Ingredient spotlight: Collagen peptides
April 14, 2023
When it comes to skin care, collagen is having a moment as another strategy for people in the endless search for ways to stop the aging clock. But what is collagen? And what do we need to know about collagen supplements or collagen peptides?
For starters, collagen is a protein. In fact, it’s the most plentiful protein in our bodies, comprising an estimated one-fourth to one-third of all the body’s protein. That’s a lot considering protein is found all throughout the body.
“Made up of amino acids, collagen is a building block for our skin, bones, muscles, blood vessels and teeth,” said Michael Rogowski, a senior research skin care scientist with a doctorate in nutritional science. “It has a fiber-like structure that helps make tissues strong and resilient. Basically, it helps hold our bodies together.”
Along with elastin, collagen makes up the dermis layer of our skin, which is found between the epidermis (outer layer) and the subcutis (the innermost layer, also called the hypodermis).
“Our bodies produce collagen naturally, but as we age that production slows down and the collagen that we do have changes,” Rogowski said. “Elastin production also slows with age. All of that combined can contribute to visible signs of aging.”
Researchers have identified 28 different types of collagen in the human body. Four of the most common ones are creatively named Type I, Type II, Type III and Type IV.
Type I is the most prevalent, accounting for 90 percent of all the collagen in your body. It’s flexible and strong, resistant to stretching, tension and force. It’s located in all the body’s connective tissues, including skin, bone, tendons and ligaments.
Type II is resistant to pressure and is located in joint cartilage and spinal column discs. Type III offers flexible cellular support and is found in skin, blood vessels and organs and plays a role in wound healing. Type IV provides support and is found mainly in the skin. It is a major part of the junction between the epidermis and the dermis.
Because collagen production slows as we age, many people look for ways to replenish their supply. Collagen-rich foods include fibrous meat like steaks, the bones and skin of some fish, bone broth and gelatin.
A healthy diet that includes foods containing the amino acids used to make collagen is a great way to support collagen production, too. That includes fish, poultry, meat, eggs, dairy and legumes. Vitamin C, zinc and copper are also required for collagen production. You can also consider collagen supplements.
Collagen supplements come in a variety of formats, including powder that can be dissolved into smoothies or other foods, flavored shots, gummies or tablets.
Many of the collagen supplements come in the form of collagen peptides, also known as hydrolyzed collagen. Basically, it’s collagen that has been broken down so it’s easier for the body to absorb it and use it where it’s needed.
“Some believe that makes it the best way to take collagen because collagen in its whole form can be difficult to digest,” Rogowski said. “Also, some research suggests that these collagen peptides contain a special amino acid, hydroxyproline. These hydroxyproline-containing peptides are absorbed by your body and help function as a signal to your body to increase collagen production.”
In another study, participants who consumed collagen peptides along with other skin-supporting nutrients for three months showed improvements in skin hydration, elasticity, roughness and density.
Research has shown that collagen supplements taken in proper amounts won’t cause harm. Collagen is a protein, which is a key macronutrient your body needs, regardless of your age, gender, weight, activity level or general health.
Any concerns about adding a collagen supplement to your daily diet should be determined in coordination with your daily protein intake. In general, the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board recommends a daily intake of 50 g of protein for an adult.
“Research shows that collagen peptides or collagen protein can make up as much as 36% of a person’s protein intake without being harmful to the balance of key amino acids,” Rogowski said.
It’s also important to remember other strategies to help with collagen levels, including avoiding smoking and excessive sun exposure.
By selecting cancel, the new IBO must complete the rest of the registration process, including payment. You will not be able to return to the payment option.
The new IBO will receive an email with a link to complete the process