Updated: Feb 1
What is Collagen?
According to Medical News Today, collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons. It is the substance that holds the body together and forms a scaffold to provide strength and structure
When I first began a ketogenic lifestyle, I remember following a lot of "influencer" type accounts on Instagram and seeing everyone use collagen!
"Collagen- it's NEEDED if you do keto!"
"Collagen is what prevents my hair from falling out while on keto"
(that should NOT be happening by the way- there are other underlying issues to address if that is and feel free to email me!)
Others claimed collagen kept them satiated longer, therefore they were able to have longer periods of doing extended fasts, etc.
So naturally I did some research and determined there were lots of additional benefits to collagen- such as increased mobility, reduced inflammation, and assisted collagen repair internally.
So I used a few different brands and over time looking back, I have to say I never noticed a difference in my body using it as compared to not.
Discovering About Heavy Metals In Collagen
Then when I began using a zeolite based Heavy Metal detox, I stumbled across a mention of heavy metals being found in collagen and I was stunned! Surely this was inaccurate, since I had been using collagen supplements for quite some time now. I began to dig and I immediately stopped collagen use that same day
So to understand why collagen can hold heavy metals, it's important to understand how collagen supplements are produced. Collagen supplements are made from animal byproducts, including the skin or hide, tendons, scales, bones, cartilage, and connective tissues left over after cows, chickens, pigs, and fish have been processed for their meat, and in some cases, eggshells. These animal byproducts are boiled down until they turn into a gelatin. The gelatin then undergoes hydrolyzation to break down the proteins into smaller units, called peptides, so the human body can better absorb and use them.
How Do Heavy Metals Get There In the First Place?
Well, there are multiple points of entry. In fact, the majority of collagen products on the market today come from animals raised on industrial factory farms—or what the industry calls Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)—where among other things, the animals are exposed to heavy metals. Heavy metals, even at low levels, are known to cause organ damage, and some are classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer as known or probable carcinogens.
The animals being used for collagen production are fed GMO grains contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides (which also can contain heavy metals), hormones, antibiotics and other drugs. When the animals excrete this toxic soup, their manure contaminates surrounding soil and waterways—resulting in the animals drinking water contaminated with heavy metals, and being exposed to heavy metals through contact with the contaminated soil. If that weren’t enough, the GMO corn and soy used in animal feed are treated with synthetic fertilizer, also known to contain heavy metals. The plants take up the bioavailable heavy metals from the contaminated soil and store it in their tissues, then the whole cycle repeats of ingestion and circulation of heavy metals thru dietary intake of the animals.
Also keep in mind a large percentage of beef collagen products are made from discarded animal hides that have been soaked in vats of acid, treated with sulfides (to remove hair), chromium, bleach, color dyes, and other chemicals, leading to an increased risk of multiple contaminants.
But This One Says It's Sourced From "Grass-fed" Cattle, it's good right?
Unfortunately labels such as "grass fed" literally mean NOTHING. These labels are not monitored, and a company can slap this label on basically anything without answering for it.
In 2016, the USDA stopped regulating the term “grass-fed.” And because there is no testing to determine grass-fed, the consumers just have to take their word for it unless they see a grass-fed certification.
Most of the “grass-fed” collagen I came across was from Brazil, Australia, New Zealand or China and had no certifications. As of yet I didn’t find any brand with certified grass-fed collagen from the United States.
Here's Some Recent Tests That Have Been Performed On Popular Brands
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and Clean Label Project (CLP) released a report revealing some of the most popular collagen peptide products contain measurable amounts of heavy metals. Animals in factory farms are exposed to heavy metals via animal feed grown with pesticides and fertilizers and water contamination.
Using Environmental Protection Agency Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (EPA 6020A, 3015) at 8 parts per billion, they discovered the following from 28 brands that were evaluated:
64% tested positive for measurable levels of arsenic
37% tested positive for measurable levels of lead
34% tested positive for trace levels of mercury
17% tested positive for measurable levels of cadmium
It's important to note that Ancient Nutrition, Bulletproof, Orgain & Preferred Elements had levels of lead above what the State of California recommends as safe.
Ancient Nutrition, Correxiko, Orgain, Organixx, Reserveage Nutrition, & Vital Proteins had trace amounts of mercury.
Bulletproof tested high for Cadmium.
Also, something a close friend shared with me was this labeling on a bottle of Vital Proteins collagen
You can read their full terms and conditions here
Personally, a company producing a label stating I can't take that company to court as a protectant seal made me feel uncomfortable, but take it as you will.
So What Brands Can I Trust?
Well ultimately that will be up to you to decide. You should feel free to ask individual companies to provide you with their most recent test on heavy metals in their collagen. Being an informed consumer is key in everything.
Personally, I will be sourcing directly from Ancestral Supplements
I trust their products and have been using them for quite some time. Their collagen is from grass fed, hormone, pesticide, and GMO free cattle raised in New Zealand.
It's also in an easy to transport pill option so this is perfect to keep by my nightstand at night with my other supplements and also take on the go.
In addition to having a clean source, here's some info directly from them on how their collagen is produced below. I am particularly fond of the face that they freeze dry it and then that's literally it.
Grass Fed Ancestral Collagen is produced from the cartilaginous parts from the innards of the animal (bovine) including the trachea and scapula. The processing you'll find here is simple enough... we use an all natural protease enzyme to remove non-cartilage material, then we freeze-dry it. That's it! As such, our collagen retains ancestral properties in a whole-food matrix that are otherwise absent in the modern world:
Typical Amino Acids That You'd Expect From Collagen — Glycine, Hydroxyproline & Proline
Trachea-Derived Collagen; Rich In Type II Collagen
Scapula-Derived Collagen; Rich In Type II Collagen
Bone-Derived Collagen; Type I, II, III
Bioactive Growth Factors
Glycosaminoglycans Proteoglycans — The Filler Between The Cells... Keeps Cells From Sagging
Chondroitin Sulfates — Lubricate Joints
Range of Trace Minerals
Eliminating Heavy Metals In Your Body and Constant Upkeep
Being that we are constantly exposed to heavy metals in so many various levels, it's important to know what we can do to cleanse our bodies!
uses breakthrough nanotechnology to remove and cleanse toxins and heavy metals from your body.
All this is performed at the cellular level. Zeolite is a unique, negatively charged, crystalline structure. Zeolite is formed from the fusion of lava and ocean water. It has been used for more than 800 years in Asia as a remedy for overall health and well-being, and for 30 years in the U.S. in animal feed. It has also undergone 13 years of pharmaceutical research in the U.S. with humans. Zeolite is included on the Food and Drug Administration's GRAS list (Generally Recognized As Safe) and thus is considered to be completely safe.
The results of research on zeolite are very impressive.
With its proprietary clinoptilolite zeolite formula, GTFO may remove toxic heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, aluminum, lead, chemical toxins, radioactive toxins and free radicals that impair your body and weigh down your mind. With daily use, a few sprays each morning and evening will reveal your body’s full potential and help you with an easy guided detox.
You can purchase GTFO HERE and if you have any questions please feel free to email me anytime! Mydomesticatedbitofchaos@gmail.com