COLLAGEN - You haven’t just “heard about it,” you can’t STOP hearing about it. The word “collagen” has taken both the health/fitness industry, and the beauty industry by storm over the past few years, but why? What is it? What does it really do? Are all of these collagen supplements the same? And if not, how do I know which ones are better than others? How do I know which one is right for me?
Don’t worry! That’s what we are here for, at XN Supplements & Smoothies! In this blog, we are going to tell you ALL about collagen, from what it is, to what it does, and lastly, how to decide which collagen product may be best for you!
What Is Collagen
Collagens are one of several macromolecules referred to as extracellular matrix molecules, which are necessary components for proper cellular structure. In addition to being necessary structural components of the cell, extracellular matrix molecules (ECM molecules) exhibit important functional roles in the control of key cellular event, such as adhesion, migration, proliferation, differentiation, and survival. 
Collagen is arguably the most important protein produced by the body, because it helps in the development of organs; wound and tissue healing; cornea, gums, and scalp repair; bone and blood vessel reparation. According to study published by The National Center for Biotechnology Information, collagen loss in the body starts somewhere between the ages of 18 and 29, and after 40 years of age, the human body can lose around 1% per year. By 80 years of age, collagen production in the body can decrease 75% overall, in comparison to that of young adults. Because of this, collagen supplementation has become increasingly popular, in an attempt to slow down the aging process, rejuvenate hair, skin, and nails, as well as improve and maintain joint health.
Roughly 28 types of collagen have been identified, and the functional properties of each depend on the source, the type of extraction, and the type of enzyme that’s used during extraction. These properties can help determine the applications of different types of collegans in cosmetic, pharmaceutical, foods, and health supplements. While there are around 28 different types of collagen that have been identified, for the purpose of this blog, we are only going to be focusing on the first three.
Type I Collagen
Collagen type I is the most abundant collagen in the body, accounting for about 90% of the body’s collagen, and it can be found just about everywhere including skin & nails, bones, tendons & ligaments, blood vessels, eyes, and your organs. Collagen type I can be extracted from a large number of sources, including beef bovine and beef bone broth, but based on our research, the “best” source of collagen type I is marine life, such as fish, which typically contain a very high concentration of type I collagen. [2, 3, 4]
Type II Collagen
This one’s for the joints! Type II collagen can be found in joints, cartilage, and gut lining, and it actually accounts for a majority of the protein in your cartilage. High concentrations of type II collagen can also be found in your spinal disks, and your eyes. Unlike type I collagen, type II collagen can NOT be found everywhere. The “best” source for the highest concentrations of type II collagen seems to be chicken. However, you’ll see some companies use beef bone broth as an alternative, because the methods often used in order to acquire enough collagen type II from chickens has been deemed “inhumane,” by some. [5, 6]
Type III Collagen
Similar to type I collagen, type III collagen is pretty abundant in the body, and can extracted from a fairly large number of good sources, including beef, bone broth, and fish. Collagen type III can be found a number of organs in the body, and has been shown to help the structure of muscles, but it’s typically observed for its ability to support healthy flood vessels and blood flow, because collagen type III is a primary ingredient in the structuring of blood vessels. Collagen type III is often used with collagen type I to improve skin elasticity and hydration. [4,5]
Which Collagen Product Is Best For Me?
In this blog, we focused primarily on the first three types of collagen, because they are the types more commonly used in health and wellness supplements. Products with these types of collagen can typically be classified into one of three categories: Anti Aging/Beauty (hair, skin & nail support), Bone & Joint Support, and what we might refer to as a “Complete Collagen Supplement.” Our recommendation as to which product would be best for you, would then depend on, firstly, what you hope to accomplish by taking a collagen supplement, and secondly, what types of collagen are in which product.
Hair Skin & Nails
Products containing collagen types I, III, or a combination of type I and type III would fall into the category of an Anti Aging/Beauty Supplement, and would be primarily used for hair, skin and nail health. Aging involves changes in the human body, that during which, the skin suffers morphologic, structural, and functional deterioration. Collagen reduces and elastin fibers promote the formation of lines and wrinkles. 
This is why oral collagen supplementation of collagen has become extremely popular over the past few years, and it has been increasingly marketed to consumers as an anti-aging product. Because oral supplementation of collagen type II and type III can reach deeper layers of the skin and improve skin physiology and appearance, increase hydration, elasticity, and firmness, reduce wrinkles, and rejuvenate skin.
Are you looking for a collagen supplement geared towards hair, skin and nail health? Here’s a list of our favorite collagen products, at XN Supplements & Smoothies, that are designed for Anti Aging/Beauty:
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Using the process of elimination, it should then be pretty easy to figure out what to look for in order to select a collagen product that is going to help maintain joint integrity, but in case it's not, we'll tell you. Products containing collagen type II would then fall into the category of Bone/Joint Support.
As we mentioned earlier in this article, collagen loss in the body starts somewhere between the ages of 18 and 29, and this deterioration continues at an alarming rate, as you continue to age. While this loss in collagen may be most viable in the hair skin & nails, it can be argued that the loss of collagen in the joints is much more devastating, at least in regards to every day activities.
When the collagen in joints deteriorates, cartilage becomes less stable, and often times also begins to deteriorate and disappear. Anyone reading this blog should understand why this is an issue… especially if you’re an athlete. The deterioration of cartilage in the joints then leads to reduced functionality of those joints, and most often, it also results in increased pain when trying to use the said joints. But don’t worry! That’s why we are telling you about collagen type II!
The conclusion of a 2017 study published in the “Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism” journal, on the Canadian Science Publishing website, states:
“The current study on young, physically active individuals demonstrated that the daily intake of 5 g of collagen peptides led to a statistically significant reduction in activity-related knee joint pain after a 12 week treatment compared with placebo. The improvement on joint discomfort was also accompanied by a statistically significantly reduced need for additional therapies such as physiotherapy or ice packs.
