Collagen peptides are minute pieces of protein obtained from animal collagen. Collagen is one of the substances used for making bones, cartilage, ligaments, skin, and tendons (Nezwek & Varacallo, 2021).
Collagen peptides are made by disintegrating whole collagen proteins into smaller or tiny pieces.
After ingestion, collagen peptides are assimilated into the skin and cartilage. This leads to improvement in some skin and joint conditions.
Collagen peptides are used as anti-aging agents as well as remedy for osteoarthritis. They are also used for brittle nails, muscle strength, osteoporosis, among other purposes.
Of the 28 types of collagen, only four of them are most common (Nezwek & Varacallo, 2021). These are:
Type I: this is the most common type of collagen found in all connective tissue.
Type II: this type of collagen is found in joints and intervertebral discs. It serves as a shock absorber for your spinal cord.
Type III: this type of collagen is present in reticular fibers found in the skin and blood vessels.
Type IV: this type of collagen is a constituent of your eye lens, inner ear, and kidneys.
Type I collagen is largely considered as the best for the skin. It is the most abundant in the body of an individual. It helps to maintain healthy bones, hair, nails, and skin. Unfortunately, it begins to decline after one has reached 25 years of age.
Individuals who have used collagen-containing products claim that it can improve elasticity of the skin, reduce wrinkles on the face, and enhance the flow of blood to the skin. There are also claims that it can reduce sagging of the skin, leaving one with a plump, youthful look.
Digestive enzymes in the body break down collagen present in ingested food into amino acids and peptides. On the other hand, collagen present in supplements has already undergone breakdown (Hydrolysis) thus enhancing its absorption.
Collagen supplements are said to have several benefits including the following:
Collagen can help strengthen your skin by improving its elasticity and hydration. As your age advances, less collagen is synthesized in the body, resulting in dry skin and wrinkle formation (Quan & Fisher, 2015).
According to Quan and Fisher (2015), collagen supplements stimulate the body to synthesize its own collagen. In addition, the researchers established that the supplements enhance the synthesis of two structural proteins, that is, elastin and fibrillin.
A review of 11 studies that focused on women established that taking 3 – 10g of collagen peptides or collagen supplements may slow down the process of skin aging which reduces wrinkles and dryness (Choi et al., 2019).
Anecdotal research indicates that collagen supplements can prevent acne, among other skin conditions.
Collagen may also help relieve pain experienced in joints by keeping your cartilage intact. This helps to keep off age related degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis.
Researchers Garcia-Coronado (2019) established that after consuming 10g of collagen daily for a period of four weeks, individuals with osteoarthritis recorded significant improvements in joint pain and joint stiffness.
As one ages, the amount of collagen present in their body begins to wane. This means that their bone mass begins to decrease. This may lead to a condition called osteoporosis. This condition is characterized by low bone density and increased risk of bone fractures.
According to researchers Porfirio and Fanaro (2016), collagen supplements may be helpful in preventing bone breakdown that usually leads to osteoporosis.
In another study, researchers established that women who took a daily calcium supplement comprising 5g of collagen for 12 months recorded a significantly lower level of blood proteins involved in bone breakdown (Elam et al., 2014).
In yet another similar study, researchers Konig et al. (2018) established that women who took 5g of collagen daily for 12 months, exhibited a 7% increase in their bone mineral density (BMD).
Research findings indicate that collagen supplements may promote or enhance muscle mass in individuals with sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is a condition characterized by loss of muscle mass as one advances in age.
Researchers have shown that a person who engages in physical exercise while taking 15g of collagen on a daily basis, records a significant increase in muscle mass and strength (Zdzieblik et al., 2015).
These researchers have intimated that taking collagen supplements may enhance synthesis of creatine and other muscle-building proteins as well as stimulate growth of muscles after exercises.
It has been theorized that ingesting collagen fortifies the structure of blood vessels such as arteries. Lack of sufficient collagen may cause arteries to become less flexible, and less elastic.
This may lead to a condition known as atherosclerosis, which is characterized by the narrowing of arteries. If this continues for a long time, an individual may suffer a heart attack and stroke.
A study conducted by Tomosugi et al. (2017) established that regular intake of collagen significantly reduces the level of blood lipids (including low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) in healthy persons.
This implies that little or no cholesterol is allowed to accumulate in arteries, effectively preventing atherosclerosis from taking place. Ultimately, this helps prevent occurrence of cardiovascular disease.
Research findings indicate that daily oral supplementation with collagen peptides reduces the symptoms of brittle nails while improving their growth rate.
According to researchers Hexsel et al. (2017) daily ingestion of bioactive collagen peptides resulted in 12% increase in nail growth and 42% decrease in the frequency of broken nails.
Many mothers wonder whether it is safe to take collagen while breastfeeding: the answer to this question is: yes, it safe to take collagen while breast feeding.
This is because so far, no side effects have been reported by breastfeeding mothers who take collagen. In fact, there several documented benefits of taking collagen while breastfeeding including:
Bovine collagen is a form of protein derived from cows.
The body of a human being is comprised of 28 types of collagen. However, the main types are collagen I, II, III, and IV.
According to research findings, ingestion of bovine collagen increases types I and III collagen (Song et al, 2017).
Bovine collagen may also increase skin moisture, promote skin elasticity, and reduce wrinkles.
