428 – What is Collagen and How Does It Work?

Yolanda Fenton discusses collagen, its various benefits, and how to select the best collagen formula

Yolanda Fenton discusses collagen, its various benefits, and how to select the best collagen formula

In this interview, Yolanda Fenton discusses the many benefits of collagen. She also emphasizes the importance of knowing the difference between high quality and low quality raw materials, as well as the importance of having a product tested for contaminants.

Collagen is a protein that is found in the connective tissues of the body. It makes up 25-35% of the protein in the body and is the main structural protein. It is responsible for repairing the body after an injury and is also known for its beauty benefits. Collagen can be taken as a supplement in order to improve the health of the skin, hair, nails, and joints.

Yolanda discusses the importance of collagen in maintaining healthy and youthful skin. The decline in collagen production with age is a major factor in the development of wrinkles and other signs of aging. The body needs specific amino acids to create collagen, and these can be found in collagen supplements. Collagen production can be further decreased by poor dietary habits and other factors, leading to premature aging.

Collagen vector illustration. Medical and anatomical labeled scheme with fibers, epidermis, hypodermis and muscle. Weakening low and optimal production compared diagram. Skin care and biology basics.

Collagen is an important protein for skin health, and its levels decrease as we age. This leads to wrinkles and a loss of elasticity. Supplementing with collagen can help to plump the skin and reduce the signs of aging.

Natural Factors uses a clinically studied, trademarked ingredient called VERISOL®. Here is an excerpt from the VERISOL® website:

Collagen is the major structural component of skin, comprising about 80 % of its dry weight. Skin properties are known to be affected by endogenous and environmental factors including aging, ultraviolet radiation, hormones and nutrition. VERISOL® can stimulate skin metabolism and counteract the loss of collagenous extracellular matrix from the inside. Consumers who ingest the natural Bioactive Collagen Peptides® VERISOL® specially optimized for beauty applications can experience noticeably firmer and smoother skin with fewer wrinkles. The positive effect of VERISOL® also shows in an improved skin surface structure, reducing cellulite and a faster nail growth with reportedly less chipping of fingernails. VERISOL®. end excerpt. You can read more about the studies with VERISOL®

Summary: (see full transcript below)

  • People know collagen for beauty, but are there other parts of the body that need collagen?
  • How many different types of collagen are there–and are any “better” than others?
  • What are the important differences between types 1, 2 and 3?
  • How do we support collagen in the body?
  • Are there concerns with collagen supplements?
  • What is hydrolyzed collagen?
  • What are the benefits of using hydrolyzed collagen
  • What makes Total Body Collagen unique?
  • The unique benefits of Verisol.
  • The benefits of Collactive.
  • What role do the synergistic ingredients play in Total Body Collagen?
  • What is the best way for someone to incorporate Total Body Collagen into their lives?
  • What is ISURA?

Total Body Collagen

Total Body Collagen

Total Body Collagen powder contains Verisol® Bioactive collagen peptides, a clinically supported form of hydrolyzed collagen. This formula features a complete amino acid profile including L-tryptophan that helps your body optimize absorption and increase collagen production, reducing wrinkles and fine lines and improving skin elasticity.* Sourced from pasture-raised, grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic- free cattle, Total Body Collagen is clean and certified free of contaminants.

  • Reduces deep wrinkles in as little as 28 days*
  • Helps increase skin elasticity and density while reducing the appearance of fine lines and crow’s feet*
  • Promotes healthy hair and strong nails*
  • Helps strengthen your bones and muscles, promotes joint comfort and mobility, and supports gut health*
  • Contains hyaluronic acid, biotin, vitamin C, L-glutamine, and L-tryptophan

Yolanda Fenton

Yolanda Fenton

Yolanda Fenton, BSc, is Director of Product Development for Natural Factors. She has spent 24 years in the nutraceutical and supplement industry advancing product development and education. Her focus and passion for spotting product trends has helped to direct the dynamic evolution and growth of Natural Factors.

Natural Factors

Listen to all Natural Factors interviews.

Today, Natural Factors is one of the largest manufacturers of nutritional products in North America. But our origins reach back to the 1950s, and right from day one, we’ve always been fully committed to making products right. We are not a public company with shareholders to impress. Instead, we care about impressing you.

One of the things that set Natural Factors apart from others in our industry is the breadth of knowledge represented by the scientific experts that work for us. Drawn from around the world and chosen for their unique training and background, our scientists and quality control specialists are recognized experts in their fields.

Factors Farms are certified organic, we don’t pollute the earth with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Our crops are fertilized only with compost and nitrogen-rich sea plants. We grow true “species” non-hybridized, non-GMO seeds, including many open-pollinated varieties. Growing locally also helps reduce carbon emissions from overseas transportation, and keep jobs in the community.

Natural Factors



collagen, amino acids, Yolanda Fenton, skin, Natural Factors, hydrolyzed collagen,


Yolanda Fenton, Director of Product Innovation for Natural Factors

Steve Lankford – Host

Steve Lankford  00:29

Hello, and welcome back to Health Quest Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Lankford. Thanks for joining me. I’m glad you’re here. This is going to be a fun interview for me. I know because it’s with one of my favorite companies. And one of those guests that I’ve just begun to get to know Yolanda Fenton. Yolanda has been our guests before on behalf of Natural Factors. And we talked about fermented foods. And it was interesting, because that was our 30th interview with Natural Factors. And they’re experts over many years, over a decade, they’ve been sponsors of Health Quest Podcast, and Yolanda is our newest guest expert. So I’m always excited to be talking to somebody new about these interesting and innovative topics. Yolanda is the Director of Product Innovation for Natural Factors. And she spent close to 30 years in the nutritional and nutraceutical supplement industry. She’s been in product development in education, I think she has a real strength in education. I know that from our last interview, and her ability to make some of these challenging, and sometimes difficult nutrients understandable make them accessible to the average consumer. That’s what we’re all about. Nutrition can be very confusing for a lot of people. How do you make sense of it?

