The use of collagen supplements has grown in the past few years, but what exactly is collagen, where does it come from, and can it really help me feel better?
What is collagen?
It’s the most abundant protein in the human body. While it's popularly known for its beneficial effects on the joints and skin, collagen is also needed for the health of our bones, cartilage, hair, nails and even our muscles.
There are over 16 types of collagen in the body. The vast majority is defined as type I and III, which is found in skin, bones, muscles, joints and connective tissue. Type II is present mostly in cartilage, but it’s much less prevalent than types I and III. All collagen supports our cells and provides structure and tensile strength to all of our tissues.
How we make collagen
Collagen is produced within the body by specialized cells in the extracellular matrix called fibroblasts. We make and break down collagen all the time.
Fibroblasts synthesize collagen and other proteins by taking amino acids, and combining them into something your body can use.
Eating a protein and nutrient rich diet can also help fuel our own collagen production. Protein digested into amino acids, plus vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and silicon are key elements for ongoing collagen production.
Collagen production’s natural decline
Aging is a normal and inevitable process, and we all experience it. But what does that mean for our collagen? Once we hit age 25, we start breaking down collagen faster than we make it. Joint pain, muscle and bone loss, wrinkling skin and thinning hair are all signs of a decrease in natural collagen.
You don’t have to wait for these symptoms to set in, though – taking collagen supplements preventatively will slow the onset of these age-related indicators.
What to look for in a collagen supplement
There are several types, sources, and sizes of collagen supplements. It can be confusing to understand the benefits of each.
All collagen is derived from animal sources. The most common sources of collagen are from bovine hide and fish skin. We suggest looking for collagen peptides that are carefully extracted from either grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine or sustainable marine sources.
Peptide size matters
When taking any supplement, its ability to be absorbed effectively is important. In terms of absorbability, small hydrolyzed peptides can pass through the small intestine into the bloodstream. These ready-to-go building blocks of collagen can now be taken to the parts of your body that can use them.
These smaller bits of protein have also been proven to be more recognizable in the body, signalling and activating fibroblast cells to produce more collagen where needed. If a collagen peptide is too large, it can be difficult for the body to process.
Depending on the targeted tissue, between 2 - 5 kDa (kilodaltons, also known as the standard unit used to represent the weight of protein molecules) is ideal for proper absorption and utilization. Research suggests that cells of different tissues respond better to different sizes of peptides.
There are so many options. Which one do I choose?
Whether you just want a collagen boost because you’re over 25, or you have a specific health goal in mind, it’s good to know that supplemental collagen peptides can stimulate synthesis where you need and want it most.
Small in size (2kDa) and derived from grass-fed bovine Collagen Beauty peptides help target fibroblasts cells for more collagen building directly at our skin. Clinical studies show a reduction in wrinkles after only 28 days of use. Research also shows Collagen Beauty powder improves elasticity, smoothness and firmness of skin, and shows improved nail growth.
Most of us may know that calcium is necessary for strong bones, but we may be missing an important part of the puzzle. Bones are a combination of hard minerals and soft matrix, 90% of which is type I collagen. Fortibone™ bioactive collagen peptides (5kDa) are designed to help improve the flexibility and strength of bones. For added support, Collagen Bone Powder also contains calcium, magnesium, vitamin D3 and K2.
A study of people with early knee osteoarthritis found that those who took 3 kDa collagen peptides experienced cartilage tissue regeneration after 24 weeks. Another study indicated that collagen peptides at this molecular weight improved pain, stiffness, and joint function in adults suffering from activity-related knee pain. In more than 40% of all patients, pain was reduced completely.
Collagen Joint and Cartilage is designed to improve mobility and help lubricate joints. An ideal choice for athletes, those who suffer from osteoarthritis or those over the age of fifty looking for joint support.
Fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders recognize well the importance of protein in order to build muscle. But proteins like collagen also simply help you maintain healthy muscle as you age. Collagen Muscle Tone featuring BodyBalance™ bioactive peptides (3.5kDa) help to build lean muscle mass and improve muscle strength. Great for athletes and those with age-related muscle loss.
Head to toe
If you’re looking to support the whole body from head to toe, try Collagen Full Spectrum Powder. It encourages collagen production in your joints, muscles, skin and bones.
Collagen Full Spectrum Blend is uniquely sourced from both marine and bovine. It also includes 500mg of l-lysine amino acid to assist with collagen building.
Formulated with your health goals in mind
CanPrev’s collagen powders can be safely added to any beverage - a smoothie, shake, even coffee or tea, without changing the taste. All while staying highly bioavailable.
Whether you’re hoping for smooth skin, strong bones, or lean muscle mass - discover the perfect collagen supplement for your health goals. It’s nice to know there are options to help our bodies keep producing this incredible protein.
Looking for a vegan source of collagen? Silicon, a mineral element that’s found throughout the earth’s crust and oceans, and as a trace element in our bodies is an option for vegans looking to boost collagen formation. Silicon helps activate the hydroxylation enzymes that build strong collagen networks. It’s particularly helpful for building healthy skin, hair, and nails and it’s completely vegan!
This blog post is brought to you courtesy of CanPrev, purveyor of premium natural health products since 2005