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Everything You Need to Know About Collagen

The newest buzzword of the health world: collagen. Learn about the different types of collagen supplements and which you could benefit from!

Everything You Need to Know About Collagen

Collagen has become quite the buzzword in the health world, particularly related to the promoted benefits it is touted to offer.

While there is some evidence collagen supports skin, joint, and digestive health, supporters may not realize there are numerable types of proteins and collagen supplements. In fact, the various forms might influence different benefits to the body.

Learn the difference between collagen types, along with which one you should choose here!

What is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and found within virtually all tissues, including skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, bones, dentin, and the digestive tract.

Simply put, collagen acts as the "glue" to keep our bodies intact and helps ward off wrinkles, fine lines, and joint pain that often comes with each passing year. Overtime, environmental factors and the aging process reduces the body’s ability to produce collagen.

Due to the natural decline of collagen with age, collagen supplements are promoted to replenish and combat these losses.

Types of Collagen

There are at least 16 known collagen types, though 80 to 90 percent of the protein types include I, II, and III:

Type I

Type I collagen is the most abundant protein type in the body and found in skin, tendons, blood vessels, organs, and bones. This collagen has some impeccable strength – gram for gram, type I collagen is stronger than steel!

Needless to say, Type I is well-rounded and often recommended to support skin, hair, nail, and bone structure and overall health.

Type II

Type II collagen is a bit more specialized, as it is the main protein type found in cartilage, the connective tissue that protects the ends of bones at a joint.

Protecting cartilage is especially warranted with age, as levels start to drop with each passing year, and for those who continuously inflict the joints through vigorous exercise or manage arthritis.

Type III

Type III is the second most abundant collagen and found in reticular fibers, a type of connective tissue that supports soft tissues such as bone marrow and the liver. Type III is often found alongside Type I and also benefits the health of skin, hair, and nails.

Babies and children have the most amount of Type III collagen, which gifts their soft and plump skin, and Type I gradually replaces Type III overtime.

Hydrolyzed Collagen

In addition to the varying types, collagen supplements also come in hydrolyzed form. Also known as collagen hydrolysate (CH), hydrolyzed collagen is smaller peptides produced for dietary supplements.

Hydrolyzed collagen is digested faster and the peptides are often introduced into the bloodstream within one hour following digestion.

From the blood, the peptides are transported into the target tissues, such as the skin, bones, and cartilage, where they act as building blocks and facilitates the production of new collagen fibers.

Which Type of Collagen Supplement Should You Take?

When it comes down to it, which collagen you choose to take mostly comes down to your health goals, along with purchasing reputable products.

Identify Personal Goals and Needs

Choosing a collagen supplement mostly depends on personal goals and needs, though various collagens and the structures they form all serve the same purpose: to help tissues withstand their integrity and strength.

But if being extra meticulous, types I and III benefit mostly hair, skin, and nails, while type II is a bit more specialized and the best contender if seeking out a product for joint health.

Choose A Reputable Product

While collagen supplements are generally considered to be safe, they are likewise unregulated and may contain unwanted fillers.

And with products often produced from a number of sources, including beef and marine life, it is imperative to do your research and choose a reputable product and brand.

For instance, non-organic supplements can contain pesticides, antibiotics, and synthetic hormones. Checking the label for terms like "pasture-raised" and "wild caught" can help ensure a higher quality supplement.

Collagen supplements also come in various formulas, including powders and chewables, so it is wise to consider which you would be more apt to consistently take.

Final Reflections

Taking a collagen supplement certainly can have grant some benefit, though nutrition experts encourage prospective and current users to acknowledge that collagen is meant to supplement a balanced diet, not displace it.

And especially if an omnivore, you are likely getting sufficient collagen from dietary foods, particularly from cow, chicken, fish, egg, and milk products. Eating a well-balanced diet also increases the formation and use of collagen, including foods rich in vitamin C and copper.

If interested in collagen supplements, a healthcare professional can also help you find a safe, reputable product that fits best with your personal goals.