Well, you know, if you’re a regular listener to our show, that we direct you to some of the best companies in the natural products industry. But what makes these companies particularly good is their commitment to the science, their commitment to the raw materials to the products and having their products tested. Using these trademark, branded clinically studied raw materials is one of the ways that you know, you’re getting ingredients that have been shown to be safe and effective through good science. And that’s what we’re always looking for. We want to understand the science of these nutrients. And so it’s in that capacity. I’m pleased to introduce you once again. Yolanda Fenton. Yolanda, welcome back to Health Quest Podcast.

Yolanda Fenton 02:38

Thank you, Steve. That was a great introduction.

Steve Lankford  02:40

Well, thank you. Well, you’re one of my favorite companies. I’ve used your products for decades, I’ve learned so much from the experts that Natural Factors has made available to us. And I would like to just shout out to Natural Factors for being such a strong supporter, not only for Health Quest podcasts, but for education in general. This is a passion that they understand their commitment to the natural products, industry, their commitment to making sure that their ingredients are up to par that are what they say they are. And this is not so common necessarily for all natural products that people can buy. So it’s good to know good companies. And how do we know it’s through these commitments that you have made Natural Factors has made to the science to the certifications, to having your own organic farm, there’s just so many things that we’ve covered. And I want to suggest to our listeners go back and explore this library of content, just go to the tag index, look up Natural Factors, and it will lead you to all of the Natural Factors, interviews, you can also narrow down to just Yolanda’s interviews, or any of the experts or companies that we have there.

Our topic today is going to be collagen. This is one that a lot of people have heard about, a lot of people have started to use. But like most things, are all collagen the same? Are there clinically studied variations that we can have confidence. And how do we know that the products that we’re using are clean, uncontaminated, there’s only one way to know and that’s by having your products tested? So we’re going to touch upon what Natural Factors does in that regard as well. Well, Yolanda, let’s just start off with a primer on college and what is it? How does it work? How is it used? How is it gained such popularity?

Yolanda Fenton 04:36

Great question. It’s good to do a primer because I’m sure your audience has heard lots about collagen, likely they’re taking a collagen product or they’re about to hopefully, collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. It makes up about 25 to 35% of our total protein, and it’s the main structural protein and connective tissue so it’s quite important in maintaining all our bodies functions. I always say to people, the best way to think about collagen is as a glue that holds things together. So structurally, collagen provides like the scaffold for other important nutrients. It’s the major building block of tendons, ligaments, bones, muscles, and skin. It also helps our body repair itself after we have an injury, especially areas like tendons, ligaments, muscles.

The anatomical structure of the skin, aging skin, young and old skin

And of course, one of the more well known benefits of collagen is beauty from within. And there’s a reason why we say this because skin is approximately 80%, say, versus collagen in our bones, which is approximately 45% Collagen by volume. So it gives you an idea of how much collagen is in our skin. So in addition to collagen, our skin also makes two very important components elastin and hyaluronic acid. And these nutrients, they bind on collagen sites to maintain that smoother, thicker, tighter skin. Unfortunately, as we age, like a lot of things with the reduction in collagen production, there are simply fewer binding sites for these other skin components, like the hyaluronic acid, and elastin. And so what happens is that over time, wrinkles will start to develop due to lack of hydration, the lack of elasticity and our skin, as well as the actual thinning of our skin.

Our body creates its own collagen, Steve, and how it does this is it combines very specific amino acids, along with vitamin C, zinc, copper, and a few other nutrients. Now the specific amino acids and this is really important, why I’m mentioning this because we’ll come back to this again. They are arginine, proline, glycine and hydroxy proline. So this specific amino acid profile makes it very different than other proteins such as whey protein, casein protein that you would typically find in a way supplements. And so this is why collagen isn’t considered a complete protein and it shouldn’t be relied upon as a protein supplement, per se. Don’t get me wrong, you’re getting protein from collagen, but you can’t rely upon it rather as a complete protein. And we’ll explain why.

Now, I mentioned earlier that collagen levels, they decline with age. So why does that happen? So factors obviously, just simply aging right? poor dietary habits, this definitely leads to collagen decline. This accounts for wrinkly skin, it can definitely contribute to many joint health issues. Definitely premature graying or whitening of the hair, muscle atrophy and brittle bones. So in short, you’re aging prematurely. Think about it this way, collagen production decreases about 1% per year beginning at the age of 21. I mean, that’s so young, right? Unfortunately, it gets a little bit worse that in post menopausal women, there’s a loss of about 30% of skin collagen in the first five years. And that’s just simply because of all of the changes that are happening with our hormones, right, notably estrogen and progesterone.

And also the average person’s skin decreases in thickness by 6.5%, give or take about every 10 years. And so all of these factors contribute to essentially skin that doesn’t look very smooth, it has wrinkles. In some cases, people have very defined wrinkles. And again, the hydration also contributes to that as well or lack of hydration. So supplementing with collagen, either through supplements or through your diet, or both. Ideally, we can think of collagen as helping to plump your skin from inside out.

Steve Lankford  08:45

I have a visualization that I’ve used that sometimes I think helps illustrate this. Jello is made of collagen, if I’m correct. And when I was a kid, my mom would make Jello and put in a can of fruit cocktail. And so there’d be little grapes, and there’d be peaches, all this floating, so to speak in this jello. And so I’m visualizing collagen, as that jello holding our cells. And of course, jello is very supple. You poke it and it wiggles. So visualizing that as actually collagen and the cells within the jello. Does that kinda ring a bell as to maybe people can use this to understand why collagen is important and perhaps why as we lose collagen, that elasticity that suppleness starts to disappear. Is that a good analogy for you?

