Liquid vs. powder collagen for athletes: pros, cons, and which is better?

Liquid collagen is making a splash on the collagen scene. You may have seen ads or know a friend using it, but is it really any different, and is it worth the money for athletes?

So which is better?

Let’s break it down into categories: potency, source, other ingredients, portability, sustainability, and bioavailability.

  • Potency
    • Liquid forms of collagen typically have less collagen per serving than powdered forms.
    • Many liquid forms come in 10g or less per serving, so you’re likely getting less bang for your buck. And, So if you’re hoping to consume 10g or more daily, you may want to opt for powdered collagen. 
    • Winner: Powder
  • Source
    • Many liquid forms of collagen contain marine collagen, predominantly types I and II collagen.
      • Type I is found all over the body, except for cartilage, and is concentrated in bone, ligaments, tendons, hair, skin, nails, and gut.
      • Type II is mainly found in cartilage. Bovine-derived collagen is rich in types I and III.
      • Type III collagen is found in skin, muscle, and blood vessels. Liquids might give you more options if you’re trying to avoid cow products. You may have to dig to find one if you’re looking for bovine-derived collagen in liquid form.
    • Winner: Tie
  • Other ingredients
    • Liquid collagens often add many other ingredients to make them palatable. Think flavorings, sweeteners, etc. The powder may be the way to go if you’re just looking to get the job done. But if you don’t mind some sweeteners and flavorings, liquids can be a fun alternative to soda, coffee, tea, or a cocktail.   
    • Winner: Powder
  • Portability
    • If you’re looking for a quick on-the-go option, liquids are convenient. They are ready to drink, so there’s no need to mix them into another beverage. Some companies even offer a collagen gel to take pre-workout. 
    • Winner: Liquid
  • Sustainability
    • Single-use products do have their environmental downsides. Liquid collagen tends to be less eco-friendly than a large powder container with multiple servings—food for thought. 
    • Winner: Powder
  • Bioavailability
    • Many liquid brands tout the bioavailability of the liquid version, claiming the collagen is more efficiently absorbed and usable by the body, but scientific studies are lacking to substantiate this claim.
    • Winner: Tie

Final Score: Powder Collagen 3 Liquid Collagen 1


Key Takeaway liquid or powder collagen for athletes

While liquids are convenient, it seems like powdered collagen is the way to go. For instance, more high-quality powder formulas are available, and you can get a more meaningful dose, likely with few ingredients, and it’s more eco-friendly. Additionally, you can always create your own liquid collagen by mixing it into whatever beverage you enjoy.  

Should athletes use collagen? Find out it here!

Dr. A’nna, Chief Research Scientist at Athlete Blood Test

Sports nutritionist

Dr. A’nna strives to inspire people to optimally fuel their bodies to achieve their best and positively impact the world. She is a combined Ph.D./RD specializing in sports performance nutrition with all Ivy League degrees and is the Chief Research Officer at AthleteBloodTest.

Dr. A’nna aims to cultivate a world of healthy athletes who understand nutrition and know how to leverage their physiology to get the best results in sports and life. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Instagram.

Categories: Supplements

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