Overall, the study confirmed the efficacy of collagen peptide intake on activity-related knee joint discomfort making it a potentially interesting option for the treatment of joint pain induced by physical stress.” 
And, in another study, published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, found on the National Center for Biotechnology Information database, which was focused on “UC-II collagen” or undenatured type II collagen, the researchers concluded that:
“When consumed, UC-II® undenatured type II collagen is believed to be taken up by the Peyer’s patches, where it activates immune cells. It transforms naive T-cells into T regulatory (Treg) cells that specifically target type II collagen. Treg cells then migrate through the circulation. When they recognize type II collagen in joint cartilage, Treg cells secrete anti-inflammatory mediators (cytokines), including the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), interleukin 4 (IL-4) and interleukin 10 (IL-10). This action helps reduce joint inflammation and promotes cartilage repair.” 
So, based on recent research, type II collagen can not only help to easy joint discomfort in situations where cartilage has started to deteriorate, but it appears as if oral supplementation of type II collagens can actually help to repair damaged cartilage, and possibly help promote the regeneration of new cartilage.
Are you looking for a collagen supplement geared towards bone/joint health? Here’s our favorite collagen product at, XN Supplements & Smoothies, designed for bone and joint support:
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Complete Collagen Products
For simplicity we are going to refer to a product with collagen types I, II, and III, as “complete collagen products.” While these products may not be “complete” in the sense that they contain all 28 types of collagen, they are “complete” in the sense that they contain all three of the types of collagen we’ve mentioned, thus providing the benefits of all three, in a single product. This means that a “complete collagen product” from XN Supplements & Smoothies would help rejuvenate and maintain healthy hair, skin and nails, reduce discomfort in joints where cartilage is damaged or deteriorated, and help to maintain blood vessel structure and proper blood flow. “Complete collagen products” are the “3-in-1” of collagen supplements.
Are you looking for a collagen supplement geared towards both beauty and joint health? Here’s our favorite “complete collagen product,” at XN Supplements & Smoothies, designed for all around collagen support, throughout the entire body.
1st Phorm Collagen with Dermaval(Available In Store Only)
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Summing It All Up
To sum it all up, you’ve heard a lot about collagen, but now you know, that everything you’ve heard about collagen, isn’t necessarily true about all types of collagen. While it is true that collagen can help with with a many things, from hair, skin and nail health, to easing joint pain, and possibly even helping to repair damaged cartilage, WHICH type of collagen you use, is a key factor in determining what it might do for you.
If you’re looking for a collagen product to help with the health of your hair, skin & nails. improve blood flow, and help improve and maintain vessel integrity, as an anti aging or beauty supplement, then it’s important to flip the box or container over and make sure that the product you’ve been looking at contains collagen type I or collagen type III. However, our personal recommendation would be to look for a product with an adequate dose of both.
If you’re an an athlete who’s been thinking about adding collagen to your stack, with the intention of targeting joints and cartilage, either to help maintain joint and cartilage integrity, in order to avoid future injury, or possibly even as a way to begin repairing damaged/inflamed joints and cartilage, in order to get back to doing what you do best, now you know that you need to really take a look at that collagen product that’s been popping up on your Instagram feed, and make sure that it’s loaded with collagen type II.
And, of course, if you’re still looking at collagen products, and you have any questions, or are unsure on which product might be best for you, you can always stop into any of our 3 XN Supplements & Smoothies locations, in Brownstown, Monroe and Westland, and ask any member of our incredibly friends and knowledgeable staff, and we would be happy to help you pick out the perfect product for you and your specific goals and needs.
OR if you’re not in the area, you can always message us on Facebook (XN Supplements & Smoothies) or Instagram (@xnsupps), with any supplement related questions, and shop with us online at www.XNSUPPS.com!
1. Järveläinen, Hannu, et al. “Extracellular Matrix Molecules: Potential Targets in Pharmacotherapy.” Pharmacological Reviews, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, June 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2830117/.
2. “Marine (Fish) Collagen vs. Grass-Fed (Beef) Collagen: A Breakdown.” Sproos, 24 Sept. 2019, sprooslife.com/marine-collagen-vs-grass-fed-collagen/.
3. Jeuneora®. “Understanding the Different Types and Sources of Collagen.” Jeuneora®, www.jeuneora.co.nz/blogs/news/understanding-the-different-types-and-sources-of-collagen.
4. “Collagen: The Important Differences Between Types 1, 2, and 3.” Natural Force, naturalforce.com/blogs/nutrition/collagen-differences-types-1-2-3.
5. “What Are the 5 Types of Collagen? Their Sources & If You Need All 5.” CB Supplements, cbsupplements.com/what-are-5-types-of-collagen/.
6. “Organic Bone Broth Protein.” Natural Force, naturalforce.com/products/organic-bone-broth-protein-powder-grass-fed-beef/?WickedSource=Blog&WickedID=collagen-differences-types-1-2-3%2C.
7. León-López, Arely, et al. “Hydrolyzed Collagen-Sources and Applications.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), MDPI, 7 Nov. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6891674/.
8. [email protected], Denise Zdzieblik, et al. “Improvement of Activity-Related Knee Joint Discomfort Following Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 24 Jan. 2017, cdnsciencepub.com/doi/full/10.1139/apnm-2016-0390.
9. Gencoglu, Hasan, et al. “Undenatured Type II Collagen (UC-II) in Joint Health and Disease: A Review on the Current Knowledge of Companion Animals.” Animals : an Open Access Journal from MDPI, MDPI, 17 Apr. 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7222752/.