Collagen is a filamentous protein that is part of all tissues of the human body. The name of the protein comes from the Greek word Kolla, meaning “glue”. This is no coincidence: many experts compare the primary function of collagen with glue.
Its molecules form long, thin protein fibers – fibrils. They serve to hold tissue cells together and bind our body into a single whole. Collagen is involved in the “building” of joints, bones, tendons, hair, nails, and skin and forms the walls of veins, arteries, and capillaries. According to various estimates, it accounts for about a third of all proteins in our body.
When does your skin need collagen?
With age, it becomes more and more difficult for the body to produce its collagen: by the age of 20, protein production slows down significantly, and after 25 the number of new fibers is already noticeably less than the number of destroyed ones.
Already at this stage, the first age-related changes begin to appear – the skin loses its elasticity and moisture, the first wrinkles appear, hair and nails grow more slowly, and their structure becomes thinner.
After some time, the lack of collagen can already affect bones, joints and blood vessels, which leads to the development of various chronic diseases.
Why taking collagen supplements?
It is almost impossible to get the proper amount of collagen from food, so dietary supplements can be beneficial. Protein from them is entirely absorbed by the body and often goes along with other useful substances (for example, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C), which serve as catalysts for its action.
Collagen, which is part of dietary supplements, is of two types – animal and marine. In addition to the difference in origin, these additives have several significant differences.
As you might guess from the name, marine collagen is obtained from fish. Marine collagen is a rich source of type 1 collagen (there are three in total). The first type is the most abundant variety of collagen in our body. This substance is responsible for “building”, regenerating and maintaining our largest organ’s health – the skin.
Marine collagen has long been used in anti-aging and skin-strengthening cosmetics, and the effect is undoubtedly there, but it increases significantly when taken internally.
This is due to the excellent bioavailability of marine collagen – it is as close as possible in structure to our own collagen. High-quality collagen powders are hydrolyzed and broken down into smaller particles, making the absorption process easier.
Marine collagen will help slow down the aging process and reduce the appearance of its external signs: wrinkles, dull color, and sagging. Collagen supplements nourish the skin from the inside out, literally providing it with a natural lifting effect.
The name speaks about the origin of this collagen (just like with marine collagen). Animal collagen is easier to produce and often cheaper, one can’t say that it is worse than marine collagen – they are simply intended for different purposes.
Animal collagen is the source of collagen types 1 and 3. The latter is mainly found in connective tissues and joints, so it can be used to support overall body health and recovery from injuries.
Animal collagen helps keep the skin youthful and prevents many age-related changes associated with bones, joints, and internal organs.
Which collagen to choose?
It is impossible to say that one of the two types is worse than the other. However, it should be clear that they are not interchangeable, which means that when choosing supplements, you should focus on the body’s individual needs.
If your goal is to have smooth, firm, toned skin, marine collagen is the one to choose. The main thing is to get a quality product – hydrolyzed and free of toxic additives.
If you want to keep your entire body healthy, including bones, joints, and connective tissues, opt for animal collagen. It also helps fight skin aging’s visible signs, although it is less effective than fish oil.
Most experts insist on an integrated approach – the use of both marine and animal collagen. This allows you to satisfy all the body’s needs and slow down both visible aging and similar processes in bones, joints, and internal organs.
Before using any dietary supplements, you should consult your doctor.