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Collagen is a big buzzword in supplements and beauty products today and with good reason. It is the most abundant protein in our bodies! Critical to the normal function of numerous metabolic processes, this biological glue that holds us together worrisomely decreases with age.
Depending on genetic, environmental and dietary factors, the pace of collagen decline can occur at varying rates of speed.
Many of the signs of reduced levels are obvious. Joint problems, a sagging jawline, fine lines, and wrinkles come to mind. Crepey skin is another visible manifestation of collagen levels on the decline.
While you can’t completely stop this process, you can most definitely slow it down.
Three Main Types of Collagen
What many collagen fans do not realize is that there are three main types of collagen: Type I, II and III.
Together, these three forms make up approximately 90% of all the collagen in our bodies.
The question is, which type is best for the health goals you wish to accomplish?
In other words, you don’t want to be taking collagen that helps skin when you are trying to heal from a sprained ankle!
Peptides: Type I and Type III Collagen
The skin, hair, nails, and bones contain primarily Type I and Type III collagen.
In supplemental form, hydrolyzed “peptides” offer these types of collagen.
They are also found in traditional bone broths, particularly when you include the skin in the simmering mixture!
If buying collagen in convenient powdered form, the safest brands are certified by an independent third party to be glyphosate free. Contamination with the herbicide glyphosate is a huge problem even in grass-fed products. This chemical is known to harm beneficial gut bacteria, which in turn, compromises the immune system.
How does this happen? Grassfed cattle, even from organic operations, can be exposed via the widespread contamination of waterways/wind contamination of pastures from conventional crops doused with Roundup that may be in the vicinity.
This brand is the only collagen peptides independently certified to be glyphosate free as of this writing. This means NO glyphosate is detected (0.01 ppm) via routine testing throughout the year. This compares with some peptides that are tested by the manufacturer itself and are found to be under the FDA limits for safety but still register as containing detectable Roundup residues.
Type II Collagen for Healthy Joints
Some people who use collagen peptides assume that it is helpful for joint care as well.
While consuming Type I and Type III collagen via peptide powders certainly won’t hurt, providing the building blocks for joint repair and ongoing maintenance requires a different kind of collagen…Type II.
Of the various sources for Type II collagen on the market, bovine cartilage is the kind to look for. Again, be sure it is certified to be glyphosate free by independent third-party testing.
Another suggestion is to check is that the Type II collagen you use is fairly traded and sustainably harvested.
As a source of undenatured Type II collagen, bovine cartilage is an excellent choice as it provides co-factors that facilitate its optimal metabolic utilization including:
- Chondroitin Sulfate – believed to enhance the shock-absorbing properties of collagen and block enzymes that break down cartilage. (1)
- Proteoglycans – critical for the health and integrity of the structure of connective tissues. (2)
- Glycosaminoglycans – connective tissue components that support collagen elasticity between cells and promote the ability of joint fibers to retain moisture. (3)
- Bioactive Growth Factors – intracellular signaling molecules that encourage joint repair. (4)
- Immune system regulators – proteins that modulate T cells. When out of balance, can be a factor causing inflammation and breakdown of tissues. (5)
- Trace minerals and other micronutrients
What Type of Collagen is Best?
In summary, there is no “best” type of collagen. All types…I, II, and III are necessary to maintain healthy skin, hair, nails, bones, and joints.
If you are seeking better skin and improved hair/nail strength, (hydrolyzed) collagen peptides (Type I and III) are optimal.
For recovering from injury, reduce inflammation and regain joint mobility and function, bovine cartilage (Type II) is your best bet.
For safety reasons, it is a good practice to choose a brand (I use this one) that is pure and free of glyphosate residue as tested throughout the year under various weather/grazing conditions by an independent third party.