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Everything You Need to Know About Collagen

Here you will find the most frequently asked questions on anything and everything to do with collagen. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please contact us as we’re sure to be able to help!

What Is Collagen?

It is the most abundant protein found in hair, bones, tendons, ligaments, eyes, discs and organs and gives our skin and joints strength and elasticity. It also holds all of our cells and tissues together and ensures the integrity, elasticity and regeneration of skin, cartilage and bones. It represents almost 30% of all human protein content. Without it, we’d literally fall apart! Find out more about collagen.

What Does Collagen Do?

Collagen has been linked to helping so many health and well-being issues. We are just touching the tip of the iceberg in the following list:

  • Repairing leaky gut
  • Supporting the immune system
  • Nourishing and restoring health and beauty to skin, hair and nails
  • Assisting in the repair and maintenance of cartilage, joints and bones
  • Improving cognitive function (read how it has helped this customer sleep better)
  • Aiding muscle repair and recovery (find out how it helps this customer recover from DOMS)
  • Assisting metabolism (find out how it helped this customer overcome gut problems)
  • Expediting recuperation from illness, injury or exercise

Why Is Collagen Good For You?

As our loyal customers will attest, collagen is good for you in so many ways! Amino acids are the building blocks of our body and enable us to heal, grow, repair and rejuvenate. They are also essential for our bodies to be able to produce collagen. However, production peaks around the age of 20, slowing down as we age. This reduction causes the gradual deterioration of protein fibres which results in our skin becoming dehydrated and thinner and causes wrinkles to appear. It also leads to the loss of bone and cartilage plus increased pain, discomfort and inflammation in our joints. Our hair can start to thin, our hormones go awry, our bodies start to creak and ache, our digestion suffers and we simply don’t feel as well as we could. Our products contain 18 amino acids including eight out of nine essential amino acids which the body needs.

What Is Collagen Made Of?

Collagen typically comes from animals (although we are currently working on a vegetarian source). This very special form of protein is made by breaking down animal products (typically from cows, fish, pigs or chicken) into gelatine and then breaking this down even further to make  smaller molecules called protein peptides, using a process called hydrolysis. The end product  is called collagen hydrolysate or hydrolysed collagen. 

What Is Hydrolysed Collagen?

Hydrolysation is basically just a fancy word for breaking down.

It's the process our collagen goes through to break molecules down into smaller particles that are easier to digest and therefore easier for the body to absorb.

Read more about the benefits of hydrolysed collagen.

What Are Collagen Peptides?

The hydrolysis process mentioned above breaks down the proteins into smaller molecules called protein peptides. It is these peptides that are so bioavailable. This means you avoid the downsides often associated with eating meat/fish, like gut fermentation or ingesting nasty by-products. Unlike protein from whey or dairy products, this kind of protein actually heals the gut. In contrast, whey wrecks the gut and, unlike pea and hemp protein, collagen contains all of the amino acids (except for tryptophan).

Do Collagen Supplements Work?

The "science" states that the effects of collagen within the body typically take at least 8-12 weeks, so how come many people are reporting results faster? Well, the body is much smarter than science and it will either use the protein peptides for whatever it needs or it will break down the protein peptides into each of the amino acids and then use these amino acids for whatever it decides is necessary. So, even if you take collagen for skin, your body may actually end up using it for your  skin, eyes, nails, hair, muscles, bones, cartilage, tendons, joints, gut, brain, inflammation or whatever else the body requires in that moment. So, when taking a supplement, whilst we may want to see a decrease in wrinkles or a reduction in pain or stronger nails or faster growing hair, we may not get that exact result. It is important to bear this in mind.

If you don’t see results, it's unlikely that the product is not working, but more likely that the benefits are happening on the inside rather than the out. All that said, many people are reporting improvements in pain within days; growth of hair and nails within a week and some people are reporting hair re-growth within a month. Many people are reporting faster healing from injuries, enhanced performance in sports, a reduction in sensitivities to food or food allergies, improvement in mobility and better sleep and mental alertness. None of this has been backed by science because it’s all still so new, but hey - if it works, it works right? And it cannot be denied that it is working for hundreds of thousands of people globally. So, maybe science has missed a trick? It wouldn't be the first time, afterall!

Does Collagen Work For Everyone?

