Where Does Collagen Come From?
Do you know what’s in your collagen powder or where it comes from? What about the difference between collagen protein and collagen peptides? Or that there are a total of 16 different types of collagen?1 Whether you think you’re a collagen expert or you’re new to this essential protein – I’ve got the latest collagen information for you.
Collagen is the most plentiful protein in your body, and it has numerous important functions including giving your skin a youthful appearance, keeping your gut healthy, supporting joint health, cartilage formation and promoting lean muscle.
There are several factors to consider about collagen: Its source, what’s in it, where it comes from, and how to incorporate more into a healthy diet. I’ll explain all of this next and tell you why I formulated Spectrum 5 Collagen™. Let’s dive into the world of collagen.
What is Collagen?
Think of collagen as the “glue” that holds your body together. In fact, the word collagen comes from the Greek word ‘kolla’ – meaning ‘glue’. It is the fibrous, structural protein found throughout your body, in organs, muscles, skin, hair, nails, teeth, bones, blood vessels, tendons, joints, cartilage, and your digestive system.
It accounts for ⅓ of your body’s protein for a good reason – it’s vital to our body’s function.2 Collagen gives strength and elasticity to skin and provides structure and supports our muscles, tendons, bones, and blood vessels. There are 16 different strains of collagen, however the majority of the collagen found in our bodies comes from just five types.3 I’ll explain what those are later.
Our bodies produce collagen on their own. However, starting at about age 35, collagen production naturally begins to slow. By age 40, collagen begins to deplete faster than your body can reproduce it, and by age 60, over ½ of your body’s collagen has been depleted.4
In addition to aging, many other factors impact the amount of collagen in your body, including genetics, whether you smoke tobacco, air pollution and toxins, excessive sun exposure, and nutritional deficiencies.
Luckily, adding a collagen supplement to your daily regimen can help you continue reaping the benefits of collagen as you age.
Types of Collagen
As I mentioned, your body’s production of collagen naturally begins to slow starting around age 35. That’s why collagen powders and supplements are growing in popularity. However, most collagen products on the market only contain a few types of collagen. Let’s discuss what those types of are and what makes them so beneficial.
This is by far the most common type, accounting for 90% of your body’s total collagen. Type I collagen is found in the layer of skin just below the surface, the dermis. This is a big reason why our skin is so tough yet flexible. Your skin consists of layers and is always regenerating new cells. The dermis layer of skin helps replace the top layer of dead skin cells with new ones.
Type I collagen provides structure to your skin, bones, joints, cartilage, and your teeth. It is the collagen known for supporting healthy skin, hair and nails. However, as you age your skin loses elasticity and develops wrinkles because this type of collagen is breaking down. It is literally losing its structure!
As you’ll see, type I is very similar to types II and III.
The primary difference between type I and type II is that type II is not so tightly packed together. Type II collagen is great specifically to support your joints and bones because it produces substances that have been found to support a healthy inflammation response in your joints.5
It targets your joints and connective tissues to restore a healthy, smooth range of motion. Type II also contains chemicals chondroitin and glucosamine, which have been found to help rebuild cartilage in joints.6
Type III is different from the other types because it consists of only one collagen alpha chain, as opposed to multiple chains. This type of collagen actually contains three alpha chains supercoiled around each other. Type III collagen is the second most abundant type found in your body. It partners with Type I to support your gut, muscles, blood vessels, and the uterus in women.7 Because type III collagen is so involved in our major organ systems, it also plays a large role in diseases associated with inflammation. 8
Type V & X
Type V collagen helps form cell membranes and the tissue found in a woman’s placenta, which is essential for embryo development. It’s also found in layers of the skin and hair as well as in the cornea of the eye. Type X, described as a network-forming collagen, plays a crucial role in bone formation and is found in joint cartilage.
Sources of Collagen
The next time you’re walking down the beauty aisle of your local health food or grocery store, pay attention to just how many products contain collagen. It’s everywhere!