Yolanda Fenton 09:40

That’s an excellent analogy, Steve. Actually, that’s the first I’ve heard but the moment you mentioned it the moment you said the word jello, I instantly understood what that meant. And I think that that visual is great for your audience. I also like to use the comparison of from a structural perspective, think about in roads bridges like large structural component In its right of our infrastructure, I think of collagen as like the rebar. The rebars are structurally amongst the most important components. In these types of infrastructure. Obviously, all of the other components right are important as well. But without the rebar over time that structural component, that infrastructure likely is going to collapse. Those are both really good analogies, the jello and I think the rebar

Steve Lankford  10:26

well, it helps people kind of see what it is that we’re talking about when we can’t actually look at it unless we have our own microscopes and so on. And we’re not scientists, we don’t, I’m not anyway. So I’ve heard that there are many different types of collagen. I’m not sure if they’re all used as supplements, but give us an overview of say the different sources and perhaps there are advantages to some over others.

Yolanda Fenton 10:52

Definitely, I know, there’s probably some confusion over this certainly, because over the last 10 years, I think you can say that many collagen products have been entering the marketplace. And although the majority are predominantly types one and three. And then of course, you’ll also see separate collagen supplements that are sold as type two collagen and we’ll explain the difference. But thus far, there have been about 20 types of collagen identified. But remember that over 90% of the collagen in our body is type one, so that you can understand that type one clearly is the most important type one collagen is found in non cartilaginous connective tissues such as bones, tendons, and skin, it also makes up a lot of the structural component of our micro vessels like our capillaries.

So this type of structural protein is what our bodies use for helping to grow thicker, stronger hair and nails. It also helps to rebuild muscles, eyes improves our skin elasticity as we talked to a few moments ago and hydration. Type Two collagen, on the other hand, is distributed throughout much of our tissue. Most of this type of collagen is found in our cartilage, and the vitreous humor, which is the gel in our eyes. And its main job is to protect your bones and joints and spinal discs. So type two collagen is almost synonymous with helping support joint health. Type three collagen is similar to type one collagen, and that it is a structural collagen in that we find it abundant in our skin, the lungs, our vascular system, intestines, etc. So it has a lot of like gut healing properties as well as helping to improve our skin and hydration.

So definitely type one and three collagen would be considered more for skin health and just overall body support. Whereas type two collagen is definitely more targeted for joint health. And that’s why you do see collagen supplements typically that are marketed for joint health are largely type two collagen. And sometimes they will occur with additional nutrients that support joint health like glucosamine or chondroitin or some anti inflammatory botanicals, boswellia tumeric, things like that. And notably, we are seeing also a few other brands of collagen that are launching that they refer to as multi collagen. And usually they will contain four or five types of collagen. So the two other notable collagen that I wanted to mention, type five and type 10 collagen. So type five collagen is needed to make the surface of cells or the cellular membranes. And that’s really important, right, because we want to make sure that the cellular membrane integrity is intact in order for it to function properly to produce very important metabolic components as well as to eliminate the byproducts or the metabolites. So the type five collagen definitely is very important to type 10 Collagen is more synonymous with new bone formation and forming articular cartilage for your viewers. If you’re not familiar with what articular cartilage is, it’s the smooth white tissue that covers the ends of bones, where they come together to form joints. So it does have a synergistic relationship if you will, with type two collagen in that matter. So again, many different types of collagen, but I think the take home message for the audience is that types one collagen is the most important followed by type two and three collagen.

Steve Lankford  14:27

Would it make sense that a consumer who is looking to support a particular structure in the body let’s say the skin would they be advised to choose a type one collagen? Or can they use a mixed collagen and then see perhaps benefits in a greater area? Does it make sense to target your collagen or to seek a broader all inclusive kind of collagen, say of types? One, two and three?

Yolanda Fenton 14:55

Yeah, that’s a great question, Steve. I definitely think that depending on what your needs are, I mean A lot of people are definitely reaching to Collagen For more of that beauty from within. Because I mean, let’s face it right as we get older, we do start to notice that our skin isn’t as tight as it used to be, maybe we’re noticing that it’s sagging a little bit that we’re starting to develop some wrinkles, maybe even on our hands and our neck. So definitely, if that is really what you’re after, then absolutely, it makes sense to purchase a targeted skin type collagen formula, which will predominantly be type one collagen, but you’re almost always going to find it with naturally occurring type three collagen as well.

Whereas if you’re looking for something that’s going to help your joints, maybe to also help with recovery, maybe you’re into fitness, and you want to just give your joints some TLC, then definitely getting a targeted formula that is more predominantly type two collagen would be beneficial. If you’re just simply looking for a more balanced, well rounded multi collagen, where you just want to get the benefits of it all that all that collagen has to offer, then perhaps a multi collagen might be your best bets.

But again, just be aware of when you’re looking at a multi collagen, you want to make sure the sources of the collagen are referenced so that you can see okay, what am I actually getting right? Because some companies will design formulas so that it contains really small amounts of maybe certain types of collagen, where it’s predominantly one type of collagen. So you just need to make sure that you look for that as well.

Steve Lankford  16:33

Well, one of the terms that was mentioned to me that I wasn’t really familiar enough to be able to explain it to somebody else is this term hydrolyzed. I’ve seen this reference to college and what is hydrolyzed collagen? And how, what are the distinctions between that and say, unhydrolyzed collagen,

Yolanda Fenton 16:53

so on hydrolyzed collagen, which we don’t really see a lot in the market would basically be referred to as native collagen. Collagen is a very poorly absorbed ingredient. It’s a very large molecule. And so you have to do something to it from a manufacturing side. And so hydrolyzeation is essentially an enzymatic process, whereby we break down the collagen into basically peptides or amino acids. So they’re broken down really into small peptides, smaller amino acids that your body can better absorb and better utilize. I mean, quite simply, if you’re buying a collagen that isn’t hydrolyzed, and you’re trying to use it for beauty from within, you’re really not going to be absorbing it, I don’t care how much collagen is in that product, you’re just simply not getting the benefits of say if it was hydrolyzed. And so for the most part, Steve, the majority of collagen on the market is hydrolyzed collagen. But there is a unique type of type two collagen I mentioned earlier called native collagen. And this is a very specific type of collagen that works with a slightly different mechanism of action, it works with our immune cells that essentially help to trigger an anti inflammatory effect in our bodies. So it essentially helps to reduce inflammation reduce joint pain, that for the most part, most of the collagen was we see in the market are hydrolyzed collagen.

