What are the types of collagen supplements, and what are the benefits?
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in the human body found in the skin, connective tissue joints and blood vessels. Collagen makes up 70-80% of healthy skin, which is crucial for maintaining skin elasticity. Unfortunately, as you age, collagen levels decline - you lose 1-1.5% of skin collagen each year past age 30. Many people turn to collagen supplements to combat this collagen loss.
There are many types of supplements available; however, understanding your supplement label and the benefits of each type is important for getting the most out of collagen supplementation. In this article, we'll discuss the various collagen types, the different forms of collagen supplements, their benefits and the best collagen supplements for the skin, hair and nails.
What are the collagen types?
Researchers have identified over 40 collagen types in the body; however, Type I, Type II and Type III are the three most abundant types, respectively.
- Type I collagen – these collagen fibres are the most common collagen type, and is very abundant in the skin and connective tissue; in fact, Type I collagen is the predominant collagen type in the skin. Type I collagen loss with age results in skin elasticity and strength loss.
- Type II collagen – these collagen fibres are abundant in cartilage and joints. Collagen is what gives cartilage the strength and elasticity to support joint function and movement.
- Type III collagen – these collagen fibres are the least abundant collagen type of the three, but it's present in the skin and connective tissue. It supports the structure of the organs, muscles, and blood vessels.
What does your collagen supplement label mean?
When choosing a supplement, it's essential to understand the jargon on your collagen supplement label, to identify the best collagen supplement. Generally, collagen can only be obtained from animal sources, but vegan collagen boosting supplements (that do not contain any actual collagen) do exist.
Where is animal collagen from?
Here are some common animal sources of collagen and the collagen type they contain:
- Bovine collagen: this kind of collagen comes from cows and contains Type I, Type II and Type III collagen. Bovine collagen is often the cheapest type of collagen to extract, so is found in many collagen supplements.
- Marine collagen: this type comes from fish and contains mostly type I collagen. Its composition is the most similar to the natural collagen composition of human skin.
- Chicken collagen: This comes from chicken and contains a very high amount of type II collagen due to the high proportion of cartilage present in chicken carcasses.
It is a common misconception that 'Vegan collagen' supplements contain collagen from non-animal sources, but plants do not produce collagen, so they can never be vegan. Vegan collagen supplements contain ingredients that are known to boost natural collagen production in the human body
What forms of collagen supplements are there?
Collagen supplements come in various forms. However, some offer more significant benefits than others. It's important to select a formula carefully for supporting skin health. Here are some of the popular forms of collagen supplements:
Bone broth is arguably the most natural approach to collagen supplementation. Made by boiling animal carcasses; the final broth becomes enriched with gelatine (individual strands of collagen) from the connective tissues, ligaments, bones and cartilage.
Bone broth supplements offer plenty of collagen and other nutrients, but they are bulky, taste meaty/fishy, and are not so versatile to consume. The collagen in bone broth may take longer to absorb than other forms of collagen supplements.
Peptides, hydrolysed collagen or collagen hydrolysate supplements refer to collagen proteins that have been broken down into smaller pieces that are more easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Collagen peptides have been proven to stimulate natural collagen synthesis in the body and improve skin hydration. Peptides are the most versatile and effective collagen ingredient for supplements because they are highly bioavailable, and they are tasteless, odourless and can be dissolved in liquid. Collagen peptide supplements usually come in three forms:
- Collagen capsules – these supplements are pre-dosed and do not need to be mixed into food or drink. However, they contain fillers, binders and casings, which can slow the absorbance of collagen and waste valuable supplement space. A collagen capsule can contain a very low dose of peptides, so it may not be particularly effective.
- Collagen powder - Collagen powder is the most versatile type of supplement; it can be mixed into water, smoothies, juice or yoghurts. It is also ideal for combining with other ingredients. The powder formula allows for easy digestion and effective nutrient delivery due to the lack of fillers, binders and casings usually found in collagen capsules.
- Liquid collagen - Liquid collagen is a supplement in a ready-to-go liquid collagen drink. Similarly to collagen powder, they offer effective nutrient delivery, but they can be bulky since they already contain water. Liquid collagen supplements may also provide smaller doses due to the collagen being pre-dissolved. Unfortunately, pre-dissolved peptide supplements waste space and require sturdy, bulky packaging to avoid spillage and leakage.
Which is the best collagen supplement?
When choosing the best collagen supplement, you will need to consider what your priorities are. Marine collagen peptide powder is the best supplement for skin health, hair and nails. Marine collagen contains the most similar collagen composition to human skin. Peptides are the most bioavailable and effective collagen supplements, while collagen powder offers the greatest versatility, dosage and digestibility.
Revive Active's Beauty Complex
If you're looking for a collagen supplement to support skin health Revive Active's Beauty Complex is your best choice. Beauty Complex contains 7,000mg of marine collagen peptides by Peptan®. This collagen supplement offers optimised nutrient delivery of marine collagen peptides and hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, E, biotin, selenium, copper and phytoceramides. Daily Beauty Complex sachets can be mixed into water, smoothies or juice for a delicious and nutritious collagen drink to help your hair, skin, and nails look their best.
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