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I’m not a fan of gimmicky supplements like ‘detox juices’ or ‘skinny teas’. They are often backed with little more than hype (not real science) and don’t actually do much good for you health-wise.
When I do use a supplement, it is one that has been thoroughly researched, and proven to work.
Collagen peptides are one such supplement.
They have so many excellent health benefits – including healing your gut (which is something I am focusing on right now).
What Are Collagen Peptides
The short answer is that collagen peptides, a bioactive form of collagen, are considered cold-soluble and easily digestible. Collagen peptides – like gelatin – originate from collagen. They are proteins made of amino acids.
Ok – but what does that all mean?
Let’s start with the basics.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen plays a vital role when it comes to our body’s structure.
It is the most important building block in our body and is often referred to as the ‘glue’ or ‘cement’ that holds everything together. (Which doesn’t seem like a good description to me seeing as collagen ensures elasticity in the joints, but let’s go with it for now.)
Collagen makes up around 30% of the proteins in our bodies and ensures the cohesion, elasticity, and regeneration of all our connective tissues. This includes the skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones.
Collagen promotes skin elasticity, protects your organs, holds together your bones and muscles, and provides structure to your joints and tendons.
Collagen is produced in our body by different cells. These cells use specific peptides and amino acids to produce the collagen.
What Are Collagen Peptides?
Are you ready for some science?
Here is the explanation of what collagen peptides are, from the Peptan website:
“Collagen peptides are small bioactive peptides obtained by enzymatical hydrolysis of collagen, in other words, the breaking down of the molecular bonds between individual collagen strands to peptides. Hydrolysis reduces collagen protein fibrils of about 300 – 400kDa into smaller peptides with a molecular weight of lower than 5000Da. Collagen peptides are also known as hydrolyzed collagen or collagen hydrolysate.” (1)
Hydrolyzed collagen is another name often used for collagen peptides.
Collagen peptides are much smaller than collagen and are much easier to digest.
They are highly bioavailable – which means that your body can use then very easily, without much extra work.
Collagen peptides are used by your body as building blocks to renew your bodily tissues (including skin, bones, and joints).
How Does Collagen Supplements Work?
Before going into how collagen peptides work, let’s first discuss why we actually need to be adding collagen peptides to our diet.
Every day, your body is naturally producing collagen. As you age, the production of collagen slows down.
The enzyme collagenase is the one doing the breaking down of collagen.
But – from the age of around 25 – our body ends up breaking down more collagen than it makes.
This is why you will start noticing fine lines and wrinkles on your face from around that age.
Adding collagen peptides to your diet keeps your body stocked up as you age.
When you ingest collagen peptides, they are absorbed by your small intestine and then circulated into your bloodstream for your body to use.
And because collagen peptides are highly bioavailable, your body can easily start making use of them to repair and regenerate.
Research has even shown that after ingesting collagen peptides, the collagen increases in your blood! (Bonus collagen!)
What Are The Benefits Of Collagen Peptides?
The research on collagen and its potential benefits are still in the very early stages. However, the studies that have been conducted so far are producing promising results.
Here I’ll discuss the top collagen peptide benefits you may experience when supplementing with collagen.
Helps To Relieve Joint Pain
Cartilage is the rubber-like tissue that protects your joints. Collagen helps to maintain the integrity of the cartilage.
As you get older, the amount of collagen in your body decreases. This increases your risk of developing degenerative joint disorders such as osteoarthritis.
Out of all the studies done on the beneficial effects of collaged, the ones on joint health are the most comprehensive.
Studies have shown that taking collagen supplements can help reduce overall joint pain, and also help to improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Researchers suggest that this may happen because supplemental collagen accumulates in the cartilage stimulates your tissues to make more collagen.
It Can Help Improve Skin Health
Collagen forms 75% of the dry weight of your skin! That alone should show how important collagen is.