Steve Lankford  18:25

Well, let’s turn our attention then to Natural Factors, because I know Natural Factors does things their way, which is a good way. I mean, they pay so much attention from the sourcing of raw materials through manufacturing through testing. Let’s just explore your collagen product tell us about it. And what colleges does it use just give us this introductory overview and then we’ll look deeper into some of those components.

Yolanda Fenton 18:52

Yeah, so most of the products that are out there that are collagen supplements are just using what we call generic hydrolyzed collagen. And while I said that it’s important that you buy hydrolyzed collagen, we feel that there is an even better source of collagen and we use a branded ingredient called Verisol®. SoVerisol® is from an Italian company. They’ve been in the business in the nutraceutical industry for well over 60-65 years. And their specialty is all things gelatin from bovine sources primarily. And they are in the business of gelatin. So they really are considered the experts and they’ve been in the collagen ingredient business for a very, very long time. And so they’ve made considerable investments in r&d to not only showcase Hey, we can manufacture hydrolyzed collagen, but we can also improve further for helping to improve bioavailability helping to improve the way that the body uses it.

So in addition to hydrolyzed collagen Verisol® goes one step further to ensure optimal absorption. So remember I mentioned the specific amino acids earlier that I said are essentially part right of what helps our bodies to produce collagen. So I mentioned the glycine, the lysine, the proline, the arginine Verisol® contains a very special composition of just these amino acids. And that’s important because you’re essentially giving your specialized cells in your body they’re called fibroblasts. And these targeted cells are essentially responsible for manufacturing collagen. And so if you’re feeding the right ingredients, the right nutrients to these targeted cells, they’re going to be able to produce collagen a lot more efficiently than just giving it a generic collagen that will contain these amino acids, but they also contain other amino acids.

And so the body has to figure out how to break it down into the right sequence. So this is a really important differentiation. So with that improved absorption Steve, the dosing of Verisol®is so much lower in terms of efficacy than non Verisol®, or non branded or generic collagen that we refer to. And so typically, when you see collagen supplements, you typically see doses of like a serving size, rather of 10 grams, or 20 grams. And people think, Oh, this is great, I’m getting a lot of collagen. Well, according to the clinical studies that Verisol® has done, and they’ve done a lot, you only need 2.5 grams of their collagen. And the results of improving skin hydration, skin texture, deep wrinkle reduction, improvement of joint pain in terms of reduction, rather a joint pain, that’s at a 2.5 gram dose in comparison to you know what you would need with the generic collagen. I mean, there haven’t even been studies. So no one really knows right, what kind of results you would get if you were taking like a 10 gram or a 20 gram. So that’s a really important differentiator.

Now in our products, and we’ll talk a little bit about those products. And we’ll explain our dosing. But I just wanted to point out that that Verisol® is really one of the few branded collagen ingredients in the market, that have done specific clinical studies, placebo controlled double blind, have been accepted by Health Canada, because we are a Canadian company we have manufacturing in the US. But so much of our r&d is focused around proving the efficacy and Health Canada does have amongst the highest standards in the world in terms of not only quality, but in terms of getting market authorization like in order to sell that product, you have to prove efficacy, usually you have to submit at least two human studies, right. And they preferably are well designed the larger participants size and being double blind, placebo controlled. And so the fact that we were able to get health claims like deep wrinkle reduction in 28 days, improving skin hydration in as little as 15 days, I mean, these are very, very impressive. And you simply don’t get those type of claims that type of efficacy with a generic collagen. So I think that Verisol®el is hands down one of the best collagen ingredients in the market.

Steve Lankford  23:21

That’s so important, what you just described there, and I’ve touched upon this many times with our audience and, and that is that as a manufacturer Natural Factors, has a choice of many different sources of raw materials, many different sources of collagen. And certainly, I’m sure there are cheaper sources of college and then Verisol®. And so when you have a marketplace, like we have in the US where anybody can put a product on the shelf, and call it collagen. And the consumer is not going to know the difference, especially those companies who use inferior raw materials are not going to have the science to articulate their product. And so then oftentimes what they will do is borrow the science, Verisol® collagen did these results. So they might actually borrow those claims when they’re not even true for their particular college.

And, so it’s important for consumers to understand that there are these distinctions in the marketplace. And as a company, you can make it cheaper or you can make it better. And or you can make it the best by going out into the marketplace and seeking out these trademark branded clinically studied raw materials. And usually they’re going to have a name like Verisol®. And when a company uses that product, they’re going to let their consumers know that they use Verisol®.

So it’s really important to understand that not all collagens are the same and therefore not all end products are going to be the same. And the unfortunate part of it is nobody’s actually watching the industry close enough to give us that information. We have to learn this and rely on good companies who do what Natural Factors does. So it’s one of the reasons I so want the listeners to understand that point so that they will look for better products. Because there’s nothing worse than spending your money on something that is inferior. And you don’t know it, you think it’s as good, you hope it’s as good but in reality, it’s not. So vet your companies. learn about companies. And when you find one, like Natural Factors, who does it right, then you start to have confidence throughout the product line, that they’re going to pay attention in every one of the products that they make. So I’m really happy to hear about that.

So this Verisol® Is this raw material that you source from this Italian company, and it has these clinical studies, and you alluded to those. Is there any more about those particular studies that you’d like to mention in terms of what some of those benefits are relative to the dosing that you described?

