Grass Fed collagen is a hot topic right now, as consumers search for the highest quality products and transparency from suppliers is more important than ever before. The demand for grass fed products has sky rocketed in recent years, with meat traceability, GMO’s, hormones and antibiotics becoming important considerations when choosing animal products.
Grass fed meat is loaded with nutrients not found in traditional industrial fed cattle. As well as benefits for us, it also offers benefits for the animals, and the planet too, as grazing ruminants like cattle are vital to a healthy ecosystem. Grass fed beef is free from antibiotics and hormones, lower in fat and calories, but richer in vitamins, minerals, omega 3s, and CLA-which is important for metabolic health-than grain fed. It also contains more antioxidants, especially vitamin E (1) which help to counter the free radical damage we face every day.
The diet the animals eat is also going to reflect in the quality of their protein and collagen, feeding 100% grass fed ensures a higher quality end product. Grain fed cows in comparison eat a diet supplemented with soy, corn, other additives, and can also be given antibiotics and growth hormones which end up in the food chain.
Grass fed animals are raised in a healthier free range environment which also reduces disease and offers benefits for the planet too. A British study over a 30 year period showed soils under pasture actually retained higher levels of carbon in the ground and more organic matter in comparison to intensively farmed soil.
What is collagen protein and its benefits?
Collagen is the largest and most abundant protein found in the body. It makes up connective tissues, like tendons and cartilage, and plays an important role in the integrity of our bones, skin, and even digestive lining. We make collagen ourselves but this declines from our 30’s onwards, and it is vitally important for health, especially as we age.
Our modern day diets packed with muscle meats lack the balance of the anti-inflammatory amino acids that collagen provides including glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, which are important for overall health including cognitive function, metabolic health, detoxification and more.
The diets of our ancestors would have provided much higher amounts of these amino acids than we commonly eat nowadays as they practiced nose-to-tail eating and consumed all parts of the animals they hunted, ensuring a much better balance of amino acids and higher amounts of glycine, proline and hydroxyproline which helped to balance the diet.
Collagen has a reputation as an essential beauty supplement, and for good reason as up to 70% of the protein in our skin is made from collagen. That isn’t all though, as collagen makes up our connective tissues it’s important for the health of our joints and is also key for our digestive lining.
Many practitioners recommend collagen and collagen rich bone broths as part of any digestive healing protocol. Most people are not consuming enough collagen rich foods like bone broths on a regular basis and collagen supplements can provide an easy solution to get in this rich source of nutrition to support our skin, joints, and overall health.
What is grass fed collagen?
Grass fed collagen ensures quality standards in a collagen product. As well as ensuring ethics, and sustainability throughout the supply chain, it ensures collagen is derived from cattle grazing on grass their whole lives since weaning. Grass fed is a claim that companies may use despite the animals not being solely grass fed so look for certification to ensure its 100% grass fed.
Grass fed certification means cattle are raised outdoors on pasture 365 days per year with access to fresh grass, air, and water, and spend 100% of their lifetime on grass and pasture. Animals are not allowed to be confined unless weather conditions cause severe risks for their wellbeing.
Cattle are continually subject to official veterinary supervision, and the farms where the animals are reared have strict protocols towards animal welfare and human handling. Grass fed certification ensures collagen is free from hormone application, antibiotics, antimicrobial substances, growth promoters, anabolic steroids, and synthetic drugs, as well as being able to be sourced back to specific farms.
Where does our collagen come from?
Our collagen powders are always ethically and sustainably sourced. We believe cows should be raised in their traditional habitat, free range and eating their natural diets. We source our collagen from select farms in South America (largely in Argentina), where traditional cattle ranching methods are utilised and the cattle are allowed to roam freely on naturally formed pasture lands without the use of pesticides, growth hormones, and antibiotics.
Our collagen is then hydrolysed into peptides to ensure easier digestibility and absorption.
Our ancestors and grass fed collagen.
