30% of all protein in our body is made up of collagen. It’s a structural protein and essentially holds our body together like glue. The recent rise in the collagen craze is no coincidence. As more studies are conducted and people gain a better understanding of how beneficial collagen is to our body, the everyday consumer is looking for ways to easily reap the benefits of extra collagen. Collagen is naturally produced by our bodies but begins to slow down as we age and encounter other behavior or environmental factors damaging to this protein.
Let’s start at the beginning, the origin of collagen in our bodies.
Where Does Collagen Come From?
Collagen occurs abundantly and naturally in living organisms as connective tissue in the body most notably in cartilage. Collagen can be broken down into glycine, lysine, and proline, all amino acids. It is made by cells within the body, most abundantly by connective tissue cells. But before collagen becomes collage it starts off as procollagen, made of glycine, proline, and using vitamin C during the formation process.
Collagen production slows down as you age due to the cellular fibroblast aging. The cellular fibroblast is located in the dermis (or middle layer of skin) where new cells grow and replace the dead ones. Less mechanical stimulation is another cause of collagen reduction in the skin.
Types of Collagen
There are 16 types of collagen, potentially more, but five of them are the most common and provide the most health benefits. Collagen types I, II, and III are the most common type of collagen naturally occurring in the body. These types make up 80% to 90% of all collagen within your body. Coincidentally, they’re also the most commonly found types in supplements.
Type I Collagen
Type I Collagen prevents the physical signs of aging in your skin, like thinning and stretching. It aids in improving the quality of skin, hair, nails, and bones. Collagen sourced from fish are generally more bioavailable than other options, namely bovine and chicken-sourced collagen. This makes marine-sourced collagen peptides more desirable for cosmetic products applied topically to the skin.
Type II Collagen
Type II Collagen is mostly sourced from chickens and can be found in chicken soup. This type of collagen helps build cartilage, making it important for joint health and boosting immune health. It has been studied as a treatment option for those suffering from arthritis inflammatory diseases with positive results. Besides joint and immune health, this type of collagen also protects the gut lining, supporting digestive health as well.
Type III Collagen
Type III collagen offers similar bone and skin benefits to Type I collagen, along with additional benefits related to cardiovascular health. Type III collagen most often comes from bovine sources and is best when paired with Type I collagen.
What is Hydrolyzed Collagen?
Using hydrolysis, collagen is broken down into these peptides and amino acids. Hydrolyzed collagen is also known as collagen peptides. Hydrolyzed collagen is more easily dissolved making it the most commonly used form in supplements. If you’re looking for collagen at a supplement shop it will most likely be hydrolyzed collagen, however, you’re more likely to see it referred to as collagen peptides.
Hydrolyzed collagen is used more frequently due to being generally easy to digest, absorb, and distribute.
Is Collagen Vegan?
No, naturally occurring collagen is not vegan as it is sourced from bovine, chicken, and fish. However, scientists have studied the production of collagen through P. pastoris and yeast without using animal-sourced gelatin. While vegan collagen options aren’t readily available for the average consumer, collagen boosters are.
If you’re looking for a way to ethically boost your collagen as a vegan, you can turn to topical collagen-boosting cosmetic products and collagen enhancing supplements. These provide your body with the resources it needs to produce collagen without actual animal-based collagen use.
What is the Role of Collagen in Your Body?
The main goal of collagen is to hold your body together and maintain structure. But we lose 1% of collagen production in our skin each year. This eventually leads to the presence of wrinkles and other signs of aging. Studies have found collagen introduces the following benefits to the body:
- Cardiometabolic health
- Bone, and joint health Immune health
- Elasticity of skin
- Digestive health
- Improved appearance of skin and nails
Stimulating Collagen Production
As our naturally occurring collagen production slows down we can stimulate collagen production using other methods. These include introducing bone broth into your diet and making other dietary adjustments conducive to a collagen-rich diet. Taking dietary supplements and using topical collagen-stimulating products can help stimulate collagen production and cut back on signs of aging.
How Does Collagen Work Within Your Body?
The dermis is made up of collagen and elastin fibers which are tightly bound together. This is what gives your skin the youthful, smooth appearance. As you age, these fibers loosen which is how wrinkles develop.
What is a Humectant and Why is It Important for Your Skin?
A humectant pulls moisture from the air and up from deeper layers of the skin to help moisturize the top layer of the skin. It then keeps the moisture in place to fully hydrate the skin. Collagen acts as a humectant when used topically. This means your skin will be moisturized each time you use products with high concentrations of collagen. Moisturized skin is another factor in helping your skin appear younger.
How Long Does It Take for Collagen to Work?
It will take roughly four weeks after beginning collagen supplementation to notice any effects. You’ll begin to notice more results, especially in your skin, after a few months of regular collagen intake. The results of collagen supplementation vary from person to person. You’ll want to try out different products, type of collagen supplementation to determine what works for you. Watch out for the following benefits of collagen intake after a few months:
- Improved skin hydration
- Lessened appearance of fine lines
- Overall improved skin health
- Boosted skin health
What Increases the Likelihood of Premature Collagen Loss
Collagen degradation can be blamed on a few factors, these include:
- Deficiencies of certain vitamins
- High sugar intake
- Excess exposure to the sun
These are all factors you can take action to alter and improve in your favor. Making strides to protect your skin against sun exposure using sunscreen, cutting sugar out of your diet, assessing your diet for deficiencies, and eliminating smoking entirely can help you stay one step ahead of the signs of aging. Other factors that contribute to premature collagen loss are autoimmune conditions and aging, but neither of these can be remedied.
How to Incorporate Collagen Stimulation into Your Daily Routine
Building collagen-stimulating habits will help you to keep collagen production in your body high. It’s better to focus on encouraging collagen production early in your life rather than wait until obvious signs of reduction have set it. Try incorporating the following collagen-friendly habits into your everyday life:
- Drinking bone broth
- Eat more foods higher in Omega-3
- Practice healthy skincare habits
- Drink more water and stay hydrated
- Try having regular facial massages
Another popular collagen product is collagen powder most commonly produced from cow, chicken, and fish proteins. You can incorporate collagen powder into your everyday life fairly easily. Common ways to mix collagen powder into your meals include mixing it into the following food:
- Hot beverages
- Salad dressing
Studies have found when you consume collagen orally it can post your skin elasticity in as little as four weeks. But, if you’re looking for additional ways to incorporate collagen in your daily routine beyond oral supplementation you can turn to topical alternatives. Topical collagen offers a quick and easy way to add extra collagen to your routine in a way that instantly shows more moisturized skin.
You’ll want to check the purpose of each product you pick for your collagen skincare routine. Certain skincare, such as our Eye Invigorate and Eye Hydrate are made specifically for the eyes and nowhere else. You’ll also want to make sure you are picking up the type of topical treatment you prefer, rather it be serums or cream-based moisturizers.
Don’t stop at just one method of collagen supplementation. You can incorporate habits, supplements, and oral collagen care to improve the elasticity and youthful appearance of your skin.