The confusing world of Collagen

What's in a name?

Many products claim to have Collagen. Sometime you will find a mention of 'Marine' collagen or 'Hydrolysed' Collagen. Most often they will be no mention of any origin at all and no mention of the collagen Type.

This is really a bit cheeky because knowing the exact properties and limitations of the collagen you are purchasing is rather important.



1st Distinction: Origin

Marine Collagen means that the collagen is extracted from fish skins.

It is worth keeping in mind that fish-farming can be a rather messy business with quite often antibiotics, genetically enhanced fish species and some bad water pollution all involved in the process. So it pays to know exactly where the fish come from (industrial fish farming, sustainable fish farming, open sea fishing).

Unfortunately most mention of 'Marine' Collagen are not followed by an indication of the exact source, which may not be exactly innocent.

When it's not Marine Collagen, there will typically be an explicit mention of Chicken collagen or Beef Collagen. 

Chicken Collagen is made from cartilage. It is a byproduct of chicken meat production and is typically a bit more expensive than the other sources of collagen, especially if coming from organic chickens.

Most of the time you won't see any mention of Organic - which may be a good sign that industrial chicken farms are involved. (Note: we do sell some Organic Chicken broth - so we have that covered).

Beef Collagen is a fairly common source. It is either made with bovines hides or from bovine cartilage. Against the mention of Organic is not that common and we have seen products dropping it over time as it is not that easy to source (especially as the demand for collagen is growing). So double-check the ingredients list if you want an organic provenance. 


2nd Distinction: Type I, II and III

There are at least 28 different types of collagen. Nevertheless it's not all that complex as mostly 3 types are commonly used in health supplements: 

Type I collagen is best for skin, hair and nails - basically for beauty applications. For that the standard source is Marine Collagen, not Beef or Chicken collagens.

Type II collagen is good for joins, but has little effect for the skin. So if you want collagen for your joins so as to improve mobility, then go for cartilage collagen from Beef or Chicken as these are the main sources of type II collagen.

Chicken collagen is always from cartilage - so type II.  For Beef it's not always that clear and you may need to read the ingredients and product description carefully as it could be hide collagen which brings us to type III.

Type III collagen is good for the skin (but not as good as Type I). Type III typically comes from bovine hides. As noted before, you should check the exact source of the beef collagen if no collagen type is mentioned. The Type could be II (cartilage, good for joins) or III (hides, good for the skin).


3rd Distinction: form

Collagen can come in different forms: peptides, hydrolised, protein, gelatin and bone broth. This at least is always clearly indicated on the products but the exact meaning is not exactly clear.

Collagen Peptides are obtained by breaking down the long collagen molecules. This is supposed to make them more easy to absorb into the bloodstream.

Hydrolised Collagen is simply another word for Collagen Peptides.

Collagen Protein is a bit of a weird designation as collagen is a protein anyway. Collagen Protein typically refers to the very long molecular collagen chains by opposition to peptides/hydrolised/gelatin. In this unbroken form Collagen is difficult to absorb.

Gelatin is collagen partially hydrolysed which turns it into a gel. Gelatin is more effective than raw Collagen but not as much effective as Collagen Peptides.

Bone Broth is made with beef and cartilage and is a source of Gelatin.


    Buying Collagen Products

    We hope that this short article may help you buy wisely. To help you we always try to be as precise as possible about the origin of the collagen in our products. You may check our collagen products here.