Types of Collagen & Benefits of Adding Collagen in Your Diet
"Collagen" has been a buzzing word within the beauty and skincare community over the past year and a half and yeah, we’re definitely stoked about it
The Collagen Buzz
"Collagen" has been a buzzing word within the beauty and skincare community over the past year and a half and yeah, we’re definitely stoked about it. This naturally occurring protein is known for the numerous perks it brings to our skin, hair, and nails by providing essential structure and cushion for cells. While the number of skincare products claiming to make you look youthful and bright is on the rise, it can be a challenge to really figure out what you need and what actually works. If you’re unsure about how collagen can improve your beauty routine, rest assured that by the end of this, you too will be on the collagen train.
This article will give you a rundown on what collagen really is and what benefits it can bring you. I’ll also go over different types of this protein, where you can get the best collagen supplements, their exciting AF benefits, and lots of collagen-rich foods to increase this ingredient in your diet.
What is Collagen?
If you don’t have a background in biology and you’re not a licensed dermatologist, we get it, skincare talk can be confusing. In simple terms, collagen is a family of proteins that are produced by your body and provide structure and elasticity to its cells.
It is the most abundant protein that our body makes with over a dozen different types, all of which take on different structures and functions. Most of the collagen in your body is found in (you guessed it) your skin.
What Are Collagen Peptides?
Collagen connects cells by anchoring its long fibers (called peptides) from one cell to the next with incredible strength. One single protein is made up of three individual peptides that work together to form a structure that is stronger than steel... Holy sh*t.
Skin elasticity comes from these collagen connections and can sadly decline with age and exposure to harmful sun rays.
What Does Collagen Do?
So what does collagen do for your skin? When collagen is secreted from your skin cells, a network is formed between the middle and top layers of the skin. The collagen peptides not only hold the layers tightly together, but they also allow for fresh new cells to form on top of them. This means that your body is constantly getting replenished with firmer, plumper looking skin- all thanks to collagen. The sad news is, once the body begins to age, less collagen is produced and the structure of the skin declines. Wrinkles form, the surface of the skin becomes dull, and we begin to feel older. Yikes.
What is Collagen Made From?
On the market right now, cows and fish are the main sources of the collagen used in supplements. The hides and connective tissues of cows that would otherwise be discarded are commonly used as a source of collagen. Marine collagen is another plentiful source that comes from extracting the protein directly from cold-water fish scales and is considered a higher-grade collagen.
Where Does Collagen Come From?
You can get collagen in many different forms: powder, creams, masks, you name it. Just a fair warning though, collagen products that are applied directly onto the skin do not work as effectively as those which can be consumed. Because a single collagen protein is too large to pass through the tiny pores of your skin, users won’t get the full experience nor all of the benefits.
Reasons Behind Collagen's Popularity
The era of Kim K contouring and struggling to enhance your features with makeup is slowly fading away. Instead of covering their face with numerous products to make it more “snatched”, people are improving their skincare regimes and finding a glow-from-within. This is why supplements like collagen are so popular right now. By increasing the intake of collagen, people are getting smoother, more glowy skin. Why cover that up?
Types of Collagen
Type I Collagen
There are several collagen types that you should know about. Type 1 collagen is the most readily produced protein found in the body. This is the type of collagen that is usually sought after for boosting the health and strength of your hair, nails, and skin through supplements. The production of this type of collagen, like the others, begins declining after your mid-20s. It’s no surprise that when 25 hits, thin hair, brittle nails, and problematic skin issues become more noticeable. This type of collagen is not only responsible for keeping you looking youthful, but it also helps strengthen bones, teeth, tendons, and connective tissue. Because of this, collagen should be an extremely important part of your diet.
Type II Collagen
Type 2 Collagen is another protein in the collagen family that is not as plentiful as Type 1 but still just as important for the body. This type is often called the Cartilage Collagen because the cartilage in the body is mainly comprised of it. It primarily acts as a cushion between joints and supports a healthy skeletal structure. People who are always on the move with busy and active lifestyles can benefit from this type of collagen, especially for exercise recovery.
Type III Collagen
The third collagen type is usually found in the same places as Type I. Collagen Type 1 and 3 are both essential for beautiful, glowing skin, strong nail beds, and lively hair growth. These two types are primarily found in marine collagen, while type 2 can be found in bovine. Type 3 also helps with strengthening the structural aspects of muscles and organs.
