Everything You Need to Know About Collagen
Today I am talking all about collagen! If you follow me on Instagram, you know it’s a daily staple of mine that I add it to my coffee, smoothies, and tea lattés. Pure collagen is completely flavorless and dissolves perfectly into both hot and cold liquid, making it a super easy supplement to incorporate into your lifestyle! But why take this supplement in the first place? What the heck is collagen? What are the benefits of taking collagen everyday? Keep reading, and I’ll tell you everything you need to know!
In this article:
What is collagen & why do we need it?
The different types of collagen
Marine vs bovine collagen
How to use collagen
Best brand of collagen
Vegan alternatives to collagen
What is collagen & why do we need it?
Collagen is the most abundant source of protein in our bodies. It is the “glue” that holds our bodies together and is a key component of our skin, muscles, bones, connective tissues, and cartilage. In fact, the word “collagen” itself comes from the Greek word “kolla” which means “glue”!
Like all proteins, collagen is made up of smaller chains of amino acids. Your body makes collagen from the amino acids proline, glycine, arginine, and hydroxyproline, all of which come from food. However, some of these amino acids are harder to come by. Hydroxyproline, for instance, is found almost exclusively in collagen from animal sources.
And yes, you read that right. The human body does produce its own collagen! Unfortunately, this production starts to slow down as we age, resulting in the breakdown of tissues we associate with getting older – wrinkled, sagging skin and weaker, painful joints. Poor nutrition and/or disordered eating can also disrupt the production of collagen (as well as many other vital bodily functions), so supplementing is really a great option for anyone wanting to optimize their health. Not just oldies! ;-)
What are the different types of collagen?
Research shows that there are over 28 different types of collagen, but 80-90% of the collagen in our bodies is made up types 1, 2, and 3. Each of these three types play a different role in the body and can come from varying sources.
Types I and III collagen are often grouped together because they serve similar functions and are the most abundant types of collagen in the body. In fact, they make up 90% of our total collagen! Specifically, type I collagen makes up 70% of our skin. No wonder it has the ability to minimize wrinkles and improve skin elasticity and hydration!
Together, types I and III collagen play an important role in maintaining healthy eyes, nails, hair, muscles, bones, and teeth. They are also best for healing the gut lining, with type I characteristically be able to promote a smooth gut lining just like it does for smooth skin.
Best sources of Type I collagen:
Marine (fish) collagen (highest concentration of type I collagen)
Type II collagen is mainly found in cartilage, making up for 50-60% of cartilage protein! This type of collagen is important in protecting your bones at the joints, one of the main reasons I started taking collagen.
Best sources of Type II collagen:
As mentioned above, type III collagen is often grouped together with type I collagen. Unique to type III, is that type III collagen is mostly found in the artery walls as well as other hollow organs. It promotes healthy intestines, muscles, blood vessels, and the uterus in women.
Best sources of Type III collagen:
What’s the difference between Marine vs Bovine Collagen?
As you can imagine, different types of collagen have different sources! There are several animal sources used for collagen supplements, from cows to chickens to fish. The most popular collagen sources currently on the market are bovine and marine collagen.
Bovine or beef collagen is sourced from cowhides and is by far the most popular source of collagen currently available. After harvesting the cattle for their meat, the cowhides (skins) are removed and treated to extract their collagen protein during a hydrolyzation process. The hides can be sourced from either conventional feedlot cattle or grass-fed cattle, so make sure to look for GRASS-FED and PASTURE-RAISED when buying this type of collagen! I recommend Further Food Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides powder because it’s made from ethically sourced South American cattle and contains just one ingredient: hydrolyzed grass-fed and pasture-raised collagen peptides!
Bovine collagen consists mainly of types I and III collagen, which support healthy bones, hair, eyes, muscles and more, as mentioned above. Beef collagen is also a perfect option for those looking to improve their digestion and overall gut health.
My favorite brand for collagen powders is Further Food. Further Food is a women-owned company that is committed to more sustainable practices by having 100% compostable packaging! Not only does Further Food sell a completely odorless and flavorless Collagen Peptides Powder, but they are one of the few brands to sell flavored collagen! Further Food’s different flavors are made with the same high-quality, grass-fed collagen peptides as the original unflavored variant, but have added adaptogens and herbs for the ultimate supplemental upgrade! All of Further Food’s current collagen peptides flavors + added adaptogens are listed below:
Marine or fish collagen is a relatively new addition in the collagen supplement world, but is quickly gaining popularity for being a highly sustainable option. To produce marine collagen, fish skin and scales—things that used to be thrown away as waste—are hydrolyzed in the same manner as cattle hides in bovine collagen production.
When sourced via sustainable fisheries or from the wild, fish collagen has little negative impact on the environment and is thus a perfect option for pescatarians and for those who value sustainability! That’s why it’s important to look for WILD-CAUGHT when buying marine or fish collagen. My favorite marine collagen is Further Food Marine Collagen Peptides. Further Food’s Marine Collagen is sustainably sourced from wild-caught North Atlantic codfish and just as with all Further Food’s products, packaged in a 100% post-consumer recycled jar!