This is the question that rings in most people’s mind just before they consume collagen peptides. Well, the answer to this question is: yes. This is because, being an insoluble protein, some people may find collagen difficult to digest.
However, to reduce the risk of experiencing a diarrhea after ingesting collagen, one is advised to combine it with apple cider vinegar.
It is safe to take collagen peptides (except marine collagen) during pregnancy. However, it is always advisable to begin by consulting your doctor or midwife before using any supplements or medication.
Taking collagen during pregnancy may enhance the elasticity of your skin, improve digestion in your gut, reduce postpartum hair loss, and strengthen joints and ligaments.
Collagen supplements may cause mild side effects including bloating, feelings of fullness, and heartburn. If you are allergic to certain foods, only buy supplements that do not contain your allergens (Moskowitz, 2000).
Research done using human subjects indicate that collagen supplements are effective in improving skin elasticity. It has also been reported that collagen supplements can enhance mobility of joints as well as decrease the pain experienced in joints because of osteoarthritis.
Reviewed literature also indicates that collagen peptides could be effective in preventing or treating osteoporosis. Given that collagen constitutes about 10% of your muscle tissue, collagen supplements/peptides may be helpful to individuals experiencing sarcopenia, that is, loss of muscle mass.
In a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted by Bolke et al. (2019), it was established that use of collagen peptides could help arrest effects of skin aging. Specifically, the study found that intake of collagen supplements could restore skin elasticity, density, and hydration.
There exists no scientific evidence that proves collagen can actually treat atopic dermatitis or eczema (an inflammatory skin condition). While shots of collagen have shown effectiveness in treating acne scars, no evidence exists to prove that the supplements can treat or stop acne.
Collagen peptides can remain stable 3 years from the date of manufacture, as long as the poly-lined container holding the product is tightly sealed.
Hydrolyzed collagen is a term used to describe collagen peptides. Hydrolyzed collagen refers to collagen that has undergone breakdown to form easy-to-dissolve or easy-to-absorb amino acids. It is available in form of collagen powder dietary supplement.
Collagen peptide pills are available in form of capsules that are to be swallowed. On the other hand, collagen powder is available in form of powder that can be added to drinks and foods.
Collagen peptides and protein powders does not refer to the same thing. While protein powders are complete proteins lacking nothing, collagen peptides on the other hand do not have all the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
Whey protein is complete lacking nothing while collagen peptides lack some essential amino acids. Whey protein is quickly absorbed by the body after ingestion making it a great performance supplement. It has also shown ability to lower blood pressure and also reduce inflammation.
These two terms refer to the same thing, in other words, they are synonyms and can thus be used interchangeably.
The difference between these two terms is how they are sourced. Collagen peptides are sourced from bovine hide and bone while marine collagen is sourced from fish scales and fins.
Hope the information was helpful. Thank you.
Bolke, L., Schlippe, G., Gerb, J. and Voss, W. (2019). A collagen supplement improves skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density: results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, blind study. Nutrients, 11(10), 2494. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6835901/
Choi, F.D., Sung, C.T., Juhasz, M.L., Mesinkovsk, N.A. (2019). Oral collagen supplementation: a systematic review of dermatological applications. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 18(1), 9-16. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30681787/
Elam, M.L., Johnson, S.A., Hooshmand, S., Feresin, R.G., Payton, M.E., Gu, J., Arjmandi, B.H. (2015). A calcium-collagen chelate dietary supplement attenuates bone loss in postmenopausal women with osteopenia: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Medicinal Food, 18(3), 324-331. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25314004/
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Hexsel, D., Zague, V., Schunck, M., Siega, C., Camozzato, F.O. and Oesser, S. (2017). Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 16(4), 520-526. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28786550/
Konig, D., Oesse, S., Scharla, S., Zdzieblik, D. and Gollhofer, A. (2018). Specific collagen peptides improve Bone Mineral Density (BMD) and Bone Markers in postmenopausal women – a randomized controlled study. Nutrients, 10(1), 97. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5793325/
Moskowitz, R.W. (2000). Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease. Seminars in arthritis and rheumatism, 30(2), 87-99. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11071580/
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Porfirio, E. and Fanaro, G.(2016). Collagen supplementation as a complementary therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Revista Brasileira de Geriatria e Gerontologia 19, 153-164.
Quan, T. and Fisher, G.J. (2015). Role of age-associated alterations of the dermal extracellular matrix microenvironment in human skin aging: a mini review. Gerontology, 61(5), 427-434. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25660807/
Song, H., Zhang, S., Zhang, L. and Li, B. (2017). Effect of orally administered collagen peptides from bovine bone on skin aging in chronologically aged mice. Nutrients, 9(11), 1209. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5707681/
Tomosugi, N., Yamamoto, S., Takeuchi, M., Yonekura, H., Ishigaki, Y., Numata, N., Katsuda, S. and Sakai, Y. (2017). Effect of collagen tripeptide on atherosclerosis in healthy humans. Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis, 24(5), 530-538. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5429168/#
Zdzieblik, D., Oesser, S., Baumstark, M.W., Gollhofer, A. and Konig, D. (2015). Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomized controlled trial. The British Journal of Nutrition, 114(8), 1237-1245. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4594048/
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