The 101 on Collagen

Collagen has had its time in the sun of late and for good reason! 

By Jana Leonard

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, making up a ⅓ of it’s entire protein composition. It is one of the main building blocks of bones, muscles, tendons, skin, ligaments and can also be found in blood vessels, teeth and your corneas! The word Collagen actually derives from the Greek word ‘kólla’ meaning glue. 

Collagen provides structure to our bodies - holding it all together! After 20 years of age, our bodies’ natural collagen starts breaking down, but now we are able to add some back in with daily use of Collagen Powder and a few good habits such as staying away from sugar and refined carbs, putting down those cigarettes and reducing your time in the sun as UV radiation can actually reduce collagen production. 

Are there different types of collagen?

Firstly we need to understand the different types of collagen available on the market. You get 4 different categories of collagen namely Marine (Fish), Bovine (Cow), Porcine (Pig) and Vegan Collagen. Furthermore, collagen is also split up into 4 different types including Type I - IV each offering a different supporting role in our bodies. 

Type I accounts for 90% of our body’s collagen, providing structure to our skin, bones, connective tissue, teeth and skin.

Type II can be found in elastic cartilage, which cushions and supports your joints.

Type III supports the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.

Type IV assists with filtration and is found in the layers of your skin.

Porcine collagen is derived from the skin and bones of pigs while Marine or Fish collagen is obtained from the skin, bones and scales of cold-water fish and are 5 times more absorbent than Bovine due to its smaller particles. Both are mostly made up of type I collagen, meaning it promotes healthy skin. Marine Collagen is sustainably sourced but can be harder to find than the for example Bovine. It has gained popularity over the years and is often preferred by those who don’t eat pork or beef. It is an ideal option for those seeking a smooth and hydrated complexion. 

Bovine is an excellent choice as it consists of Type I and III, providing you with both great skin support such as reducing wrinkles, promoting elasticity, and increasing skin moisture, but it also offers support for muscles, organs and your arteries. We recommend seeking and buying the highest quality collagen you can afford, made from grass-fed, pasture raised animals and wild caught fish. 

If you are vegan, you can now include a plant based collagen into your diet. As this is a fairly new category to the collagen market, we did some reading on Harvest Table’s website about their Vegan Collagen, to better understand the ingredients associated with this supplement. With a base of Organic Pea Protein and Organic Brown Rice Protein they have added their trademarked blend of CollaVeg which is all natural, from plant source, and contains the same amount of Glycine and Proline as Bovine Collagen. CollaVeg is also a source of Bamboo Silica. Silica is a mineral that is required by the body to produce Collagen, as well as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body. 

The benefits to collagen

To conclude, collagen has 5 top benefits, these include:

1. Improves skin health by strengthening your skin, encouraging elasticity and aids hydration assisting in firming your skin as well as fine lines. 

2. Assists with joint pain relief by maintaining the integrity of your cartilages, which is the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints.

3. Assists in bone loss prevention as it provides structure and strength to your bones and their density.

4. Up to 10% of your muscle tissue is made up of collagen, collagen keeps your muscles strong, boosting muscle mass

5. Promotes heart health by providing structure to your arteries, without collagen arteries may become weak and fragile. 

You can now choose your collagen type depending on your needs and dietary preferences.