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April 07, 2021 6 min read

In this article:

  • Most reliable sources of collagen
  • Is your collagen transparent?

Your Most "Reliable" Sources

Unfortunately, collagen can't currently be manufactured in a vegan formula. It's a protein that is produced within the human body and can be found in the skin and tissues of fish and animals. While humans can produce their own collagen, we're significantly limited by age and our environment. After hitting age twenty five, our collagen production slows down and decreases by 1% yearly. The collagen that's already in our bodies becomes damaged by free radicals in our environment and also by the foods we eat. Collagen plays a critical role in all of our connective tissues including eyes, joints, muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, and skin. Thus, if you want to feel and look younger, you have to protect and support your body's natural collagen production.

Bovine collagen, often called grass-fed collagen peptides, is the most common source of collagen. Bovine collagen is a great source of type I and type III collagen. Just like certain sources of meat are cleaner, better tasting, and more ethical than others, not all bovine collagen peptides are created equally. Collagen from grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle ensures that the cows lived a healthy life with space to roam and plenty of access to a fresh, wholesome food source. These factors greatly impact the quality of your supplement. Because grass-fed bovine collagen is sourced from the hides of these animals, it helps to prevent any part of the animal from going to waste.

Marine collagen is another great way to get a clean source of collagen in your diet, especially for pescatarians. Due to its amino acid profile, it is another great source of type I and III collagen for joint support, gut health, and better skin hydration. Marine collagen powder is another zero-waste product that makes use of fish skins and hydrolyzes the collagen down to its most bioavailable form: peptides. There are two ways to harvest fish for collagen: 1) using farm-raised fish or 2) using wild-caught fish. Farmed fish are not only less sustainable than wild-caught fish, in many cases, they also run the risk of becoming contaminated, spreading disease, and containing antibiotics.

Marine collagen is basically the Rolls Royce or creme de la creme of collagen. Compared to bovine collagen, marine collagen is able to be hydrolyzed to a smaller molecular weight (3000 Daltons vs. 5000 Daltons) which makes it 1.5x more bioavailable. Essentially, the smaller it is, the easier it is for your body to absorb and use.

These aren't the only sources of collagen, but they are the cleanest and most popular. In the section below, we'll go over less sustainable and impure sources, what to look out for when shopping for a collagen supplement, and why it matters.

Collagen Buyers Beware

Transparency is key when shopping for a supplement in order to know you're getting your money's worth, and to avoid supporting unsustainable or unethical practices. A popular source of type II collagen or multi-collagen is collagen sourced from chickens. This can be taken both from chicken cartilage and the membranes of chicken eggs. The problem is that the chicken farming industry can be pretty dirty work. Disease passes easily from chicken to chicken, antibiotics are heavily used, and the chickens are rarely given free range. Even "cage-free" chickens are often packed together in huge, covered rooms where they don't have space to roam or forage for natural foods. Trust us, don’t go searching on YouTube!

Here are some other things to look out for in your collagen supplement:

  • They Fit Your Dietary Preferences: Gluten-free, keto, paleo, dairy-free, and pescatarian-friendly supplements are out there, but they aren't always the default. Many supplements on the market use harmful additives, flavorings, or sugars which can negate the benefits of a supplement.
  • They're Flavorless (Unflavored):It might seem more convenient to have a collagen creamer that's flavored like your favorite ice cream, but in the long run, not so much. Not only does this seriously limit the recipes that you can create using your collagen supplement, but artificial flavors are also often used to cover up the taste and smell of impure or low quality supplements. They also contain artificial sweeteners that can rob you of the benefits. The best natural collagen supplements should be unflavored because they have nothing to hide - no flavors to mask or smells to overpower. That means that you can add them to your antioxidant-rich, pomegranate smoothies, water, or even your MCT oil-infused energy balls without skipping a beat.
  • Opt for Single-Source:Multi-collagen protein powders appear to offer the best of both worlds, but that's not always the case. Oftentimes, they will use chicken collagen as the primary source with small amounts of organic collagen from fish or cows. Essentially, they are the “spam of the collagen world.” To make sure you're getting all of the good stuff (no mystery meat here), choose a single-sourced collagen. Sounds like good coffee, doesn’t it?!
  • Choose Non-GMO:Another test of purity for your product is to buy collagen that is certified as Non-GMO. This ensures no hormones or antibiotics have compromised the quality or safety of the product.
  • Look for Ethical Fishing Practices:Overfishing is a very real and very serious problem. While wild-caught fish is generally cleaner than farmed fish, overfishing poses a serious ecological threat to our oceans and food sources. If you're looking for a Marine Collagen supplement, try to do some research on the fishing practices of the region where the fish has been harvested. This ensures that natural ecosystems are not being damaged or destroyed during the process.
  • Bonus! Go Plastic Neutral:​​​​ Collagen powder has a very long shelf life but as you might already know, they take up a lot of shelf space with their large plastic containers. As an added "gift" to the planet, look for brands that have committed to going plastic neutral, meaning they are offsetting their plastic production by removing plastic from our waterways.

At Amandean, we are dedicated to providing honest and natural products developed firmly around nutritional science and rigorous testing standards - the advice above certainly didn't fall on deaf ears. Our Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides are sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle in South America. Our Premium Marine Collagen Powder is a highly bioavailable supplement that's made from wild-caught cod sustainably caught in the pristine waters of the North Atlantic. Sustainability is at the forefront of our philosophy; we always prioritize giving you the highest quality supplement by starting with a clean, sustainable, and ethical source, and never adulterating it with added sugars, flavors, or GMOs.

Whether you're looking for a new product to add to your holistic skincare routine, wanting to boost your immunity with vitamin C or antioxidants, or simply searching for a post-workout supplement to help you recover, we are sure to provide whatever information you need to feel confident that your purchase will benefit your body, without taking a toll on the environment. Every completed checkout with us guarantees that your product's plastic will be offset to support our environment from start to finish.

Summary Points

  • Collagen plays a critical role in all of our connective tissues including eyes, joints, muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, and skin
  • Collagen from grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle ensures that the cows lived a healthy life with space to roam and plenty of access to a fresh, wholesome food source
  • Compared to bovine collagen, marine collagen is able to be hydrolyzed to a smaller molecular weight (3000 Daltons vs. 5000 Daltons) which makes it 1.5x more bioavailable
  • Flavored collagen supplements also contain artificial sweeteners that can rob you of the benefits
  • Go for non-GMO, ethical fishing practice collagen, and plastic neutral brands

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