Everything You Need To Know About Collagen (& Why It's So Important)
You've probably been hearing a lot about collagen lately - it's pretty trendy right now. What you may or may not know, though, is what all the fuss is really about.
I've been doing quite a bit of research on the topic lately. I found it a bit confusing to really hone in on the importance of it and what was the best way to take it (since so many places are pushing their products now).
That's where this post comes into play... don't worry, I gotchu!
Welcome to your one-stop hub for everything you need to know about collagen.
What Is Collagen? Why Is It Important
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. Its fiber-like structure is used to create connective tissue. This type of tissue connects other tissues and is a major component of bone, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. It helps to ensure that tissues are strong, resilient, and able to withstand stretching.
What Are The Different Kinds Of Collagen?
Although there are 28 known types of collagen, there are 5 main types that our bodies use most:
Type 1 - This is the most abundant collagen of the human body. It is present in scar tissue, the end product when tissue heals by repair. It is found in tendons, skin, artery walls, cornea, the endomysium surrounding muscle fibers, fibrocartilage, and the organic part of bones and teeth.
Type 2 - Hyaline cartilage, makes up 50% of all cartilage protein. Vitreous humor of the eye. Type II is all the joint cartilage and their articular surfaces that connect on that joint so if you were to have a joint that's worn out you would want to probably take more of the two verses maybe weak ligaments that's a whole different thing okay
Type 3- This is the collagen of granulation tissue and is produced quickly by young fibroblasts before the tougher type I collagen is synthesized. Reticular fiber. Also found in artery walls, skin, intestines, and the uterus. Type III is the connective tissue, the collagen that is like mesh around the liver inside the liver that separates the different parts. It's more delicate, as in the bone marrow, and in the lymph.
Type 4 - Basal lamina; eye lens. It also serves as part of the filtration system in capillaries and the glomeruli of nephron in the kidney. This Type forms the respiratory tract and that's involved in the bronchial tubes the lungs around the intestines and the tissue around the heart.
Type 5 - Forms the hair and cell surfaces. This is the interstitial tissue, associated with Type I and placenta
As for the different types of Collagen that you find in Supplements:
Bovine (most common and effective) - types 1 and 3. Sourced from the cartilage, bones and Hydes of cattle
Marine - type 1. Sourced from fish scales and skin
Chicken - type 2. Sourced from chicken sternum, bones and cartilages
Where Is Collagen Found In Our Diet?
In food, collagen is naturally found only in animal flesh like meat and fish that contain connective tissue. However, a variety of both animal and plant foods contain materials that contribute to collagen production in our own bodies. One of the best ways to naturally increase your collagen intake is through organic, grass-fed bone broth. There are a variety of different ways you can supplement the protein though.
Why Is It So Important To Supplement?
As you age, your body starts producing less collagen. The skin becomes thinner, drier, and less elastic. Loss in collagen levels leads to wrinkle formation and weakened body tissue. Your body begins to lose collagen when you turn 30. With aging, collagen in the deep skin layers changes from a tightly organized network of fibers to an unorganized maze. Collagen production also drops (quickly) due to excessive sun exposure, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and lack of sleep and exercise. By supplementing the protein, you are ensuring that your body has the protein that it's no longer producing to support healthy joints, skin, hair and nails.
What Are The Different Ways I can Supplement?
If you are looking to incorporate a collagen supplement into your diet, there are a few ways in which you can do so:
Liquid - Liquid collagen is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream more quickly and efficiently than solid supplements because the body has to work harder to extract nutrients when they’re delivered in solid form.
Powder - Powder is another great way to supplement the protein because once mixed with water, coffee, milk, etc. it is then digested like in its liquid form. It is also very versatile and depending on the brand/type you get, it can be a great addition to shakes and other recipes.
Pill/Tablet/Capsule - The main benefit of collagen tablets or pills is the convenience. You can simply take them with water and be done. They don't break down as easily as liquid or powder, however. Your body has to work harder to extract the nutrients and then effect won't be as strong.
Gummies - These digest slightly easier than pills but still not as well as liquid or powder. They are mighty convenient though, and many people like that they can be fun to eat.
Can You Overdose On Collagen?
It is not recommended that you take more than a specified serving, however, as of right now, there are no known adverse effects to taking more than recommended.
What Are Some Collagen Products You Recommend?
Below, I included a few of my favorite collagen supplements that I've tried.
The ones I take most often are the BPN Collagen Protein Powder (it's ingredient profile is SO clean, it mixes really well in whatever recipe I make and it doesn't have any flavor so I can add it to just about anything). I also love the n* by Nutrilite Effervescent Tablets for on the go (since I drink a lot of water anyway) and the n* by Nutrilite Collagen Gummies (for when I don't have time to make anything else). My go-to used to be the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides until I came across BPN, but its still a fantastic product and my go-to backup.
BPN Collagen Protein Powder (use code STEFBARE for 10% off)
*I recieve a commission from sales made through these affiliate links
Does Supplementation Really Work?
I can really only go off of my own personal experience here, but I say yes.
Personally, I can tell the difference when I'm not taking my collagen. As soon as I start taking my supplements again after a few days/weeks off, my hair and nails grow SO fast, my joints feel a lot better (especially after working out) and my skin feels healthier overall.
As for which type of supplement/which brand is the best to use? Everyone is different. Even though there are basic instances (like liquid overall is better than pills), it all depends of what helps you out the most... and the fact that you're taking it consistently.
I can't make a blanket statement that these supplements are perfect or that they will reverse your aging, etc. but I can tell you that I've noticed a huge improvement and I do notice when I don't take them.
I hope this guide helped you learn more about collagen and discern whether or not to supplement and which way is best for you (always be sure to consult your doctor before jumping into something new).
Wishing you the best in your collagen journey and let me know what you think!
Sending love always,