Yolanda Fenton 26:02

Yeah, definitely, I think one of them more well considered the flagship study. So there was a study where they used Verisol®at the 2.5 gram dose, and it significantly reduced wrinkles. And so Verisol® got a specific duration of use claim, meaning that significantly reduced wrinkles, after four weeks, I mean, that’s significant. And it led to significantly higher skin pro collagen concentration. So it actually showed a statistically significant reduction in wrinkles, of about 60%. I mean, that is unheard of. It’s interesting to me when we see in the beauty industry, the cosmetics industry where whatever new functional ingredient is trending. Obviously collagen is one of those ingredients topically to apply collagen to your skin, Steve is really not going to do very much to help increase your collagen production. Hyaluronic Acid, on the other hand, a little bit different, but collagen topically isn’t going to do much.

So really, it’s important to make sure that you’re supplementing with collagen, or getting it through your diet or a combination of both. So that’s the one study cellulite. I know a lot of women in particular, although definitely men also get cellulite, but unfortunately, because of how society right, they put this very negative shadow right, they cast this negative shadow on cellulite. That’s a topic for a different podcast, perhaps. But there was a study that was done using Verisol® and showing basically how it helped to improve the overall skin texture, making it smoother, and then basically decreasing cellulite. So it was a double blind, randomized placebo controlled study. And it showed again with the 2.5 gram dose of Verisol®, that it essentially reduced in a pretty significant way. There’s a cellulite score survey that patients use. And the first results were visible after three months, and were definitely more pronounced after six months. So although we don’t talk a lot about cellulite in the context of collagen, it absolutely makes sense. Because you think about what causes cellulite. So a lot of that will essentially benefit from taking oral collagen. So there have definitely been a lot more studies, Steve, but those are probably the two more notable ones that Verizon conducted.

Steve Lankford  28:19

Are there other ingredients then in your particular collagen product? And what’s the name of that product again? And what are some of these other ingredients that you’ve used in there?

Yolanda Fenton 28:30

Yeah, so in Canada, we launched total, we call our line, Total Body Collagen. And we introduced Total Body Collagen into the Canadian market several years ago. And we’re now recently launching it in the US market. So we’re really excited about that. So Total Body Collagen in the US will launch with three skews three formulas, and there’s different flavors, there’s an unflavored there’s a orange, and there’s a pomegranate. And when we were formulating these products, we wanted it to be obviously a collagen forward formula.

But we also wanted to add some synergistic ingredients, that would be what we would consider cofactors right that will help the collagen production in addition to strengthening hair, skin and nails. So we added ingredients like Biotin Biotin is definitely a well known B vitamin that is synonymous right with strengthening hair, skin and nails. It’s also a very important vitamin in the production of like keratin and elastin. We added vitamin C because remember I mentioned earlier that Vitamin C is important in helping to produce helping ourselves to produce collagen internally. We also added glutamine to our formula because when you think about your digestive system, when you think about your intestines, that’s essentially where the majority of our absorption of our nutrients from our food occurs. And so glutamine is one of those very important amino acids that essentially helps to improve the health or the integrity of our small intestine. The lining of the small intestine. So it’s essentially there to help improve the uptake or the absorption of the overall collagen formula. We also added tryptophan because remember I mentioned earlier, that collagen is not a complete protein. Now, there are some missing amino acids, but the most notable one is tryptophan. And so we’ve added a little bit of tryptophan to make it a complete protein.

And that’s again, not because we’re trying to have people take our Total Body Collagen as a protein source, but just simply because we wanted to have it more balanced. And then lastly, we’ve added some hyaluronic acid, because hyaluronic acid, like elastin is very, very important for improving skin density, smoother skin. So those are essentially our formulas. In Canada, we do have some newer formulas that we’re going to be launching, and we’ll also be rolling those out in the US. And they’re multi collagen formulas. Essentially, we decided to introduce those two formulas and unflavored. And I can’t reveal the flavor yet, because I kind of want to keep it a secret when we finally do launch it, but I know that people will love it.

But we just wanted to give people the option, so that if they didn’t really want to have something so targeted for skin, we thought let’s just produce these multi collagen formulas as an option without all of the additional biotin hyaluronic acid etc. Now, for the US, we’re also launching or have launched our marine collagen. So we have marine collagen available in a powdered version, we also have it in a capsule version. But really for the most part, I find that powders are so much easier to use, especially when you’re talking about collagen, it’s just so much easier to throw into you’re making smoothies or you know, smoothie bowls, or you can use it for baking, you can use it in so many different types of recipes. So it’s very versatile that way.

So in our marine collagen, we have two versions, we have the powdered version, which is just straight marine collagen, that’s it. And then we also have a product that is similar to the Total Body Collagen that I mentioned, the only difference is the source of the collagen instead of being from bovine is from marine. And the difference with the marine source really is mainly lifestyle, right? There are people out there that have like a pescetarian lifestyle, right that they’re not necessarily strict vegetarians, but they do eat fish, or perhaps they just have some sort of the sensitivity to a bovine source. Or maybe it’s for religious reasons that they can’t have a bovine source. But one distinction with marine source collagen, even though it is a type one collagen, it has a little bit more of type three collagen. But for the most part, both bovine collagen and marine collagen, are very similar in terms of their benefits for skin health. So just some options for people to choose whichever collagen they prefer.

Steve Lankford  32:56

Well, just as an aside here, since you mentioned vegetarians, and so on, are vegans able to find collagen products if they consumed no animal product? Is this a challenge for them? Or is there an alternative? Even?

Yolanda Fenton 33:11

Definitely. That’s a great question, because we do get asked that a lot. And there are definitely options. So as long as you’re able to provide something to your body, whether you’re getting it through your diet, or through a supplement that has those amino acids that I’ve mentioned, the glycine, the lysine, hydro glycine, arginine, you can actually find those amino acids. In tropical fruits like very specialized type of plant extracts, goji berries, pomegranate, there are other fruit sources primarily that do contain naturally occurring levels of these amino acids. The challenge is that you’re not going to find the levels of these amino acids to be as high as what you would find them from animal sources. So you have that as an option. But you’re going to have to work a little bit hard right to just make sure that you’re getting the necessary amount right in order for these ingredients, these plant ingredients to be able to produce help your body to produce collagen.