We are all made of protein so all of our bodies need protein, but there may be certain situations where the body cannot use the protein effectively or an individual may react to such a pure form of protein. Sometimes, for genetic and lifestyle reasons, people cannot break down protein very well, even small protein peptides. In this instance, they may have to consider taking the enzyme Protease or healing the body first with other protocols such as meat stock, probiotics and fermented foods. At other times, people may just simply have an allergic reaction and experience mild reactions such as cramping or itchy skin. This is a protein and protein comes from food so, in the same way that some people cannot eat wheat or peanuts, some people may react to beef, fish, pork or chicken collagen.

Once again, it is not necessarily an issue with the supplement, but rather a matter of that person's own personal physiology being unable to assimilate the proteins effectively. If you experience a reaction, you may want to switch types of supplement (eg from bovine to marine) or you may want to take a digestive enzyme. However, if you have any concerns, then just stop using the product and you should find any symptoms will go away. However, please always consult your  GP or medical advisor if required.

Do Stomach Acids Destroy Collagen?

In short, no. Edible Health collagen is not digested in the stomach, but in the small intestines (where food goes after the stomach). Our manufacturer has conducted testing on this very subject and has not observed any collagen degradation in the stomach. Please refer to more information about collagen and stomach acids.

Does Heat Destroy Collagen?

Don't cancel your coffee or tea - you can absolutely still enjoy them with your daily serve of Edible Health collagen powder! Edible Health’s cutting-edge manufacturer’s application laboratory has performed several tests on our collagen peptides and heat stability. They have found that collagen peptides are stable in both hot and cold beverages. You can read more information about heating collagen on our blog. 

How To Take Collagen Effectively?

As you now know, protein forms 20% of us humans. That makes protein, and therefore collagen, a staple rather than a supplement. So, the secret to success is consistency and persistence. Take a full serve (approximately 13 grams per day) every day, building up slowly at first to allow the body time to adjust to the purity of the protein. If you buy a high-quality supplement, then you can simply add this to any hot or cold food or drinks to suit your taste. Try in warm lemon water, tea, coffee, smoothies, yoghurt, porridge, soup, curry, bolognese, casseroles, dressings or baking. There's pretty much no recipe to which you can’t add it, whether sweet or savoury. Just play around with quantities and get creative and make sure you have plenty of Vitamin C in your diet, as this is a co-factor in the production of collagen within the body. We have plenty of amazing collagen-based recipes on our blog, so be sure to tantalise your tastebuds!

Are There Any Contra-indications?

This is a protein from food and so, like beef or fish or chicken, it will generally have no contra-indications, unless you have a health condition or take medication which requires an avoidance of protein. That said, always consult your GP or medical adviser if you have any medical concerns or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How Much Collagen Per Day?

We recommend a 13 gram (13,000mg) serving of collagen per day, which is approximately two level tablespoons per day, depending on your spoon size. You can take this all at once, or spread it across meals and beverages throughout the day.

How To Naturally Boost Collagen?

Other ways to boost collagen production include eating foods rich in Vitamin C, especially fruits, vegetables and coriander (cilantro); using topical or edible Aloe Vera and Ginseng; getting adequate exercise and massage which stimulates blood circulation and collagen production; quitting smoking and eliminating sugar which attaches to the fibres and makes them rigid and inflexible causing dull and ageing skin and using sunscreen at all times as UV radiation  is damaging to collagen. Collagen moisturisers can offer help too but only if they are made from collagen sources where the molecules are small enough to penetrate the skin. 

How Much Do Collagen Supplements Cost?

It is one of those products where you typically get what you pay for, so a higher price is normally indicative of a higher quality, but this is not always the case.

With this form of protein in such demand, some unethical retailers are inflating prices unnecessarily. The single, most important factor is the quality. As mentioned, the technology behind the hydrolysis process will determine the quality and efficacy of the end product.

This is why when you open cheaper or inferior brands, they may smell very beefy or fishy and have very strong, often unbearable tastes. In terms of pricing, powders are the most cost effective. They are also the most flexible and natural form to take. Be wary of capsules as these will only contain a fraction of the collagen serve of powder and often contain nasties. Capsules tend to work out the most expensive, giving you least potency for the highest price. Shots and liquids may contain a higher serving  than capsules, but rarely do they have the same ratio as powder, often less than half. They also tend to be ready made and enhanced with flavourings and sweeteners, most of which are chemically processed. Being pre-mixed, they will also dictate the taste, which is great if you like it, but not if you don't!

Shots are also more expensive than powder and tend to only come in a 1-2 week supply. Therefore, powders offer the best value for money at typically 70p-£1 per serve, compared to around £10 per equivalent serve in capsules. Liquid shots are often double if not triple the price of powder for an equivalent serve. Make sure you work out how much collagen is in each serving and calculate the price of each to be sure you are getting the best value. This article captures a great comparative analysis of the cost and efficacy of different forms of collagen

What Is Beef Collagen?

