We’re all about helping you understand your collagen options.
Collagen protein is taking over the supplements aisle at a rapid pace. And for good reason, there are plenty of reasons to take collagen supplements. You’ll find collagen in not only powder, pills, and liquid form, but also in bars, gummies, and shots!
So many options, but what to choose? In this guide, we’ll be comparing collagen powder against collagen liquid.
Liquid vs Powder. Let’s do this.
Intro to liquid collagen vs powder
In a different comparison guide, we compared collagen powder to pills. Though their effectiveness and absorption are similar, powder and pills differed quite significantly in grams per serving, cost, and consumption preferences.
Could the same be said for collagen powder and liquid collagen? In this guide, we’ll explore the differences between the versatile and popular collagen powder, and liquid collagen. We’ll help you accurately compare the similarities, and differences, and you’ll leave understanding which form of collagen supplement best fits you.
Let’s start with the various types of liquid collagen you can purchase today.
Types of liquid collagen
If you think today’s fancy collagen drinks in flashy packaging was the first time we humans had access to liquid collagen, think again. Liquid collagen has been around for thousands of years!
There’s an OG of liquid collagen and his/her name is bone broth.
Bone broth was a food our ancestors ate regularly. When you take a sip of bone broth, you’re drinking collagen. It’s one of the only four foods that contain collagen — and it’s loaded with other healthy nutrients. I think it’s the best food on the planet. You can find many brands that make bone broth, we love Kettle & Fire.
Liquid collagen supplement types
You can also find many brands that make liquid collagen supplements.
Unlike powders, liquid collagen supplements come in all shapes and sizes with a range of added ingredients. Many come in an 8, 12, or 16 oz can or plastic bottle. Some even come in cute little 2 oz mini bottles — collagen shots! We’ve even seen little vials with droppers.
Various types of liquid collagen supplements:
- Purified/Filtered Water
- Sports/Hydration Drink
- Sparkling Water
- Coffees/Lattes/Cold Brews
Since there are so many options to buy a ready-made collagen drink, we’ve entered the Wild Wild West with liquid collagen. Brands will add anything and everything to these little bottles and cans (jump ahead to collagen liquids ingredients). Many times, this comes in lieu of actual collagen peptides in the ingredients which begs the question:
Am I buying collagen in a liquid? Or, lots of other stuff + a little collagen?
Let’s open this up.
Aside from collagen (duh), what’s in collagen powder and liquids? By reading labels, you’ll start to see major differences.
Collagen liquids ingredients
Many collagen liquids, that come in the forms we aforementioned, will add a variety of ingredients such as:
- Vitamins & Minerals. C, B6, B12, thiamin, magnesium, potassium, and more. (Note: some collagen powders add vitamins/minerals — more about taking collagen with vitamins.)
- Juices, Fruit, Extracts. Lemon, blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, grape, watermelon, and more.
- Sweeteners. Stevia, monk fruit, guar gum.
- Oils. Lemon, lavender, orange, lime, peppermint.
- Sugar. Cane, coconut.
- Tea blends. Jasmine green tea, white tea, hibiscus, hawthorn berry.
- Other. Melatonin, coconut water, Himalayan salt, pomegranate extract, aloe vera, reishi, and more.
What about the collagen? From our research, most collagen drinks average around 3g of collagen per serving. To get your 10-40g of collagen per day, that’s a lot of extra ingredients to digest. Your wallet will take a hit too.
Collagen powder ingredients
If liquid collagen drinks are the Wild Wild West, how would I describe collagen powder?
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Collagen powder’s ingredients are simple but effective. Powders, unless you’re getting a flavored collagen powder, are JUST collagen. Even flavored collagen’s ingredients are fairly simple — we add only simple ingredients (e.g. cocoa, citric acid) and high-quality sweeteners (stevia and/or monk fruit). Collagen powders will also pack more collagen per serving, typically more than double. You’ll find around 7g of collagen per 1 serving (1 scoop).
Is liquid collagen more effective than powder?
This question is probably why you’re reading this article.
Is liquid collagen more effective than powder collagen? Will it offer more health benefits? Am I shortchanging my collagen supplementation by taking powder over liquid? Let’s answer a question with a question. Hang with me, it may feel like a dumb one.
What happens when you mix collagen powder in a liquid? (e.g. water, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc.)
It turns to liquid collagen!
Collagen, bottled up in a liquid and available via sparkling water, sports drink, tea, etc. is essentially the same as dissolving a scoop of collagen powder in a liquid (but without all the additional ingredients).
Liquid collagen is not more effective than collagen powder because there’s no scientific evidence showing one is superior to the other. Collagen production is a radically complex process as we explored in how to increase collagen. What we do know from a scientific perspective is that eating collagen foods and/or supplements stimulates fibroblasts, which are cells responsible for making collagen.
The one exception: Collagen Types
Here’s the one exception when it comes to saying that both collagen powders and liquids are similarly effective.
If the liquid or powder is a multi collagen, you’ll be consuming 5 types of collagen (I, II, III, V, X) with every scoop or can/bottle. This is a significant difference. A multi collagen protein does offer more benefits than a single-source collagen (i.e. bovine, marine).
A multi collagen powder (offering types I, II, III, V, X) will be more effective than a marine collagen or bovine collagen liquid drink (offering only types I & III). Again, this is the one exception when it comes to comparing efficacy.
