Collagen: What You Need to Know & How to Pick a Supplement

Whether you’re powering through a workout or navigating a tough job issue, it’s important to keep it all together—and your body’s collagen is the stuff that literally keeps you in one piece.

Discover all you need to know about collagen and its vital role in health maintenance.

What Exactly Is Collagen?

Collagen is a naturally occurring, hard, fibrous, insoluble protein that’s abundant in your body—in fact, your body contains more collagen than any other type of protein. That’s a good thing, because collagen is a leading component of your body’s connective tissues, which include skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen is found throughout the body (like in the eyes, cardiovascular system, bones, and digestive tract), and it’s so important to our basic integrity that it’s been referred to as the “glue” that holds our bodies together.1

Collagen protein isn’t just any protein, though—it contains 19 distinct essential and non-essential amino acids and is made up of three chains that intertwine in a triple helix, each of which is more than 1,400 amino acids long.2,3

The human body contains 16 different types of collagen, but most of it is type I, which is the strongest of the bunch and is comprised of fibers that help form tendons, skin, ligaments, and organs.4 Type III is also important in health maintenance, helping to form heart tissue, blood vessels, skin, and organs.5

Collagen Benefits—How Your Body’s Collagen Helps Keep You Healthy

Because collagen is such an important natural component of so many of your bodily structures, maintaining sufficient amounts of this protein helps keep you at the top of your game from head to toe:

  • Skin: Your body’s collagen protein plays a key role in keeping your skin moist, smooth, and supple.6,7
  • Joints: The collagen in your body supports your cartilage to keep your joints moving comfortably.8
  • Bones: Your bones are made up predominantly of collagen, which helps keep them solid and strong.9
  • Gut health: Because so much of your gut is naturally made of collagen, this protein helps maintain the strength and integrity of your digestive tract lining.10
  • Muscles: Collagen makes up as much as 10% of your muscle tissue, and this protein plays a role in supporting the strength and function of every muscle in your body.11
  • Hair and nails: As a basic component of your hair and nails, your body’s collagen helps maintain their strength, appearance, and healthy growth.12,13
  • Cardiovascular system: Your body’s collagen gives structure to your heart and blood vessels, helping to keep them healthy, strong, and supple.14

How Does the Body Get Collagen?

Your body naturally makes collagen, which it synthesizes from the proteins and vitamin C you consume in the foods you eat. You can also get collagen directly from certain foods like beef bone broth, chicken skin, and pork skin.

As we get older though, the body’s collagen production naturally begins to decline, making it more challenging to maintain healthy collagen levels through diet alone. Additionally, lifestyle factors like a high-sugar diet, smoking, or too much sun exposure can also impact your body’s ability to produce collagen.

Including a high quality collagen supplement in your daily wellness plan (along with a healthy diet!) is an excellent way to support healthy collagen levels throughout your lifetime.

Choosing Your Best Collagen Supplement

When you value your health, it makes sense to choose supplements that best support your well-being. At 42Nutrition, we care deeply about your wellness, so we go the extra mile to adhere to the highest standards for quality and integrity in all our products. With that in mind, here are the factors we feel are essential for any collagen supplement:

  • Hydrolyzed collagen, which means the amino acids are already broken down for better bioavailability.
  • A blend of Type I and Type III collagen, which work together synergistically to support the body. (Note: Type II should be taken separately for adequate absorption.)
  • Derived from grass fed, free-range cows.
  • Rich in key amino acids like glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline.
  • Vitamin C (derived from a healthy source like organic amla extract) to further support bioavailability.
  • Manufactured in a GMP certified facility.
  • Standardization and third party testing to insure you’re getting what you paid for.
  • Amber glass packaging to keep your supplements fresh.
  • A clean, natural formula that’s free of synthetic additives, gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, yeast, sugar, fillers, flow agents, and GMOs.

When it comes to keeping it all together so you can keep feeling your best, collagen is one of your body’s natural superheroes. And when you commit to taking care of your body’s collagen, it will return the favor by helping you maintain a lifetime of vitality from the inside out.


  1. Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix - Molecular Cell Biology - NCBI Bookshelf. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  2. Bella, J., Eaton, M., Brodsky, B., & Berman, H. (1994). Crystal and Molecular Structure of a Collagen-Like Peptide At 1.9 Angstrom RESOLUTION. Science, doi:10.2210/pdb1cag/pdb
  3. Kramer, R.Z., Bella, J., Mayville, P., Brodsky, B., Berman, H.M. (1999). Sequence dependent conformational variations of collagen triple-helical structure. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, 6: 454-457
  4. Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix - Molecular Cell Biology - NCBI Bookshelf. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  5. Liu, X., Wu, H., Byrne, M., Krane, S., & Jaenisch, R. (1997). Type III collagen is crucial for collagen I fibrillogenesis and for normal cardiovascular development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 94(5), 1852-1856. doi:10.1073/pnas.94.5.1852
  6. Asserin, J., Lati, E., Shioya, T., & Prawitt, J. (2015). The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from anex vivomodel and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 14(4), 291-301. doi:10.1111/jocd.12174
  7. Sibilla, S., & Borumand, M. (2015). Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkles. Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals, 4(1), 47. doi:10.4103/2278-019x.146161
  8. Bello, A. E., & Oesser, S. (2006). Collagen hydrolysate for the treatment of osteoarthritis and other joint disorders:a review of the literature. Current Medical Research and Opinion, 22(11), 2221-2232. doi:10.1185/030079906x148373
  9. Viguet-Carrin, S., Garnero, P., & Delmas, P. D. (2005). The role of collagen in bone strength. Osteoporosis International, 17(3), 319-336. doi:10.1007/s00198-005-2035-9
  10. Koutroubakis, I. E. (2003). Serum laminin and collagen IV in inflammatory bowel disease. Journal of Clinical Pathology, 56(11), 817-820. doi:10.1136/jcp.56.11.817
  11. Gillies, A. R., & Lieber, R. L. (2011). Structure and function of the skeletal muscle extracellular matrix. Muscle & Nerve, n/a-n/a. doi:10.1002/mus.22094
  12. Hexsel, D., Zague, V., Schunck, M., Siega, C., Camozzato, F. O., & Oesser, S. (2017). Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 16(4), 520-526. doi:10.1111/jocd.12393
  13. Pihlajaniemi, T., & Izzi, V. (2016). Faculty of 1000 evaluation for Hair follicle aging is driven by transepidermal elimination of stem cells via COL17A1 proteolysis. F1000 - Post-publication peer review of the biomedical literature. doi:10.3410/f.726171811.793519958
  14. Tomosugi, N., Yamamoto, S., Takeuchi, M., Yonekura, H., Ishigaki, Y., Numata, N., … Sakai, Y. (2017). Effect of Collagen Tripeptide on Atherosclerosis in Healthy Humans. Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis, 24(5), 530-538. doi:10.5551/jat.36293
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