Collagen is a natural protein that holds our bodies together and can be found especially in our skin, connective tissues and bones.
Understanding Collagen Supplements: Types, Sources, & Product Comparisons
Collagen is a word often seen in the ingredients lists of various body creams and supplements but you might not even know what it is or how it’s beneficial. Simply put, this natural protein is the substance that holds our bodies together and can be found especially in our skin, connective tissues and bones.
When we’re young, our bodies easily produce collagen, giving our skin that fresh, glowing look of youth. As we age, however, this production slows, leading to all those unwelcome signs of ageing such as wrinkles, joint pain, and loose skin.
Other factors can also decrease the body’s ‘glue’, as collagen has been termed, including smoking, sun exposure and poor diet. But it is possible to supplement with collagen, thus reducing some of the impacts of both time and lifestyle choices.
Types of Collagen
Collagen is widely varied in the body. While there are over a dozen types, most collagen falls into three types associated with specific areas and processes of the human form. Your choice of which type to consume as a supplement will depend on what part of the body you are aiming to improve.
If your primary concern is to address ageing, select Type I Collagen. The most abundant form of collagen in the body, this type can be found in our ligaments, organs, skin, hair and nails. Studies have shown that taking oral collagen can help skin look younger by decreasing wrinkles and improving the texture and elasticity.
Type II Collagen is found in cartilage and its use as a supplement applies to joint pain from injury, arthritis and other ailments. This type can also help with recovery from sports injury and general stiffness.
Type III Collagen also supports the strength and elasticity of the skin as well as the lungs, the circulatory system and connective tissues. This type frequently works together with Type 1.
Sources of Collagen
There are many foods and ingredients that can help your body synthesize collagen – all important when seeking a supplement or even to just add more healthful foods to your diet.
Bone broth or bone broth powders are an easy and often cost-effective way to obtain collagen but plant-based foods also have their importance.
For example, the amino acids glycine and proline are essential for creating collagen and can be found in a variety of fruits and veggies while antioxidants prevent free radical damage to collagen and can be found in grapeseeds and superfruits.
In terms of supplements, collagen is often sourced from animals. While it can be obtained from cows, pigs, chickens and fish, the type considered to be superior is collagen sourced from cows and fish.
Bovine or cow collagen and Piscine or fish collagen contribute to Type 1 collagen in the body, thus assisting with the vitality and elasticity of hair, nails, skin and bones.
If your aim is to address joint pain, consider choosing collagen sourced from fowl (chicken). This type – while not deemed effective as part of a beauty regime – is comprised of Type II collagen and thus aimed at supporting the body’s cartilage.
There are many types of collagen supplements on the market. Often you’ll notice that Types I and III are grouped together which is because these types serve similar needs in the body and together comprise the majority of our collagen.
Some products contain superfruits, as well, such as acai berries, which will boost antioxidants. Others might include Vitamin C, a vitamin that is essential in synthesizing collagen and can also help the body produce its own collagen.
Collagen types vary in their benefits, with Types I and III offering improved skin texture, decreased wrinkles and cellulite, and improved hair and nail growth and strength. Type II can help with muscle repair, joint pain and flexibility. When considering the collagen you will purchase, refer to the types to determine your reasons for adding it to your diet.
Whether you’re adding this unique supplement to your diet to help your skin look younger, to move more fluidly, or to address arthritis pain in your joints, get ready to look and feel years younger!