Collagen has a role in strengthening the skin. Taking supplemental collagen may benefit the elasticity and hydration of your skin. (Remember – one of the side effects of aging and your body producing less collagen is wrinkles.)
Initial studies show promising results of collagen helping to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is attributed to collagen stimulating the body to produce more of its own collagen.
Collagen supplements may also be promoting the productions elastin and fibrillin – proteins that help structure your skin.
It Can Also Help Build Muscle
Initial studies have shown that taking collagen supplements can have a positive effect on muscle growth.
It is suggested that the reason for this is that the collagen may promote the synthesis of specific muscle proteins such as creatine.
Collagen Peptides May Promote Heart Health
As I mentioned earlier, the research on collagen isn’t very expensive – yet.
However, researchers have suggested that taking collagen supplements may actually help reduce the risk of heart-related conditions!
Without enough collagen, your arteries may become weak and fragile. This is because collagen provides structure to your arteries.
When the arteries become weak and fragile, it may lead to atherosclerosis (and one of the symptoms is the narrowing of the arteries).
Taking collagen peptides may help reduce the stiffness of arteries.
How To Choose Which Collagen Peptides Supplement To Use
Before you start taking any supplement, it is always best to see how you can improve your daily life and diet first.
Try to keep your collagen at healthy levels:
- Avoid sugar
- Be mindful of the sun (and always wear a hat and sunblock)
- Quit (or don’t start) smoking, and take care to avoid secondhand smoke
Then start adding foods that are high in collagen or that boost your collagen levels to your diet:
- Bone Broth
- Leafy greens (Vitamin C plays a big role in collagen synthesis)
- Oysters (Oysters are rich in zinc and copper, which both activate the molecules required for collagen synthesis)
- Grass-fed meats (Beef contains non-essential amino acids, some of which make up collagen
When choosing which collagen peptide supplement to buy, there are a few things to keep in mind.
1) Look for a company that gets their bones and tissues from free-range, antibiotic-free, and cage-free sources.
2) Choose one with as few ingredients as possible. Mixtures that combine the collagen with fiber, probiotics, and other additives could interact with the collagen and affect how it works. Additionally, the flavored ones often have added sugars.
3) And lastly, look for a trusted brand that also has a third-party certification from the NSF, UL, or USP.
Vital Proteins unflavored collagen peptides is certified by the NSF and is a great choice if you want to start adding collagen peptides to your diet.
How To Use Collagen Peptides
The amazing thing (ok one of many amazing things) about collagen peptides is how easy it is to use.
Collagen peptides come in powder form. If you get the unflavored version, it will have no flavor.
The powder can be added to any food or drink and it won’t taste the texture or taste (it just needs a little liquid so it can mix it). How simple is that?
You can add it to smoothies, hot beverages (hello collagen-fuelled coffee!), soups and stews, and even in baked goods.
My favorite way to have my collagen peptides is to mix it into my morning coffee.
Collagen Peptide Recipes
Fatty Collagen Coffee
- 12 ounces of freshly brewed coffee
- 2 Scoops of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
- 1 Scoop Perfect Keto MCT Oil Powder
1. Combine coffee, collagen and MCT Oil Powder in a coffee cup.
2. Either use a milk frother or spoon to combine.
Keto Collagen Mug Cake
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsps. full fat coconut milk
- 1 tbsp. almond butter
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. Pink Himalayan salt
- 1 tbsp. 100% dark cocoa powder (can use more but not more than 3 tbsp)
- 1 scoop Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
- 1 tsp. Lakanto Golden Monk Fruit Sweetener
- Using a big mug, whisk together the eggs, full-fat coconut milk, and almond butter until it's well combined.
- Add in the baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Stir until fully incorporated.
- Add in Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides and mix with a fork until smooth.
- Microwave on high heat for 2 minutes. Use an oven mitten or something to pull it from the microwave (CAUTION: It's hot… don't burn yourself)
- Let it cool off for a bit. It will be HOT HOT HOT!
- Once it's cooled off enough grab a spoon and dig in!
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