Everything You Need to Know About Collagen
Published on September 20, 2019
Last updated December 3, 2020
Praised for its ability to brighten skin, improve gut health, and reduce joint aches and pains, collagen is the it supplement of 2020. If you haven’t tried it yet, but you’re considering taking a collagen supplement for a spin, it’s important to know your facts.
For starters, what is collagen exactly? What’s the difference between fish collagen or bovine collagen? And is it better to take collagen in pill or powder form?
Read on to find out.
What is collagen?
Collagen represents a large family of fibrous proteins that are found all over your body: It’s in your skin, cartilage, and even in your bones. There are more than 15 different types of collagen, which like all other proteins, are made up of amino acid building blocks.
Where does it come from?
Collagen comes from the hides and connective tissue of animals. Since these parts of the animals are typically discarded, it’s a sustainable choice to turn them into a supplement. Collagen can be sourced from cows, in which case it’s called bovine collagen; fish, also known as marine collagen; or chicken (no nickname here, just chicken collagen).
In its pure form, collagen isn’t easily eaten or digested by humans. It has to go through a process called hydrolyzation. In other words, it’s broken down into smaller, more digestible pieces. The final product is called hydrolyzed collagen.
Is there a vegetarian or vegan form of collagen?
Because it’s made from animals, there are no vegetarian or vegan sources of collagen. However, vegans can supplement with nutrients like vitamin E, that support the body’s natural production of collagen.
What’s the difference between collagen powder and collagen pills?
Collagen supplements in pill-form are just capsules filled with hydrolyzed collagen powder. The only real difference between the two is the delivery method: Typically, capsules are made up of a plant protein called cellulose. This capsule easily disintegrates once it reaches your stomach.
Then, just like with a powdered supplement, the collagen is broken down further in the GI tract and absorbed into the bloodstream.
Which type of collagen supplement is right for me?
It’s really a matter of personal preference. If you like taking a supplement capsule and calling it a day, try a collagen supplement in pill-form.
On the other hand, collagen powder is one of the most versatile ingredients in our kitchen. It’s virtually tasteless and dissolves completely in water. Add it to any type of beverage, including your coffee or a spinach and avocado smoothie.
But, you don’t have to limit yourself to beverages or smoothies. You can bake with collagen, infusing muffins, almond butter energy bites, or banana bread with added health benefits. You can even add it to your overnight oats, soups, and pasta sauces.