The truth is, your body creates collagen daily. It combines amino acids from the high-protein food you eat, like cage-free chicken, grass-fed beef and fatty fish. It’s also found in animal bones and eggshell membranes.
If you have ever been to Texas, you know that bovine is the scientific word that refers to cows. Bovine collagen is derived from breaking down cattle byproducts such as bones.
It is a great source of type I and type III collagen since it’s highly concentrated in the bones of cows. Bovine collagen supports skin elasticity and hydration.9
Bone Broth is a fantastic source of bovine collagen because it has been drawn out of bones.10 Bones are a great food source of collagen and are rich in minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Collagen from bone broth is full of amino acids and peptides that also help maintain and promote optimal gut lining health. The cells lining your intestinal tract absolutely love bone broth.
Marine collagen comes from the skin of fish.11 This type promotes growth of types I and II, which promotes skin health and cartilage. The science on marine collagen is still new, however, research suggests marine collagen may help protect your skin from harmful UV radiation damage and promote healing, bone tissue growth, and anti-wrinkling.
Chicken collagen is naturally produced in chickens and prominent in type II collagen. This type promotes a healthy inflammatory response and is crucial for healthy joints, cartilage, and ligaments.
Remember your mother or grandmother feeding you chicken soup when you were sick? That’s because chicken soup is a nutritional powerhouse, and thankfully, it’s also delicious! Drinking chicken bone broth is a great way to get chicken collagen.
Eggshell Membrane Collagen
Since collagen is found in chicken it only makes sense that it is found in eggs. Collagen-like proteins similar to Type I and V, have been found in eggshell membranes of the hen.
This protein has essential amino acids that support healthy tissue growth, which can promote a healthy aging process and skin quality.
Whichever sources you choose, to fully power collagen production your body needs vitamin C.12 Berries, broccoli and leafy green vegetables are great sources of vitamin C. I like to use Liposomal Vitamin C for maximum absorption and an easy, tasty collagen production boost.
What are Collagen Peptides?
If you look at some products you might see the term collagen peptides or collagen hydrolysate. These two terms are synonymous with each other and are different names for the same product. Collagen peptides are small pieces of protein found in animal collagen and made of the same amino acids.
Collagen peptides have become a popular supplement because they are more bioavailable than regular collagen, making them easier to absorb into the bloodstream.13 Your body’s cells build peptides into full-length collagen strains to support healthy skin, bones and joints or the cells can turn the amino acids into energy.14 Because it’s more bioavailable, I recommend using collagen peptides over regular collagen.
Benefits of Collagen
So in addition to the external beauty benefits of collagen, what else can it do for you? You might be surprised to learn the many amazing benefits of collagen.
Helps Repair a Leaky Gut
Nearly 80% of your immune system is housed in your gut. When you have a leaky gut, toxins, food particles, and infections tear through your intestinal wall and enter your bloodstream, causing inflammation. Over time, this chronic inflammation can lead to autoimmunity.
Thankfully, your intestinal wall is made up of microscopic folds or “villi,” which are actually built of collagen.These little compounds literally “seal the leak” in your intestinal lining by promoting tissue growth and cellular health.
Improves the Appearance of Hair, Skin, and Nails
Hair loss and skin issues can be symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, as well as the normal aging process. As I mentioned earlier, collagen protein is essential to healthy hair, skin, and nails. When skin loses its elasticity and becomes thin, cellulite becomes more obvious. It promotes the healthy aging of your skin by increasing moisture retention, boosting elasticity, and helping to smooth out that dimpled appearance.
Impacts Joint Health
Collagen benefits your joints, tendons, and ligaments by allowing them to glide and move with ease — much like how oil benefits a car. As your collagen production depletes with age, your joints can become stiff, swollen, and painful, even causing a lack of mobility. Collagen contains the amino acids glycine and proline, which help to support joint mobility and healthy inflammatory response.
