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Have You Considered Collagen?

In light of the growing interest and popularity of collagen supplementation have you considered collagen? Today, let's take a dive into collagen: What it is, what it’s good for, how it can be used and why I love adding it to my cuppa Joe, soups and smoothies on the regular.

What is it?

Collagen makes up about 30% of the body’s total protein. It is the primary building block of our connective tissues providing structure and strength to our:

  • Skin

  • Muscle

  • Ligaments

  • Tendons

  • Cartilage

  • Bone

  • Teeth

  • Hair

  • Blood vessels

To date, there are over 25 types of collagen identified. About 80-90% of collagen in the body is type 1, 2 and 3.[1] Type 1 and 3 are the most abundant in our skin, bone, ligaments and tendons providing a tensile strength stronger than steel.[2] Type 2 collagen is primarily found in our joint tissue and lends the ability to resist weight and compression stress.

What are the Benefits of Supplementing?

Touted as a supplement that gives “youth” to our tissues, collagen is constantly being broken down and rebuilt. Depending on age, stress levels, nutrient deficiency, inflammation, antioxidant status, toxin (ex. smoking) and UV exposure;[3] the demand for and ability to produce collagen can be hampered by many factors.

By supplementing with collagen, we aren’t just providing the body with the ingredients to rebuild or maintain our tissues. Supplementation can also stimulate our body’s own collagen production.[4][5] In addition to this, collagen is rich in glycine a beneficial amino acid that helps with antioxidant production[6][7] and detoxification.[8][9] Glycine may be part of the reason why collagen can be so helpful with its anti-aging properties.[10][11] Collagen supplementation has been shown to support:

Skin, hair & nails

Musculoskeletal health

  • Improve osteoarthritis[20][21][22] and rheumatoid arthritis.[23]

  • Reduce activity related joint pain.[24][25]

  • Improve bone density and osteoporosis.[26][27]

  • Reduce muscle loss and increase strength.[28]

Cardiovascular & metabolic health

  • Improve measures of atherosclerosis (plaque buildup & blood vessel clogging).[29][30]

  • Increase insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.[31][32]

Sources of Collagen

Collagen can be found in animal connective tissues such as skin, hide, tail, tendons, ligaments, and bone. Unfortunately, our modern diet primarily consists of animal meat and very little of the connective tissue which means that we are unlikely to benefit through diet alone which is another reason to supplement collagen.

Bone broth protein, gelatin or collagen hydrolysate?

Collagen in its natural form is difficult to digest so heat and enzymes are used to help break it down and make it better absorbed. Bone broth protein and gelatin are partially digested to make a powder that can be mixed into hot liquids but will gel when they’re cooled. Collagen hydrolysate is further broken down into smaller elements allowing it to be mixed into both hot and cold liquids.

In addition to the standard options, marine collagen is another product offered and touted. Marine collagen comes from fish skin and scales and can be a great for those who prefer a pescatarian option.

Because our own digestive processes will randomly cut the chain of collagen amino acids into various peptides, the benefits of using a general collagen hydrolysate powder can vary. If you’re looking for a collagen powder that has more specific therapeutic effects, opt for a collagen peptide powder that’s been enzymatically processed to cleave or cut the collagen protein at specific points to give peptide chains that better target skin, joint or bone.

Beyond supplementation: Other ways to support collagen

In addition to taking a collagen supplement, consider other ways you can support your body’s own collagen production:

  • Make a homemade bone broth using bones and other connective tissue. Animals (ourselves included) tend to store many of our toxins in our bones, fat and connective tissue. Ensure your animal sources are free run, grass or grain fed, antibiotic & hormone free.

  • Go beyond meat. Try eating parts of the fish or animal that we’re not typically served. For example: fish skin, ox tail, chicken feet, or organ meats (again making sure your sources were raised as healthily as possible).

  • Reduce sugar intake, high blood sugar and insulin can increase inflammation and oxidative damage which degrades our collagen.

  • Increase vitamin C. Whether through food or supplementation, vitamin C is required for collagen production but also acts as an antioxidant to protect and preserve collagen.

  • Exercise helps to improve blood flow, nutrient and antioxidant delivery to tissues which may preserve[33] and improve collagen synthesis.[34]

Interested in learning more about collagen? Whether you’re dealing with joint pain, interested in anti-aging strategies or supporting bone health, let’s get together and make a plan to optimize collagen for your health and well-being. Book an appointment today.

