The Science Behind Collagen Peptides

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, accounting for 30% of the total protein present in the body. Collagen provides structure and support to skin, muscles, bones, and connective tissues. Without enough collagen in the body, many health concerns materialize, for example, skin begins to sag, arteries become less flexible, joint health decreases, and muscles weaken. 

Proteins are made from amino acids; the specific amino acids that makeup collagen consist of proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. These amino acids twist around each other to form a triple helix bond. Your body also needs the proper amount of zinc, copper, manganese, and vitamin C to make this triple helix bond. 

Collagen peptides, also known as hydrolyzed collagen or collagen hydrolysate, are made by breaking down whole collagen proteins into smaller pieces, called peptides. Peptides are more bioavailable, meaning they are easily absorbed by the body because they are smaller. These collagen peptides are what you find in collagen supplement powders and capsules. 

As we age, our body’s natural collagen production begins to decrease. By the age of 40, you’re losing 1% of the total collagen in your body per year. This may seem like a small amount, but it adds up quickly. Collagen peptides are available as a supplement that can help your body replace lost collagen. 

Types of Collagen

While all collagen types have the triple helix bond, there are over 20 different types of collagen that have been identified in the human body. The five main types of collagen in the body include: 

  • Type I: This type makes up 90% of the collagen in the body and gives strength to bones, ligaments, and tendons. 
  • Type II: This type makes up the flexible cartilage that supports joint function. 
  • Type III: This type is found in internal organs, as well as muscles and arteries. 
  • Type IV: This type is found in some layers of the skin. 
  • Type V: This type is found in the cornea of your eyes, some layers of skin, and hair. 

Types I, II, and III are the most common types of collagen found in collagen supplements. 

Types of Collagen and Collagen Peptides

Collagen is gathered from different animal sources including cows, pigs, chickens, and marine animals. Once extracted, the collagen can be turned directly into collagen supplements, broken down into collagen peptides or partially broken down into gelatin. 

Bovine and marine collagen are the most common sources used to make collagen peptides. Both sources provide generous amounts of Type I collagen, while bovine provides large amounts of Type III. Many bovine-sourced collagen supplements are sourced from grass-fed cows and most marine and bovine collagen is gluten-free.

There are many different ways to take a collagen supplement. Pill, powder, and liquid form are all options when it comes to collagen peptides. Powder and pill forms tend to be the same makeup, as the powder is just contained inside of a capsule instead of scooped in powder form. There does seem to be a difference between powder and liquid form, as collagen powders tend to have a higher concentration of peptides than liquids. 

Potential Benefits of Collagen Peptides

Taking collagen peptide supplements doesn’t guarantee that all of the potential benefits listed below will be realized. However, many studies have been completed, and more in the process, showing that collagen peptides have some very favorable effects on the body. These prospective benefits include: 

  1. Boosting skin elasticity & hydration: As we age our skin becomes duller and develops wrinkles. This is because of decreased collagen. Collagen peptides may slow the appearance of aging by working to improve skin hydration, which prevents wrinkles from forming.
  2. Strengthening bones & muscles: Our bones are made primarily of collagen, so when we age and collagen production decreases, our bones weaken. This can lead to osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and an increased risk of fractures. Taking collagen peptides may help increase bone density and alleviate these problems.

Collagen also makes up 10% of our muscle tissue, so collagen peptides may be helpful in decreasing the amount of muscle lost during the aging process. 

Easing joint pain: Collagen peptides are thought to improve the elasticity and strength of connective tissue in the body leading to healthy joints. One study specifically had athletes with knee pain take five grams of collagen peptides each day for 12 weeks. The researchers found that those who took collagen peptides had less joint pain when they worked out compared to those who took a placebo.

Enhancing hair and nails: Collagen is a major component of hair and nail structure. Taking collagen peptides may support healthy hair and improve nail growth.

Improving heart health: When you lack collagen, your arteries weaken which can increase the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. Collagen helps keep the shape of your blood vessels and arteries and also keeps them flexible.

Aiding in gut health: The amino acids in collagen peptides can play an important role in building and maintaining healthy connective tissue throughout your digestive tract.

Providing an easy source of protein: Collagen peptides give you a source of protein that is easily digested because the peptides are already partially broken down before you consume them. Protein not only helps you build muscle but keeps you feeling fuller for longer. This aspect of collagen peptides may show that they support weight loss. 