In the body, marine collagen acts in the same way as bovine in providing our bodies with amino acids to build strong, healthy connective tissue. What’s unique to marine collagen, however, is that it’s the most bioavailable type of collagen. In fact, the body absorbs marine collagen up to 1.5x more efficiently vs bovine and porcine collagen!
How do you use collagen?
If you made it this far, I think it’s pretty clear why I take collagen! Ever since I have started using it almost two years ago, I’ve noticed incredible changes in my overall health. My digestion is better, my nails are stronger, and my hair is thicker than ever! The biggest change I have noticed since taking collagen, however, is how I almost have no joint pain anymore! I can now finally do the activities I love again without being afraid I’m going to crack a knee, LOL.
As an Autistic person, I am incredibly sensitive and have to prioritize every facet of my health to function optimally. Most people on the Autism Spectrum deal with digestive issues, and a majority also suffers from joint pain. If you are looking to improve your overall quality of life as a fellow neurodivergent individual, join the collagen crew and stock up on Further Food collagen today! You can use my Further Food discount code LIVLABELFREE for 15% off anything and everything on Further Food’s website.
Personally, I make sure to take at least 1 scoop of collagen daily. I alternate between bovine and marine because I have found my body functions best on a variety of collagen sources. Some of my favorite ways to incorporate collagen are:
Smoothies I always add a scoop of collagen to my morning smoothie bowl because it blends right in without impacting the flavor or texture!
Coffee If I’m not having a smoothie for breakfast (perhaps I’m having oats or toast), I love adding a scoop of collagen to my coffee! Collagen dissolves almost immediately into any beverage, while I have found it does slightly better in hot beverages. I especially love Further Food’s hazelnut, vanilla, and chocolate collagen because it gives the coffee a delicious latté flavor when paired with some almond or oat milk!
Cereal Not a smoothie or coffee person? Collagen is an amazing addition to both cold or hot cereal! I know a lot of people who swear by whisking collagen into their morning porridge, but I have also found it works great in cold cereal! Just add cereal of choice along with a scoop of collagen and a good pour of milk, mix, and you’re good to go!
Which brand of collagen is best?
With so many brands of collagen popping up left and right, it can feel like a labyrinth to finding the right one! Luckily, I have navigated the labyrinth for you and can confidently say that Further Food is the best brand when it comes to creating collagen powders. Not only does Further Food makes a grass-fed, pasture raised premium Collagen Peptides Powder that is completely flavorless and easily dissolvable into hot and cold liquids, but they also have a whole line of FLAVORED collagen! Their flavored collagen peptides powders have added superfoods to optimize your health even more, and their entire line of bovine collagen is ethically sourced from South America.
For all the pescatarians out there, Further Food also offers a Marine Collagen Peptides powder that is sustainably sourced from North Atlantic Codfish. Marine or fish collagen is the most bioavailable type of collagen for quick and easy absorption, as it is absorbed 1.5x more efficiently by the body than bovine or porcine collagen!
All of Further Food’s products are packaged in 100% recyclable jars, making both the canister AND its content one of the most sustainable options on the collagen market! The company is also women-owned and independently lab verified through 3rd party lab testing to ensure the best possible quality.
Are there vegan alternatives to collagen?
Unless it is made by using genetically modified techniques, there is no such thing as “vegan collagen”. Collagen is naturally produced in the body by breaking down dietary protein into amino acids, making the term “vegan collagen” a paradox in and of itself!
However, “collagen boosters” are currently becoming more and more popular. These plant-based products contain various vitamins and minerals that the body needs to make collagen, and Further Food even makes a supplement called Vegan Beauty! Packed with Aloe Vera, Tremella Mushroom, Acerola Fruit, MCT Oil, Pea Protein, and Cocoa Powder, Further Food’s pescatarian and vegan-friendly blend boost’s your body’s natural collagen production for radiant skin, shinier hair, and stronger nails.
If you are primarily looking for a supplement to help with joint pain for example, Further Food’s Superfood Turmeric or Premium Curcumin Turmeric might be an excellent addition to your daily routine! Curcumin (the main compound found in turmeric) has been shown to help fight off inflammation such as joint inflammation (painful, achy joints) and gut inflammation (bloating and digestive problems). Curcumin is maximally absorbed when combined with black pepper, which is an ingredient in both the Superfood Turmeric and Premium Curcumin Turmeric! You can use my Further Food discount code LIVLABELFREE to save 15% all of Further Food’s products!
And there you have it, all you need to know about collagen and related supplements! I hope this post was helpful for you and gave you the answers you were looking for regarding collagen and naturally healing your body. If you have more questions about collagen or how I use it, feel free to contact me and follow my health journey on Instagram!