Before we make decisions on where we get our collagen, the sources and if grass-fed, we should really think about what is collagen.

What is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein made of a long chain of amino acids forming a triple helix fibril. It is the most abundant protein in mammals, performing like a scaffold to form the structure of connective and fibrous tissue such as skin, tendons, blood vessels and cartilage.

While collagen is the second most abundant component in the body, behind water, it’s production eventually starts to decline. From the age of 25, the formation of collagen in the body gradually decreases leading to symptoms associated with ageing such as aching joints and fine lines. Evidence suggests collagen supplements can improve inflammation, sleep, regeneration of cartilage and skin elasticity. However, when considering collagen supplements, it’s important to choose the right type. There are over 16 types of collagen, however, over 80 percent belongs to types 1, 2 and 3.

  • Type I: The most abundant collagen in the body found in skin, the corneas and artery walls
  • Type II: Makes up 50% of all cartilage
  • Type III: Found in skin, the intestines, artery walls and the uterus

Sources of Collagen

There are multiple animal sources of collagen, each with varying benefits due to their makeup of collagen types: Marine (fish, Bovine (cow), Porcine (pig) and Chicken cartilage. Bovine collagen, extracted from the bones or hides of cows, is often the most popular choice due to its sustainability, cheaper price and it’s inclusion of both Type I and Type III collagen, useful for improving skin and gut health.

Bovine collagen is often split into 2 types: Grass-fed collagen or grain-fed collagen, this details the feed on which the cows are raised and therefore the quality of the collagen.

Generally, grass-fed cows are thought to be healthier than grain-fed cattle, as they eat the food that their digestive system was designed for. This means their bones and joints are healthier and therefore the collagen extracted is of better quality.

Controversially, there are no criteria that determine which cattle can be considered as grass-fed and as such grass-fed collagen may not be as ethical as it seems.

Grass-Fed Collagen

Here, unlike the USA, cows are commonly grass fed, however, this isn’t always  the case it’s simply not possible to feed cows on grass 100% of the time. When the calves are weaned, seasonal changes or when the grass is of low quality and pastures need to recover from over grazing, European cows are fed dried grass or grain, therefore, it isn’t possible to claim that collagen is 100% grass fed. The term “grass fed” is often used as a marketing strategy to make the collagen appear to be more ethical or natural.

The ambiguity surrounding grass fed could be a result of a lack of legislation. Without a clear definition of what grass fed means, there are no guarantee that these ingredients are from 100% grass fed cows. As there are no time limits to denote the length of time cattle must spend grazing in fields so they can be classified as “grass fed”, that sadly means there is no way to determine what collagen can be “grass fed”. Generally, the term grass fed is used as a broad statement, covering various cow husbandry techniques. It seems that some cows are fed grass after weaning and then swapped to grain feed to fatten them up before slaughter, some are fed a mixed diet of grain and grass, while others are grass fed their entire lives grass fed is indeed a label that can be used for all the cows. 

This illustrates that grass-fed collagen is created equal, so we can’t guarantee bovine collagen is grass-fed or otherwise.  The most reliable way of ensuring the grass-fed status of your collagen is to ask the supplier for verified proof of the extent to which their cattle are fed exclusively on grass.

For more about Collagen read our blog – The Key to staying Young

Our range of Collagen includes:

NIGEPRT000601 Collagen Peptides 90% Bovine Type 1 Hydrolysed
NIGEPRT000321 Collagen Peptides 90% Fish Type I Hydrolysed
NIGEPRT000325 Collagen Peptides 90% Fish Type I Hydrolysed 5000Da HP
NIGEPRT000341 Collagen Peptides 90% Marine Fish Type I Hydrolysed 
NIIGEPRT000580 Collagen Peptides 90% Porcine Type 1 Hydrolysed 
NIGEPRT000361 Collagen Peptides Chicken Sternum Type II Food Grade 
NIGEENZ000251 Collagenase 250000U/g
NIGEBLE012530 NBlend – NGEBBBVC01a – Nutraceuticals Base Blend Vegan Collagen Alternative
NIGEBLE012540 NBlend – NGEBBBVC02a – Nutraceuticals Base Blend Vegan Collagen Alternative and Connective Tissue Claims

Feel free to contact our friendly and knowledgeable technical sales colleagues to help guide you to the best solutions for your formulations.