Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It’s found in the skin, bones, teeth, tendons, blood vessels, cartilage, and other areas. Collagen assists with essential functions such as the clotting of blood and providing structure to the skin. In recent years, it’s gained notoriety as an ingredient in skincare products and supplements, and for a good reason! Today we’ll discuss everything you need to know about this key protein.
According to Yale, collagen belongs to a family of proteins that make up the primary structure of the body’s connective tissues. It comprises roughly one-third of all protein found in the body and more than any other protein type by mass. Collagen comes in 28 different forms, with each categorized by its amino acid composition. Roughly 90% of all collagen found in the body is referred to as type 1, and this is the form found in organic bone matter, the skin, tendons, and internal organs. Most of the remaining collagen is comprised of these types: Type 2: Located in cartilage. Type 3: Located in lymphoid tissues and bone marrow.Type 4: Located in the basement membrane. Type 5: Located on the surface of cells and hair.
When choosing a collagen supplement, some people get confused by the fact that some contain marine collagen and others contain bovine collagen. So, what’s the difference?
As you’ve probably gathered from the name, marine collagen comes from fish. It’s sourced from the portions that are usually discarded, such as the skin and scales. It’s considered type 1 and is helpful for maintaining firmness and elasticity in the skin. Hence, it’s commonly added to skin and hair care products. Just be sure to read the label because when marine collagen is sourced from sea life such as sharks, shellfish, and jellyfish, it can contain peptides that are large and harder for the body to absorb.
Bovine collagen, or grass-fed collagen, is sourced from cattle. This form is extracted from the cow’s hide and is processed like marine collagen. It contains type 1 and type 3 and is the form generally found in the body’s connective tissue. This type of collagen is helpful in aiding in injury recovery and overall body health.
Now that you’ve decided to add collagen to your diet, what’s the best form to take? Collagen is available in powders, liquids, and capsules. Let’s look at the different options:
This is one of the most popular forms of collagen on the market. Just as you would guess, collagen powder is a loose powder that dissolves in liquid so that it can be added to food, drinks, and smoothies. This is considered one of the best ways to take it because it’s tasteless and very versatile.
If you’d rather not drink collagen, the next best thing is capsules. With this choice, you don’t have to worry about mixing it into a drink, as you simply take it daily with a large glass of water just as you would any other supplement pill.
Liquid collagen is pre-dosed and sold in ready-to-drink bottles. Some of these drinks are small and considered “collagen shots,” while others are added to larger water bottles. This is a great option for those who don’t want to worry about scooping the appropriate amount into a drink or taking a large capsule. The bottom line is that collagen is a much-needed protein, and regardless of which form you choose, if you’re looking for healthy hair and skin - collagen is what you need!