The collagen industry just keeps growing! It's in pre-made bottled drinks, skincare creams, capsules, powders, and even some pre-made protein bars and snacks. So you might be wondering what collagen is, to begin with. Collagen isn't just a trendy ingredient made by marketers or skincare influencers, it's in your body right now! Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. And as the "king" protein of the body, it has many important roles. So, if you want to make sense of this "hot" ingredient both in the supplement, skincare, and basic biology worlds, we've got you covered.
Collagen is often referred to as a building block. The collagen molecule is a triple helix fibrous protein that forms with other collagen molecules. As a structural protein, it provides flexible support to all the connective tissues, including the blood vessels, eyes, gut, skin, and muscles. Collagen production happens naturally, but it slows dramatically at about age 25. That's why kids are invincible and have all the pep in their step while joint pain, muscle atrophy, and wrinkles set in as we age. There are hundreds of different types of collagen. The most common types are:
These different collagen types all have the same job, but they are found in different areas and in different concentrations throughout the body. For example, type I collagen is the most abundant type of collagen and it is found in nearly every connective tissue. Type III collagen is found primarily in the bowels. This becomes important when targeting certain health concerns, such as joint health or firm hydrated skin.
Unlike other vitamins or minerals, there are no dietary sources of collagen. The only collagen-rich food is bone broth, which is made by boiling the bones of cows and making them into the rich broth. Aside from that, you can't get more collagen through your diet. Instead, collagen supplements are made from the skin and ligaments of other animals such as cows, fish, chickens, or eggshell membranes. We aren't the only ones with collagen!
Collagen protein powder is hydrolyzed down to bioavailable, consumable molecules called collagen peptides, collagen hydrolysate, or hydrolyzed collagen. What starts out as the hide of cows or cartilage from chicken then becomes a pure collagen dietary supplement, a collagen powder. Collagen sources differ between brands, but bovine collagen (the type that is sourced from cows) is one of the most common. Marine collagen is another increasingly popular collagen source that comes from the skin of wild-caught or farmed fish.
Collagen supplements help to stimulate further collagen synthesis, but it's not necessarily a "10 mg in, 10 mg made" equation. When we consume collagen, such as through collagen powder, the fibrils are broken down into their 3 amino acids: glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. These amino acids are all needed to produce collagen within the body. Additionally, the body needs vitamin C in order to efficiently make collagen.
This is why vitamin C supplements are also recommended alongside collagen supplements. Numerous studies have measured the effects of consuming collagen. The health benefits of collagen include:
Nowadays, collagen comes in many forms. Not only can you choose the source of collagen in your preferred supplement, but you can also find the form that fits your lifestyle. Here are some common forms of collagen supplements and their benefits:
Because collagen is produced naturally within the body, there is no risk of allergic reaction. Before you begin any supplement, you should seek medical advice from a trusted doctor. With that said, the side effects of collagen are very mild and often limited to upset stomach from consuming too much.
Have any questions? Ask the team at 1 Body! We're proud to provide natural, non-GMO supplements, including collagen capsules, that are manufactured in the USA at a cGMP lab. Our Collagen Complex contains five different types of collagen to address all your concerns around aging, all in one convenient little capsule.