Collagen. It's a word many of us know, even if we don't know exactly what it refers to. Most people know collagen has something to do with skin, and some may even be able to point out it is used in many beauty products, but beyond that, the collective knowledge can get foggy.

So what is collagen?

Collagen is a naturally occurring, insoluble protein found in the connective tissue of all animals -- humans included. It comprises 1/3 of the protein in our bodies and 70% of the protein in our skin. Collagen is made up of more than 1,000 amino acid units, but the most notably abundant types of amino acids in collagen are glycine, proline hydroxyproline, and arginine. The relatively high levels of amino acids in collagen protein make it an incredible protein supplement to help nourish your skin and support all the connective tissues in the body.

Understanding Types of Collagen

There are 16 types of collagen in the human body, but most are Types I, Type II and Type III.

Type I is the most plentiful form in the body, and is found in nails, hair, skin, organs, the digestive system and ligaments. It is incredibly strong. In fact, gram for gram, it’s stronger than steel. Type II is found in our cartilage and Type III often works together with Type I to bolster the strength and elasticity in our skin, lungs, circulatory system as well as the connective tissues.

Collagen Powder

Collagen powder is simply a human-made formulation made from animal bone, skin, connective tissue and other by-products of the meat industry that find a home in these supplementary powders.

There are two main types of collagen powder: collagen protein and collagen peptide. The major differences between these primary sorts of supplements lies in how easy they are to digest, and how to best add them to your diet.

Collagen Protein:

Collagen protein is essentially gelatin. It's created by cooking, drying and then processing the collagen into a powder. Collagen protein is mixed with cold liquids and is usually used as a thickening agent in broths, soups, mousses and even ice creams or frozen yogurts.

This kind of collagen powder takes longer to digest collagen proteins than collagen peptides. 

Collagen Peptides:

The amino acids in collagen peptides have been broken down during the processing, so they are easy to digest and will not gel when they come in contact with liquids. For this reason, this collagen powder blends very well with hot or cool drinks and can be added to baking without compromising consistency or nutritional value. Peptides are also popular to use in smoothies, tea, coffee, juices and water.

No matter which collagen powder you choose, rest assured that they both have similar amino acid profiles, so you will get all the skin nourishing benefits you desire. The most important thing is to make sure you use a quality collagen powder made using the safest and best practices.