Collagen Powder – What is it and How is it Made?

Collagen Powder

Collagen has exploded in popularity in recent years, with beauty brands and dietitians recommending it as the secret to firmer skin, healthier joints and more. But what exactly is it, and how is it made? Most people associate collagen with bone broth, but the nutrient is also available in powder form. It’s a type of protein that’s found throughout the body in connective tissues like skin, hair and nails and in the digestive tract. It’s also the main protein in the bones and tendons.

Manufacturers use chemical processes to break down the skin, lungs, tissues and tendons of animals — bovine collagen comes from cows, porcine collagen is from pigs and marine collagen is from fish skin, scales and tissue — into smaller building blocks of protein called collagen peptides. These are then dried into a flavorless powder that can be mixed into drinks and recipes, such as smoothies, coffee creamers, bars and cookies.

Some research links collagen powder to benefits such as improved heart health, stronger hair and nails and better digestion. However, the Harvard School of Public Health cautions that most if not all of the evidence supporting these claims is either funded by or carried out by companies that make or sell collagen products.

Collagen Powder – What is it and How is it Made?

In addition, there are concerns about whether or not the supplements are safe. In particular, glycine is an amino acid that can have serious side effects when taken in excess, and some powders contain high levels of it. It’s also important to note that collagen is missing some of the essential amino acids our bodies need, which means it’s an “incomplete” protein.

The best way to get collagen in the diet is by eating a variety of foods that are rich in it, including fish, chicken, dairy and vegetables. A recent study linked collagen-rich foods to a lower risk of osteoporosis and better heart health in older adults.

While the perks of collagen are many, it’s important to remember that it isn’t a complete replacement for wholesome proteins in our diet, and that we should all check in with a doctor before adding any dietary supplements to our routine. Also, since the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate or monitor supplements, it’s always a good idea to discuss any new additions to your diet with your doctor before beginning a long-term regimen.