I always thought it was collagen, just that one word. I hadn’t the faintest idea there is a difference between animal collagen vs plant collagen.
Moreover, collagen had a bad reputation in my mind because of the ads. You might know which ads I mean: Look 20 years younger by using our product with Collagen XXL. I distrusted the claims and I hated the implication I didn’t look good the way I was.
The worst one was a promo on TV. Imagine the scene: a grandmother is happily playing with her grandson who is laughing and having fun as well. All of a sudden he stops in mid play, points an accusing finger at her face and says: Gran, why does your skin look so awkward?
Yeah, right. As if a child of 5 would care. But we, wrinkly old berries, were supposed to be ashamed to death and run to the store right away.
Table of contents
What is Collagen?
So for years I thought collagen was a marketing word. Until I found out collagen is material of our own body. Duh!
Collagen is a type of amino acid with which our body builds muscle, bone, cartilage, skin, hair, connective tissue and much more. Amino acids are building blocks for the protein in body cells. There are more than 28 (!) different types of collagen. Types I to IV are the most important and most present in our body.
Studies show that taking collagen is very good for our joints. It could reduce arthritis and thus act as a pain reliever. A 2009 study in the International Journal of Medical Sciences says “4 of 4 arthritis patients who took 40 mg of collagen daily saw their pain decrease by an average of 26%”.
Is taking a collagen supplement beneficial for our skin?
While aging the body produces less collagen. The marketing messages respond smartly to this by stating our skin gets healthier by taking collagen. Scientists (for instance dermatologist Adam Friedly) fight the message, claiming that the collagen is digested without being absorbed by the body.
To me these are mixed messages. Because if the collagen is not absorbed by the body how can it help against the pain of arthritis?
The websites that aim specifically at collagen in all its forms claim scientific research that backs up the advantages I list later in this article. I haven’t found (yet) which studies these are, so I can’t say who has financed this research. Usually finding the name of a sponsor gives an indication about credibility of the study.
There are quite a number of collagen types used in cosmetic creams. Mainly bovine collagen and fish collagen. Collagen is also widely used in plastic surgery, because it binds tissue and is easy to use as a skin filler. And collagen is used in shampoo to make the hair appear fuller.
You can guess that I get a little itchy from these facts. I haven’t completely lost my aversion to collagen marketing messages! And cosmetic plastic surgery because someone is not satisfied with her body in particular is nonsense in my opinion. Wish-medicine. Those resources can be better used for helping (burn) victims and for medical research.
Some types of collagen
Collagen is an animal product. You will not find collagen in plants. Skin contains Type I and Type III, tendons contain only Type I and cartilage contains Type II.
Fish collagen is the purest form of collagen. Its structure is comparable to that of the human skin. The skin and fish bones are used for the production of collagen powders. With a broth that is drawn from the fish bones, we also ingest collagen.
- Healthier skin;
- Less wrinkling;
- Effect as an antioxidant.
Bovine collagen has almost the same properties as human skin. The BSE outbreak, mad cow disease, has reduced the use of collagen due to fears that the disease could be transmitted.
- Improved intestinal health;
- Better recovery from intensive sports training;
- Collagen can improve your muscle strength;
- Reduced joint pain;
- Radiating skin;
- Healthy and shiny hair;
- Strong nails;
- Better digestion.
Pig collagen has also been used in cosmetic wrinkle treatment for several years.
YourSuper has a product called Plant Collagen. Plants do not contain collagen, because collagen is an animal product. What justifies the name is that the combination of vegetal substances in collagen supplements helps the body to produce natural collagen itself.
Vitamin C is important in the production of the body’s own collagen and the body also needs a supply of amino acids such as glycine and proline. The mix of the different vegetal powders is important.
I prefer plant collagen above animal collagen:
- Focus on production by the body itself;
- Easier to digest;
- Better for the planet and animal welfare.
I am an enthusiastic user of YourSuper products because I love their products, but also because of their packaging. That’s why I am an affiliate partner of them. If you order and use my code HEALTHYSUPPLEMENTS at checkout you’ll get 15% reduction.
YourSuper Plant Collagen
Taste: Neutral flavor with a hint of vanilla
- Tocos* – rice bran solubles (Thailand);
- Pea Protein* – made by extracting protein from yellow peas (Belgium);
- Tremella* – a kind of mushroom (China);
- Lucuma* – a kind of fruit (Peru);
- Vanilla* – a flavoring agent derived from the fruits of the climbing orchid of the genus Vanilla (Madagascar);
- Aloe Vera* – a kind of succulent (China).
*= Organic certified
Every ingredient of this product, but also of the other YourSuper products is certified organic, non-GMO certified, glyphosate-free, plant-based and gluten-free. There are no sweeteners, stevia, artificial flavors, fillers, preservatives or additives in them.
They have a 100% transparent supply chain. YourSuper sources all of their ingredients directly from the farmers, they know where they come from and try to have a positive impact on the local communities where they’re sourced.
The latter makes it such a sympathetic company for me. I am convinced that the world is being exploited, so every bit I can do to improve that through my choice of brands is an advantage.
Final words on animal collagen vs plant collagen
The question remains why I would use collagen. It’s pretty clear that I have my reservations. Well, what struck me was that enough collagen production in the body can relieve arthritis pain. As my hands are painful at times, it’s worth investigating if this might help me. I’ll keep you posted.
What are your thoughts about collagen? Tell me in the comment box.