You need collagen, you want collagen, and you keep hearing about the benefits of collagen. But what if you’re using the wrong collagen?
Unfortunately, not all collagen is created equal, and there’s a lot of collagen on the market. Become informed enough to make the right choices and reap the rewards you’re looking for. This is the first guide in a series to support you in your new journey to health.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It’s found in your bones, muscles, skin, and tendons, and is primarily charged with holding everything together.
There are many different types of collagen, but an estimated 80-90% of them fall into one of the following three categories:
♦ Type I Collagen – This type is found in all connective tissues in the body and in the intestines.
♦ Type II Collagen – This Is the primary type in cartilage.
♦ Type III Collagen – This type is more prevalent in your organs and found in your skin, lungs, and vascular system.
As mentioned, there are other types of collagen, and they occur throughout the body, but they are found in much smaller amounts than the main three types.
The Results of Collagen Loss
Endogenous collagen is the stuff your body makes, while exogenous collagen is synthetic and comes from outside sources, like LiveWell Collagen Peptides.
If you don’t have enough endogenous collagen, there can be some serious health problems and some cosmetic problems as well, including:
♦ Rheumatoid arthritis
♦ Temporal arteritis
♦ Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
♦ Marfan’s syndrome
♦ Osteogenesis Imperfecta
♦ Loss of skin elasticity
♦ Thinning of the skin
♦ Increased wrinkles and skin sagging or visible signs of aging
What Causes Collagen Loss?
While age is a significant cause of collagen loss, there are other habits, lifestyle choices, and even foods that can prompt some collagen loss. The following are more common ways you can deplete your own collagen supplies, maybe without even realizing it.
♦ Tobacco use
♦ Eating too much sugar or carbohydrates
♦ Too much sun or UVA exposure
♦ Excessive amounts of caffeine
Just looking at the list of things that can cause collagen loss will give you an idea of how to prevent some loss. Obviously not smoking, using sunscreen, limiting time in the sun, and watching your diet are all within your control.
Sadly, aging is not within your control, and it’s a natural process for everyone. That doesn’t mean that you have to give up the battle. There are some ways to get more collagen and increase your reserves.
How to Get More Collagen?
Unfortunately, everyone is at risk of losing collagen because it’s a part of the aging process. The good news is collagen is resorbable. That means it can be broken down, converted, and absorbed back into the body. That’s right; you can boost your collagen supplies and fight back against collagen loss. Some of the ways you can do this are:
♦ Taking a collagen supplement
♦ Eating foods with proteins that boost endogenous collagen production
♦ Get skin fillers or collagen injections for wrinkles
♦ Some serious illnesses can benefit from medical collagen-based therapies
♦ Laser therapy can stimulate collagen growth for skin benefits
Which Collagen Is Best?
Science is in, and collagen is very important to your body’s health and appearance. Luckily, you can help your body get more collagen. You just need to be efficient about obtaining your preferred brand and be sure to take the right kind.
First, let’s discuss collagen skin creams and lotions. These products are unlikely to increase collagen in the body because the molecules of collagen are too large to be absorbed through the skin. There may be some benefit from using these products as they do add moisture to the skin, but as far as collagen goes, they’re probably a waste of money.
The effective way to add collagen is through collagen supplements, which come in pills, powders such as LiveWell's Collagen Peptides, and liquids. These all work the same, but some may be easier to swallow–literally. If you can’t take pills, then a powder that is hydrolyzed, so it dissolves in liquid, might be the way to go. Or you can just go right to the ready-to-drink liquid supplement, but be careful as these often need refrigeration.
Collagen Supplement Sources
So, where does this collagen come from, and does that matter? There are a variety of sources, and yes, it does matter because they contain different types of collagen.
Bovine. Beef-based collagen is the most common, and it contains collagen types I and III.
Marine. Fish-based collagen focuses on type I collagen and fills a need for people who stay away from red meats. Of course, anyone with a shellfish allergy should steer clear of this supplement.
Poultry. Chicken-based collagen is not that common, but it’s a good source of collagen type II, so if that’s something you want to add to your diet then look for a poultry collagen supplement.
Vegetarian. The vegetarian option for collagen supplements does not contain collagen at all because collagen is completely animal-derived. Instead, it focuses on collagen builders that are plant-based and designed to prompt your body to make collagen.
More Collagen Supplement Tips
If you’ve looked at LiveWell's Collagen Peptides, you’ll notice that it's a peptide. This difference is what makes it easier to consume. Raw collagen is difficult to digest, so it is broken down through hydrolysis, or it’s hydrolyzed, or it’s a hydrolysate. These are all terms for the same process, and once the collagen is broken down in this manner, it forms peptides.
Peptides are amino acid strings that are smaller than proteins, but they form proteins. This gives you the building block benefits of a protein but in a smaller package that’s easier for your body to absorb.
With a deeper understanding of collagen, you can see that it’s a crucial part of your body, as most people are ripe with this protein when they’re younger. Through time, bad habits, environmental changes, and even genetic causes, collagen can be depleted in the body. This can lead to severe illness for some and visible signs of aging in everyone else.
Luckily collagen is resorbable so you can add more to your body at any given time. You can never fully replace what will be lost, though, but you can cover some ground while adding strength and support to your existing supply.
If you’re looking for the right collagen supplement, look for one you consume, not a lotion. Find a product that focuses on collagen types I, II, III, or a combination of those primary types. A hydrolyzed product like LiveWell’s Collagen that uses peptides for easier absorption will give you the results you're looking for.
In addition to those efforts, you can pay more attention to your eating habits, the time you spend in the sun, your smoking situation, and stress levels to naturally retain collagen. If you’re serious about your journey to living a life in balance, stay tuned for more in this series about collagen and all that it can do for your health, and follow LiveWell on Facebook @livewelllabsnutrition and Instagram @livewelllabs for more tips to help prevent aging and boost your overall health.
READ NEXT >>> Inflammation-Causing Foods and What to Eat Instead