Vital protein is useful
I'm goingto tell you what it is collagen, how to use it, the different types, and some of our findings. Basically the excitement around collagen primarilycomes from the fact that some evidence shows that it can modestly improvewrinkles -- aged, wrinkled skin -- by decreasing the depth or the width of wrinkles. Those improvements can take basically two, four, or even six months, so just be aware that if you are using collagen don't expect, you know, overnightor even within a couple of weeks that you're going to see a difference, it's going to take some time. Collagen can also potentially help reduce the pain and improve function in osteoarthritis, basically worn jointsparticularly in the knees
So what is collagen?
Collagen is a protein just like muscle except it's a stronger protein because it has certain amino acids proline and hydroxyproline and that makes it useful in joints.
It makes up cartilage, it's found in the hides of animals, it's found in our skin ,so it's a stronger type of protein. In fact, that hydroxyproline is what we lookfor when we test these in the laboratory to determine how much collagen isactually there, because you won't get hydroxyproline in regular protein. Nowthere are different forms of collagen.
Basically you can take just regularcollagen and grind it down, in fact this product, UC-II, is chickensternum basically that's been ground down and made into a powder that'sprimarily used for joint pain. Most of the other products are hydrolyzed collagen, that is they've been broken down by heat and then again byenzymes to break them down further where you break them down justpeptide, so often you'll see collagen peptides.
If you just break it down a bitusing very high temperatures, basically boiling hide fromanimals, you'll get that collagen out, it'llbecome gelatin.
So gelatin is a form of collagen, the difference between gelatinand the peptides which are more hydrolyzed, is that you can put gelatininto warm water and mix it in, it will dissolve. The peptides you could put iteven in cold water or warm water and it will dissolve.
So if you're putting acollagen powder into, say, a smoothie, you'll probably want a peptide and notgelatin as it won't dissolve. So those are the different types of collagen thatare out there.
Which is best?
You know, there there are lots of studies, many ofwhich are funded by the companies that make these products. Initially there wasthinking that the peptides will really better absorb because they are smaller.
There's some recent evidence suggesting that even just collagen sold as gelatin,which I said before is not as broken down, actually may yield the same amount of amino acids in your body and may have similar benefits, so it's really hard tosay what the best form is. I can tell you the prices vary tremendously: We foundsome very good products where the collagen costs only about 5 to 15 centsper gram, there are others where it can cost over $4 per gram. We actually, afterwe did all our testing, came up with our top picks, which incorporatedthe issue of value, so if you're interested in our top picks and,obviously, what we found,see our report at ConsumerLab.com. I should mention allthese products did contain the collagen that they claim.
One failed because it also contained, unfortunately, a very high level of heavy metal, one of theheavy metals that can be harmful to you, so it failed our tests because we always check protein products for heavy metals.
When you're using collagenthe dose is typically about anywhere once up to 9 grams per day. It's a littleeasier to get that from the powders if you're using the higher amounts. Thereare pills as well where you can get the smaller amounts.
It's generally welltolerated basically you're eating protein. Some people havehad digestive issues. Some people have had headaches, but, again, not common to have a problem with collagen.
So that's about it for collagen supplements. We have much more detail, as well as our ratings and reviews and top picks, in ourreport at ConsumerLab.com.