Sort I, II, or III Collagen? Various kinds of Collagen and The best way to Select the Finest One for You
Often times, when a person searches for information about “collagen” supplements, they are more confused than they went in. There are seemingly dozens of different varieties. There is gelatin. There is animal collagen. There are marine collages. Hydrolyzate and peptides. And then there are all “types” of collagen: Type I, Type II, Type III, Type IV, Type V and across the board, each with unique properties and uses. Everyone seems to be saying something different.
What are you supposed to believe How does a person make sense of all of this? What are the differences between them?
Let’s do this now.
Gelatin is heat-treated collagenous animal tissue. Whether you’re a food manufacturer who turns raw skin and bones into powdered gelatin for use in jelly, or a home cook who slowly cooks the beef knuckles in a saucepan on the stove to make a rich bone broth that gelatinizes in the cold, you’re using Heat to convert collagen tissues into gelatin.
Gelatine is partially soluble in water. While its chemical structure prevents it from dissolving in cold or room temperature water, it does dissolve in hot water.
The health benefits of gelatin are synonymous with collagen. They have the same amino acid profile – lots of glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, alanine, lysine, and others. In the body, they are all broken down into the same amino acids and used.
Gelatin is fantastic to have in the kitchen. While you can’t just mix it into cold drinks or toss it into a smoothie like you can collagen hydrolyzate, you can use it to thicken pan sauces, fortify store-bought broths and broths, and make healthy jello treats or luxurious gelatinous desserts.
Whenever I make a curry with coconut milk, the last step is to whisk a tablespoon or two of gelatin together to thicken it and give the curry that syrupy mouthfeel. This is a game changer folks. Give it a try and you will see. This also works in spaghetti sauce, soup, pretty much anything that contains liquid. Sear a burger? Add some water to the pan, scrape off the stock (brown pieces on the pan that are full of flavor), beat in some gelatin and reduce until it is a thick sauce.
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Collagen hydrolyzate and peptides
Collagen hydrolyzate and peptides mix easily in hot and cold liquids, giving your body what it needs to build its own collagen. Hydrolysis is the process, peptides are the end product. Collagen hydrolyzate refers to the process of using enzymes to break the peptide bonds to make collagen peptides.
All of the collagen you see is animal collagen as there is no collagen that is from non-animal sources. Plants do not contain collagen. I’m sure some startups are working hard to make lab collagen, which ironically is far less of a problem than lab steaks, but it’s not for sale yet. They are all animals.
What most people understand by “animal collagen” is land animal collagen – by far the most common type. Unless specifically stated otherwise, the collagen you’ll encounter in the marketplace comes from land animals such as cows and pigs.
Animal collagen is the most evolutionarily congruent type on the planet. Because since we have been eating animals (well over a million years), we have deprived them of their collagen tissue for consumption. Even if the collagen was not visible but was trapped in supporting bones, we crushed those bones with stones and cooked them in ruminating stomachs to extract the last drop of fat and collagen.
Don’t worry about negative things you might hear about “animal collagen”. it’s what we’re supposed to eat. It’s what we’re made of.
Marine Collagen is not an extra strong collagen made from the battle-worn tendons and bones of fallen heroes of the US Marine Corps. It’s collagen that comes from marine animals, usually fish, but also from invertebrates like octopus, octopus and jellyfish.
Marketing guys selling fish collagen claim that marine collagen will be more bioavailable than land animal collagen due to its lower molecular weight. That could be true. Fish collagen obtained from fish waste has a lower molecular weight than mammalian collagen, and this should result in slightly higher bioavailability. But I am amazed at its relevance.
A pro-marine collagen paper that makes a strong case for the use of marine collagen in wound repair, oral supplementation, and other medical applications makes no mention of increased bioavailability. It may be a little more bioavailable – the lower the molecular weight, the truer – but I don’t think the effect is very significant. We know mammalian collagen is abundantly bioavailable as most studies use collagen from cows or pigs, even if it’s a few dozen kilodaltons heavier.
Collagen Quench: A Refreshing Way to Preserve Your Collagen
Collagen types I, II, III, IV and V.
Collagen tissues are not uniform. Cartilage doesn’t look or feel like a tendon that doesn’t feel like skin. They are all slightly different because there are different “types” of collagen that make up them. Actually over two dozen. However, when it comes to supplemental or dietary collagen there are three main types that we encounter.
Type I collagen
Found in skin, bones, tendons, eyes, and many other tissues, type I collagen makes up almost 90% of the collagen in the body. This is true of humans, but also of cows, pigs, and other mammals, which means that throughout the history of carnivorous humanity, the vast majority of the food collagen we have consumed has been type I collagen. As such, Type I, while “boring and not exciting,” is the form of collagen we should be focusing on.
Type II collagen
Cartilage is made up of type II collagen. If you’re a cartilage eater, a bone scraper, you get type II collagen. You can also get a nice dose of type II collagen by eating the sternum of the chicken carcass – that’s that creamy bit of tough cartilage that at the end of the breastbone between the rib cage and one of my favorite parts of the chicken.
Type III collagen
Type III collagen occurs in skin and bones alongside Type I, and can also be found in blood vessels and other hollow organs throughout the body. Most collagen supplements are type I with some type III.
Types IV and V.
Types IV and V are not as common in the body and are not as commonly used in dietary supplements. You can see these in supplements as part of combination collagens. If you have a varied diet, you will likely get enough to eat.
Focus on Types I, II, and III for skin, hair, joints, and other benefits that you are looking for. How much of each Also, to be completely honest, getting more Type I than Type II or Type III isn’t a big deal. They are all made up of the same basic amino acids, and your body knows what to do with them once they are digested and assimilated. You don’t have to micromanage different types of collagen as long as you eat some form of the collagen, whether it’s through collagen peptides, gelatin, or gelatinous meat and bones.
I wish it was different. Wish you could get crazy specific effects from eating lots of one type of collagen. But as far as my research shows, you can’t.
Thanks for reading everyone. I hope it clears up a few things and makes your decision a lot easier.
About the author
Mark Sisson is the founder of Marks Daily Apple, godfather of the Primal Food and Lifestyle movement, and the New York Times best-selling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, which describes how he combines the keto diet with an original lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is also the author of numerous other books, including The Primal Blueprint, which is credited with the growth of the Primal / Paleo movement in 2009. After three decades of researching and educating people about why food is the key component to achieving optimal wellbeing, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real food company, the Primal / Paleo, Keto and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples manufactures.
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