Collagen peptides have been gaining in popularity in the past few years, not only in beauty products — of which they were first introduced to the mainstream market — but also in supplement form. The many advantages of adding collagen peptides to one’s lifestyle include everything from better-functioning joints to fewer wrinkles to improved gut health.

The global market size of collagen peptides at the end of 2024 is poised to be worth well over $6.99 billion. For a protein that accounts for 30% of your body’s total protein, that’s a pretty impressive number. Exploring the advantages of collagen peptides, the science behind them, and how they can change the way you look and feel will undoubtedly make you want to check them out for yourself.

What are Collagen Peptides?

Collagen, which collagen peptides are derived from, is the most abundant protein found in the body of all animals, including humans. It makes up connective tissue such as skin, tendons, cartilage, organs, and bones. Your body makes collagen naturally, but it also needs a number of vitamins and minerals present to do so — these include proline, glycine, vitamin C, zinc, and copper.

While your body should be able to make a sufficient amount of collagen peptides on its own, especially if you follow a healthy diet, adding collagen peptides to your routine may provide some substantial benefits. You cannot have too much collagen, so supplementing collagen peptides may help you reap the extra benefits that peptides can provide.

Collagen peptides are small pieces of collagen that are easily digestible by the body. The human body cannot break down collagen in its whole form, so it is put through a process called hydrolysis. Hydrolysis involves mixing collagen with water and enzymes at a high temperature and pressure to break down the protein into smaller peptides.

Collagen peptides are sometimes referred to as hydrolyzed collagen in reference to the process by which they are created.

Types of Collagens

Collagen is made up of three amino acids — often a combination of glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. Types of collagens vary, depending on how the molecules are arranged and where collagen is used in the body. Scientists have identified 28 types of collagens, but four or five usually make it into dietary supplements.

  • Type I — the most abundant — is found in your skin, teeth, bones, tendons, and ligaments
  • Type II makes up about 90% of the collagen in cartilage
  • Type III is in the skin’s middle layer (dermis), muscles, and blood vessels
  • Type IV is a thin layer of tissue supporting cells in the kidneys, lungs, intestines, and eyes
  • Type V is in hair and cell surfaces

There are two main types of collagen used in supplements: hydrolyzed collagen (also known as collagen peptides) and undenatured collagen.

Hydrolyzed collagen is easy for your body to absorb and use and very simple to incorporate into your daily routine — it most typically comes in powder form, so you can add it to your morning coffee or smoothie. Hydrolyzed collagen comes from a variety of animal sources, including hides, hooves, bones, and scales from cows, pigs, or fish.

Undenatured collagen is collagen that hasn’t been broken down into smaller pieces or exposed to heat or enzymes. It’s almost always derived from chicken breastbone cartilage.

Collagen’s Role in the Body

Collagen, as stated before, is the most abundant protein in the human body. The word protein comes from the Greek word “kolla” which means glue. And true to its definition, collagen really is like an adhesive that holds many of the body’s tissues together.

When your body makes more collagen, or more collagen is introduced to the body, your connective tissues like skin, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage are healthier, thicker, and spongier, giving better support and protection to your joints. Collagen also has a particularly important part in keeping skin hydrated, elastic, and firm, which all affect the look and feel of one’s skin.

As our bodies age, we lose collagen — roughly 1% per year after the age of 40. The lack of collagen may be noticed first in the skin as it starts to lose structure and wrinkles appear. The absorption of too much ultraviolet light accelerates this process.

As the amount of collagen in the body decreases over time, other parts of the body may begin to suffer as well:

  • Bones: become weaker and more fragile
  • Joints: cartilage begins to wear out, making it tough to be active
  • Muscles: function decreases, affecting mobility and balance

Replenishing the lost collagen in the body or adding to the collagen the body is already making could reverse, and even improve, some of these effects.

Lifestyle Choices that Affect Collagen Production

The loss of collagen due to aging is something we cannot control, but the loss of collagen due to a few harmful lifestyle factors can be controlled. Avoid the following lifestyle choices that can decrease collagen production in the body:

Smoking: Nicotine in cigarettes constricts blood vessels near the skin’s surface and inhibits the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin and results in wrinkles.

A Diet High in Sugar or Refined Carbs: Sugar attaches to proteins to form advanced glycation end products. These molecules damage nearby proteins and cause collagen to become weak, dry, and brittle.

Exposure to Ultraviolet Light: Too much sunlight reduces collagen production and causes collagen to break down more rapidly.

Eating a well-balanced diet, wearing sunscreen, and not smoking are all things you can do to help your body maintain and produce the collagen it needs. Adding a collagen peptide supplement also provides a way to ensure your body has the collagen it needs to function properly and continue making the collagen it needs.

Benefits of Collagen Peptides

Collagen peptide supplementation may provide a variety of health benefits. These include:

Skin Health

One of the most well-known advantages of collagen peptides is how they improve the appearance and feel of the skin. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that participants taking an oral collagen peptide supplement for eight weeks experienced skin that was more supple, better hydrated, and had fewer wrinkles than those in the placebo group.