There are few, if any, multi collagen liquid drinks available today. Most only offer collagen peptides from cows (bovine) or fish (marine). Maybe one day we’ll add liquid drinks to our multi collagen supplement offering.
Does liquid collagen digest easier and better than powder?
Does your body’s digestive system recognize a difference between liquid collagen vs powder? Is liquid collagen more bioavailable than powder?
Google enough, and you’ll find bogus claims like this:
“We absorb 90% of the liquid collagen vs. 30% of powder collagen”.
Can we get a fact check, please?
First, where’s the scientific evidence? Second, check the website/brand/product making this claim. I’m not a betting man, but if I were I’d bet they sell a liquid collagen supplement — false advertising anyone?
There’s no reason to worry about collagen, in liquid or powder form, being digested. Collagen is one of the most easily absorbed things you can consume.Dr. Cate, M.D.
“The idea that your body has to “work harder” to digest nutrients from one food versus another is a strange claim to make, physiologically”, says Dr. Cate. “The digestive system has a job to do, and it does that job.”
Let’s debunk this idea that liquid collagen is more bioavailable than powder. Here’s a simple definition.
The ability of a drug or other substance to be absorbed and used by the body.Cancer.gov
The bioavailability of collagen peptides is widely known and scientifically proven — it’s a major, no, the selling point. Collagen, in its raw form, cannot be easily absorbed. Collagen peptides are made through hydrolysis, which breaks down the raw collagen so it can be absorbed by the body. Once it hits peptide form, boom, it’s bioavailable.
Both liquid and powder collagen supplements use collagen peptides. So, why would one be better than the other? Let’s go back to the science here. Show me the evidence that proves that one is “more bioavailable” than the other. Collagen peptides found in collagen drinks are handled by the body the same way as powders. When you see collagen peptides on the supplement label, have faith that they’ll be bioavailable — no matter what form of collagen supplement is consumed.
Is Liquid Marine Collagen any better?
You should already know the answer to this. 🙂
We touched on marine collagen above, let’s briefly expound on this specific type of liquid collagen as it gets a tremendous amount of hype.
Liquid marine collagen claims it’s digested faster, absorbed quicker, more bioavailable, and generally better than powders and pills/capsules. Some supplement brands even suggest that “liquid marine collagen has an absorption rate of 90-95% compared to 40-45% for collagen pills.” Is that true? Where’s that data coming from?
The scientific study these products typically reference is here. However, this study (and many other studies liquid collagen supplements reference) has nothing to do with collagen protein. This study tests the various ways you can administer an immune suppressant drug called apixaban comparing IV to pills and testing how stable it is when stirred in water.
Dr. Cate, M.D. gives it to us straight:
This has nothing whatsoever to do with collagen nor contain anything that says liquid is better than powder. Fake reference.
If you’re looking to buy liquid marine collagen, buy because it contains type III collagen thanks to the fish skin used for sourcing. Ensure it’s wild-caught fish and non-GMO and ignore the rest of the marketing hype.
Here’s a quick chart showing the differences between pre-made liquid collagen drink supplements, and collagen powder supplements.
|Collagen Powder||Liquid Collagen|
|What's in a container||58 scoops||8, 12, or 16oz|
|Serving Size||1 scoop||1 bottle/can|
|Collagen Protein per serving (see RDA for collagen)||7g||3g per 12oz (on average)|
|Price per 7g of collagen||~$0.75 per 1 scoop||~$4.50 per 24oz|
|Added Ingredients||None (unless flavored)||Vitamins, minerals, juices, fruit, extracts, sweeteners, oils, sugar, tea blends, electrolytes, caffeine, and more.|
|Available in a multi collagen||✓ Yes||Very limited|
|Bioavailable||✓ Yes||✓ Yes|
|Consumption||Add to liquids or food, then drink/eat||Grab & drink|
|Preparation||Stirring, Shaking, Blending, Cooking||None needed|
|Portability||Requires placing powder in plastic bag/container or buying single serve travel packs||Fairly portable, but most recommend refrigeration|
Which is better? Liquid or powder?
Let’s do a quick review before we help you answer this question.
- Bone broth is the OG of liquid collagen.
- Pre-made collagen drinks come in all shapes and sizes with a range of ingredients, unlike powder.
- Pre-made collagen drinks typically have fewer grams of collagen protein per serving than powders.
- Powdered collagen turns into liquid collagen.
- Liquids and collagens are both effective, digest similarly, and bioavailable — unless one form is a multi collagen.
Let’s now lay out the real factors in this liquid vs powder debate. Here are 3 things you should consider.
- Added ingredients. Collagen liquid drinks will add a variety of ingredients to their bottle/can such as vitamins/minerals, juices, sweeteners, caffeine, and much more. Is it worth it to consume those extra ingredients and calories to obtain your collagen?
- Amount of collagen you want to consume. Check the labels, some collagen-infused drinks offer just 3g of collagen peptides per 12 oz — less than half the collagen protein of a scoop of powder.
- Cost. Ready-made collagen liquids are super convenient to grab and sip, but you’re paying for much more than just collagen. Buy these drinks because you want lots of things + collagen. Don’t buy these drinks if you want to maximize your collagen consumption.
This “better” conversation is not about effectiveness, digestion, and bioavailability. This is a personal decision, and it all depends on your tolerance for additional ingredients, collagen per serving needs, and your budget for collagen consumption!