Collagen peptides are usually considered the best form of collagen for ingestion. Hydrolyzed collagen should be taken if a person wants to take a collagen supplement. Hydrolyzed collagen means the collagen has been broken down into small peptides, which are easy for the body to digest. Consuming collagen with vitamin C gives the body the best shot at taking the full advantage of the collagen being consumed. Vitamin C will optimize the collagen supplement's bioavailability because it is essential for collagen synthesis to occur. While picking up the collagen peptide supplements, it is recommended to skip the flavored versions and always look for third-party certification. Choosing the best type of collagen also depends on specific health goals.
- To maintain skin elasticity and hydration and for healthy eyes, bones and wound healing: Try one to two servings daily of marine collagen, which is high in type 1 collagen or bovine collagen, to get high amounts of both type 1 and 2 collagens. Usually, 2.5 to 10 grams of collagen peptides taken orally daily for 8 to 12 weeks may make the skin healthy.
- For joint pain and inflammation: Add one to two servings daily of type 2 collagen from organic bone broth protein or bovine collagen. 10 grams of collagen peptides taken daily in one or two divided doses for three to five months work well for joint pains.
- For gut health: Aim for one to three servings daily of organic bone broth protein.
Check for collagen products that come from grass-fed, pasture-raised (in the case of bovine collagen) or wild-caught sources (for marine collagen).
What are the different types of collagen?
There are 16 different types of collagen. However, the most researched types of collagen are types I, II and III. Collagens are minute ropes of protein in the skin. When people are young, these protein ropes remain tight. However, with increasing age, the ends of these proteins begin to fray. Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body. Collagen is the main structural protein that forms the connective tissue throughout the body, from the skin to bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. It can be said collagen is the glue that holds everything together.
Type I collagen:
- It is usually considered best for the skin. It is the most prevalent type of collagen in the body.
- This collagen preserved the levels of collagen in the skin, hair or nails.
- Levels of type I collagen begin to decline around 25 years of age.
- Because it is so prevalent in the connective tissues, the decrease of type I collagen can be observed when the skin starts to sag, fine lines appear, nails become brittle and the hair becomes thin.
- However, type I collagen isn’t just a beauty-related substance. It’s also a major component of the tendons, organs and bones. This makes it a vital component of any diet or wellness routine. Collagen peptides are primarily composed of type I collagen.
Type II collagen:
- Another common type of collagen to find in supplements is type II collagen.
- Though somewhat less prevalent in the body than type I and II collagen, it is extremely important.
- It is the main component of cartilages and extremely healthy for the skeletal system.
- Active people who need to rely on their joints could also benefit from adding type II collagen into their diet. Cartilage collagen is composed of type II collagen.
Type III collagen:
- Type III collagen is also found in the vital proteins line of collagen products.
- Type III is generally found in reticular fibers, such as in the bone marrow.
- It’s usually found alongside type I collagen in the body.
- Vital proteins, collagen peptides and marine collagen are rich in types I and III collagen.
What are collagen peptides?
Collagen peptides are a soluble supplement derived from marine or bovine (cows) protein. These peptides are rich in types I and III collagen and good for skin, bone, and joint health. Most peptides are flavorless and dissolve completely in hot or cold liquid.
- Collagen peptides contain the same reparative amino acids that are found in the gelatin of bone broth. They are derived from pure collagen.
- They are a functional ingredient used in food and beverages, as well as in dietary supplements, targeting both bone and joint health along with skin beauty.
- Created through enzymatic hydrolysis of collagen, collagen peptides are a bioavailable form of collagen and are highly water soluble and nongelling.
- Collagen peptides contain higher than 90% protein and are made from bovine, porcine or marine sources.
- They contain 8 of the 9 essential amino acids and are high in proline, glycine and hydroxyproline.
- Because of the high content of specific amino acids, including hydroxyproline-proline and hydroxyproline-glycine, collagen peptides are easily absorbed within the body and improve skin, joint and bone health.
- Because of their lower molecular weight, collagen peptides are easily absorbed in the digestive tract, delivering amino acids and high concentrations of hydroxyproline-proline and hydroxyproline-glycine dipeptides to enhance skin, joint and bone health.
