Collagen is the buzz word you’ve been hearing repeatedly these last few years, and while it may seem to us that collagen is a new trend but it has actually been around for decades…..bone broth anyone? Our grandmothers were spot on; the many benefits of bone broth are actually due to the amount of collagen hidden in it! Bone broth was said to relieve flu symptoms…basically increase immunity, and was also said to comfort muscle and joint pain, as well as give us glowing skin (or better elasticity now that we understand). Collagen is a type of protein that already exists in our bodies, it is produced by amino acids and it is the stuff that holds our bodies together. You must have also heard that not all collagen is created equal, you must have come across the term grass-fed collagen lately. So what is grass-fed collagen and why does it matter?
What Does Grass-Fed Collagen Mean?
Explained in simple terms; grass-fed collagen is the collagen that is 100% organic. It is not loaded with toxins as with many mass-produced collagen powders. Collagen is derived from animals that were raised in the strictest of conditions; they have not been subjected to any antibiotics, they feed on clean greens and have not been caged and confined at any point.
How To Read The Labels?
Read the labels carefully! Manufacturers play with the terms so when you read ‘certified organic’ this means that the collagen is made up of 95% organic ingredients. Whereas the phrase ‘made with organic ingredients’ means that only about 70% of the ingredients are organic. This does not mean that they’re bad for you but you may prefer to be more selective with what you are putting in your bodies.
If you ever come across the term ‘CAFO-derived collagen’ then you should probably take a run for it. This collagen is derived from factory-farm animals that are living in terrible conditions; they feed on GMO grains and soy which destroys their immunity making it crucial that they be given antibiotics. These factors all affect the quality of their meats, bones, joints and tendons that are used for making collagen powders.
Peptides VS. Regular Collagen?
Collagen and peptides (hydrolyzed collagen) are made from the same amino acids yet peptides are more bioavailable. This means that they are absorbed into the blood stream better, so the body can use them faster. Peptides are generally faster and more effective at repairing muscles and improving skin elasticity. People with sensitive digestive systems (those who experience gas, bloating, or even IBS) should preferably use peptides as they are better absorbed and tolerated.
How To Choose?
There are many factors to consider before you buy your collagen supplement.
The first indicator should be the price of the product. It cannot be cheap since it is a long process to make collagen and this process should be reflected in the price tag.
The dosage recommendation is another good indicator of the product; 2 to 3 grams of collagen per day is the average dosage. Anything higher than that might be a rip off.
Watch out for the color of the powder (in the case of collagen-only supplements). It should be white; anything yellowish, or off-yellow indicates poor quality.
# Sugar Content
Make sure the sugar content is less than 3 grams per serving. Anything higher than that may cause digestive problems.