With over 300 collagen supplements on the market today, making the right choice can be confusing. Which one will do the best job of reversing signs of aging, preventing those unwanted fine lines, and keeping joints strong and healthy? Let’s start by reviewing the options!
Collagen has become hugely talked about in the health & wellness industry—and for a variety of (good!) reasons. Our collagen production starts to decrease as we age—by ~1% each year from aged 25, with output reduced by up to 50% after the age of 45. Lifestyle choices, stress, smoking, and poor eating habits can all contribute to the loss of collagen production within our bodies. And unless we are drinking liquid gold (read: bone broth) daily, we won’t uptake collagen from food.
Collagen is what holds the tensile strength in our skin (think: elasticity and tone), as well as the strength of our hair and nails, and even our joints and ligaments. So for some of us, a loss of collagen as we age is associated with fine lines, crow’s feet, dull and loose skin, achy joints, and brittle nails.
Types of Collagen
There are over 27 different types of collagen in our body, but the main types that you likely hear about are 1-3. These are the types known for supporting healthy skin, hair, nails, and connective tissues, all the way down to our muscle fibres. But this is also where choosing a collagen supplement can get confusing, as each collagen supplement contains either a single type or a variety. So let’s break that down.
Type 1 collagen is mainly found on the exterior of our bodies (think: hair, skin, and nails), but it’s also found within our bone matrix (up to 40%). So it’s pretty important given that it impacts the health of our skin, all the way down to our bone health. Type 1 + type 3 collagen together make up around 90% of our natural collagen supply.
Type 2 collagen is what we find in our connective tissues—think joints, ligaments and cartilages. As our collagen production deteriorates with age, we see a loss of cartilage in our joints causing inflammation and arthritis. Type 2 collagen is essential for the structure, the strength and mobility of our joints.
Type 3 collagen is found alongside type 1 in our reticular fibres—these are our muscles, organs, and blood vessels. Generally, you will find type 1 & type 3 collagen paired together (the combination makes up 90% of our bodies’ collagen).
Sources of Collagen
There are a variety of collagen products on the market. They come as capsules, powders, and liquids, and from various sources such as marine, bovine, and even porcine. So how do you choose the right type of collagen to use and what is the difference between them all?
Let’s start was one of the first collagen types that came on the market years ago. Marine collagen is generally sourced from fish scales and/or skins of fresh water fish such as cod and is rich in type 1 collagen, known for healthy skin, hair and nails. It was one of the first few types of hydrolyzed collagens that came on the market, which gives it amazing bioavailability—this means that it’s rapidly absorbed into our bodies. It’s been proven to decrease fine lines, increase moisture in skin, and restore youthful appearance. However, it most definitely can come with a hefty price tag.
Most often, you’ll see a difference in pricing when it comes to marine collagen vs. bovine collagen—marine tends to be more expensive due to sourcing. A good source of marine collagen should be odourless and flavourless, as well as sourced from fish scales for optimal results. And make sure that the collagen you choose is hydrolyzed for better bioavailability.
Bovine collagen is next in line when it comes to collagen supplements, and it sure doesn’t disappoint! With a combination of both type 1 and type 3 collagen and an impressive amino acid profile, bovine collagen proves to be just as beneficial, if not better, as a collagen supplement.
With over 17 amino acids in it, bovine collagen is naturally higher in protein (2 tbsp provides ~18 grams of protein), which is essential for cell regeneration, lean muscle mass, and even weight loss. Bovine collagen is also 100% hydrolyzed, which makes it more bioavailable and easily absorbable within our body. And it’s high in type 1 collagen, so is another excellent choice for healthy hair, skin and nails, as well as our connective tissues.
Marine vs. Bovine
When comparing marine collage to bovine collage, you may have already noticed that the health benefits are the same—both are excellent for healthy hair, skin, and nails, as well as essential for joint health and even for our digestive tracts.
Both bovine and marine collagen share a similar amino acid profile—however, bovine naturally contains 2 additional amino acids and has a higher protein count per serving compared to marine collagen (2 tbsp of bovine has 18 grams of protein, whereas 2 tbsp of marine has 9 grams of protein).
When it comes down to the absorption of collagen within our body, hydrolyzation is an essential factor. Both marine and bovine collagen are hydrolyzed—however, marine is naturally a smaller molecule so it’s absorbed within the body more rapidly than bovine.
Collagen Supplement Formats
Collagen supplements come in different forms, and it’s essential to choose the variety, type and dose that works best for you.
When you compare a collagen powder to a capsule, check to see how much you’re getting per serving. Most often, supplementing with a collagen capsule will have you taking 4-6 pills to reach a 10-gram-serving of collagen (this is the recommended dosage for results), whereas one scoop of hydrolyzed powder will give you that amount. You may also find that collagen powders are much more versatile for fitting fit into your daily life and routine (e.g., in your morning smoothie or coffee)—and a good quality collagen supplement should be odourless and flavourless.
Which Collagen Supplement is Right for You?
Whether you choose marine collagen, bovine collagen, or drink bone broth—you’ll have made an excellent and beneficial choice. It really comes down to personal preference, dietary restrictions, and even allergies when deciding which type of collagen supplement is right for you. Personally, I love the idea of combining a variety of collagen supplements (marine, bovine, bone broth) for optimal health.
With very similar benefits and amino acid profiles, a good quality collagen supplement will be beneficial for skin health, antiaging, and healthy joints, regardless of which type you choose.
Written by Chelan Wilkins, RHN
Chelan Wilkins is a busy mother of two, cooking enthusiast, sports junkie, and Organika’s National Education Trainer! She graduated with honours from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, with a designation of a Certified Nutritional Practitioner as well as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist.
Organika Health Products is a natural health company devoted to being your natural solution for a happier and healthier life. As a locally Canadian owned and operated company, Organika has been a global health ambassador for 28 years, with distribution in over 26 countries! And with over 450 different health products, you can count on us to innovate within the health industry and continue to improve the health of current generations, and generations to come!