If you haven't added collagen peptides to your wellness routine yet, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. The truth is that understanding collagen supplements and their many benefits is actually quite simple once you know what to look for!
Collagen is the main structural protein that acts as the glue that holds your entire skeleton together, from your skin to your hair, nails, joints, ligaments, and more. Believe it or not, it makes up as much as one-third of all the proteins in your entire body.
Its molecules are usually packed together tightly to create long, thin fibrils. In a nutshell, collagen serves the very important role of acting as a supportive structure, anchoring cells to each other in connective tissues. As a result, collagen protein can help provide skin with improved elasticity and strength, among many other benefits
There are currently more than 15 different types of collagen known to science, but most of them (80-90 percent) belong to types I, II, and III. Despite having much in common, they vary in both their function and structure. In addition, they also differ in terms of where they can be found (bovine or marine sources, for example).
This leads us to an essential question: Where does collagen come from exactly? Let's explore the origins of collagen peptides, their main sources, and discover more information on this amazing protein!
What Types of Collagen Are There?
There are four collagen types that are known to be most commonly found in nature. These types of collagen include:
- Type I: This type constitutes 90% of the collagen content in the human body. It is composed of densely packed fibers and helps build healthy bones, connective tissue, skin, tendons, teeth, and fibrous cartilage.
- Type II: With more loosely packed fibers, this collagen type can be found in elastic cartilage. It's vital to cushioning your joints and helps joints to move smoothly without friction.
- Type III: This type of collagen supports the structure of your organs, arteries, and muscles. Often associated with type I, it is also one of the most prominent types found in the human body.
Type IV: Known to help with filtration, this collagen is present in your skin layers.
What Are the Sources of Collagen?
Our bodies naturally produce collagen on their own by breaking down dietary protein into amino acids. Therefore, including certain kinds of food in your diet may help to boost collagen production. Some examples of these healthy collagen-supporting foods include chicken, beef, fish, pork gelatin, bone broth, and egg whites.
You can also add high-quality collagen peptide supplements to your daily routine to help support optimal levels of this protein in your body. Typically, collagen supplements can be purchased in hydrolyzed powder form (also known as collagen peptides) and can be easily used in baking, cooking, or adding to hot and cold beverages.
Hydrolyzed collagen, which has already been "broken down" during the formulation process, has been shown to be more easily absorbed by the human body. Hydrolyzed collagen is an absolute must have when it comes to getting the most out of a collagen supplement! In order to produce collagen supplements, an animal-based source is usually used, such as the bones and skin of cattle and pigs, fish scales, or eggshells.
Can Collagen Be Vegan?
There is both good news and bad news for all the vegans out there. The bad news is that traditional collagen peptides are always animal-derived, usually from bovine or marine sources. However, depending on your personal preferences and beliefs, you may be able to choose an alternative collagen source that comes from genetically engineered yeast and bacteria, according to one study. The simplest options for vegans and vegetarians still seems to be to stick to plant-based foods that support your body's natural collagen production (at least for now).
Because of its neutral flavor and smell, mixability, and effectiveness, bovine collagen powders are still considered the most popular and highly rated collagen supplements. When choosing a collagen sourced from bovine, it's best to look for a product that comes from grass-fed, free-range cattle here in the USA. It's also important to look for third party lab testing to ensure that the collagen source is free from any contaminants, antibiotics, heavy metal traces, or other potentially harmful ingredients.
Dietary Collagen Boosters
What is more, you can even add certain healthy foods to your daily diet to boost the natural production of this protein in your body. Eating nutritious whole foods may even assist your body with getting the most out of your supplements. Some of these collagen-boosting foods that come from plant-based sources include:
- Leafy greens
- Citrus fruit
- White or green tea
- Bell peppers
- Herbs like Chinese knotweed or horsetail
In general, foods with copper, vitamin C, and amino acid content may help you absorb collagen more efficiently. Apart from that, they also provide your body with countless other health benefits, like supporting your immune system and enhancing energy, digestion, nutrient absorption, mood, and more. For this reason alone, adding some of these nutrient-dense foods to your meals more often is definitely worth the effort!
What Can Damage Collagen?
The best way to support your body's natural collagen production is to combine a high-quality hydrolyzed collagen supplement with a healthy holistic lifestyle. It's important to remember that no supplement alone can undo an unbalanced lifestyle or harmful habits. This is because certain habits can actually damage collagen, such as:
- Excessive sun exposure. Since ultraviolet radiation makes it harder for your body to produce collagen, it is best to avoid too much unprotected sunshine. Always remember to wear SPF!
- Smoking. Keep in mind that apart from all the other damage that smoking does to your health and wellness, it also disturbs the process of producing collagen in your body.
- Overconsumption of sugar and refined carbs. Sugar makes it increasingly difficult for collagen to repair itself. Try minimizing added sugar, artificial sweeteners, and refined carbs whenever possible to support your overall wellness and collagen production.
Apart from that, it is worth noting that certain medical conditions, like lupus and other autoimmune disorders, can also be harmful to collagen protein. For individuals with pre-existing conditions or those taking prescription medications, it's always best to consult with your personal physician before starting any new supplement routine.
Why Should I Use a Collagen Supplement?
As the most abundant protein found in the human body, collagen peptides may help support many aspects of your health. Here are some examples of the benefits you may experience after taking hydrolyzed collagen supplements on a regular basis:
- It may support your bones. As we get older, our bones become prone to fractures and heal more slowly. Adding more of the amino acids in collagen to your routine may help support healthy bones.
- It may support skin quality and elasticity. Your body needs collagen to build your skin and keep it flexible, smooth, and supple. Essential to healthy skin, adding more collagen to support your skin cells may result in enhanced skin quality, smoothness, and elasticity.
- It may give your hair and nails a boost. It is not uncommon to see collagen products aimed at boosting hair growth and nail strength. This is because the amino acids in collagen are essential to strengthening hair and nails, and preserving their quality over time.
It may keep you moving comfortably. Using a collagen supplement may also be beneficial for supporting your joints, allowing you to experience smoother, more comfortable movement.
Many people use collagen products and it's safe to say that this supplement isn't going away anytime soon. Although more scientific studies are needed, promising research so far shows that the amino acids in collagen may offer many benefits when it comes to healthy aging support. The most common origin of collagen peptides is the connective tissue found in animals (like pork gelatin, cow skin, or fish scales).
If you're ready to begin your collagen routine but still need some guidance when it comes to choosing between our Primal Collagen, Keto Collagen, or Multi Collagen capsules, simply click here to take our supplement quiz! Also, it's important to remember that although collagen peptides are generally considered very safe and should not cause any major side effects, if you are dealing with any health issues or are on medication, it is recommended to take speak to your doctor before you start any new supplement routine.
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