Collagen has become one of the most talked about ingredients in the natural wellness arena. As more and more people are consciously seeking natural ways to help support their joints and bone health, the interest in collagen has blossomed beyond expectations. Additionally, more people are participating in sports and exercise training and are becoming aware of the importance of sports recovery. Others swear by its beauty benefits on skin, nails, and hair, while another group seeks it for gut health benefits.
How can one compound be so far reaching and varied? Collagen is a complex (large molecular) protein - the most plentiful protein in your body. It is a major component of connective tissues including those in your tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles. Collagen has many important functions, including providing your skin with structure and strengthening your joints and bones. It is the building block that holds your tissues together, providing your skeleton with a sturdy yet flexible structure. Thanks to collagen, you’re better able to move, bend and stretch. Additionally, collagen is essential for keratin production, so when collagen levels decline, your nails and hair aren't as strong. When it comes to gut health, research is showing the beneficial role collagen plays. Components of the collagen protein have been linked to the immune function of the gut, help maintain the integrity of the intestines, and support intestinal healing.
“Your body has been making collagen your whole life,” says Elizabeth Bradley, MD, Medical Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine. Collagen decreases as you get older. Generally, its decrease starts between the ages of 18 and 29—and after age 40, the body can lose around 1% of its collagen per year. Translated - around age 80, collagen production can decrease by 75% overall in comparison to that of young adults.
Dr. Bradley also let’s us know, “Your body can’t make collagen if it doesn’t have the necessary elements.
The best collagen-boosting food: homemade bone broth – recipe ( Click to view recipe).Second best: collagen supplements.”
While you can’t measure your collagen level, you can tell when it’s falling.Collagen decreases as you get older, contributing to:
Once you’ve decided to explore Collagen supplements, start reading their labels. This can become confusing. Do you want chicken, fish, or beef? How about type I, II or III? The good news is that although there are some differences, in general: Collagen is collagen. Remembering that collagen is a large molecule, it is understandable, Collagen can’t be absorbed by the body in its whole form. This means collagen proteins must be broken down into smaller components before it can be absorbed. That’s where the words ‘hydrolyzed collagen’* come into play and importance. Hydrolyzed collagen is collagen that has been broken down (natural process) and is therefore more easily digested and usable by your body.
There are some basics when it comes to the types of collagen (type I,II,III, ect) – often designated on supplement labels. Types I, II and III are most common in the human body. Type I accounts for most of your collagen and is made of densely packed fibers needed for teeth, bones, ligaments, skin, and connective tissue. It’s mainly type III that contributes to the integrity of the gut lining. Another commonly used type of collagen in dietary supplements, foods, and pharmaceuticals is gelatin. Gelatin is a natural protein derived from the large complex collagen molecule. There are generally two types - “Type A” gelatin is created via acid treatment, while “Type B” is processed with an alkaline. It has been reported that gelatin B shows a better biocompatibility compared to gelatin type A. The bottom line: When you ingest collagen (regardless of the type or origin), you’re helping to rebuild all the collagen in your body, not just a specific type – but every type.
Collagen research has focused on some areas more heavily than others. Skin anti-aging, bone and joint health, wound healing, gut issues, and body composition. There is also research, less of it, on the effects of collagen on weight, nail growth, heart health, and eye health. As research continues, we are sure to learn more regarding the effectiveness of collagen on a variety of health issues.
*Note: You will often see the terms hydrolyzed collagen, collagen peptides, and collagen hydrolysate used interchangeably on dietary supplements, as they refer to the process of breaking down the collagen molecule to be better absorbed. Currently, there is no vegan collagen source. Additionally, there are no vegetarian sources of gelatin, and there is no chemical relationship between gelatin and other materials referred to as “vegetable gelatin,” such as seaweed extracts (carrageenan) or pectin.
Before taking this or any over-the-counter product, it is always advisable to discuss its use with your primary care professional.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Results may vary.
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Author:Pat M., Long Island, NY
Love this collagen! Thank you.
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