Collagen peptide supplements are widely available, but you should pay close attention to the ingredients listed on the packaging. All collagen peptides are not the same. Knowing what form of protein as well as which amino acids are present in the collagen peptides you buy is important. 

Can I Get My Collagen From the Food I Eat?

The short answer is…maybe. Collagen cannot be absorbed in its whole form by the body. Your body breaks down collagen proteins into amino acids, so eating collagen-rich food does not directly translate into higher collagen levels in your body. 

Remember the amino acids mentioned earlier in the article that need to be present in order for collagen to be produced? 

Proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline are all needed to support collagen production, as well as the proper amounts of zinc, copper, manganese, and vitamin C. So eating a balanced diet of foods that include these amino acids, minerals, and vitamins will be helpful in maintaining or increasing collagen in your body. 

Foods, vitamins, and minerals to add to your diet to increase collagen production include: 

Bone broth: Bone broth draws collagen out of beef, chicken, or fish bones, leaving behind a flavorful liquid that you can drink or add to other dishes. Most bone broth recipes require slowly simmering bones in water for hours — usually an entire day or two — making it a difficult recipe to complete. 

Protein-rich foods: When your body makes collagen, it needs the amino acids present in protein-rich foods. Foods high in protein include chicken, beef, fish, beans, eggs, and dairy products. 

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is one of the essential nutrients needed to make collagen. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of this vitamin. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, red and green peppers, and dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kale are great choices. 

Zinc, copper, and manganese: These minerals, just like vitamin C, are necessary for the production of collagen in the body. Sources of zinc and copper include nuts, meats, shellfish, beans, leafy vegetables, and whole grains. 

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is important not only for collagen production but for overall wellness. As we age, our body’s ability to absorb nutrients decreases, which is why adding a collagen powder supplement may be beneficial. 

Signs Your Body is Losing Collagen

If you’re over the age of 40, your body has probably started to lose collagen. There are other signs, both on the inside and outside of the body, that indicate decreased collagen levels as well. These signs and symptoms include:

  • Wrinkled or sagging skin
  • Weakened or shrinking muscles 
  • Stiffer, less flexible ligaments or tendons 
  • Joint pain 
  • Stiffness in joints
  • Circulation problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems 

There are also lifestyle choices that can damage and decrease the collagen in your body. Smoking, eating too much sugar or refined carbohydrates, and excessive exposure to ultraviolet light all contribute to decreased collagen levels in the body. Having an autoimmune disease like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis is also known to harm collagen. 

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, a collagen powder supplement may help counteract these issues. 

Collagen Peptides in Beauty & Skin Health

Slowing the aging process by use of collagen supplements has become a driving force in the field of dermatology and cosmetics. There are numerous products available in every branch of the beauty market that contain collagen peptides. Topical creams and serums as well as oral supplements may both work to improve the look and feel of skin. 

Collagen peptides can penetrate the outer layer of the skin, so instead of sitting on top of the skin, they sink more deeply in. They act as messengers to the other cells that collagen and elastin need to be produced. Incorporating collagen peptides into your skincare routine may not only improve the look of your skin by diminishing wrinkles but also: 

  • Improve the skin barrier: Peptides help build up a stronger barrier against bacteria, ultraviolet rays, pollution, and other toxins. They are also thought to improve wound healing.
  • Increase elastin: Peptides make up elastin fibers, and these fibers are what make skin look firm and taut. 
  • Ease inflammation: Peptides can reduce inflammation, even out skin tone, and repair damaged skin. 
  • Clear breakouts: Some peptides are antimicrobial so they can kill the bacteria that cause acne. 

A serum or moisturizer that includes collagen peptides may lead to firmer, more even, supple skin. An oral collagen peptide supplement, like collagen powder, is also a great choice to reap these possible benefits as well. 

