Which collagen to choose?
Many preparations with collagen in their formulation have appeared on the market. There are expensive ones, cheap ones and ready-to-drink ones… No wonder it’s difficult to get to grips with it. We have prepared a small guide related to the types and forms of collagen, which will make finding the answer to the question “which collagen to choose?” much easier!
Collagen is one of the most important proteins in the human body. Among other things, it is responsible for skin elasticity, hydration and cell renewal. It has an important function when it comes to the good health of joints, bones and muscles. It is present in every tissue in our body, so when we stop producing it, the changes gradually become more visible and noticeable.
When we talk about collagen, we mean a natural protein of animal origin. Plant-based formulations for vegans are also available the market, but their purpose is rather to support collagen production in the body. However, collagen for vegans or collagen for vegetarians is the only option for people who, for ideological or other reasons, choose not to eat meat and animal products.
Natural collagen – according to research – has a number of beneficial properties, it, among other things:
Prevents bone and joint pain
Is responsible for moisturizing the skin
Firms the skin
Helps get rid of cellulite and stretch marks
Accelerates healing of wounds or scars
Helps reduce discoloration
Strengthens nails and hair
Regenerates the mucous membrane
Is responsible for faster recovery after training
As collagen levels in the body decline after the age of 25, it is worth supplementing it through diet and supplements.
Supplements are usually based on collagen derived from cattle, pork or fish. What do we know about them?
It should be sourced from animals that are under constant veterinary control. It is worth noting that collagen should be derived from cattle or pigs fed in a specific, correct way. It helps in determining whether a particular animal has been ill with something or what feed it has been receiving. In the case of fish, no such identification is possible. Beef collagen or pig collagen, provided it is obtained from a controlled farm, is therefore completely safe.
It is extracted from fish skins. The Polish scientists have discovered a way of “processing” collagen in such a way as to produce a high-quality gel for skin use. And it is in this form – cosmetics for external use – that fish collagen should be used. The powdered form is less well absorbed and, in addition, the characteristic fish smell and often a specific fishy aftertaste cannot be avoided.
Does the type of collagen matter?
From time to time, we hear discussions about the superiority of fish collagen over beef collagen and vice versa. However, the truth is that the structure of the collagen protein differs little between species. What is of greater importance in the context of supplementation is how the protein chain has been split to be better absorbed by the human body.
It is otherwise a protein broken down by water and appropriate enzymes. Why is hydrolysis important? Because collagen is made up of long chains of amino acids, twisted into a helix shape. In this form, we would not be able to assimilate it – hydrolysis divides the said chain into small parts that are well absorbed, e.g., in the form of an oral supplement.
Freeze drying, otherwise known as sublimation drying, is the process of removing water from frozen material by sublimation. In the case of collagen protein, it is performed so that its structure is not compromised. In other words, this process results in freeze-dried collagen that retains its original properties.
Forms of collagen
Very often, freeze-dried collagen is sold in the form of powder sachets to be dissolved in water, a smoothie or yoghurt. If you decide to take this form of supplementation, there are a few things to bear in mind: each portion of collagen will need to be mixed thoroughly (which is not always so easy), resulting in about 200-250 ml of the mixture, which is not always tasty (this risk applies mainly to fish collagen), and, in addition, this form of supplementation makes it impossible to take a portion of collagen “on the go”. Collagen powder is therefore a good option for people who lead a relaxed lifestyle and don’t mind taking a while to prepare the mixture.
Collagen in tablets
This is another form available on the supplement market. Taking collagen tablets makes sense if you check their ingredients (apart from collagen or vitamins, there should be no unnecessary additives, preservatives, sugars, etc.) and the way the collagen is “processed” – hydrolyzed collagen is absorbed at around 95 per cent.
It is one of the handiest forms of supplementation. Small bottles of liquid collagen can be taken with you everywhere, and do not require water to dissolve or to be drunk after, a spoon, etc. Most often, the drinking shots are enriched with natural fruit juice, making them more like a tasty drink than a supplement. Here, too, it’s worth taking a peek at the ingredients – the best collagen should only come with vitamins, not preservatives or artificial colors!
Which collagen to choose for yourself?
We already know what products we can find on the market and what to look out for. In summary, the best natural collagen is one that:
comes in a handy form – supplementation only makes sense if supplements are taken regularly. If collagen does not taste good, smells bad, or if you are always busy and do not have time to prepare mixtures, you will probably give it up quickly. Looking after your health should be something enjoyable, a ritual you are happy to indulge in – and this also applies to collagen supplementation!
has a high collagen content – the recommended daily dose is around 10 000 mg. If you choose a product with a lower content, you will have to wait longer for the effects and they may not be as spectacular;
contains no harmful or unnecessary substances – the simpler the ingredients, the better! We take supplements to make us feel better, so it makes no sense to choose preparations with artificial additives, sugars, etc. Instead, it is worth checking that the supplement you choose contains vitamin C, which can strengthen collagen fibers;
has been treated to promote absorption – as you probably know, collagen occurs in gelatine and jellies. But does this mean that such products can replace supplements and are recommended by specialists as a remedy for reduced collagen production? Absolutely not! Collagen from gelatine or jellies is only absorbed by a few per cent, so it cannot be compared to agents that are absorbed by more than 95 per cent.
Collagen in tablets or in a ready-to-drink form? Vegan or animal-derived collagen? We hope you now know more about the types of collagens and will be able to choose the product best suited to your needs!