Another study published by the Royal Society of Chemistry showed that taking an oral collagen peptide once daily for 12 weeks significantly improved skin hydration and skin elasticity in a test group of women aged 30-60 years. These improvements led to fewer wrinkles in the test group, as well.

Because skin is the body’s largest organ that is exposed to the environment, it is affected by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors in the aging process. That means that things like ultraviolet light, smoke, and pollution that our bodies are exposed to, as well as the inherent aging process where we lose a percentage of collagen every year, really take a toll on the appearance and texture of our skin.

Including a collagen peptide supplement can improve the health of your skin, leaving you with not only younger-looking skin but also skin that feels tighter and more supple.

Joint Support

With the loss of collagen each year that comes along with aging, the risk of joint disorders like osteoarthritis increases. Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease, generating pain, disability, and increased health care costs worldwide. Currently, no approved disease-modifying drugs are available for osteoarthritis.

However, there is a strong link between collagen peptide supplements and a decrease in joint pain. Research suggests that supplemental collagen peptides may accumulate in cartilage and stimulate the body’s tissues to make collagen, which may lead to lower inflammation, better joint function, and reduced pain, thus improving overall joint health.

A 24-week study found that collagen significantly reduced joint pain in athletes when running, lifting, and walking. Your joints are primarily made of type II collagen, so it makes sense that one of the benefits of collagen supplementation would be stronger, healthier joints.

Collagen peptides have been proven to improve overall joint function as well as reduce inflammation and pain. Consider adding a collagen peptide supplement to your daily routine to ward off the effects of aging on your joints.

Muscle Growth and Recovery

We’ve all heard it before: if you want to increase your muscle mass, you should eat more protein and start lifting weights. That may not be entirely accurate. Collagen peptides may be able to help you increase your muscle mass by including them in your wellness journey.

When paired with muscle-building activity, collagen peptides may play a role in promoting muscle mass. For example, a small study on healthy young men found that collagen peptide supplementation led to more pronounced increases in body mass, fat-free mass, and muscle strength than resistance training alone.

Muscle recovery also seems to improve with the addition of collagen peptides to your workout plan. Muscle soreness has been shown to decrease, which leads to a faster turnaround time for the next workout.

Bone Density

As we age, our bones become more prone to fractures and osteoporosis. This happens because our bones are primarily made of collagen, and as collagen decreases with age, so does the density of our bones. Because collagen is an essential component of bone mass, research suggests that collagen peptides may help to improve bone mineral density.

Collagen peptides support the process of bone mineralization, which ensures that bones are strengthened and hardened. They also support the formation of osteoblasts that are required for bone growth. Collagen peptides play an integral role in bone development, and supplementing with them may increase the overall strength and density of your bones.

This information may be particularly helpful to postmenopausal women, as they lose bone mass at a faster rate than any other group.

In a 12-month study of postmenopausal women, some took a calcium and vitamin D supplement with 5 grams of collagen, and others took a calcium and vitamin D supplement with no collagen daily. Those taking the calcium, vitamin D, and collagen supplements had significantly lower blood levels of proteins that promote bone breakdown and less loss of mineral bone density than those who took only the calcium and vitamin D.

The connection between collagen and bone density cannot be denied. Adding collagen peptides to your journey of wellness may help increase your bone density and help you avoid developing degenerative bone diseases like osteoporosis.

Gut Health

The gut is lined with a layer of connective tissue primarily made of collagen. Therefore, collagen is involved in the rebuilding and strengthening of the digestive tract. Remember that collagen contains amino acids, and these amino acids — especially glycine and glutamine — are necessary for the health of the digestive system.

Research shows that collagen peptides can actually ameliorate gut barrier dysfunction and improve its tight junctions. Collagen also helps fight against leaky gut where nutrients are lost through unhealthy intestinal lining. Collagen peptides help maintain and repair this lining, so adding them to your diet will mitigate this loss of nutrients.

Upping your collagen peptide intake through supplementation may vastly improve your gut health by supporting the healthy lining of your digestive system.

Proper Dosage of Collagen Peptides

While there is currently no official guideline as to how much collagen you should take a day, a 2019 review of clinical studies found that taking 2.5-15 grams of hydrolyzed collagen peptides per day may be safe and effective.

The good news is that collagen peptides are safe, and it’s not possible to take too much. That being said, you should always read the recommended dosage on the supplements you are taking and check with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement routine.

Collagen Peptide Supplementation is Worth a Try

Collagen peptides offer a wealth of benefits for overall well-being, ranging from improved skin appearance and texture to increased mobility due to better joint health and function. They also offer benefits for muscle growth and bone density and keeping your gut health in check.

The comprehensive advantages of collagen peptides to wellness have been proven through many scientific studies and continue to be studied to learn more about their benefits.

Collagen peptides may be a valuable addition to your wellness journey, no matter who you are. From an athlete looking for a way to recover faster after a workout to an aging adult who wants to increase mobility — collagen peptide supplements offer these potential benefits.

Want to learn more about how to improve your wellness and reach your optimal bodily function? Reach out to 10X Health today.

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