- Collagen peptides have the added benefit of versatility in food, beverage and supplement formulations. People may use them to spike their coffee or smoothie.
- Because they cannot form gels, formulators can use collagen peptides in a wide variety of applications, including protein bars, ready to drink (RTD) beverages and powders.
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What do collagen peptides do?
Multiple studies have reported the advantages of collagen peptides for skin, hair, and joint problems. If a person decides to take a collagen supplement, they must look for the one that is hydrolyzed. This means collagen has been broken down into small peptides that are easy for the body to digest and transport to the cells through the bloodstream. Benefits of collagen peptides expand across the body, which may include:
- Collagen peptides help repair the damaged skin and make it more youthful by making firmer skin, improving skin elasticity and reducing skin dryness. Peptides improve brittle nails, damaged hair and fine lines and wrinkles.
- Studies have found that collagen peptides improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis by reducing joint pain. Collagen peptides also improve bone density. Collagen might help maintain and increase bone density and strength with age, potentially limiting the risk of injury.
- Research shows that collagen peptides may improve gut health and reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
- Because collagen helps heal the gut, it, in turn, strengthens the immune system, making a person less prone to infections and allergies.
- Collagen peptides improve recovery time and joint function in athletes.
- Some research also shows that collagen peptides may help with weight loss and reduce body fat. Collagen can boost metabolism by increasing lean muscle mass. When combined with exercise, taking collagen peptide may increase skeletal muscle, resulting in increased metabolism over time and reduced weight.
- Moreover, studies have reported that collagen peptides specifically increase the satiety hormone. This means after consuming collagen, a person will not feel hungry for a while. Hunger pain is one of the biggest hurdles in weight loss. People are much more likely to stick to their goals if they feel full.
- People who work out already know proteins such as collagen are crucial for building lean muscle. Reasons for this are complex. One element is creatinine production. Creatinine provides the fuel needed for muscle function. It also supports strength training. Adding collagen peptide supplements to an overall resistance training routine can also help turn body fat into lean muscle.
- Taking collagen during pregnancy and breastfeeding is safe, but if a woman is worried, they should ask their doctor to be sure. Collagen supports skin elasticity that is ideal during pregnancy because the body is stretching a lot. It’s great for the joint and ligaments that have added stress on them while making room for a baby.
- A study on healthy, older adults reported that supplementing a diet with just 2.5 grams of collagen peptide per day improves atherosclerosis markers. Results probably have nothing to do with blood lipids and instead are related to the health of blood vessel walls. However, more research is required to prove that collagen peptides could improve the function of blood vessel walls.
However, people with kidney disease or other kidney issues should work with a doctor to find their ideal protein intake of collage peptide. Even an easy-to-process protein such as collagen peptide counts toward the daily total protein and calorie intake.
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How to increase collagen naturally
Collagen is often referred to as a complex protein because it contains 19 different amino acids. A few common foods may be included in the diet to increase collagen naturally:
- Whole food sources of collagen come from meat, fish and eggs. However, since the best sources of collagen are found in tendons and cartilage, lean meat may not have enough collagen.
- Another whole food source of collagen is bone broth. This can be made by simmering the collagen-rich parts of the animal, such as bones.
- Vitamin A and C, iron, zinc and copper are all necessary for proper collagen production. A whole food, plant-based diet can easily provide these nutrients. Good sources of these nutrients are carrots, sweet potatoes, kale (vitamin A), strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi (vitamin C), pumpkin seeds, cocoa powder, cashews (zinc), sunflower seeds, chickpeas (copper), spinach, lentils and black beans (iron).
- Omega-3 fatty acids protect the body’s collagen stores from damage and work to reduce free radicals and inflammation. The best sources of omega-3s include hemp seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, flaxseeds and fatty fishes (such as salmon).
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
León-López A, Morales-Peñaloza A, Martínez-Juárez VM, Vargas-Torres A, Zeugolis DI, Aguirre-Álvarez G. Hydrolyzed Collagen-Sources and Applications. Molecules. 2019;24(22):4031. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6891674/
Collagen Peptides: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1606/collagen-peptides
Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/
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