it is so prevalent that the only thing our bodies have more of is water.

Different types of collagen have different jobs, but they work together to make your skin, bones, and connective tissues strong, resilient and durable.   Our bodies are very efficient at producing collagen when we are young, but as we age, we make less collagen and that causes changes in our tissues and bones. We may see and feel the loss in our creaky joints and in our thinning skin and hair.  

Diet and collagen supplements have been shown to help mitigate some of those symptoms by helping our bodies replenish lost collagen.  This may leave you wondering if you have to buy 16 different supplements to build back the 16 different types of collagen you have in your body.  The answer is no.  The vast majority of the collagen in your body is Type 1, 2, or 3. In fact, they make up almost 90 percent of your body’s collagen.

Type 1 and 3 Collagen

You will most often see Type 1 and Type 3 discussed together. That’s because they are often found together in your body. Type 1 is the most abundant type of collagen in your body and it’s found in bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin. It is also present in the GI tract and is essential for wound healing. It’s pretty much everywhere! Like Type 1, Type 3 also supports our organs and skin. In addition, it is essential for the tissues in your blood vessels and heart. Together, they’ve got you pretty well covered.

Type 2 Collagen

Type 2 collagen is found primarily in our cartilage, eyes and inner ears.   It provides the necessary cushioning in joints and keeps them strong and flexible.

One Collagen Peptide Helps You Produce All Collagen Types

It seems reasonable that if you want to build tendons, skin and bones you should take type 1 collagen and if you want to build cartilage you should take Type 2 collagen.  However, it actually doesn’t work that way.  Hydrolyzed collagen, the supplement you buy for better health, is made up of single amino acids and also short strands of amino acids called peptides.  When you ingest these peptides, your body is able to enhance the production of its own collagen and not just one specific type, it pumps up the production of all types.  That means your body will automatically produce Type 1 in your skin, Type 2 in your cartilage and Type 3 in your organs.  In other words, one collagen peptide supplement is the food for all of your cells that produce all the different collagens you need. 

How to Choose a Collagen?

When looking for a collagen supplement it is most important to choose a high quality, highly absorbable collagen peptide to ensure that all of the available peptides are getting through your gut and into your body, where they can encourage new collagen production.  Marine collagen is well recognized as the most absorbable type of hydrolyzed collagen because the molecules of fish collagen are 1.5 times smaller than a collagen made from beef of pork.  This means fish collagen can easily pass through the gut lining, producing more dramatic results.  Studies have shown marine collagen to:

With so many collagen products on the market, and most of them made from ingredients imported from Asia, it is extremely important to carefully evaluate the collagen that you are consuming.  By choosing a 100% made in Canada collagen you can be assured the highest quality of raw materials and production that meets the worlds strictest health and safety standards.


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