If you’re between the ages of 18 and 85, chances are, you have heard about collagen supplements for health benefits. In order to understand how supplementation can work, it’s most important to understand what collagen is in the first place. 

What is collagen?

Collagen is the main structural protein in the extracellular matrix found in the body’s various connective tissues. As the main component of connective tissue, it is the most abundant protein in the body, making up from 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content. It’s found in everything from our connective tissue to our muscles and our blood vessels. The human body has many cells, parts, and systems; many of them are held together with collagen and its ability to provide structure and strength.

Not only does it help hair, skin and nail growth, but it also helps muscle recovery, digestive help, and adds elastin into your skin cells.

What is elastin?

Elastin is a key protein of the extracellular matrix. It is highly elastic and present in connective tissue allowing many tissues in the body to resume their shape after stretching or contracting. Meaning, it tones, tightens and FIRMS skin cells.

Did you know? 

In your early to mid-20s, the human body begins to lose about 8% of its collagen every single year, putting us automatically into the aging process. As we age, and as we lose collagen, we also lose elastin in our skin cells, initiating aging symptoms such as loose skin, wrinkles, brittle hair and nails, aches and pains because fluidity is lost. By the time we are 60, we lose approximately 50% of our body’s collagen content.

On my 30th birthday in 2021, I noticed a change in my face, even while I was doing botox once per quarter. My under eye circles/wrinkles were significant, my skin was dull, and I was experiencing joint pain from an injury many years prior. I had experimented with vital proteins and other collagen powders, with no significant improvement. This left me feeling frustrated. I also couldn’t commit to making a shake or mixing it in something every single day, especially when it tasted badly. As a victim of marketing, I was blissfully unaware of the different types of collagen supplementation and efficacy.

PROPER collagen supplementation has drastically changed my life in the last year. The truth is, the topic of collagen is hot right now. It’s in ‘everything’ and frequently thrown around as a new buzz word. Big corporations are even trying to capitalize on this: i.e. Nestle acquiring Vital Proteins Feb 2022. It’s not going anywhere. Unless you know the exact types of collagen to look for, you are likely consuming a product with a molecular structure so large that is not even being absorbed by your body.

Here’s what you need to know:

There are 28 different types of collagen, the most common are I, II, and III (and V & X). Generic collagen supplements are typically collagen type I, or type I/III bovine and/or marine collagen, often sourced from carcasses, hooves, skin, scales, and many other parts of an animal, containing a large molecular structure – too large for proper human absorption (maximum ~30% absorption). Additionally, the majority of these sources are not from 100% grass fed cattle or wild caught fish.

Most collagen supplements mentioned above act as sponges for contaminants and heavy metals: consuming commercial powdered collagen supplements could potentially lead to heavy metal contamination. In the past, there have been dermatologists and consumer groups who were concerned that ground-up hooves, hides, and nerve tissues from poorly treated cows carry diseases like bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE = mad cow disease). 

The $8+ billion dollar collagen industry is growing by 30%+ year after year, and the majority of the public is completely unaware of the risks associated with cheap bovine, porcine and marie-derived collagen in the powdered products they are consuming.

Type II collagen molecules are much smaller, most mimicking the human body, and can be acquired from a single source: chicken sternal cartilage. Using type II collagen can increase the human body’s production of collagen (bioavailability) by 6000% in just 28 days. The absorption rate is upwards of 98%. 

For context, imagine a bovine collagen molecule is a baseball and your skin is a metal fence. If you are throwing the baseball at the fence, the ball will not penetrate the fence, thus, not being absorbed. Now imagine a hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage molecule is a golf ball (or smaller) going through that same fence – it will be easily penetrated.

The liquid type II collagen I use daily:

  • 1. Is the ONLY collagen/hyaluronic acid matrix comes from a single source
  • 2. Non-GMO and antibiotic / hormone-free
  • 3. Bio-optimized for rapid absorption
  • 4. Internationally patented
  • 5. Hydrolyzed meaning it is broken down to peptides that your body can absorb.
  • 6. 20x more effective than any pill or powdered collagen
  • 7. And most importantly, the source of chicken sternum is derived from a by-product of humanely-treated chickens from the world’s most reputable and regulated farms.

Which type II collagen do I take? 

I personally take the Modere Liquid Biocell ‘Skin’ every day without fail. Why?

  1. 1. It is derived from sternal cartilage, so although it is technically collagen type II, evidence shows that it acts as all types of collagen in the body since it increases collagen in other connective tissue such as skin dermis – not just the joints.
  2. 2. Contains glycosaminoglycans including hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate in the same way composition as human articular cartilage does.
  3. 3. Designed with a patented process to meet a specific molecular weight for optimal absorption and is supported by bioavailability studies. It inhibits hyaluronidase, the enzyme that breaks down hyaluronic acid in our bodies.
  4. 4. A hyaluronic acid (HA) matrix. HA works with collagen by providing a moisture rich environment where collagen can stretch without breaking. This gives skin the elasticity it craves. HA also helps with wound healing, tissue repair, chapped lips, dry scalp, gums, and even the moisture level of our eyes.

For the last few years, I’ve been dealing with hormonal acne that has felt impossible to clear up. I’ve tried so many skincare routines, switched to nontoxic makeup products and within 3 weeks of taking 2 tablespoons of liquid biocell per day, the acne began to clear on its own. Within 3 months, my under eye circles drastically reduced, and within 6 months, almost disappeared. 

Other benefits from the collagen I’ve shared is and clinically proven to:

  • 1. Improve skin’s hydration, firmness & elasticity
  • 2. Increase skin’s collagen content
  • 3. Prolong effectiveness of fillers/Botox

Things that damage the body’s natural collagen content: Anything that causes heavy oxidative stress in the body including, but not limited to: 

  • 1. Smoking 
  • 2. Alcohol Consumption
  • 3. High sugar consumption
  • 4. High amounts of stress
  • 5. Excessive sun exposure
  • 6. Poor sleep quality
  • 7. Processed vegetable/seed oils: I wrote about seed oils HERE
  • 8. Micronutrient deficiencies
  • 9. Poor protein digestion

Is there such a thing as vegan collagen? 

Absolutely not. Collagen is an animal product and not vegan in nature. Any ‘vegan collagen’ you see is false advertising; typically marketed as ‘collagen protect,’ without actually containing any collagen. There is no such thing as vegan collagen.

Who can benefit from collagen supplementation? 

EVERYONE. Athletes, those suffering with hair loss, new mothers, those with anti-aging goals, those looking to prolong cosmetic work, those with acne, those with brittle bones, suffering injury, aging prevention…teens to grown and elderly adults, dogs, cats, and even horses! 

It is always important to do your own deep dive and research, but if you are interested in trying the collagen I use every single day: CLICK HERE for 10% off on your first order with that link. 

Below you can find a 10-month difference, with the photo on the left being prior to type ii collagen use, and the photo on the right 10 months later. 

To conclude, I hope this deep dive on collagen was informative and insightful. Let me know which one you end up trying!
 

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*Not medical advice, it is advisable to consult a medical professional prior

Sources: 

Novel Hydrolyzed Chicken Sternal Cartilage Extract Improves Facial Epidermis and Connective Tissue in Healthy Adult Females: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31221944/

Acute and subchronic oral toxicity studies in rats of a hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage preparation https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17030382/

Ingestion of BioCell Collagen(®), a novel hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract; enhanced blood microcirculation and reduced facial aging signs https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22956862/

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/23089-collagen#:~:text=Some%2028%20types%20of%20collagen,least%20one%20triple%20helix%20structure.

https://thelatest.modere.com/a-closer-look-at-collagen/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4427717