Do you know where your collagen supplement comes from?

The ingestible beauty market is booming, make no bones about it.

Hailed by celebs as the elixir of youth and the secret to their enviable glow, the collagen supplement market has exploded in recent years and is forecast to grow to over US$6.5 billion globally by 2025.

The most abundant protein in the body, collagen has many vital functions including giving the skin structure, strength and elasticity. Starting in our 20s, we rapidly begin to lose our natural supply of it each year – resulting in visible signs of ageing.

Which is why it’s such a buzz word in beauty right now. We’re all trying to reclaim it. While the research is still in its infancy, there are plenty of studies that suggest consuming collagen supplements can help you increase your body’s collagen levels.

Beth Levis, who happens to be part of one the most respected families in the Australian fashion industry (she’s married to Justin Levis, Cue’s executive director and son of founder Rod Levis), is the latest Aussie to dip her toe into the market with the launch of By Beth, a collagen powder brand centred on the ethos that luxury and sustainability need not be mutually exclusive.

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“When I first started incorporating ingestible collagen into my routine, I instantly saw my skin come alive,” she said. “A lifelong battle with perpetual skin conditions became background noise; after four pregnancies my chronically brittle hair and nails were in better shape than they’d ever been. It’s been my mission since to help others reveal their inner radiance and let the light in.”

Here, Beth answers come common questions about where your collagen comes from and why not all products are created equal.

What is the main difference between bovine and marine collagen in terms of the efficacy?

Bovine collagen is more genetically compatible with the human body than marine collagen, meaning it is more easily absorbed and distributed for optimal results. It is rich in both Type I and Type III collagen – whereas marine collagen generally only contains Type I. Bovine collagen is also rich in important amino acids: glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, containing 14 per cent more proline and 41 per cent more hydroxyproline than marine collagen.

Marine collagen peptides are often claimed to have a smaller molecular weight and therefore a higher efficacy, yet molecular weight doesn’t actually impact efficacy. Regardless of molecular weight, the collagen peptide still has to travel through the intestines and is subject to digestive enzymes in breaking it down. The smaller the weight, the faster it is absorbed but that doesn’t make it work any faster, or more efficiently, in the body. What’s more, the smaller the molecular weight, the higher the bitterness. To reduce the size of the collagen peptide, amino acids must be increased, which results in a more bitter product that is not water soluble and not pleasant to taste.

At By Beth, our priority is delivering a premium and results-driven collagen product – so what is more important to us than molecular weight is creating a high quality product which uses the best ingredients available. In accordance with this, we source our ingredients locally to ensure we have visibility over the supply chain. We are proud to stand behind a product which tastes great, has been developed ethically, locally and sustainably sourced and works.

A common assumption is that one better for skin and one better for hair and nails for example, is that true?

There are at least 16 types of collagen within the body, but 80-90 per cent of the collagen in the body consists of Types I, II, and III. Bovine collagen is rich in both Type I and Type III collagen. Type I collagen is the most abundant collagen in the human body, accounting for around 90 per cent of total body collagen and 70 per cent of collagen in the skin. It’s found in all connective tissue including skin, tendons, ligaments, bone, teeth and organs. Type III collagen is the second most abundant collagen in the body, found in skin, muscle and blood vessels.

Where is the majority of collagen (included in popular brands of collagen powders) sourced from in the world, both bovine and marine?

Bovine collagen is derived from cow hides, bones and muscles. Marine collagen, on the other hand, comes from fish skin, scales and various seafood by-products – so it could come from multiple species or sources.

Most marine collagen is sourced from overseas so it is difficult to know exactly where it has come from and or be able to confidently vouch that it has been managed sustainably, free from heavy metal toxicity and environmental pollutants. Our bovine collagen is sourced from pasture-raised and grass-fed Australian cattle. It’s pure, premium, clean and local.

Why was it so important to you that your collagen was locally sourced?

As a brand, By Beth is a celebration of the place we call home. Rather than looking outward, we wanted to platform all that we have to offer here from our incredible creatives to our superpowered native plants. Collagen is our hero product, so it was vital that it also be locally sourced. We feel comfortable having complete visibility over the supply chain and knowing that we’re providing the most premium product available, all while supporting the local economy and agriculture industry.

How difficult was it to source an ethical supplier? What did it take to find one?

It was very difficult to find a collagen supplier who could produce Australian bovine collagen both ethically and sustainably. It took hundreds of emails and many phone calls, but we finally found one and couldn’t be happier with our result.

What is the biggest misconception about taking collagen supplements?

We do find that some customers who have only tried marine collagen believe that all collagen supplements don’t taste great. Bovine collagen is virtually tasteless. The Original formulation is just 100 per cent Australian bovine collagen and blends beautifully into your favourite hot or cold drink of choice.

How long would you suggest people need to take collagen consistently to see an improvement in their skin, hair and nails?

Results can be noticed after 28 days, which is the amount of time for your skin to undergo its natural process of renewal. For daily beauty and anyone wanting to elevate their routine and experience the benefits of glowing skin, glossy hair and gorgeous nails, you can enjoy 3-4 serves per day.

Anyone in need of rapid repair or perhaps preparing for something special can try collagen loading. This involves increasing your collagen levels over a short period of time; 4-5 serves a day for 2-3 weeks. You’ll really see the results in this window! After this period, revert back to 3-4 serves per day for ongoing maintenance.