Collagen is the essentially the building block of the body. It is the most abundant structural protein found in the body, comprising nearly 35% of our body's protein content. Collagen is found within the body's connective tissues, or those tissues that connect and hold our muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments in place to allow for flexibility and ease of mobility. Collagen fibers are found within our skin, joints, organs, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, gut, and bone.
Collagen is a primary component in the inner layer of your skin called the dermis. In fact, type I collagen accounts for nearly 90% of the skin's collagen composition. It provides strength, support and elasticity to our mucous membranes, nerves and blood vessels.
Collagen is made up of a helix of protein bundles, or fibers, made up of amino acid chains called peptides. The unique structure and composition of these peptides is what differentiates between the various types of collagen and function.
While you might commonly see collagen in topical products such as creams and gels, the particles are actually too large to penetrate and be absorbed by the skin's dermal layer, thereby causing these topicals to be ineffective. Scientific research indicates the only ways to replenish our collagen levels is via injection (which we want to provide a safe, risk-less, and painless alternative to) or food and/or supplement consumption. While consuming certain foods helps boost your collagen intake, the amount of collagen per serving isn't substantial to meet your body's collagen maintenance needs. Additionally, hydrolyzed collagen has an an absorption rate of up to 90-95% to the small particle size, versus a roughly 30% absorption rate from collagen-rich foods.
What's important to recognize is that by the time we reach our mid-twenties, our collagen production begins to diminish incrementally each year, accounting for sagging skin and wrinkles, as well as increased ease of bodily injuries, joint stiffness, pain, and additional potential collagen-related disorders. As a result, it is up to us to replenish our depleting collagen levels.
Type I collagen, primarily found in marine collagen, accounts for upwards of 80% of the body's entire collagen composition. Collagen is found in the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage of all mammals, and scales of fish. Due to the low molecular weight and size of the particle, marine-based collagen has the greatest bioavailability, or absorption rate by the body. Scientific research has shown it has an absorption rate of 1.5x that of mammal-derived collagen such as bovine or chicken. Additionally, while most bovine collagen supplements boast the title of 100% grass-fed, because these are farmed cattle, it is hard to viably prove that all the cattle are 100% grass-fed all of the time. Marine collagen is not only the safest, cleanest, and most effective form of collagen, it is also avoids any risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, widely known as Mad Cow Disease.
We strongly value the preservation and good treatment of all wildlife. That is why we use clean, discarded scales of non-farmed, wild-caught, deep sea fish that would otherwise be discarded as waste. By using the scales, we also prevent an accumulation of waste in the environment.
When the collagen is extracted from the scales of the fish, we use a careful process called hydrolization that breaks down the collagen particles into micro particles so that they may be easily absorbed and broken down into useable peptide (amino acid) proteins by the body. The collagen then becomes what we refer to as hydrolyzed collagen. We use a very high quality, low molecular weight marine collagen derived from wild cod that is much more bioavailable than other marine collagen present on the market.
Collagen can be also found in the connective tissue that surrounds and protects delicate organs such as the kidneys and spleen. It is also layered within our cardiovascular system as the connective tissue separating the upper and lower chambers of the heart, as well as within the heart muscle itself to allow for proper functioning of the heart with respect to tension from blood flow pressure.
SKIN, HAIR, & NAILS GROWTH & STRENGTHENING:
Type I collagen accounts for nearly 80% of the skin's collagen composition. Amino acids in collagen encourage the growth of new skin cells and slow the effects of aging of the skin. Double-blind*, placebo-controlled research studies have demonstrated on several occasions that women from the ages of 25-55 consuming at least a 5g serving of collagen a day for two months showed signs of skin, hair, and nail improvement. Volunteers reported increased skin firmness, smoothness, plumpness, and moisture retention.
Collagen has also proven to assist with the reduction of stretch marks, as well as cellulite. Depleted collagen levels trigger thinning of the skin, which makes cellulite both more likely and more evident. When noting collagen-induced skin improvement, cellulite and stretch mark minimization seemed to simultaneously occur. Nail and hair growth and strengthening was also largely noted in volunteers.
It is also found in the bone in our teeth and provides strong, durable, and healthy enamel.
JOINT, MUSCLE, & TENDON STRENGTHENING & MOBILITY:
When we begin to lose the collagen inherent within our connective tissues, we can often develop stiffness of joints, muscles, and tendons, as well as those pesky aches. When we increase our collagen consumption and levels, this allows for the formation of new collagen and increased ease of mobility and function of these joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. We are able to exercise and simply, move, better.
Collagen is frequently used in medicinal purposes to assist with relief in cases such as these, and treating resulting conditions including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis, as well as other joint conditions and general improvement in exercise. This alone plays a great role in quality of lifestyle.
Collagen is also embedded within the connective tissue along the gut. It helps "heal and seal" both the gut and colon lining so that toxins are not released into the bloodstream. This prevents the development of resulting gastrointestinal disorders, such as leaky gut disorder.
Collagen is also a main component of our cardiovascular system. Connective tissues comprised of collagen separate the upper and lower heart valves, and are found interspersed throughout the heart to allow for tension from blood flow pressure throughout the heart. This allows the body's blood flow and heart to function properly. Having a healthy amount of collagen in the heart to function properly assists in preventing cardiovascular irregularities and dysfunction, and helps repair tissues in the arteries. The amino acids found in collagen help to move fat build-up out of the arteries to prevent fat accumulation and clogged arteries to keep a healthy blood circulation. Furthermore, it assists with vasodilation, or a simultaneous widening of the arteries and relaxation of muscles and blood cells to allow for optimal circulation.
METABOLISM & ENERGY LEVEL REGULATION:
Collagen further assists in regulating our metabolism and energy levels. Because collagen assists with digestion, it helps maintain a healthy metabolism. The amino acids in collagen also assist in converting glucose, or sugar, into energy to feed muscle cells and build lean muscle mass and producing energy. Lean muscle helps support our bones and burn more calories than fat.
Lastly, collagen is also beneficial in would healing. When we experience injuries with wounds, new collagen fibrils in connective tissue are synthesized to strengthen, cover, and close the wound. The healing process is dependent on the rate of synthesis and the quantity of collagen available, so supplementing our intake of collagen significantly contributes to healthy wound healing.