Steve Lankford  34:11

Well vegans have that challenge and I’ve been a vegan and so I understand some of those challenges. And you really have to pay attention as in every diet to get good quality foods into your diet. And so vegans now have that particular challenge if they want to get in on this conversation. Well, one of the things that was mentioned to me that I don’t think we talked about today was the benefits of collective and I don’t know what that is so collective in your notes. Why is that important?

Yolanda Fenton 34:44

I mentioned that we also have available our marine collagen sources and so much like Verisol® is the branded ingredient that we use for our Total Body Collagen formulas as a bovine source and the marine collagen formula. We have a branded ingredient is called Collactive. And so Collactive is a French company, and again, very focused on r&d and making sure whatever ingredients they produce that they’re high quality and backed by clinical trials by clinical studies. And so Collactive has done a lot of similar clinical trials, like Verisol®, not to the same extent. But they’ve done studies right, which have shown at a very low dose, in fact, their dose is only 2.4 grams, so just a flight to lower amount than Verisol®.

But in comparison to other generic marine collagen formulas out there that are not using branded Collactive, you do have to use a much higher amount. What I do notice is that there are a myriad of marine collagen formulas out there that have a fairly low dose, I’ve seen 2.5 grams, I’ve seen five grams, but it’s just generic marine collagen. And Marine Collagen For our listeners, is essentially from the scales of the fish. That’s the source of where we would get the marine collagen.

But unfortunately, much like the bovine source collagen, the collagen is a large molecule, you need to do hydrolization to it to reduce the particle size. But much like what Verisol® did, where they have this special composition, meaning that they focused on those specific amino acids. That’s also what Collactive has done. And so we feel that our Total Body Collagen lineup, whether it’s sourced from bovine or from marine, is really the pinnacle, right of the top quality ingredients, both from a quality but also from an r&d side. And you mentioned earlier, Steve, that many companies borrow the science. And it’s very frustrating. Of course, it’s an imagine it’s frustrating to the actual research organization that spent hundreds of 1000s of dollars, doing their own research only to have competitors borrow their science, it’s obviously a little bit unfair. But it happens, right, there’s not much that we can do about it.

But I just tell I would encourage people, I would tell the listeners to really pay attention to what the collagen product is the serving size, how much collagen you’re getting, or how much you need. I was scrolling through Instagram, as we all do, I’m sure and I can’t believe how many collagen products I come across. And there was this one collagen product that really stuck in my mind. And the call out was and I can totally see how consumers would want to buy this product. And it said, nine years younger in three months in 90 days, or your money back. And I’m thinking to myself, are you kidding me? Like there is no way that that’s possible, right. And for myself having worked in this industry, for as long as I have, I would love to believe that I would go ahead and take that product, but I know better. So I just tell consumers, you really have to be careful if it sounds too good to be true. It likely is. Even though the studies that have been conducted using Verisol® and using Collactive are incredibly impressive in terms of reducing deep wrinkles in as little as 20 days. But that’s a big difference between saying look nine years younger, in 90 days, right? So don’t fall for those types of marketing schemes. So just be very, very careful when you’re reading labels.

Steve Lankford  38:19

Well, that’s part of the challenge, because obviously nobody is going to be nine years younger. So if we make it better as we age, but nobody’s going to get younger. So it’s a kind of puffery, I think is a term that’s used in advertising, a claim that’s not really meant to be taken literally, or as true that it’s a euphemism and yet it’s so powerful because we think, well, they can’t say it if it’s not true. Well, you and I know lots of things are said that aren’t true in the marketing of nutritional supplements. And so the credibility of the company is everything.

And so, again, vet your company companies like that, if you can’t go to them and get the science, then what are they basing their claims on? When somebody says nine years younger? Well, how do you know that? And so if we just believe it, because somebody said it, then we’re going to be a victim of that kind of advertising. So word to the wise, look beyond the claims and look for why those claims are substantiated. So this is why one of the reasons anyway why we do these podcasts so we can explore those. Again, scientifically, clinically studied raw materials. Are there any contraindications for using collagen if somebody hears this interview wants to use it? Is there anybody who should perhaps be cautious?

Yolanda Fenton 39:41

The good news is that there really are no contraindications with using collagen. So that is very beneficial because in our industry, of course, we’re touted as selling natural products. And unfortunately people think that that’s synonymous with oh, there are no contraindications. As with any of these natural products, well, that’s not true.? We know that some of our natural products have a blood thinning effect. And so you have to be careful with blood thinners, for example. But in the case of collagen, there really are no issues. And that’s great.? Because it just simply gives peace of mind.

And it does open up, the collagen option in terms of making it available to a lot of people. So no issues that I’m aware of. And I definitely have researched this extensively. Now, having said that, if you’re taking a product, like our Total Body Collagen that has all of those other ingredients, for one ingredient, for example, the tryptophan, some people that are on depression medication, it’s very specific depression medication, and you’d have to be taking pretty high doses, there might be a contraindication, because of the tryptophan, but in Canada, and when you compare Canada, regulations to the US, Canada is far more stringent than the US. And whenever we’re having to get market authorization for a formula, there is a specific caution statement that the contraindications, so they list out very specific meds  they have to be careful of, in our formula, we didn’t have that caution statement.. So that just shows you that, based on their review of all of the studies involving tryptophan, and any potential contraindications with medications, they didn’t see that as a concern because of the low amount. But I just wanted to mention that because some of the listeners might go, Wait a second, it’s got tryptophan, and I’ve heard tryptophan might be contraindicated or good. I don’t believe that there are any issues,

Steve Lankford  41:34

Okay. And I think it’s a word to the wise that if you have a medical condition, if you’re on a medication, discuss these with your medical professional, do your homework, make sure that you understand your supplements, your nutrients, your medications, this is your journey of discovery, the more you know about yourself and what you’re putting into your body, the better you’re going to be able to manage this journey. You had mentioned, say using it for 28 days, you’ve mentioned using it for maybe three to six months. But would it be fair to say that if we are dealing with issues, say observable our skin, this is something that we see, if we are dealing with aging and a loss of collagen production, and we see it on our skin? Can we assume this is going on throughout the body? And if we’re taking a collagen and product like your Total Body Collagen? Is it likely that even though we’re seeing benefits in the skin, we’re going to actually find those benefits exerting themselves throughout the body? Is that a fair assumption?

