What Should You Look For in a Collagen Powder?03.05.2021
If you are researching collagen powders and want to learn more about the right type of collagen powder for you, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we will explain the different types of collagen available on the market and talk through the benefits of each of those different types of collagen. We will also look at the different sources of collagen and tell you why we use marine collagen for our Collagen Beauty Capsules.
Understanding the different types and sources of collagen
There are at least 16 types of collagen found in the body, however 80-90 percent of the collagen in the body consists of three types – Types I, II and III. Let’s take a close look at each of those collagens and their roles in your body:
- Type I - This type accounts for the majority of your body’s collagen and is made of densely packed fibres. It provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue and teeth.
- Type II - This type is made of more loosely packed fibres and is found in elastic cartilage, which cushions your joints.
- Type III - This type supports the structure of muscles, organs and arteries.
Sources of collagen
Whilst there are at least 16 types of collagen in the body, collagen is also found in animals and marine life and it is from these sources that collagen supplements are made. For skin and beauty applications like Two Islands Collagen Beauty Capsules, we only use Type I collagen, 100% sourced from marine (fish).
Below is a breakdown of the different sources of collagen and what type of collagen is produced from each source:
100% of the collagen found in marine collagen is Type I. Marine collagen is absorbed up to 1.5 times more efficiently in the body making it a superior option to bovine or porcine collagen. Since collagen is one of the major protein components of our skin including our hair follicles and nail beds, Type 1 collagen is considered the most beneficial in supporting our hair, skin and nail health.
Type II collagen is found in chicken collagen and is used for the treatment of joint pain and arthritic conditions, as well as for a dietary protein source. Chicken collagen is not considered an ingredient to help with skin, hair and nails, however it is considered the most effective for supporting cartilage in the body.
Bovine collagen comes from two sources – bovine cartilage and bovine hide. Type II collagen is found in bovine cartilage and is used in supplements that help treat joint pain and arthritic conditions. Type III collagen is also found in bovine hide and can be effective for supporting skin, hair and nails.
Type III collagen is found in pigs (along with Type I collagen) and porcine collagen peptides are incorporated into a wide variety of collagen supplements, often due to the lower cost compared to marine collagen. Whilst it may be cheaper, porcine collagen is not considered as effective or as easily absorbed as marine collagen.
Naturally increasing collagen production
In addition to taking collagen supplements, there are natural ways to increase your collagen production, especially when you are younger. As you grow older, your body naturally produces less collagen which is why many people turn to collagen supplements to help with skin, hair and nails.
There are things you can do to encourage the natural production of collagen.
All collagen starts off as procollagen. Your body makes procollagen by combining two amino acids — glycine and proline. This process uses vitamin C.
You may be able to help your body produce this important protein by making sure you get plenty of the following nutrients:
- Vitamin C – as vitamin C is a key component in creating procollagen, include plenty of vitamin C rich foods in your diet including citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, capsicums, kiwifruit, broccoli, strawberries and brussels sprouts.
- Proline – proline is an amino acid or building block for protein. Large amounts are found in egg whites, wheat germ, dairy products, cabbage, asparagus and mushrooms. It is also found in protein rich foods like meat and fish.
- Glycine – glycine is another amino acid and whilst it is naturally produced by the body, it is also found in protein rich foods like meat, fish and dairy and more specifically, things like pork skin, chicken skin and gelatine.
- Copper – copper is the fourth element needed for the natural production of collagen in the body and is found in a range of foods including oysters, tofu, shiittake mushrooms, kumara, sesame seeds, cashews, chickpeas, salmon, avocados and cocoa.
In addition to the above nutrients, a protein rich diet also encourages the natural production of collagen so eating plenty of meat, poultry, dairy, seafood, legumes and tofu are all excellent sources of amino acids. If you’re short on time, pea protein powder is also a great way to add a serving of protein to your daily routine.
Things that damage collagen
As well as being able to encourage the natural production of collagen in the body, you can also suppress the development of and damage existing collagen in the body.
Behaviours that can damage collagen include:
- Sun exposure - SPF is your skin’s best friend. Unprotected sun exposure is the number one culprit for ageing, damaged skin. UV damages the skin by entering the dermis (the middle layer of skin) and breaking collagen down faster. UV also causes free radicals which break down collagen further by increasing the enzymes in the skin.
- Sugar - if there is too much sugar in your diet, it can damage elastin and collagen molecules in the skin, accelerating the effects of ageing. Limiting the amount of sugar in your diet and eating a wholesome, balanced diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables will help keep skin glowing. As well as avoiding too much sugar in your diet, you should also avoid eating too many refined carbs as these can also interfere with collagen’s ability to repair itself.
- Sleep - sleeping is vital for skin to repair and regenerate – beauty sleep is a thing! Studies show that a lack of sleep affects your immune system, which in turn affects the production of collagen within the skin. This leads to more noticeable premature ageing. Make sure you’re getting enough hours of sleep every night to keep collagen production up.
- Smoking - smoking reduces collagen production. This can impair wound healing and lead to wrinkles.
- Lack of vitamin C - vitamin C helps boost your skin’s collagen production by helping fight free-radicals and damage caused by UV radiation. Its proven antioxidant properties shield skin from the visible impacts of pollution.
Read more about the causes for the loss of collagen in our recent blog.
Benefits of collagen supplements
No matter your age, taking collagen supplements can have a hugely positive impact on several areas of the body including skin, hair, nails, tendons, ligaments and muscles.
Collagen in powder form is usually hydrolysed, which means the collagen has been broken down, making it easier to absorb. This is important to understand as there is a lot of misinformation about the benefits of collagen supplements and a lot of this stems from a misunderstanding about the absorption of collagen due to its molecule size.
Hydrolysation is the process that breaks down the molecule size so it is small enough for the body to absorb and is measured in Daltons (Da). The smaller the Dalton, the easier the collagen will be digested and absorbed in the gut. When considering a collagen supplement, 3,000 Da or less is optimal.
Taking collagen powder supplements may have a variety of health benefits, from relieving joint pain to improving skin health.
Here are some of the key benefits of collagen supplements:
- Can improve skin health
- Helps to relieve joint pain
- Could prevent bone loss
- Could boost muscle mass
- Promotes heart health
- Can help to strengthen hair and nails
- Could promote gut health