Naturally Boosting Your Collagen

Aside from eating a healthy, balanced diet, there are some things you can do to naturally boost your collagen supply. Lifestyle factors influence how much collagen your body makes and how well collagen works in your body. All of these healthy lifestyle choices will not only help with collagen production and maintenance but will positively influence your overall wellness: 

  • Protect skin from UV rays: Sun exposure damages your skin’s collagen and results in wrinkles and less elasticity. Exposure to UV rays also increases your risk of developing skin cancer. 
  • Don’t smoke: Smoking is hard on every part of your body, especially your skin. If you smoke, stop. Smoking also raises your risk of developing several different cancers. 
  • Don’t eat added sugar: Sugar reacts with collagen in our skin and makes skin stiffer and less elastic. A diet high in sugar can negatively affect your weight, as well as put you at risk for developing various diseases, like diabetes. 
  • Get plenty of sleep: Sleep supports healthy skin and a healthy body. Sleep reduces stress and also helps you make healthier food choices during the day. 

Potential Side Effects and Considerations When Using Collagen Peptides

Collagen peptides have a good safety record and are not associated with any major side effects. If you are considering taking collagen peptides for the first time, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to reach out to a medical professional before you begin taking them. 

You should check the label of any supplement you plan to use especially if you have any allergies. Always check to see where the collagen peptides you are taking are harvested from. If you are allergic to dairy or shellfish products, some collagen peptide supplements may not be safe for you. 

Researching the ingredients in the collagen powder supplement you choose to take is a must. Make sure you’re buying a trusted product of great quality. Read up on the company producing the supplement as well. Remember that supplements are not FDA-regulated, so it’s important to do your research before incorporating them into your daily routine. 

FAQs about Collagen Peptides

Who should take collagen peptides?

Collagen peptide supplements are safe for most people, but people who have certain food allergies (like shellfish or dairy) should check the label to make sure the collagen they are taking does not contain those ingredients. Collagen is an animal product, so vegans or vegetarians may want to avoid it as well. 

Is taking collagen peptides every day good for you?

You can safely take 2.5 to 20g of collagen peptides per day. To experience the potential benefits of collagen peptides, you need to incorporate them into your daily routine. 

It’s important to note that not all collagen peptide supplements are created equal. Many supplements contain other ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and minerals, which can complicate the dosage of collagen needed to gain the desired effect.  

What’s the difference between the sources of collagen peptides?

The two main forms of collagen are bovine and marine. The big difference between the two is that marine collagen comes from fish skin and scales, while bovine collagen comes from cow hides. Both offer many potential benefits. Both kinds of collagen peptides are easily digested by the body.

What do collagen “peptides” and “hydrolyzed” collagen mean?

Peptides and hydrolyzed are interchangeable. Both mean small pieces of collagen. 

When will I notice a difference once I’ve started taking collagen peptides?

It does take time to see the effects of collagen peptides, just like with any supplement. You may notice slight differences within a few weeks, but give your new collagen peptide routine three to four months to really see developments. 

What’s the best time of day to take collagen peptides?

Some people believe that you should take collagen with your morning coffee, some think you should take it after a workout, and some believe you should take it at night. The truth is that there isn’t enough evidence to support any of these theories, so you should take it when it best fits into your daily routine. 

Another plus is that collagen peptides are completely tasteless, so you can add them to any hot or cold beverages. Collagen peptides are easily digested as well, so the time of day does not really matter.

Enhancing Wellness with Collagen Peptides

Collagen peptides can offer many potential benefits as part of a healthy lifestyle. They are virtually free of side effects and the research that’s been completed so far has shown promising results. Whether the anti-aging benefits are of interest to you or improved bone health, collagen peptides may be the answer to your wellness goals.

In some completed studies, collagen peptides have shown a positive effect on bone strength and mineral density, supporting the idea of effectiveness for diseases that debilitate these structures, such as osteoporosis. 

Studies have also shown that collagen peptides improve joint stability, help with muscle recovery, and improve joint comfort and functionality. This is on top of the proven benefits of collagen peptides on the hair, skin, and nails — increasing elasticity, decreasing wrinkles, improving overall skin hydration, and improving the look, and texture, of both hair and nails. 

The future of collagen peptides is bright, and their popularity will continue to grow as more and more people discover the potential benefits of collagen peptides. The positive influence of increased research proving the advantages of collagen peptides is also certain to increase their reach. The collagen peptide market is projected to reach $1.22 billion by 2030

The possible results from including collagen peptides in your daily routine should be enough for you to want to look into them further. The overall positive effect on your wellness just might be what you’re looking for to reach your optimal well-being. 

Interested in learning how to optimize your wellness? Reach out to 10X Health today to learn what you can do to take your well-being to the next level. 

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