Yolanda Fenton 42:41

Absolutely. Steve, that couldn’t be more true. I wanted to mention that. Yes, most notably, we think of collagen as synonymous with beauty from within. And as I mentioned, there’s good reason for that. But there are so many other benefits that collagen offers, like bone health, for example. It’s one of the most important protective effects of collagen, believe it or not, and it has to do with bones. Because like skin, collagen serves as like a scaffold. the binding sites for minerals, in this case, calcium. So really important mineral right for bone health to help improve our bone density.

But think about it this way, if your collagen productions are decreasing, you’re going to now have not as much collagen as he used to have, which means you’re going to have fewer binding sites. So fewer binding sites means that you’re going to have all of this free calcium floating around not being deposited where it needs to be, which is in your bones. Instead, it can potentially get deposited in areas that we don’t want it to go like our soft tissues, like our blood vessels. And this is not good, because this could potentially lead to the calcification right of our arteries, which can lead to hardening of the arteries, which can lead to atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attack. So that is a very important own protective effect that collagen offers. It also has cardio protective effects as well.

And I think this is so important again, especially as we get older, right? Because when you think about our skin, and we think about our tissues in the cardiovascular system, collagen and elastin make up about 40% of the arteries and other blood vessels. And so if you think about it, our blood vessels the inside of our blood vessels, they need to be nice and smooth right in order for there should be no friction, the blood can flow, no problem. Unfortunately, when you don’t have enough collagen, what ends up happening over time is these little lesions start to occur. And what happens is the body says okay, there’s a problem here, we have to put a bandaid on these lesions. And so our body starts to amp up LDL cholesterol, and it starts to use that cholesterol to patch these lesions similar to if you had a flat tire and you needed to repair that tire. That’s essentially the repair Your process.

So you might think, well, that’s okay, my body is just repairing itself. The problem is patch after patch after patch or bandaid after bandaid after Band Aid, your blood vessel starts to become more and more constricted. And what happens when it gets more constricted, blood pressure goes up, you have atherosclerosis, potentially, and then heart attack. So the cardio protective benefits of collagen cannot be understated. So yes, Steve, if you take collagen, and you’re initially taking it for beauty from within, you are definitely also giving your body much more benefits, as I mentioned, into bone health, and to cardio health as well.

Steve Lankford  45:40

Well, it certainly is a wide ranging product, my wife uses collagen and I don’t think we’ve known about yours before now. And so this is something I know she’ll consider cuz she loves Natural Factors, products as well. I would be remiss, though, if I didn’t bring up the topic of How do you know your products are clean? And I know Natural Factors has a very particular interest in assuring consumers about their raw materials and about their finished product. And again, this is not something that a lot of companies actually do. Is this kind of assurance testing. Tell us about your commitment. And how is it that you go about this testing and assurance for the consumers how they’re going to know that they can trust Natural Factors products to be what they claim

Yolanda Fenton 46:32

That is such an important question, Steve, because even though I’ve worked in the industry for close to 30 years, and I’ve seen and I’ve visited many of the manufacturing like competitors, when I was in my university days, I worked as a buyer in a health food store. And so I had the opportunity to interact, obviously, with all of these different suppliers of these wonderful natural health products. And so I kind of got an insider’s perspective. And when I ended up working for Natural Factors, I got even more exposure to what’s happening within our nutraceutical industry. And I hate to say it, but at the end of the day, you rely on the company to produce natural products that are of the highest quality, that there’s been some science to back them up or to show that they’re efficacious.

But the reality, Steve, is that a lot of companies, number one, don’t even make their own products. They basically have a Co-contractor to manufacture products. And while that’s okay, you just don’t know what type of quality you know, they have, what kind of manufacturing is going on there? Do they test their products? Do they test every batch? You know, every lot of bulk that you’ve just made or ingredients that come into your facility? Are they being tested. And so I’ve seen a lot and I’ve seen a lot of things that I don’t think that are very good for our industry. Now in our company, the owner of our family owned business, the priority that we place on quality, I believe no other company does what we do.

And like I said, I’ve seen a lot, right, I’ve seen other companies. So we use Isura, it’s an independent Canadian, not for profit, natural health supplement, food product verification, certification organization. And so they’re essentially responsible for testing all of the products testing for all types of contaminants. Using the most advanced diagnostics. When I look at the labs that we have, when I look at the manner of how we test our products, it’s unbelievable. Like there are pharmaceutical products that don’t even go through the rigor that we go through, right. And one of the diagnostic tools that I wanted to point out because it’s something that we’re very proud of that I sure really is leading in this type of diagnostic testing, is what we call mass spectrometry. And mass spectrometry is so important at being able to detect contaminants at like the parts per billion level.

And we’re testing for hundreds and hundreds, I believe we’re testing now over 800 different types of test points of contaminants. And we keep adding to that list as we discover, right, because obviously, if we don’t have a particular contaminant in our library, we will know that it’s there. But then we’ll notice that there’s a peak showing up in the mass spectrometry, and we investigate and we identify, Okay, this is contaminant X or whatever. I wanted to just illustrate the importance of this in the context of the movement of non genetically modified organisms. Obviously, our industry is anti GMO, right? We don’t want anything that’s genetically modified in our supply chain. And absolutely, I think it’s important that a company ensures that it’s GMO free, whatever ingredients it’s using, it’s GMO free.

