Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and is found in the skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and blood vessels. Though its purposes vary, collagen is vital in healthy tissue structure and function.
Unfortunately, collagen production declines with age. Supplementing with grass-fed collagen can replace some of the collagen lost in the aging process, promoting better health. Here’s everything you need to know about grass-fed collagen.
Where Does Grass-Fed Collagen Come From?
Collagen supplements are often sourced from animal hides. Grass-fed collagen is collagen obtained from the bones of grass-fed cattle. After being milk-fed as calves, the animals must have been fed only grass or forage from the growing season until slaughter.
This product can’t be derived from grain-fed or feedlot-farmed cattle. The cattle have to have free access to pasture during their lives.
Grass-fed collagen can fall under the umbrella of bovine collagen, which includes naturally occurring protein found in the connective tissue, bones, cartilage, and hides of animals like cows and bison.
There are several types of collagen – type I, type II, and type III – with different amino acids and benefits. Bovine collagen, including grass-fed collagen, has type I and type III, which are responsible for maintaining the health and structure of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and organs.
Is Grass-Fed Collagen Good for You?
Grass-fed collagen offers whole-body health benefits by replacing collagen naturally lost with age and a diet lacking natural sources of collagen. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of grass-fed collagen as they relate to different parts of the body.
Grass-Fed Collagen: Beauty Benefits
Collagen declines as we age, leading to wrinkles, dry skin, and changes in skin appearance. Grass-fed collagen supplements can help by promoting more moisture and skin elasticity.
With regular use, grass-fed collagen can reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It also supports the growth of strong, healthy nails and hair.
Grass-Fed Collagen: Health Benefits
Grass-fed collagen has incredible health benefits that have been revealed in several studies. Supplementing with grass-fed collagen can reduce the signs of skin aging, improve joint health, and prevent bone loss. Consuming grass-fed collagen can also help with muscle strength and athletic performance.
For gut health, grass-fed collagen soothes the delicate lining of the digestive tract and reduces symptoms of digestive upset. Additionally, collagen can promote feelings of fullness to reduce appetite and help weight healthy weight management.
Grass-Fed Collagen: Side Effects
There are no documented risks or side effects from consuming grass-fed collagen. In rare instances, however, people may be allergic to bovine collagen – including grass-fed collagen – which can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Still, the health risks of collagen are minimal. Bovine sources of collagen are still the most abundant sources of collagen. Grass-fed collagen, in particular, comes from animals that are free from antibiotics and raised on pasture rather than the poor conditions of factory farms. These animals have lower risks of carrying toxins like steroids, antibiotics, and parabens.
Grass-Fed Collagen vs. Marine Collagen
Unlike grass-fed collagen derived from cattle, marine collagen comes from fish, sharks, or jellyfish. Grass-fed collagen features type I and type III collagen, which occurs in the bones, skin, teeth, blood vessels, and connective tissue of cattle. Meanwhile, marine collagen contains type I and type II collagen, which are found in the skin and cartilage.
Collagen vs. Collagen Peptides
Collagen peptides are hydrolyzed collagen, which are fragments of animal-derived collagen that are broken down through hydrolysis. This practice is useful because hydrolyzed collagen is easier to digest and absorb than whole collagen.
Essentially, the only difference between collagen and collagen peptides is that collagen peptides are the broken-down form of collagen. The difference in bioavailability is the driving force behind collagen peptides as a collagen alternative.
Is Grass-Fed Collagen Dairy Free?
Most grass-fed or organic collagen powder is free of dairy ingredients or additives. Always be sure to check packaging information for specific details about what’s in your collagen powder.
Is Grass-Fed Collagen Vegan?
No, grass-fed collagen is not vegan; it comes from grass-fed cattle sources. While not vegan, grass-fed collagen may be considered more ethical and environmentally conscious than other options.
What’s the Best Way to Take Grass-Fed Collagen?
Collagen is produced naturally in the body and comes from some dietary sources, but collagen supplements offer a simple, reliable alternative.
Grass-fed collagen is available in several forms, including a versatile powder you can add to hot or cold beverages or mix into foods like yogurt, oatmeal, or energy balls. If you’d like to get creative, you can have collagen in recipes like Tropic Peach Collagen Smoothies or Mediterranean Collagen Herb Dressing.