What is collagen?
Collagen makes up almost one third of the thousands of different types of proteins that exist in our body. It is a major structural protein which gives strength and support to body tissues including skin, bone, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, muscles and blood vessels.
Why would you consider taking a collagen supplement?
International studies on collagen in the body have shown that up until our early 20's we still synthesise collagen in the body, however past the age of approximately 25 this begins to decline.
Supplementation with high quality collagen promotes collagen synthesis in the body and helps to restore our collagen to its former state. Because collagen is important for skin elasticity many people choose to take a collagen supplement to help nourish the skin and combat the effects of ageing.
Different sources of collagen
Collagen is found throughout the animal kingdom in mammals including man, birds and fish. Collagen is not found in plant species.
Collagen is normally taken from the skin or tendons of the source and is classified into 3 different types:
- Skin contains Type I and Type III
- Tendon contains only Type I
- Cartilage contains Type II collagen
Because our skin contains predominantly Type I and Type III collagen these are predominantly used for cosmetic purposes.
Type II collagen has been used in scientific studies for rheumatoid arthritis and has been shown to improve symptoms.
Bovine (and porcine) collagen is cheaper
Bovine collagen is sourced from cows and porcine collagen is sourced from pigs. It is cheaper to extract therefore is very commonly used in many cosmetics. It is believed that up to 3% of people are allergic to bovine collagen but porcine collagen is more similar to human collagen so allergies are less common.
Fish (marine) collagen has superior bioavailability.
Marine collagen is extracted from cold water fish - typically something like salmon. Fish collagen is absorbed up to 1.5 times more efficiently into the body which means it has superior bioavailability over bovine or porcine types. Because it is absorbed more efficiently and enters the bloodstream more quickly it is considered the best source for your skin. It is refined to remove any fishy smells but while retaining its nutritional profile.
Other supplements for skin anti-ageing
Whilst collagen has a well documented history for cosmic purposes and is very widely used, more recently hyaluronic acid has emerged and is now often considered superior for helping to prevent skin ageing,