What should buyers look for when sourcing collagen?
There's a lot of discussion around collagen right now thanks to a blog post from Dr Mercola claiming that "non-organic collagen and bone broth products are likely CAFO derived". It's a bit of a sweeping statement, without any consideration for well sourced non-organic products, so here we take a look at some of the issues to be aware of and what specifically to look for when buying collagen.
CAFO refers to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, which, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture, is an intensive animal feeding operation in which over 1000 animal units are confined for over 45 days a year. Mercola suggests that these conditions lead to inevitable disease which results in the use of antibiotics - something that is also used to encourage a faster rate of growth (GMO).
To start with, he has to state 'bone broth' in his claim because the 'organic collagen' that he retails isn't actually collagen at all....its powdered bone broth. Expensive powdered bone broth at that. Bone broth is a great product with a tonne of amazing benefits, there's no denying that, but lets call a spade a spade.
There is a lot of collagen on the market, you only have to search Amazon to find pages and pages of products. Its so widely available that there is going to be some lower quality options out there, its inevitable. However, that doesn't mean that only organic collagen is safe for consumption and its ridiculous to make such a claim. Some of the biggest collagen brands out there, such as the likes of Bulletproof & Great Lakes, aren't even supplying organic.
Here at Pure Health sourcing is everything to us, we take the time to seek out products which we would be happy to consume ourselves - and we do. That means we look carefully into the source country and their regulations, how the animals are farmed, if any hormones, steroids or drugs are administered to the animals and we demand written declarations that growth promoters have not been used and that the source is BSE safe.
When purchasing Pure Health Collagen Protein our buyers can be sure that our product meets the following criteria:
- 100% Pure Collagen protein powder with no other ingredients
- Sourced from Argentina with strict regulations (CREHA) in place
- Certified pasture raised - the cows are born and raised on rural properties where they are free to roam all year round
- No hormones, steroids or synthetic drugs have been administered to the cows during their life time.
- The cows are not given any growth promoters
- Our collagen is BSE safe
- Our collagen is enzymatically processed without the use of any chemicals
Pure Health collagen is not organic and although we do strive to find an organic source in the future it is very difficult within the EU. However, our collagen is not CAFO derived nor does it come with any of the risks associated to CAFO farming. We do not agree with CAFO farming and would never associate with any product from a CAFO source.
We can't speak for other brands but are confident there are many collagen products on the market which have been carefully sourced, even though they are not organic.
When buying any collagen product what is really important is to look at where the raw product is sourced from and how the cows were treated. If this information isn't presented on the packaging or product website then ask the manufacturer before purchasing. Buyers should also consider the process used to manufacture the collagen as sometimes chemicals and other unwanted substances can be added at this stage.
Organic products are great because they offer buyers confidence that a product has been produced according to strict processes, which negates the need for additional research. However, this doesn't mean that all non-organic products should be avoided, especially in a category where organic is extremely rare.
Our advice - do your research and look beyond blanket claims such as the one presented by Dr Mercola here.