Everything You Need to Know About Collagen


I once read that Stella Bugbee’s beauty philosophy is, “An ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure.”

I think what Bugbee (editor of The Cut, mother of three and overall chic woman) meant was that we should pay attention to our skin now while we’re still young and plump, rather than emptying our bank accounts for fillers, botox and chemical peels in our forties when all hell has broken loose.

Around the same time I found her interview in the archives of Into The GlossI also started reading more and more about the advantages of integrating a collagen supplement into our diet. There was countless mention of everything from skin elasticity and Pantene-commercial hair, to strong nails, joint health and a world-class digestive system.

According to Dr Joseph Mercola, a physician for over 25 years and founder of Mercola.com – the most visited health website in the world, collagen makes up 70 percent of our skin’s protein and is basically responsible for making it look young. But it’s also the “cellular glue” that holds together the connective tissue in our bodies and provides the structure of our bones, tendons, joint cartilage, blood vessels and entire digestive system. So it doesn’t just make us look good but it also makes us feel good, and is crucial to the functionality of our body as we get older.

Starting to make sense?

The collagen in our body can be categorised as either Type I, Type II or Type III. Type I is the stuff found in our skin, bones, ligaments and tendons, and that’s what I’m most interested in at the moment. The two main ways we can improve our collagen intake is through a powder or bone broth. Bone broth is one of the best sources of collagen and has been a staple in traditional diets around the world for decades. It’s also one of the most sustainable foods available, because it makes use of bones and offal that for a very long time were a byproduct of the meat industry. My favourite brand is Nutra Organics – I love the beef bone broth powder “Hearty Original”. You add a teaspoon to boiling water and drink it like cup-a-soup minus the MSG!

For collagen powders, two of the most reputable brands are Vital Proteins and Two Islands Co. because they’re both high-grade and sustainably-sourced. Other things to look for when choosing a collagen powder are “wild caught + non GMO” for marine collagen, and “grass fed + pasture raised” for bovine (beef/cow). The best way to think about the “grass fed” element is that whatever the animal was eating, you will consequently eat too. Therefore grass is far better than cheap soy or corn. Another useful addition to collagen products is Vitamin C which makes the collagen more bioavailable, meaning it is digested and absorbed by the body quickly.

And lastly, where should you put it? One of the things I like about collagen as a supplement is that it’s soluble in hot and cold so you can add it to everything from smoothies, yogurt and water (it’s tasteless and odourless), or alternatively stir it into your coffee, soup or baking! Someone needs to make this Coconut Butter + Collagen Freezer Fudge!!!

Header image by Holly Burgess for The Twenties Club