If you’re thinking about incorporating a collagen supplement into your daily routine, you might be wondering– is liquid collagen better than powder form?
As a Registered Dietitian, I believe that your nutrition needs are unique to you, there isn’t just one best solution for everyone.
In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the pros and cons of collagen supplements, what the difference is between the liquid and powdered versions, and why you might choose one over the other depending on your specific needs (or just skip them both).
Let’s kick off this blog post with what collagen is.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It’s a protein that plays a crucial role in our connective tissues and keeping our skin, hair, nails, and joints healthy. We make collagen, but we can also get collagen in our diet from the foods we eat like chicken or fish skin.
There are many kinds of protein that we get in our food, drinks, and supplements. Get the low-down on protein in this post: Facts About Protein From a Registered Dietitian.
As we age, collagen protein production decreases and the collagen in our skin loses its strength. This leads to fine lines and wrinkles because of less skin elasticity, thinning hair, brittle nails, and achy joints.
There are some potential benefits of collagen supplements, which is why many people turn to them. Taking collagen can support different goals; you may be trying to improve your joint health or gut health, or boost the appearance of your skin.
Important note: collagen is only one factor in the health and appearance of your skin. Your exposure to UV light, smoke, and pollution matters, as do your usual dietary and hydration habits and even your genetics. Many factors play a part, not just supplements you take (or skip).
When you shop for collagen, you’ll see that there are a few different forms that you can choose from. Next up, we’ll answer the question “Is liquid collagen better than powder?”.
This may surprise you, but the best answer isn’t the same for everyone!
There are two different types of collagen supplements available: powdered collagen and liquid collagen products. The powdered form of collagen is probably the more common way to supplement with collagen.
Here are some of the things you might consider as you decide which is the better option for you.
- More collagen per serving: Powdered collagen products typically have more collagen per serving than liquid. The amount of collagen in liquid forms is typically 10g or less per serving, while many powders have upwards of 20g per serving.
- Less ingredients: Powdered collagen may be easily found as a single-ingredient product; liquid collagen is more likely to have other ingredients and additives (this could be a pro or a con, depending on your needs and goals).
- Taste: Some people find that powdered collagen supplements have an unpleasant aftertaste, while others find the taste to be mild and easily masked.
- Cost: When it comes to price, powdered collagen supplements are typically less expensive than liquid collagen supplements. This is because liquid collagen supplements require a more complex manufacturing process and packaging, resulting in a higher cost. However, the higher cost may be worth it for those who prioritize convenience.
- Collagen bioavailability: All forms of collagen are easily absorbed by your body. While there are claims online that the liquid form of collagen may be preferred for being absorbed better, there’s really no scientific evidence that supports the claim.
Is liquid collagen better than powder?
There are some benefits of liquid collagen for sure, as well as some cons.
- Convenience: Liquid collagen supplements tend to be more convenient to take than powdered collagen supplements. You can easily add liquid collagen to drinks or food or buy liquid collagen drinks that are already mixed for you and portable. Powdered collagen supplements require you to scoop out a serving and mix into your drink or food. This can be time-consuming and may be less convenient for those who are always on the go.
- Taste: For some people, liquid collagen is preferred to powdered because the liquid has a more neutral taste.
- Less bang for your buck: On the flip side, liquid collagen often has less collagen per serving than the powdered version and may be more expensive per serving.
- Allergies: Liquid collagen may be in a different form or even from a different animal, as compared to powdered collagen. For example, some liquid collagen is from fish; if you have a fish allergy, you won’t want to choose marine-based collagen.
Now that we have chatted through some of the considerations of the different forms of collagen, you may be wondering how much you should aim for per day.
How much collagen should I take?
If you feel that collagen is the right fit for your health goals and fits into your budget, the studies typically look at 5-20 grams of collagen per day. More isn’t necessarily better here.
This can bring up a new pro in the liquid collagen supplements column: liquid collagen may provide a more precise dosage. With a liquid supplement, you can easily measure out the exact amount you need, while it may be more difficult to do so with powdered supplements. This can be important for those who are trying to achieve a specific dosage for their needs.
No matter which dose you aim for on the daily, make sure that your collagen supplement is good quality. Let’s talk about 3rd party testing next.
Check for quality
If you choose to take any supplements, whether it is a collagen supplement, vitamin C, or a greens powder, I strongly recommend that you look for brands that have been verified by a 3rd party.
A 3rd party checks to ensure that what you paid for is in the supplement in the right amount and that there is no contamination. In the US, supplements are unfortunately not well regulated; 3rd party verification is how you protect yourself from being duped, or even harmed by contaminants.
One example of 3rd party verification is to look for the USP mark directly on the bottle, but there are other good examples out there too.
Curious about any other supplements? Be sure to check out my review of Greens Powders: Are They A Waste Of Money?
Caution with allergies
If you have any food allergies, be careful with which collagen products you purchase. While many of the products are bovine collagen (cow based), there are also collagen products that are made from fish (often called “marine” collagen) and even products crafted from eggs.
So, if you have any allergies, make sure your thoroughly checking the label and researching all collagen dietary supplements first.
What about vegans?
Unfortunately vegan collagen doesn’t exist – collagen comes from animal sources.
However, you can eat a balanced diet, take vitamins and minerals that support skin health, and stay hydrated. For example, vitamin C supports your body’s ability to make collagen, so eating an overall healthy diet rich in vitamin C, or a vitamin C supplement if you need one may just offer a tiny boost to the look and feel of your skin.
As we’ve been chatting through in this article, it’s important to note that many different habits – in and out of your control – influence the look and health of your skin. You can’t change your age or genetics but you can eat more fruits and veggies, stay hydrated and use sunscreen daily.
So, does the type of collagen matter?
Collagen supplements can potentially be a helpful addition to your supplement routine, but they’re not an absolute must. While both liquid and powder collagen have their potential advantages, the most important thing is your personal preference.
If you want a more convenient product or a more neutral flavor, you may find liquid collagen supplements to be the best option. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck and you don’t mind having to mix powder, there’s nothing wrong with going for the powder collagen supplements.
While many supplement brands claim that liquid collagen is absorbed better, the scientific studies aren’t there to back it up– so don’t worry if you’re using the powdered form.
And remember, you don’t have to take collagen supplements in order to be healthy. Research on collagen is fairly new in general, so we don’t fully know all of the health benefits yet.
No matter which option you choose, be sure to choose a high-quality collagen supplement that is sourced responsibly and free from harmful additives.