The Different Sources and Types of Collagen
Luckily, collagen supplements are becoming more and more widespread. However, not all supplements are created equally.
The collagen protein is composed of a triple helix, made up of three amino acids: glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. When consumed orally, it breaks down into these three amino acids which then serve as precursors to help the body produce collagen. There are at least 16 different types of collagen, but 80–90% of the body's collagen consists of types I, II, and III. Type I collagen is a must-have for healthy skin. It is the most abundant type of collagen found in connective tissues including the skin. Type III collagen trails behind type I and can also be found in many connective tissues, but it is primarily located within the gut. Thus, consuming enough type III collagen is crucial for gut health. Type II collagen is found primarily within cartilage and bone and thus helps to improve bone strength.
Collagen Supplements: How to tell a gimmick from a gold mine
When shopping for collagen products, you may find collagen amongst the ingredients of skin care creams and masks. However, the collagen protein is too large to penetrate the skin barrier. That means if you want to use collagen for skincare, you have to work from the inside out, not the outside in! Topical products won't cut it.
Unfortunately, with the exception of bone broth, you won't be able to find collagen-rich food sources either. Because collagen is found primarily in cartilage, bone, and ligaments, you won't find any of this protein in food-grade cuts of meat. Instead, sources of collagen include the less desirable or otherwise wasted parts of cows, chickens, and fish. The collagen is then hydrolyzed down into what is called collagen peptides or collagen hydrolysate so that it can easily be absorbed and used by the body. The result is a near-flavorless and odorless collagen powder that can be added to smoothies, pancakes, and more to up your collagen intake without any interruptions to your day.