The Different Types of Collagen and What They Do

The Different Types of Collagen and What They Do

What is collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It's found in your hair, your skin, your nails, and is the main protein in your connective tissue, which basically connects your whole body.

Once you get to 25 years old your collagen production starts to reduce, which is why young people have bouncy, full skin and as you get older your skin seems less elastic. This is the same with the collagen that helps your hair, skin and nails stay healthy, or the collagen that keeps your joints and tendons strong and supple. So, the more you can boost your collagen levels, the younger you will look and feel.

While the research is still in its infancy, there are plenty of studies that show consuming collagen supplements can help you increase your body’s collagen levels. In fact, I was so impressed with the research I launched my own collagen snack product Beauty Food!

What types of collagen are there?

Drinking bone broth is one way to increase your collagen intake, but more recently we’ve seen a lot of collagen powders and collagen snack bars/bites which make consuming collagen a lot more convenient. There are twenty-eight known types of collagen but as far as supplementation goes let’s look at the four important ones.

TYPE I COLLAGEN

Best known for
Anti-aging properties including minimising wrinkles and improving the skin’s health and hydration. One study showed it reduced the prevalence of cellulite, especially in women of otherwise normal weight ranges.

Best Sources for Type I Collagen

  • Marine collagen (ideally sustainably sourced and be careful to avoid crustaceans and shellfish which are found in many marine collagens as these are allergens) - this is what we use in our Bioactive Marine Collagen Powder
  • Bovine collagen (ideally grass-fed as while there is no evidence that grass-fed animals produces a superior collagen product to grain-fed, grass-fed is significantly better for the animal and the planet) - this is what we use in our collagen cookies and nut butter
  • Protein-rich foods, like fish and beef
  • Bone broth (considered to not be as easily absorbed as other collagen sources)

TYPE II COLLAGEN

Best known for
Treating joint pain and promoting joint health.

Best sources

  • Bone broth
  • Chicken collagen
  • Protein-rich foods, like chicken

TYPE III COLLAGEN

Best known for
Some say it aids intestinal health but the studies don’t yet agree. There is evidence it can enhance exercise performance and building muscle.

Best sources

  • Bovine collagen
  • Protein-rich foods, like beef and fish
  • Bone broth

TYPE IV COLLAGEN

Best known for
Improving wound healing and assisting the forming of embryos.

Best sources

  • Egg whites
  • Other protein-rich foods
  • Type IV collagen is very difficult to find in supplement form

Is there any such thing as Vegan Collagen?

For those following a vegan diet, please note that collagen comes from animals. There are plenty of vegan “collagen” products out there that claim to “support” collagen production but they don’t actually contain collagen and the science just isn’t there to support the claimed health benefits.

For those who aren’t strict vegans, I do have many plant-based friends who consume collagen for its health benefits instead of meat.

What else should you know about consuming collagen?

When you're consuming collagen the number one rule is to avoid combining it with sugar. Sugar competes with Vitamin C which is important to absorbing collagen. That’s why the whole Beauty Food range is low sugar and infused with Vitamin C.

Other supplements and nutrients have been shown to aid in collagen synthesis:

  • Glycine, found in pork and chicken skin
  • Proline, found in dairy, cabbage, asparagus, mushrooms
  • Copper, found in sesame seeds, cocoa, cashew, lentils
  • Zinc, found in shellfish, chickpeas, lentils, dairy, eggs

How much collagen should I take?

Most of the research is based on 2.5g to 5g of collagen per day, with slightly better results at 5g (and no significant increase for higher levels than that). Many companies have only a small amount of collagen in their “collagen” products (because hey, it's the most expensive ingredient) and try to hide this by quoting in milligrams. For example, 1500mg of collagen is 1.5g and is not considered a adequate serve based on the research. 

 

Want to try our products?

If you’d like to give Beauty Food a try, head on over to our shop!

 

Resources

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26362110 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4685482
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10388642
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3289483
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14600124
  6. https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/skin-care/stretch-marks