Also known as bovine protein, this is what cows produce. The best sources are found in their bones and hides. Edible Health sources our bovine product entirely from cow hide, using a cutting-edge, solvent-free, alkaline manufacturing process that is fully certified as BSE safe and free from all hormones, steroids, veterinary medicines, toxins and allergens.

Should Bovine Collagen Be Grass-fed?

Manufacturing this product involves hundreds, if not thousands of farmers, raising millions of cows across huge countries. There is currently absolutely no control or proof of whether every farmer has fed every cow nothing but grass for every day of the year.

Standard farming practice around the world is to supplement cattle feed in the winter, often with grains. In addition, there is no local or global certifying body or independent authority that governs grass-fed (unlike The Soil Association govern organic farming in the UK).

Finally, there are not enough grass-fed cattle farms around the world to supply the huge global demand for this protein supplement. So, any manufacturer claiming grass-fed is actually making false claims. It doesn't mean that their product won't work or is poor quality, but simply that their ethics and intentions are questionable. But it's not all bad news if you are worried about grain feed….. if the factory where the supplement is produced has state-of-the-art equipment, then the product will be so efficiently hydrolysed that any traces of any kind of feed given to the cattle will have been totally removed from the process.

Here at Edible Health we are always looking for ways to improve their products and are currently evaluating a possible grass fed supply chain but this may take time to ensure that it can be 100%  certified and verified and will actually produce a product of high enough standard that meets all safety criteria and not just tick the grass fed box.

What Is Marine Collagen?

Fish produce collagen proteins mostly in their skin and scales. Edible Health sources our marine product exclusively from fish skins using a cutting-edge, solvent-free, alkaline manufacturing process.  

Read more about the benefits of marine collagen here.

Does Your Marine Collagen Come From Wild Or Farmed Fish?

Our marine supplement comes from farmed fish skins which typically come from the Tilapia and Pangasius species. We choose this particular species of fish because of their higher protein content. In addition, other species, eg cod, contain high levels of fat which makes the fish unsuitable for processing via hydrolysis. 

Our farms are located in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Iceland, Vietnam and Taiwan, although the exact species and countries can be modified to meet supply if required. However, any and all farms that we use are registered by the EU for the production and import of edible fish and all fish are deemed fit for human consumption and are guaranteed so by health certificates issued by official veterinarians. Our product is also certified as containing no CMR components (carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction) according to EC regulations. 

If you would like to see certification of this, please contact us.

Which Collagen Should I Use - Bovine Or Marine?

Typically, 95% of the supplements available contain either bovine protein from cows or marine protein from fish. Whilst some retailers may try and convince you that one is better than the other, or that you need to take a specific “Type”, there is actually no difference in terms of effectiveness in which one you take, especially if you are using high quality powder. “Type” is irrelevant because the body breaks all “Types” down into their respective amino acids and uses these amino acids accordingly, regardless of which “Type” they came from. The following points should help you understand any real differences between bovine and marine supplements:

On a molecular level, the amino acid structure is very slightly different but not in any way that changes the bio-availability of the proteins.The amino acid breakdown is slightly different between the two products but only in terms of the quantity of each amino acid. For example, both marine and bovine have the 18 amino acids, but marine typically contains more alanine, arginine and aspartic acid whilst bovine typically contains more glycine, hydroxyproline and proline. It really is swings and roundabouts though, and our serving is high enough that these minor differences will not impede the efficacy of either product, as long as the full serve is taken every day.

Persistence and consistency are the secret to success because this form of protein really is a staple rather than a supplement.There is NO difference in the efficacy of the products. However, if someone has a fish allergy then the marine supplement would obviously not work for them and if someone is sensitive to beef products then the bovine supplement would not work for them either. Anyone who is sensitive to protein or has challenges with digesting protein, will find both products unsuitable.With our products, there is very little difference in taste or smell. Both products should have either no, or barely perceptible organoleptic properties. That said, we are all individuals and some people may notice a slight aftertaste with the marine. However, it is the quality of the manufacturing process that determines the quality of the end product. Marine is more than double the price of bovine, so the end product will be more expensive.

Essentially both marine and bovine supplements do the same job and they should both taste, smell and dissolve in similar ways - it’s just that the marine will cost more. 

Is Edible Health Collagen Halal And Kosher?

The collagen ingredient of our products is Halal and Kosher certified. Please contact our team for evidence of certification that we will be happy to provide.