If we look back at our ancestors they would have eaten animals that grazed solely on the land. With modern farming practices, and increased demand most cattle no longer eat solely grass. Traditionally cattle roamed freely on the land eating grass, herbs and wildflowers.
However with the dawn of agriculture and increased demand farmers have turned to grain-based feed, which while better for the farmer, is not better for the planet, animals, or consumers. Our ancestors hunted and gathered their food, which is the basis for the paleo diet, they were hunter-gatherers who foraged or hunted for nuts, seeds, plants, and animals.
They would have used every part of the food they hunted or foraged, including animal bones, cartilage and other connective tissues to provide essential nutrients. More and more people have become interested in moving away from processed foods and returning to a more traditional diet.
Collagen rich foods were abundant in the diets of our ancestors, who would use all parts of an animal to make nutrient rich bone broths packed with collagen and gelatine. Collagen is not found in a salmon fillet or a piece of chicken breast- but in the parts of an animal we don’t tend to consume nowadays like skin, joints, bones and muscle tissue.
Many of us simply don’t have the time to be slaving away making bone broth all day, which is why collagen and bone broth supplements can come in handy.
What is ethical grass fed collagen?
Ethical grass fed collagen ensures quality standards in a collagen product, as well as ensuring ethics, and sustainability throughout the supply chain. Look for a grass fed certification which have strict regulations and standards.
Although most cows start their lives eating grass, they’re often moved to barns where they live inside and eat grains, not grass. Choose a grass fed certified product which means the cattle have been 100% grass fed.
How is this beneficial to the people, animals and nature in general?
Pasture raised animals roam freely in their natural environment where they can eat nutritious grass and other plants they are adapted to digesting. They have a much higher quality of life than those confined to the intense conditions of the factory farm system.
Factory farm conditions are highly stressful for the animals, animals frequently become sick, and are routinely given antibiotics to prevent outbreaks of disease, these antibiotics work their way back into the soil killing off beneficial bacteria and organisms that build up healthy soil, leaving soil erosion where nothing can grow. Cattle are developed to eat grass and when taken off pasture and put on a grain based diet they can suffer a number of health issues.
The factory farm system routinely feed on corn or even soy as a cheap way to fatten animals up. These diets are usually supplemented with by-products, antibiotics, and hormones to promote rapid growth, which can then be present in the end product consumed by us. Pasture raised systems can also help the environment, with soil fertilization and reducing the amount of grain and soy produced as feed- which on such a mass scale is environmentally damaging and resource intensive.
Research has shown that grass fed meat has a net positive effect on the environment, with lower emissions and methane compared to modern farming practices making it a much more sustainable choice (2). Consuming meat and dairy products from pasture raised animals is also better for us, grass-fed meat and dairy products are lower in calories and total fat, with higher levels of vitamins, antioxidants and a healthier balance of anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats to Omega-6 compared to conventional meat and dairy products (3).
By choosing pasture-raised you are supporting sustainable farming methods, improving animal wellbeing and promoting health. With collagen being used in so many areas of the body, it’s important to use a high quality source like our grass fed collagen supplements which are well absorbed and utilised by the body.
Why should we consume ethical grass fed collagen?
Ethical animal farming is better for the planet, pasture based farms mimic nature, they also rely on grasses which strengthen and nourish the soil, have less waste as animal waste is naturally welcomed into the ecosystem, and are less invasive to wildlife habitats than feedlots which occupy huge masses of farmland and create massive amounts of air, land, and water pollution.
Animals in factory systems have little space to move around, have a stressful quality of life, often without access to fresh air/sunlight, and are fed unnatural diets which can cause illness. Ethical farms prioritise animal welfare, with plenty of space for free movement, outdoor living, and eating their natural diet leading to optimal health.
Consuming ethical grass fed collagen means you have made a choice to treat the animals, land and environment with respect. Find our range of grass-fed certified products here.
1.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S03091740060027012%202 2. https://daily.jstor.org/can-cows-help-mitigate-climate-change-yes-they-can/ 3. https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/S0007114510003090