Supports Optimal Weight
One of the most amazing benefits of collagen is that it can help you manage your weight! Glycine, the amino acid I mentioned earlier, forms muscle by converting glucose into energy. Because muscle burns more calories than fat, having more lean muscle tissue gives your metabolism a natural boost. Essentially, collagen benefits your body by turning it into a fat-burning machine, even when you’re at rest. There is some evidence to also suggest that supplemental collagen may support a feeling of fullness after you eat.
Supports Bone Formation, Growth, and Repair
Collagen supports healthy bone development. Your bones are made of ⅓ collagen, which gives them flexibility. Your bone cells are constantly regenerating, and adding collagen protein to your daily diet can promote healthy cell formation in your bones by increasing bone mineral density.
Collagen vs. Spectrum 5 Collagen™
As I mentioned earlier, most collagen products on the market do not contain all five types of essential collagen. It’s why I spent the last year creating the first-ever multi-collagen formulated by a medical doctor (me!).
Spectrum 5 Collagen™ is a multi-collagen peptide powder that contains all five types of collagen, including a whopping 8,200 mg of bovine collagen. It is the most complete collagen complex available on the market.
Spectrum 5 Collagen™ contains optimal levels of types I, II, and III collagen to facilitate optimal gut health, hair, skin, and nails, and cartilage formation. It also contains hydrolyzed type V Marine Collagen to support healthy lean muscle, skin elasticity and intestinal tissue integrity. That’s not all – it also contains the regenerative type X collagen found in eggshell membranes to support skin hydration, flexible joints, and a healthy inflammatory response.
I highly recommend supplementing your diet with plenty of this important protein. I take Spectrum 5 Collagen™ every day – it’s so easy to mix into a smoothie, your morning coffee, or a hot tea! Because it’s a peptide powder, you know you’re getting all the benefits of collagen in each, easy-to-take scoop.
We all look for that fountain of youth to keep us looking younger. While there is no magical way to keep you from getting older, I’m here to tell you that collagen is an essential building block to support healthy hair, skin, nails, bones, and joints. With Spectrum 5 Collagen™ you can easily make it a part of your daily routine.
- Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix. Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology, 4th edition. 2000.
- What is collagen, and why do people use it?. James McIntosh. Medical News Today. 2017.
- The 5 Most Common Types of Collagen Explained. Jessica Bippen, MS, RD. Hum Nutrition. 2021.
- Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin. James Varani, Michael K. Dame, Laure Rittie, Suzanne E.G. Fligiel, Sewon Kang, Gary J. Fisher, and John J. Voorhees. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2006.
- Effects of orally administered indentured type II collagen against arthritic inflammatory diseases: a mechanistic exploration. D Bagchi , B Misner, M Bagchi, S C Kothari, B W Downs, R D Fafard, H G Preuss. PubMed. 2002.
- Collagen Type II. Medicine Net. 2019.
- Type III collagen is crucial for collagen I fibrillogenesis and for normal cardiovascular development. Xin Liu, Hong Wu, Michael Byrne, Stephen Krane, and Rudolf Jaenisch. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 1997.
- Type III Collagen. M.J.Nielsen, M.A.Karsdal. Biochemistry of Collagens, Laminins and Elastin. 2016.
- What Is Bovine Collagen, and Does It Have Benefits?. Cheri Bantilan MS, RD, CD. Healthline. 2019.
- The Best Way You Can Get More Collagen. Cleveland Clinic. 2018.
- What Is Marine Collagen?. WebMD. 2021.
- 13 Foods That Help Your Body Produce Collagen. Sarah Garone. Healthline. 2019.
- What Are the Different Types of Collagen? And Which Types of Collagen Will Benefit You Most?. Wang L, Wang Q, Liang Q, He Y, Wang Z, He S, Xu J, Ma H.. PubMed. 2015.
- Collagen vs. Collagen Peptides vs. Gelatin: A Nutritionist Explains the Difference. By Leanne Jarvis. Further Food. 2021.
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