But for such a long time there was this in my opinion, an overemphasis on genetically modified organisms and not even thinking about all of these other contaminants, pesticides, herbicides, Heavy metals, I mean, these are things that you don’t want in your natural product. And so I think kind of people lost sight of the importance of having a product that is tested for all of these contaminants. So yes, make sure that the product doesn’t contain genetically modified organisms, but you also want to make sure that it doesn’t contain all of these contaminants. And the reality is that in our world, right, where we are polluting our Earth, we do have to test for these things, unfortunately. And let me tell you, when we test raw materials, we do not rely just on looking at the documentation that the supplier provides. And that is what a lot of companies do. Unfortunately, the company says, yeah, we’ve tested our product that doesn’t contain genetically modified organisms. It’s not above the allowable thresholds of whatever contaminants. No way do we do that, because you’re now basically relying on that supplier.

And we’ve learned far too many times that you just simply can’t do that. So every single raw material that we are considering adding to a formula goes through this very, very exhaustive testing protocol. And we’ve rejected so many raw materials. And I wanted to use one example, when we were developing an organic chewable ginger product, one of my favorite products, I love ginger, we were specific that we wanted it to be organic. And we went through 17, Ginger suppliers that claimed organic, and every single one was quite above the allowable limits of certain pesticides. And we were just like, What is going on? Like, why are we doing something wrong is our test assay wrong. And it turns out that all of these suppliers just simply didn’t test their products. We don’t doubt that they were sourcing it from an organic farm. But we also know that the standards from one form to another can vary. And again, especially with the co-oping if you will, of USDA, organic and other organic organizations, we know that you have to be really, really careful. And so that’s why Steve, it’s so important to test the raw material.

So Isura, does that Isura it is a certification that you will find on every single Natural Factors product label. And I really encourage that consumers look for that, Isura it is available for any supplier in the world to use if they wanted to. but it’s expensive. It comes with a cost when you’re using a third party lab. And so that’s one of the reasons why a lot of companies just don’t do it because they can’t afford it. And they want to put forward a business model that is selling products at the lowest possible price. Unfortunately, consumers don’t realize that that often comes with a cost.

Steve Lankford  52:41

Well, and consumers certainly can’t do this testing. And in our last interview, you alluded to this product Berberine, which has its problems that products are testing, either low potency, there’s just other problems with that. And so knowing that you have a company that tests all of its products, and there have been companies who have gone on to like the Amazon marketplace and buy other brands and test them and find out though there are many brands on Amazon that don’t meet the standard of their label, even much less concern about organic and the cleanliness of the raw materials. So it is very much consumer beware, they are out there. And there’s nobody watching out for you, in the government to do this. I’m sure our FDA doesn’t require anywhere near testing for 800, contaminants, maybe a dozen or two dozen. But certainly they’re not interested in making sure that these products are totally clean. And so this is a wonderful thing that you do for your consumers. And I want to thank you Natural Factors for being that kind of a company because those of us who care don’t have ways to find out, we have to find companies we can trust. And part of our reasons, again, for doing this podcast is to identify those companies that we believe are trustworthy, and whose products we are comfortable using in my family. So I appreciate it. As you know, I’m a big fan of Natural Factors. Well, we’re getting very near the end of our time, Yolanda. And as always, I want to give you the last word. Is there anything that we didn’t cover today that you want to make sure that our listeners hear?

Yolanda Fenton 54:22

Steve you I don’t really have anything else to add, I think we’ve covered everything about collagen, I certainly hope that we have and in terms of the products that we have that we’ve recently launched in the US I’m really excited to see how the products perform. I mean, collagen continues to grow. I mean, globally, it’s unbelievable. The growth that that category is experiencing and we’re seeing collagen appear not just in a supplement form, but we’re seeing it as a functional application in a lot of food products. Of course. One thing that we didn’t mention now that I just mentioned the word food is people ask me a lot if I want to take a collagen supplement but I also want to be increase collagen in my diet. How do we do that? Well, we definitely have heard of bone broth bone broth is definitely a popular supplement that you can purchase. I mean, it’s beneficial to get it that way. But I also think that if you wanted to make your own bone broth, which I think is a great thing to do, it’s a really nice soothing sort of drink that you can have, especially as the weather starts to get a little bit cooler. And you know, you can certainly look online to figure out how to make your bone broth. Eggs are also a really good source of the different types of collagen.

And, of course, animal proteins, as we’ve mentioned before, and there are certain plant extracts, I mentioned earlier about some of the tropical fruits, but even some of the dark leafy green vegetables, although they’re not going to provide high levels of these amino acids. They do provide lots of naturally occurring vitamin C, a lot of these flavonoids that are important in helping our bodies to manufacture collagen. So adopting a diet that’s rich in the less processed that you could do the better. So Whole Foods, fiber rich, complex carbohydrates, women quality proteins, whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or you can eat animal protein, lots of water, making sure that you’re giving yourself time for self care, do your fitness training, it’s just that balanced approach right to helping you feel younger and more energetic.

Steve Lankford  56:21

Well, health is a complex interplay of lifestyle, diet, stress avoidance, there’s so many things that we can do that if we will just appropriate them and start to incorporate them into our lifestyle, we’re going to find those benefits. One last question. What about more information if people would like to learn more about your Total Body Collagen? What’s the resource they have online?

Yolanda Fenton 56:46

So the best resource would be the Natural Factors website. So it’s NaturalFactors.com, again, NaturalFactors.com. And we have a very good search menu, you just essentially can enter collagen. If you don’t remember the product name. That’s really the best way to specifically find out about our Total Body Collagen formulas.

Steve Lankford  57:07

All right, well, Yolanda Fenton, the director, I should say, of product development for Natural Factors been most interesting. I know there’s more coming down the pipeline, I look forward to any opportunity that we have to explore them with you. As always, it’s been most interesting. Thank you, Yolanda. I wish you the best. Bye bye.

Yolanda Fenton


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