Type IV Collagen
Collagen type IV is structurally different than the previous three mentioned, as it usually takes on a sheet formation. It is responsible for separating the skin from other tissues while also providing strength to the deepest skin layer. Because it behaves like a barrier, type 4 collagen helps filter the good and bad things that come across our skin layers.
Hydrolyzed Collagen vs. Marine Collagen
What Are Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides?
Another term you’ve probably heard about is hydrolyzed collagen peptides. Collagen that has been hydrolyzed is broken into smaller parts so that the body can absorb and process it more efficiently. Quicker absorption = quicker results. Both bovine collagen and marine collagen can be hydrolyzed.
What Are Marine Collagen Peptides?
Marine Collagen Peptides are collagen fibers sourced from cold-water fish. They are considered to be very small, hypoallergenic proteins and are extracted from the skin of fish.
What Makes Them the Same?
Both hydrolyzed collagen peptides and marine peptides are comprised of small particles that make digestion easier and faster.
What Makes Them Different?
Hydrolyzed bovine collagen, specifically bovine, are extracted from hides, hooves, and other typically undesirable parts of the cow. These parts are also more susceptible to carry diseases and bacteria. Marine collagen, on the other hand, is extracted through a process of rigorous washing and treating in order to yield the desirable components. Marine collagen is also considered a more safe alternative for those with sensitive digestion.
Why is marine collagen better? What exactly makes marine collagen the best?
If you’re interested in trying collagen, marine is the optimal choice. Fish collagen is almost entirely made up of type I collagen (same as your skin) and will show you the best results if you’re looking to boost the health of your skin. It is considered the most skin-specific collagen type because it has the same amino acid profile as skin collagen. Glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline are the three main amino acids that are important when it comes to boosting collagen production in the skin and marine collagen peptides have more of these amino acids than other collagen sources.
Another thing to consider when choosing a type of collagen is that Marine collagen peptides are the smallest in terms of particle size in comparison to the other collagen types. This means that they’re about 1.5x more easily absorbed by the body than bovine collagen, for example.
Benefits of Collagen
Collagen helps boost metabolism
The amino acids Glycine, Arginine, and Glutamine found in collagen are all three important for increasing muscle formation in the body. With improved muscle mass, your body’s natural metabolism is also boosted. A higher metabolism means more energy to get sh*t done.
You’ll get strong, healthy nails
Arginine from collagen also creates nitric oxide, a compound that improves the blood flow around your nail beds. With improved blood flow, necessary nutrients for nail growth can be delivered resulting in stronger, less brittle nails.
Smoother, firmer skin
Collagen is known for its skin benefits. Not only does it make the skin firmer and more able to bounce back, but studies have also shown that collagen can reduce the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite.
Relieve joint aches
Cartilage found in the joints can be drastically strengthened by supplementing collagen into diets. With the extra amino acids provided by taking collagen, the tissue around joints can be stimulated to produce more collagen which will enhance the cushioning effects and alleviate pain.
Prevent bone loss
Collagen is a large component of bones that helps keep its structure strong and intact. By increasing the intake of collagen, the chance of bone loss can be reduced.
Is too much collagen a problem?
What are some collagen protein side effects? Well, most people do not come across any problems with taking collagen supplements. There is the potential for it to increase feelings of fullness and heartburn, although these digestive side effects have not been reported as common. With that being said, everything is best in moderation.
How to Increase Collagen Through Your Diet
If you’re wondering how to rebuild collagen in the face, skin, and body, there are several options to explore. Eating foods infused with bone and cartilage is a great source of collagen and other healthy proteins. Drinking bone broth, for example, is easily digestible and great for a quick boost. Pescatarian? Fish with bones still attached is another meal idea that has lots of collagen.
While there aren't any current collagen rich foods that are vegan, there is talk that scientists are exploring alternative, plant-based sources of collagen. Until then, ethically and sustainably sourced marine collagen supplements are a great option.
LÜME GLOW granola is a marine collagen-infused snack that is perfect for adding your daily fix of the healthy protein to your diet. It also has biotin, pearl and aloe vera designed to support glowing skin, luscious hair & healthy nails. Cheers to a delicious snack that can help enhance your glow from within :)