There is no doubt that Collagen has proven itself to be more than just a “fad.” With a multitude of benefits including gut and digestive health, sleep improvement, and disease prevention (just to name a few), it’s no wonder this heath powerhouse is being recognized as a new staple in health and wellness.
But what exactly is collagen? And how do you know what type of collagen is the best? Lotions, creams, liquids, powders? What the heck is the difference?
We realize how overwhelming the cluttered world of collagen can be, so we're here to set the record straight. Let's start with the basics.
Collagen is the main structural protein of the body’s connective tissues that make up your muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, and bones. That’s right- it’s prevalent throughout our entire bodies, and it’s the reason you’re held together right now. From the inside out, collagen can have a dramatic impact on the way that we look, the way that we feel, and our overall health and wellness.
But unfortunately, our bodies natural supply of collagen starts to diminish around our mid-twenties, which is why our skin becomes wrinkled, our hair loses shine, our joints begin to ache, and we just don’t quite have it like we used to.
When supplemented regularly, collagen works to promote homeostasis throughout the body and mind. This “fountain of youth” wellness phenomenon not only works to maintain the functions of a healthy body, but it can also restore damage that has already been done such as improving skin elasticity, joint reparation and strengthening of tendons and ligaments. It’s no wonder we keep seeing influencers rubbing collagen serums all over their skin and athletes drinking it in their protein shakes.
Now, you’re probably wondering, “What's the most effective way for me to use collagen? Should I be using a collagen cream? Should I be drinking it? Does it even really matter?” Let's dive into the different forms of collagen.
Forms of Collagen
Topical collagen is in the form of a cream, serum or lotion that is applied directly on to the skin, with the idea that your body will absorb it from the outside in.
Liquid collagen is a form of ingestible collagen. Exactly what it sounds like, it comes pre-packaged and ready to drink.
Collagen Powder, another form of ingestible collagen, comes in the form of a powder and is made to dissolve into liquids, take orally and digest. Nowadays you can buy flavoured powders that taste delicious and can be easily mixed into different types of drinks.
Bone Broth is an often overlooked source of collagen. This is how it's found in nature, and it's how our ancestors consumed collagen at the beginning of time. It can be sipped as a drink, or used as the base for a multitude of different recipes (food and beverage!). Check out this simple smoothie recipe!
An important thing to note when entering the world of collagen is that there’s a ton of misinformation out there regarding the different forms that it's sold. Let’s get into it:
Facts v. Fads
1) Topical Collagen
Often sought out for its anti-ageing benefits, a common fad in the world of collagen is the belief that applying it topically is the best way to see aesthetic results. There are many misleading testimonials out there praising various collagen creams and serums for taking away wrinkles, reducing stretch marks and cellulite, clearing up acne, etc. But this is a very common misconception.
In fact, there is no scientific evidence proving that topical collagen can stimulate collagen synthesis or growth. This is because collagen in this form has molecular weights that are too heavy to permeate the top layer of the skin, making it unable to provide any benefits aside from a moisturizing effect.
To truly reap the full potential of benefits collagen has to offer, ingesting it is definitely the way to go.
2) Liquids v. Powders
Ingestible collagen is made through a process called hydrolyzation, a means by which collagen proteins are broken down into smaller chains of amino acids called peptides. These peptides are light enough to pass through the body at a higher absorption rate. So, unlike collagen creams and the like, when you ingest hydrolyzed collagen, your body is actually receiving the benefits!
At first glance, liquid collagen may seem like the more convenient option in comparison to powders, but I would think twice before stocking up. Many distributors of liquid collagen put out misleading information claiming it to be more bioavailable than powders, when in fact, there is no scientific proof to back this up. Liquid and powder collagen absorb at the same rate, mg to mg.
3) Mixing Collagen Types
There are over 16 different types of collagen out there, but types 1, 2, and 3 are by far the most abundant, making up around 90% of the collagen in your body. Here's a quick breakdown:
- Types 1 and 3 together is Bovine Collagen, which is the most prevalent in the body and excellent for gut health.
- Type 1 is Marine Collagen, which yields quick aesthetic results.
- Type 2 is Poultry Collagen, which is great for cartilage and joint support and best consumed through bone broth.
You can find all of these sold in separate products to obtain different benefits, but here's the twist: many companies out there will try to sell all three collagen types mixed together in one powder as one supreme product, which is actually ineffective. While it may seem like you're getting a better deal, mixing all three of these together affects the absorption of type 2, meaning you'll be missing out on those benefits.
Note that mixing types 1 and 3 together is perfectly normal, as this is how it's found in nature.
4) Bone Broth as a source of collagen
As mentioned, bone broth is our most original and natural source of collagen that dates back to the beginning of man. It's made by boiling the bones of high-quality meats as well as various vegetables, herbs, and spices, where a rich source of collagen is introduced the simmering process. It's rich in flavour, easy to digest, and comes with a multitude of benefits that go beyond collagen.
Due to the overwhelming clutter of collagen products that exist today, bone broth is often overlooked as an option to begin with. This seems pretty crazy considering bone broth is the most bioavailable source of collagen that exists. Not to mention, you can use it as a base to cook a ton of different easy and kid-friendly recipes that your kids and family will love!
It's important to note the importance of making sure your bone broth is organic AND grass-fed, not one or the other, both!
To break it all down…
- Topical collagen attempts to operate from the outside in, but it’s too heavy to absorb into the body.
- Ingestible Collagen operates from the inside out, allowing your body to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients possible.
- Many liquid collagen companies falsely claim that liquids are more absorbable than powders to increase sales.
- Collagen powder is backed by science and is by far the more versatile and tasty means to consume collagen in comparison to creams and liquids (and in our case, comes with no fear of misinformation!).
- Beware of companies trying to sell all three collagen types combined into one product, as this is a scam.
- Bone broth is the oldest, most natural, and highest bioavailable source of collagen that exists.
Finding the best source of collagen
When searching for a quality source of collagen, it’s important to recognize that it's not all made the same. You want to support a company that cares about the personal health and well-being of every individual, values transparency and provides crystal clear information.
At The Clean Living Company what you see is what you get. We believe that what you put into your body has a direct relationship with how you feel.
All of our products are ultimately based on years of researching ingredients that yield the best results. Sourced naturally with no artificial flavours, chemicals or ingredients; we only provide what we ourselves take in our regime.
We created our Keto Collagen Powder unlike any other- packed with a high dose of collagen as well as MCT’s, allowing your body to create most of the protein being consumed, rather than being converted to glucose. Did we mention that it’s paleo-friendly, gluten, sugar and dairy-free?!
The Clean Living Company’s Keto Collagen Powders come in the option of chocolate or unflavored, making it easy to add into any beverage- coffee, tea, smoothies, you name it; the delicious possibilities are endless!
And for all of our big collagen junkies out there who want to see extra quick results, try mixing it in with our Organic Bone Broth, coming soon to the UK!