In Health & Wellness,



[1] Marıa Isabela Avila Rodrıguez MRS et al. Collagen: A review on its sources and potential cosmetic applications. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017;1–7. [2] Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 22.3, Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix. Available from: https:// [3] Schwartz SR1, Park J. Ingestion of BioCell Collagen(®), a novel hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract; enhanced blood microcirculation and reduced facial aging signs. Clin Interv Aging. (2012) [4]Asserin J, Lati E, Shioya T, Prawitt J. The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2015 Dec;14(4):291-301. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12174. Epub 2015 Sep 12. PMID: 26362110. [5]Sibilla, S., Godfrey, M., Brewer, S., Budh-Raja, A., & Genovese, L. (2015). An Overview of the Beneficial Effects of Hydrolysed Collagen as a Nutraceutical on Skin Properties: Scientific Background and Clinical Studies. The Open Nutraceuticals Journal, 8, 29-42. [6] Lu SC. Glutathione synthesis. Biochim Biophys Acta. (2013) [7]León-López, A.; Fuentes-Jiménez, L.; Hernández-Fuentes, A.D.; Campos-Montiel, R.G.; Aguirre-Álvarez, G. Hydrolysed Collagen from Sheepskins as a Source of Functional Peptides with Antioxidant Activity. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 3931. [8]Hare LG, Woodside JV, Young IS. Dietary salicylates. J Clin Pathol. 2003;56(9):649–650. [9]Badenhorst CP et al. A new perspective on the importance of glycine conjugation in the metabolism of aromatic acids. Drug Metab Rev. 2014 Aug;46(3):343-61. [10]de Paz-Lugo, P., Lupiáñez, J. A., & Meléndez-Hevia, E. High glycine concentration increases collagen synthesis by articular chondrocytes in vitro: acute glycine deficiency could be an important cause of osteoarthritis. Amino acids, 2019; 50(10), 1357–1365. [11]Alcock RD, Shaw GC, Tee N, et al. Plasma Amino Acid Concentrations After the Ingestion of Dairy and Collagen Proteins, in Healthy Active Males. Front. Nutr., 2019 Oct; 6:17. [12] Schwartz SR1, Park J. Ingestion of BioCell Collagen(®), a novel hydrolyzed chicken sternal cartilage extract; enhanced blood microcirculation and reduced facial aging signs. Clin Interv Aging. (2012) [13] Proksch E et al. Oral intake of specific bioactive collagen peptides reduces skin wrinkles and increases dermal matrix synthesis. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(3):113-9. [14] Schunck M et al. Dietary Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides Has a Body Mass Index- Dependent Beneficial Effect on Cellulite Morphology. J Med Food. 2015 Dec;18(12):1340-8. [15] Proksch E et al. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(1):47-55. [16] Lee SK et al. Pressure ulcer healing with a concentrated, fortified, collagen protein hydrolysate supplement: a randomized controlled trial. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2006 Mar;19(2):92-6. [17] Knefeli et al. Improved wound healing after oral application of specific collagen peptides. Nutrafoods. 2017; 9-12 [18] One-Way ANOVA, Fischer post-test, publication pending. [19] Oesser, Steffen. The oral intake of specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides has a positive effect on hair thickness. Nutrafoods (2020) 1:134-138 [20] Oesser et al. Efficacy of specific bioactive collagen peptides in the treatment of joint pain. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 24 (2016) S63eS534 [21] Zhang W, Moskowitz RW, Nuki G, Abramson S, Altman RD, Arden N, et al. OARSI recommendations for the management of hip and knee osteoarthritis, Part II: OARSI evidence-based, expert consensus guidelines. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 2008;16:137e62. [22] Van Vijven JP et al. Symptomatic and chondroprotective treatment with collagen derivatives in osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2012 Aug;20(8):809-21. [23] Barnett ML et al. Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with oral type II collagen. Results of a multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Arthritis Rheum. 1998 Feb;41(2):290-7. [24] Zdzieblik D et al. Improvement of activity-related knee joint discomfort following supplementation of specific collagen peptides. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2017 Jun;42(6):588-595. [25] Kristine L. et al. 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Curr Med Res and Opinion 2018; 24:5, 1485-1496 [26] Adam, M.; Spacek, P.; Hulejova, H.; Galianova, A.; Blahos, J. Postmenopausal osteoporosis. Treatment with calcitonin and a diet rich in collagen proteins. Cas. Lek. Cesk. 1996, 135, 74–78. [27] König et al. Specific Collagen Peptides Improve Bone Mineral Density and Bone Markers in Postmenopausal Women—A Randomized Controlled Study. Nutrients 2018, 10, 97 [28] Zdzieblik et al. Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2015 Oct 28; 114(8): 1237–1245. [29] Holm Nielsen S, Tengryd C, Edsfeldt A, Brix S, Genovese F, Bengtsson E, Karsdal M, Leeming DJ, Nilsson J, Goncalves I. A biomarker of collagen type I degradation is associated with cardiovascular events and mortality in patients with atherosclerosis. J Intern Med. 2019 Jan;285(1):118-123. doi: 10.1111/joim.12819. Epub 2018 Aug 28. PMID: 30156050. [30] Tomosugi N, Yamamoto S, Takeuchi M, et al. Effect of Collagen Tripeptide on Atherosclerosis in Healthy Humans. J Atheroscler Thromb. 2017;24(5):530–538. doi:10.5551/jat.36293 [31] Zhu C, Zhang W, Mu B, et al. Effects of marine collagen peptides on glucose metabolism and insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic rats. J Food Sci Technol. 2017;54(8):2260–2269. [32] Iba Y, Yokoi K, Eitoku I, Goto M, Koizumi S, Sugihara F, Oyama H, Yoshimoto T. Oral Administration of Collagen Hydrolysates Improves Glucose Tolerance in Normal Mice Through GLP-1-Dependent and GLP-1-Independent Mechanisms. J Med Food. 2016 Sep;19(9):836-43. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2016.3711. Epub 2016 Aug 19. PMID: 27540823. [33] Kjaer M, Jørgensen NR, Heinemeier K, Magnusson SP. Exercise and Regulation of Bone and Collagen Tissue Biology. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2015;135:259-91. doi: 10.1016/bs.pmbts.2015.07.008. Epub 2015 Aug 17. PMID: 26477918. [34] Benjamin F. Miller, Mette Hansen, Jens L. Olesen, et al. Tendon collagen synthesis at rest and after exercise in women. J App Physiol. 2007 102:2, 541-546.


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