You’ve probably already heard plenty about collagen, given its popularity in both the beauty and fitness industries (not to mention social media!). Though your body does make its own collagen, you can also acquire it through certain food sources, such as bone broth, or a collagen protein supplement. But while most collagen supplements provide just one or two types of the protein, a multi-source collagen supplement goes above and beyond to provide up to five different types, each offering its own health perks.
A multi-source collagen powder typically combines hydrolyzed collagen types I, II, III, V, and X to provide a broad spectrum of benefits. Here’s what to know about multi-collagen supplements—and whether they might be a good option for you.
Collagen assists in forming cartilage, tendons, and ligaments, hence why it supports healthy joint function and can help you avoid joint stiffness and discomfort. It is also an important structural protein for your skin and promotes healthy hair thickness, growth, and strength.
Collagen resides all over the body, including your arteries (it reinforces arterial walls and helps maintain the integrity and strength of blood vessels), the corneas of your eyes, your spinal discs, and in the fascia and connective tissues that build the lining of some organs.
Read More: How To Take Collagen To Boost Your Fitness
Supplementing with collagen protein, whether in powder or capsule form, is one of the most convenient ways to boost your intake of this important protein. Collagen supplements are typically sourced from different animal parts, such as bovine hides, chickens, and eggshell membranes, each of which is highest in a particular type of collagen.
The human body naturally contains multiple types of collagen, including types I, II, III, V, and X. Each type of collagen plays its own unique roles in the body.
Type I is the most abundant and strongest type of collagen. In supplement form, it is often taken to support skin health due to its ability to encourage skin elasticity and appearance.
Type II is the major collagen found in cartilage, which helps to cushion bones and assists in the body moving with comfort.
Type III is a fibrillary collagen and a major component of our skin and organs, so it is often taken in supplement form for skin health support.
Types V and X are minor collagen components that play a role in regulating the development of collagen in our joints, skin, and gut.
Who Should Consider a Multi-Source Collagen?
Once you reach your 40s, there’s a chance your internal organs will no longer produce as much collagen as they once did. (Aging, lifestyle, and diet all contribute.) Because collagen helps to form every inch of your skin, your joints, your gut, and more, diminishing collagen levels may lead to joint discomfort, signs of aging, and gut-related issues.
People who experience more than one of these issues—or who just want to support their overall health—can benefit from multi-collagen protein. By taking the five different collagen types together, you can optimize the benefits and get the most well-rounded support from supplementing.
Read More: How Much Collagen Should You Take Per Day
3 Multi-Source Collagens To Try
Here are my top three collagens to try, all of which feature collagen types I, II, III, V, and X from sustainable sources.
1. Ancient Nutrition Multi-Collagen Protein
The unflavored Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein Powder is an easily dissolvable, virtually tasteless powder. This makes it easy to add to your favorite drinks and recipes, such as coffee and smoothies. Some people prefer capsules (I recommend Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein Capsules) since they’re an even more convenient way to take collagen with water on busy days or when you’re traveling.
Both options are sourced from non-GMO, grass-fed, pasture-raised, cage-free, and cruelty-free sources, and are made without hormones.
2. Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein For Rest and Recovery
The mixed berry-flavored Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein For Rest and Recovery provides nine grams of protein, without any carbs or sugar. Each scoop features plant extracts traditionally used for rest and recovery, including tart cherry for muscle recovery and strength. Plus, you’ll get clinically studied ashwagandha, which promotes restful sleep and a calm, relaxed state of mind.
3. Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein For Joint and Tissue
Every scoop of Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein For Joint and Tissue supports post-exercise recovery, overall joint health, and encourages flexibility, mobility, and range of motion. It’s got nine grams of protein, zero carbs or sugar, and a nice vanilla flavor.
This version also contains calcium fructoborate, which can help promote healthy bones and ward off discomfort and stiffness related to stress put on the body.
Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., D.C., C.N.S., is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist, author, and member of The Vitamin Shoppe’s Wellness Council. Dr. Axe operates one of the world’s largest natural health websites, sharing healthy recipes, herbal remedies, nutrition and fitness advice, and information on essential oils and natural supplements. Dr. Axe founded one of the largest functional medicine clinics in the world, in Nashville, TN, and has served as a physician for many professional athletes.