What is Collagen? Health Benefits & More
What is Collagen?Collagen is the most abundant form of protein in our body. It provides strength, elasticity, and tone. Although we may think of collagen only in our skin, it can also be found throughout our bodies: from muscle fibres and bone matrix to our blood vessels. Collagen is the protein responsible for strong and flexible connective tissues. The collagen in our skin plays the role of improving our skin's moisture, suppleness and elasticity, and a healthy amount of collagen will give an overall youthful appearance. Our body produces its own collagen, using 3 amino acids as key "building blocks"; they are Glycine, Proline, and Hydroxyproline. Collagen formation in our body involves complex enzymatic reactions, and providing the building blocks is crucial in the process.
WHY SHOULD I SUPPLEMENT WITH COLLAGEN?As we age, our collagen formation naturally decreases: starting at 1% every year in our twenties, and up to 50% by the time we hit 45. Poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, can further decrease the collagen formation rate in our body. Less collagen leads to a loss of elasticity, strength, and tone throughout the body. You may notice this through signs of ageing, such as:
- Fine lines/wrinkles
- Brittle nails
- Sagging skin
- Loss of moisture
- Weak ligaments
- Aching joints
- Cartilage injuries
THE MAIN TYPES OF COLLAGENLet's break down the three most common types of collagen that you'll see in our bodies: Types 1, 2, and 3. Supplemental collagen is mainly found as Type 1, as well as a combination of Types 1 and 3. Generally, sourcing plays a role in the type of collagen that is extracted. For example, bovine collagen is sourced from the hides of cattle and is naturally high in Type 1 collagen. Here is a chart of the most common types of collagen supplements and how they are sourced. Now that you are ready to start supplementing with a Collagen powder, which source should you use? What is the difference? Is there a price difference between them? Here is a breakdown of the characteristics and benefits of bovine, marine, and poultry-sourced collagen:
Bovine CollagenNaturally sourced from the hides of cattle (be sure it is sourced from the hides), this kind is very high in collagen Types 1 and 3 and contains a high amount of protein. In fact, it contains almost double the amount found in marine collagen. With a large amount of glycine (a functional amino acid), bovine collagen is excellent for hair, skin, nails, as well as our connective tissues and digestive health. In most cases, bovine collagen will give you a better bang for your buck.
Marine CollagenNaturally sourced from the scales and/or skins of marine species (usually cold water fish like cod or salmon), marine collagen is very high in Type 1 collagen, which is known to increase tightness, tone, and skin elasticity. It is very beneficial for skin, hair, and nail health, and is referred to as the fountain of youth. If you are a pescetarian or prefer fish-based products, marine collagen is the one for you.
PoultryNaturally sourced from chicken sternum cartilages (very high in Type 2 collagen), it is high in Hyaluronic Acid and Chondroitin Sulfate, which are essential for healthy and strong cartilages, joints and ligaments. BioCell Collagen contains a potent amount of hydrolyzed collagen which stimulates collagen production in the skin, supports the health of our joints, and keeps the moisture in our skin and lubrication around our joints.
What Can Collagen Do for Me?Collagen is highly beneficial to our body for many health reasons. Mostly known for its anti-ageing effects, collagen has been researched and shown to improve more than just your skin's texture and tone. So, what are the benefits of collagen supplements? Here are a few proven benefits from collagen:
- Increased moisture within the body (skin & joints)
- Improved digestive health (leaky gut)
- Immune support
- Improved mood
- Stable blood sugar/weight management
- Connective tissue health (joints, cartilage and ligaments)
- Reduction in inflammation within the body
- Improved bone health