In a fast-growing industry rife with misinformation, ingestible collagen has seen exponential uptake. And rightfully so. With substantiated beauty and skin benefits, studies have shown that collagen can hydrate, plump and firm the skin – visibly reducing signs of ageing – whilst also promoting healthy hair and strong nails.

 

But what is collagen? How many types of collagen are there? And what is the best type of collagen to take? Let’s dive deeper.

What is collagen made of?

Collagen is protein molecules made up of amino acids. In fact, it’s the most prominent protein in your body providing structural support to bones, skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Essentially, it’s the glue that holds them all together. Collagen is divided into groups depending on the type of structures they form. There are various types of collagen that have been discovered, but by far, the most common are types I through Ill.

Our bodies naturally produce collagen. However, as we age, degradation of the naturally-occurring protein begins – usually from around our early to mid-twenties. This is when signs of ageing start to become visible, such as fine lines and wrinkles, and when replenishing our collagen levels elicits tangible benefits.

Where does collagen come from?

Collagen is found in the connective tissues of animal foods. Most commonly, collagen is sourced from marine and bovine. At this stage, there are no plant-based vegan sources of collagen. Although there are products that offer rich amounts of antioxidants, which are often vegan, yet they don’t contain collagen peptides.

MARINE: Marine collagen is derived from the skin of fish. The skin is put through a process called hydrolysation, which transforms it into collagen peptides. Marine collagen consists of smaller peptides, meaning it has superior bioavailability (the body’s ability to actually use the collagen once you take it).

BOVINE: Bovine collagen is derived from cow hides, bones and muscles. It’s rich in types I and III collagen, which is why it’s also a common source for skin supplements as skin is primarily made of type I and III collagen, as well.

Breaking down types of collagen peptides?

We know there are different types of collagen found in the body, though for the beneficial purpose of collagen types explained – the focus is primarily on collagen types 1, 2 and 3.

So what is collagen type 1 2 3? Let’s briefly look into the collagen types explained.

— TYPE I: It accounts for 90% of your body’s collagen and is made of densely packed fibres. It provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, cartilage, connective tissue and teeth.

— TYPE II: Comprised of more loosely packed fibres, for those wondering where type 2 collagen is found – it’s predominantly in cartilage, which cushions your joints.

— TYPE III: This type of collagen supports the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.

What is the best type of collagen to take?

When choosing collagen supplements, type plays a role in bioavailability and overall efficacy. Marine collagen is absorbed up to 1.5 times more efficiently than collagen from cows or pigs, meaning it has optimal bioavailability. It’s also hydrolysed, a chemical-free, enzymatic process that creates a low molecular weight collagen peptide powder. The lower the molecular weight, or the smaller the collagen particles, the easier collagen is to process, and the more absorption is enhanced.

Vida Glow Natural Marine Collagen has been shown to have an absorption rate above 90%, meaning visible results can be achieved in a shorter amount of time. Clinical trials also support its efficacy. A low daily dose of 2.5g is all that’s needed to show an improvement in hydration, the reduction of wrinkles and increased elasticity over a matter of weeks.

What damages collagen?

We know that our body’s ability to produce fresh collagen naturally declines as we age. However, there are external factors that accelerate skin ageing and the depletion of collagen.

SUN EXPOSURE: Excessive UV exposure impacts the skin’s connective tissue in the dermis, breaking down collagen and elastin fibres. This leads to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.

POOR DIETS: A high-sugar diet increases the rate of glycation, a process where blood sugars attach to proteins to form new molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs are a primary contributor of premature ageing.

LIFESTYLE FACTORS: Pollution, stress and lack of sleep can also lower our body’s ability to naturally produce collagen. Triggering increased hormone levels and inflammation.

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