Collagen is one of the most important proteins in our bodies. It provides our skin with elasticity, protects our joints, strengthens our bones and so much more(1). Although collagen has gained popularity in recent years for its beauty benefits, such as reducing aging lines and improving the look and strength of nails, this protein in its hydrolyzed form is a vital supplement for maintaining overall health.
Today, collagen can be found in several foods including fish skin, bone broth as well as other animal proteins that can be consumed as part of a balanced diet. But hydrolyzed collagen, also known as collagen peptides, can be an easy way to incorporate collagen into almost any meal due to its tasteless and soluble formula.
Here is everything you need to know about collagen and how to make it a part of your diet:
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in our hair, skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, corneas and teeth(1). Without collagen, ourbodies are unable to heal and replenish cells as quickly as they can when a large amount of collagen is produced.
Our bodies begin to lose collagen around 18-29 years old. Environmental factors such as exposure to UV rays, free radicals, smoking and consuming alcohol can decrease the body’s collagen production even faster.
Studies show that after 40 years old, the average human body can lose as much as one percent of collagen per year(1). By age 80, collagen production can decrease by 75 percent compared to young adults(1). This is also a major reason why our bodies show signs of aging. The less collagen your body produces, the less elastic and hydrated the skin becomes. Joints and bones are also more susceptible to damage as the connective tissues are not as strong, making us more prone to injury later in life.
Although there are 28 types of collagen identified(2), 90 percent of the collagen in the body consists of Types I, II, and III:
Hydrolysis is a process that creates collagen supplements such as hydrolyzed collagen. The extracted collagen’s amino acids are separated and combined with water, which breaks down the protein’s bonds to make it soluble or dissolvable in water. This makes the supplement easier to digest and enter the bloodstream so it can target connective tissue, skin cells and other parts of the body(1).
Incorporating collagen into a daily diet has many proven benefits for aging adults. While aging is a natural and unavoidable process for the human body, hydrolyzed collagen reduces some of its unfavorable beauty effects such as skin aging, line formations in the skin and dehydration(1).
One study showed that women who mixed a collagen supplement in their daily beverages for 12 weeks showed a significant reduction in wrinkle depth compared to those taking a placebo(3). Collagen’s ability to bind to water is essential in keeping our skin hydrated and replicating new cells in the skin, limiting fine lines and other aging side effects.
Nail breakage and brittleness can also signal collagen deficiency in the body.Bioactive Collagen Peptides can help strengthen nails and decrease breakage. Research shows a dose of 2.5 grams for four weeks can help reduce broken nails by 42 percent and improve growth by 12 percent(4).
Outside of skin and nail benefits, collagen peptides can also improve muscle mass as it is a great source of protein. Anaverage serving size of seven grams of hydrolyzed collagen contains almost six grams of protein, the same amount you would find in one chicken egg or a cup of quinoa. Incorporating a collagen supplement into your diet can help diversify your meals and offer an easy way to include more protein in your diet, which paired with exercise, has proven to increase muscle mass.
Strong muscles and connective tissue are essential for protecting bones and joints, so as these parts continue to strengthen, the overall structure of the body will be less susceptible to injury and joint pain(1). This can be helpful for older adults and seniors who have lost collagen over their lifetime and are looking to strengthen bones and naturally relieve pain from osteoporosis and arthritis.
Hydrolyzed collagen is a powdered supplement that can be added to everyday foods. It is generally tasteless and dissolvable in liquids, so adding it to meals or beverages is an easy way to increase the body’s collagen production.
Physician’s Choice Collagen Peptides Powder can easily be blended into creamy foods like oatmeal, smoothies, soups or incorporated into a morning routine by adding it to coffee or tea. Its powder-like consistency is dissolvable, odorless and flavorless so it does not alter the foods you already eat.
One concern of collagen consumption is that it isn’t always well-absorbed, which is why a collagen powder like Physician’s Choice includes a digestive enzyme, DigeSEB, that can help ensure your body absorbs the nutrients for maximum benefits. As the collagen digests in the small intestines, the body is able to absorb the protein’santioxidants and antimicrobial nutrients quicker than it would in collagen-rich foods such as animal proteins and bone broths.
Hydrolyzed collagen may offer other health benefits such as better gut and brain health, however, these benefits have not been studied extensively and more research needs to be done.
Still, collagen supplements are a great source of protein as part of an overall diet and offer other benefits to support the body’s structure and the aging process. Collagen peptides are most effective when consumed consistently over the course of 12-24 weeks at their recommended dose(3). Doing so will allow the body to maintain its collagen levels and preserve its skin structure, muscle strength and overall health.
Regina Kaza - Contributing Writer, Physician's Choice