Collagen is a naturally-occurring protein found in various meat sources. Bovine collagen in particular does wonders for various areas of human health. Bovine is the formal term for “”cow””. When we mention “”bovine collagen,”” we’re essentially talking about collagen from the cartilage and hides of cattle.
Oh, and if you’re not a beef eater, don’t worry; you can find the very same collagen types via supplementation.
The Basics of Bovine Collagen
Bovine collagen is made up primarily of Type I (one) and Type III (three) collagen. Type I is the primary form in the human body, making up 80% to 90% of your collagen production.
Bovine collagen is also known as beef collagen, though this is a bit of misnomer since this protein isn’t really found in the beef itself. With that in mind, don’t expect to get a hefty intake of collagen from that Big Mac or even that organic grass-fed beef from Trader Joe’s. As mentioned, the collagen is derived from the cartilage, the hide, or bone marrow. If you choose to get this form of collagen straight from the source, then you’ll have to either consume beef cartilage or use the bone to make broth.
What’s so Good About Bovine Collagen?
Collagen is made up of several key amino acids which play key roles in human health. This includes glycine and proline.
This amino acid is essential for producing healthy DNA strands that make up the building blocks of life.
For any fitness-minded people out there, you should know that glycine also plays a crucial role in the production of creatine. If you’ve been in the bodybuilding game for some time, then you need no introduction on creatine. Here’s something else to consider: glycine has been shown in a study to protect against muscle loss during a calorie restricted diet. This makes it especially useful if you regularly fast and work out during the fasting window. The same study also shows that glycine accelerates fat loss.
That’s not all. Further studies show glycine improves gut health by strengthening the gastric juices (stomach acid) in your intestines. Healthy gastric juices are vital for good digestion and macro and micronutrient breakdown. Low stomach acid is a cause of heartburn, leaky gut syndrome, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Finally, glycine may also help if you frequently toss and turn in bed. If your body won’t shut down and turn in for the night, then supplementing with glycine may help. In a study published in the Journal of Pharmacological Sciences, human subjects improved their sleep quality with minimal side effects after supplementing with glycine. If counting sheep does nothing for you, then we recommend a collagen supplement in conjunction with our Sleep Optimization Stack.
Proline enhances your body’s natural ability to produce more collagen. It’s also responsible for repairing muscle tissue, keeping blood pressure in check, and reducing the onset of arteriosclerosis. Research also shows that when applied externally, proline as a topical agent has the ability to accelerate wound healing.
Much like glycine, proline also preserves muscle tissue, making it an invaluable protein for competitive and endurance athletes.
Proline also has much to offer from an immune health standpoint. Studies show that it aids in the production of white blood cells. It also creates T-cells, which in turn leads to B-cell production. B-cells produce disease-fighting antibodies.
In addition, proline also appears to be a cognitive enhancer. Human studies show that it improves mood and increases mental function. In rat studies, supplementation improved both long-term and spatial memory.
Best Sources of Bovine Collagen
It goes without saying that you’re not going to find bovine collagen from chicken or fish. If you prefer getting your key amino acids straight from the source, then making broth is your best bet.
Alternatively, you can opt for pre-made bone broth sold at your local supermarket. The broth, by the way, helps suppress appetite and is low in calories. This makes it a useful aid if you get hungry during a fast. If you choose to make your own beef broth from scratch, then we recommend sticking to a grass-fed source. Typical farm-raised cattle have all sorts of artificial hormones injected into them to fatten them up before they’re slaughtered.
A more viable alternative is collagen via supplement. Stick to a product with Type I and Type III collagen, which constitutes the bulk of bovine collagen. Look specifically for hydrolyzed collagen, which has a bioavailability rate around 90%, compared to about 25% when consuming broth. Hydrolyzed (sometimes referred to as hydrolysate) is a processing method where the amino acids are broken down into smaller molecular components using water. This makes the contents more easily digestible, hence the 90% bioavailability rate.
Consume More Collagen One Way or Another
Regardless of your specific fitness goals, we highly advise making collagen a part of your daily diet. It’s a shame that so many people only consume the meat and discard the bones. They’re leaving behind so much nutritional kick on the table.
Whether you drink broth or take it in pill form, you will benefit on so many levels by making collagen a part of your routine dietary regimen.