Collagen is one of the most abundant forms of protein in your body, primarily used to improve hair, skin, nails, joints and also assist in recovery. An excellent supplement to add your routine and great to stack with protein powder.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in mammals and is responsible for the composition of 25%-35% of the whole-body protein content. Collagen is primarily found in fibrous tissues such as ligaments, tendons and skin but is also present in blood vessels, eyes, the stomach, as well as teeth.
Another effective source of collagen is bone broth. While the consumption of bones may seem quite new and trendy, it is something we have been doing for centuries but have fallen away from. Evidence from a cave in Israel dating back more than 400,000 years suggests that humans would crack open bones to consume the extremely nutrient dense bone marrow. This is no surprise, food was scarce, that’s why utilizing every part of the animal was crucial to our ancestors.
Supplementing with collagen
Supplementing with collagen can provide many benefits to your body and overall wellbeing. This includes better skin, healthier hair and nails, joint pain relief, as well as an increase in muscle and improved recovery.
Whilst collagen is a protein, the same serving size as regular whey protein is not required, to reap maximal results of collagen, a serving size of 10-20G per day is optimal. (Tip: Taking Vitamin C with collagen will increase efficiency and lead to greater absorption.) When it comes time to take collagen, the choice is yours, some people prefer to take it in the morning and feel more energetic, others take it before bed to aid recovery of their muscles and strengthening of the skin.
The two main forms of collagen are bovine and marine. Collagen is made from the bones and skin of animals and therefore is not a vegan suitable supplement. The majority of collagen powders are unflavoured but are available in neutral flavours such as chocolate and vanilla depending on the brand.
Collagen is a great supplement to add to your routine, however, it is not a replacement for protein powder. This is due to the different compositions of amino acid profiles. Whey protein is an anabolic protein powder, whereas collagen is more beneficial to other aspects of the body.
What are the benefits of collagen?
Collagen has been shown to improve several aspects of the human body. In particular, joints, tendons and ligaments, hair, skin as well as nails. Collagen is not only a great supplement to consume orally but is often also applied to the skin topically in beauty applications.
It is very natural for us to eventually lose our hair, for some it happens later in life, for others it begins as young as our early 20s. Our hair is primarily made up of the protein, keratin. Collagen is composed of several different amino acids, one of these is proline. Proline is the main building block for keratin, therefore supplementing with collagen should provide your body with what it needs for healthy hair. There has also been researching which suggests that collagen may fight grey hairs as well as age-related hair thinning.
Collagen has been shown to reduce joint pain and improve symptoms of osteoarthritis. This is crucial considering we begin to produce less collagen as we age. This is extremely beneficial, not only for elderly people but also for athletes who put a strain on their joints. Overall it is wise for anyone to supplement with collagen, whether the motivation is to help alleviate pain or simply for preventive measures.
Our bodies naturally produce collagen, however, as we age, we begin to produce less, this leads to the formation of wrinkles and dry skin. Collagen supplementation has been shown to increase hydration of the skin and also reduce wrinkle visibility. There have also been anecdotal claims that suggest collagen can assist in reducing acne, however, there is no scientific research to support this.
How is collagen made?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, we produce it ourselves but as we age the natural production begins to slow down. By using collagen peptides, not only are you getting important amino acids that help your body produce more collagen for strong hair, skin, nails, and joints, but you’re also supporting sustainable farming practices that use all parts of the animal, it is for this reason that collagen is not a vegan product.
Collagen, like all other forms of protein, are made from amino acids, amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Collagen peptide supplements are typically produced from bovine connective tissue or fish, collagen produced from fish is known as marine collagen, whilst collagen produced from land animals generally is known as bovine collagen.
To make collagen, bones or other animal byproducts are boiled in water, the collagen is then extracted and dried to form a powdered supplement.
You may often see the terms “Hydrolyzed Collagen” or “Collagen Hydroslate”. This is simply collagen that has been broken down by way of hydrolysis, where water molecules simply rupture the chemical bonds, this is commonly found with protein powder and leads to improved absorption.
What are the different forms of collagen?
There are over 20 different types of collagen that have been identified, however, there are 5 forms of collagen which reign supreme. These can be simply classified as Type I, Type II, Type III, Type IV and Type V. Of these 5 variations, the 2 most popular forms of collagen are Types I and III.
Of the many different types of collagen in your body, the primary form is Type I, this accounts for approximately 90% of the collagen found in the body.
Type I collagen is the most abundant form of collagen in the body, it is present in the majority of connective tissue. Type I collagen is the major structural protein for our bones, skin, tendons and ligaments, cornea as well as blood vessels. In fact, Type I collagen is responsible for approximately 95% of the collagen content found in the bone and approximately 80% of the protein content found in the bone.
Type II collagen is the primary variation of collagen used in cartilage, it is responsible for 95% of the collagen content present in cartilage and makes up 60% of the total dry mass.
Type III collagen is commonly found alongside Type I collagen, these 2 forms of collagen combined are the main constituents of the interstitial matrix, this is a type of extracellular matrix that is found in a variety of internal organs and skin.
Type IV collagen is the main collagen component for the basement membrane, this is a thin, fibrous membrane that separates the lining of an internal or external body surface from underlying connective tissue, these basement membranes act as structural barriers and substrates for cellular interactions.
Type V collagen is a form of fibrillar collagen, it contributes to the construction of bones, an interstitial matrix of the muscles in the body, liver, lungs as well as the placenta and is also present alongside tissues containing Type I collagen.