What Is Collagen?: An Overview
Collagen is the body’s most abundant protein and helps give structure to our hair, skin, nails, bones, ligaments and tendons. Thanks to collagen, we’re better able to move, bend and stretch. Collagen is also behind helping hair shine, skin glow and nails stay strong.**
So, what is collagen made of? Collagen is a protein made up of amino acids glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and arginine — all of which help our body's connective tissue, skin, hair and nails stay as healthy as possible.**
As we age, and the more stress we put on our body, the greater the impact on collagen production. Adding ingestible collagen to a balanced diet can help our bodies regenerate what’s been lost or broken down.**
Collagen protein is different than whey and casein protein because of these high levels of amino acids. Muscular growth, joint health and an overall glowing appearance can be partially attributed to the amino acid blend in collagen.**
What Are The Benefits Of Collagen?
So, what are the benefits of collagen? Collagen is an important building block for the skin as it makes up 70% of it. The dermis, which provides the foundation for the skin, is closely involved in the skin’s elasticity and flexibility and is the main source of collagen in the skin.
Collagen is important for the skin in a number of ways. When it comes to aging skin, collagen keeps it firm, plump, hydrated and supple.** As we age, our body’s natural collagen production begins to decline, which may lead to the appearance of fine lines and sagging skin. In the skin tissue, collagen adds firmness and elasticity.
Collagen In Our Body
Eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise and including collagen-rich foods — like bone broth, berries, citrus fruits, cashews and gelatin — in your diet are a few ways to help keep these important parts of our bodies well-oiled and strong.
Take this registered dietitian's word for it. Red bell peppers, specifically, “are rich in vitamin C which is an antioxidant that can help with skin regeneration [and] is also great for the immune system,” Ilyse Schapiro, RD, tells Lively.
That being said, nutrient-rich foods don’t provide enough of the amino acids needed for the body to naturally produce collagen. (But adding them to your recipes can't hurt!) Supplementing your diet with ingestible collagen, however, can increase your collagen intake and help to support your wellness goals.
Collagen For Joint Health
Ligaments, joints and tendons are all part of the intricate matrix in our body largely consisting of collagen.
Ligaments and tendons are a type of connective tissue that attaches two bones and muscles, holding them together. These tissues — bones, ligaments, tendons and the skeletal muscles — are made up of proteins, including collagen.
As important as exercise is to our lives, strenuous and continuous exertion can put a strain on our bodies, especially on muscles, joints and ligaments. Incorporating ingestible collagen (i.e. hydrolyzed collagen) into your diet can help support joint health.**
Our wide variety of products replace what modern food processing has removed from our diets by restoring and promoting collagen production, which is the key to muscle and ligament health.
RELATED VIDEO: How An RD Uses Collagen In Her Routine
What Are The Best Sources Of Collagen?
There are 3 main types of collagen: type I, II and III.
Type I Collagen
Type I is the most prevalent type of collagen in the body. This is the type of collagen you’re probably thinking about if you’re interested in preserving the levels of collagen in your skin, hair or nails. Because it is so prevalent in the connective tissues, we often see the decrease of type I collagen resulting in characteristics such as sagging skin, fine lines, brittle nails and thinning hair. But type I collagen isn’t just a beauty-related substance. It’s also a major component of the tendons, organs and bones.
Type II Collagen
Though somewhat less prevalent in the body than type I, type II collagen is extremely important. It is the main component of cartilage and is extremely healthy for the skeletal system. Active people who need to rely on their joints may also benefit from adding type II collagen into their diet.
Type III Collagen
The third commonly found type of collagen, Type III, is generally found in reticular fibers, such as in the bone marrow. It’s usually found alongside Type I collagen in the body.
When we get older, our body’s natural collagen production begins to slow down. As a result, skin can become fragile and less elastic. In addition, hair starts losing its color, joints aren’t as flexible and bones may lose their density. This is why taking collagen supplements, like our Collagen Peptides, Matcha Collagen and Collagen Creamers, is important. Our Beauty Collagen™ product lineup also features skin-loving ingredient hyaluronic acid for a boost to your beauty routine.**
Does Taking Collagen Really Work?
Our reviews say it all! A quick scan of our product reviews (pick a product, any product!) shares thousands of testimonials from people who've regularly added our ingestible collagen in their daily routines. Think collagen benefits like healthy hair, skin, nails and joints!** It all comes down to regular use, like adding collagen to coffee and smoothies every day. Here's what a few people had to say:
"My skin feels beautiful inside and out! It's an amazing product."
- Jennifer M.
"It's my go-to and the best addition to any smoothie!"
- Eliza S.
"I've been taking this product for 6 months and I've noticed a dramatic difference in my skin, hair & nails.** I love adding it to my morning protein shake before heading to the gym!"
- Sarah S.
How Much Collagen Should You Take Every Day?
It's one of our most frequently asked questions! While we normally recommend taking 10-20g of collagen per day, we also recognize that everyone's lifestyle is different in terms of diet, activity level and overall wellness goals. That's exactly why we created our Collagen Calculator™— to give you the scoop on the serving size that works best for you and your unique lifestyle!
Ready to find out how much collagen you should take every day? Step right up to our Collagen Calculator, answer a few prompts (age, weight, protein needs, wellness goals) and meet your perfect match. Bonus: We also provide you with custom collagen bundles to help jumpstart your collagen journey as seamlessly as possible.
Interested in upping your collagen intake even more? We recommend first consulting your licensed healthcare professional before getting started.
How To Use Vital Proteins' Collagen
Vital Proteins collagen contains 18 amino acids, including 8 out of 9 essential amino acids. It is characterized by the predominance of glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, which represent about 50% of the total amino acid content. Glycine and proline concentration is 10 to 20 times higher than in other proteins. This very specific composition of amino acids, provides Vital Proteins’ collagen with nutritional functional properties that can not be found with other protein sources.
When it comes to adding our ingestible collagen to your diet, VP fans love adding a scoop of our collagen powder to their morning coffee or smoothie. Our Collagen Peptides, in particular, is super versatile because it's unflavored and odorless. It's also easily digested and soluble in cold or hot liquids — and two scoops a day (the serving size listed on our Collagen Peptides label) is all you need. And while adding to your favorite beverage is a go-to for many, we also have a wide array (read: over a hundred!) collagen recipes to supplement your wellness journey.
What Are Collagen Builders?
Collagen builders are a good option for those who are following a plant-based diet but are still looking to boost their body's natural collagen production.** So, what are collagen builders exactly? Simply, they contain nutrients that support collagen production, but don't actually contain collagen. Think: products that contain biotin and vitamin C (like our Beauty Boost™!), which are considered building blocks of collagen.
Collagen is special because it contains an abundance of the three amino acids that you won't find in meaningful amounts in many other foods (glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline). Muscular growth, joint health and an overall glowing appearance can be partially attributed to the amino acid blend in collagen that can't be found anywhere else.