Collagen 101

Collagen 101

Our bodies work to naturally produce collagen by combining amino acids from protein-rich foods and essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, Copper and Zinc. However, our body’s collagen production and structural integrity naturally declines as we age, so incorporating more collagen into our diets to maintain strong bones, joints and radiant skin really is a no-brainer.

Within this blog post, we take a deep-dive into all-things collagen, including comparing different types of collagen and exploring how best to incorporate more of this powerful protein into your daily routine.

What is collagen?

Collagen is one of the most prominent proteins in the body and works to form a scaffold-like structure, designed to support the body and provide both strength and elasticity to your skin. There are around 16 different variations of collagen found in the body, but the four main types are as follows:
  • Type I: This type of collagen accounts for around 90% of your body’s naturally-occurring collagen. Type I works to provide structure to skin, bones, connective tissues and teeth.
  • Type II: Type II is made up of more loosely packed fibres, which is why this type of collagen is found in elastic cartilage and works to cushion joints and provide skin elasticity.
  • Type III: This type of collagen helps to support the structure and function of both muscles, organs and arteries.
  • Type IV: Type IV helps with filtration and is commonly found within layers of skin, as it helps to draw out impurities.

Making up a third of all protein in the body, this collection of naturally-occurring collagens are commonly known as ‘endogenous collagen’. Endogenous collagen protein is synthesized by the body naturally - whereas ‘exogenous’ collagen, is the collagen which comes from an external source in the form of collagen powders, supplements or collagen-infused skincare.

Endogenous collagen is responsible for a number of important functions in the body, but our levels naturally start to breakdown and deplete as we age, which is why many of us look to boost these levels of collagen with ‘exogenous’ collagen.Furthermore the body makes its own collagen proteins mainly from three amino acids: proline, glycine, hydroxyproline and unless you regularly eat organ meats or foods like bone broth this are specific amino acids are hard to come by from a diet.

Incorporating collagen supplements which are full of amino acids essential for collagen production into your daily routine works to support tissue regeneration, revive dry, ageing skin and many other diverse functions.

What are the different types of collagen supplements made of?

Most collagen products come from animal sources, either bovine or marine. There are, however, a number of good-quality plant-based collagen supplements and powders that are uniquely formulated for those following a vegan diet.

Let’s take a closer look at the three main types of collagen supplements, including vegan-friendly alternatives:

Marine collagen:

Marine collagen is a type I collagen - which is made up of collagen peptides that are derived from fish and marine life. This type of collagen has a long list of benefits and is namely the most environmentally-conscious, sustainable collagen supplement as it is typically made using parts of the fish that are thrown away. Marine collagen also has the most efficient level of absorption, due to the smaller molecular weight and it is widely considered to be superior to the bovine variety.

One of our favourite marine collagens is Bare Biology Skinful Pure Marine Collagen. Made using the skin of from certified sustainable hydrolysed wild codfish, it's tasteless and GMO-free. So you can add it to your morning coffee or smoothie, and not even know it's there.

Bovine collagen:

Bovine collagen is a blend of both type I and type III collagen (unless from cartilage making it Type II) and is a naturally-occurring protein that is mostly found in the muscles, bones and hides of cows. The collagen derived from cows and animal proteins is most similar to the collagen we have in our own bodies, and it is a rich source of three amino acids (glycine proline and hydroxyproline) that are not only crucial building blocks of collagen but have also been shown to support overall health by promoting normal inflammatory processes and supporting immune function.

Good quality collagen supplements should be transparent about the sources from which the main ingredients are derived and this is something you should look out for when purchasing animal-derived collagen.

Planet Paleo Organic Bone Broth is crafted from the highest quality organic, grass-fed cattle in Scandinavia. Each slowly simmered to release all the powerful primal nutrients and dehydrated into a convenient powder form. Containing collagen protein, glucosamine, hyaluronic and an abundance of minerals - this easy to ingest bone broth can also be used as a nutritious base for your favourite recipes.

Vegan collagen:

Collagen has no vegan or vegetarian alternative, as collagen protein has a unique set of amino acids and this amino acid combination does not naturally occur in plants. However, there are a number of plant-based, vegan-friendly alternatives containing nutrients that aid the body’s natural production of collagen, either acting as cofactors for colagent synthesis (like vitamin C) or by providing protein to help repair and build collagen in the body.

Ancient + Brave’s Naked Collagyn, is a blend of collagen-specific amino acids (the acids that help your body create collagen) and skin supportive nutrients. It’s cleverly formulated to match the amino acid profiles of bovine collagen, to offer the same amount of benefits, without the need for any animal byproducts.

This innovative vegan-friendly collagyn blend is the very first in the UK to provide five collagen specific amino acids for those following a plant-based diet, as well as including a number of fermented ingredients and essential vitamins and minerals that are often lacking in a plant-based diet. The Naked Collagyn blend in particular, helps support collagen formation, boost metabolism and supports the immune system with the addition of glucosamine sulphate, which is particularly useful to implement into a busy, active lifestyle. Simply mix 10g of the Ancient + Brave formula and create a paste, to then top up with hot water, or plant-based milk of your choice.

Discover our full range of Collagen Supplements and Powders at Planet Organic