Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
What Are Collagen Supplements Made Of and Are They All the Same?
What is collagen made of?
Wondering what is collagen made of? Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and being the most abundant makes it a very important one. It is made up of three amino-acid chains: glycine, hydroxyproline, and proline.
The long coiled amino acid chains that make up collagen lack bioavailability. That is, the body does not easily absorb collagen protein. To absorb the amino acids, your body must first break down the protein (collagen). In this form, your body can make use of the amino acids and build more collagen.
Where does collagen come from?
Collagen comes from several different animal sources, that’s because plants don’t produce collagen. You can get additional collagen by consuming collagen-containing foods, such as bone broth, or from purified collagen in supplement form. Good quality collagen supplements will be transparent about the sources from which the main ingredient is derived. Ideally, you should look for collagen that is derived from grass-fed bovine or marine sources.
Where does collagen powder come from?
Reputable powders are made from collagen that’s been purified, dried, and finely milled. However, not all collagen powders can be tracked to its source that’s why it’s so important to make an educated decision when taking a collagen powder.
The powder may be left unflavored, or it may be given a popular flavor such as vanilla or chocolate. Unflavored collagen powder has no particular taste and will not change the taste or texture of foods to which it is added.
What are collagen peptides made from?
Collagen peptides, also known as collagen hydrolysate, are made from collagen. The long, twisted amino acid chains that make up the whole collagen structure are partially broken down into short chains known as peptides. This causes collagen peptides to be easier for your body to absorb and convert into amino acids once more.
Are all collagen supplements the same?
There is an extensive range of collagen supplements on the market today, some more effective than others. In general, you should avoid cheap, low-quality supplements. These seldom list sources or even the percentage of collagen they contain.
The best supplements to take are those with a high concentration of collagen peptides — especially the valuable PO and OG dipeptides. One example is Body Kitchen’s collagen powder, which contains peptide concentrations of 3,000 parts per million (ppm). For contrast, a conventional collagen supplement might have peptide concentrations as low as 100 ppm. Body Kitchen collagen powder also contains 20 percent more dipeptides than other collagen supplements making its powder highly effective.
How can taking collagen peptides benefit me?
As we grow older, the amount of collagen our bodies produces inevitably declines. After the age of 25, collagen production drops off sharply. There’s some evidence to suggest that consuming collagen can help your body’s collagen production. The body breaks down collagen into its component amino acids, then uses those amino acids to make more collagen. This is believed to translate into more flexible joints and younger-looking skin. Because they’re more easily absorbed by the body, collagen peptides are a better source of these essential amino acids.
Collagen supplements don’t just make it easier for your body to produce collagen, ether. One of the amino acids in collagen, proline, is a key component of keratin. You may know keratin as the protein that makes up your nails and hair. Many people who use collagen supplements report that they have stronger, glossier hair and nails.
Like any supplement, collagen peptides work best when they’re taken in addition to a healthy, balanced diet. You’ll achieve your health, beauty, and performance goals more rapidly and effectively if you provide your body with all the nutrition it needs to thrive.