Raved about by fitness enthusiasts and healthcare professionals alike, it’s no wonder that collagen peptides have scored a spot as one the top supplements of the year. Not only are they widely available in powdered form, but they are also commonly added to skincare formulas, hair products, sports supplements and more.
So what are collagen peptides and how can they affect your health? Let’s take a closer look at this incredible ingredient and why you may want to start stocking up.
What Are Collagen Peptides?
First things first: what is collagen? Collagen is a type of protein found throughout the body, especially in the muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments. In addition to maintaining the health of the connective tissues, collagen also helps promote the turnover of skin cells to help keep skin supple and smooth.†
Taking a collagen supplement is an easy and effective way to support muscle mass, joint health and skin renewal, which is important because collagen production tends to decline as you start to get older.† Collagen peptides, in particular, are a type of collagen supplement that have been hydrolyzed into smaller units, making it even easier for your body to absorb and use.
Collagen Peptides vs. Collagen Protein
Collagen protein is a popular supplement that has been extensively studied for its beneficial effects on health. Typically, these supplements are made up of long chains of amino acids such as glycine, proline and hydroxyproline, found in the bones, skin and cartilage of certain animals. (Related reading: Is there vegan collagen?)
Collagen peptides, on the other hand, are made up of collagen proteins that have undergone a process called hydrolyzation, which breaks the long chains of amino acids into smaller units. This increases its bioavailability, which allows the amino acids to enter the bloodstream and travel through the body more readily. Collagen peptides are also known by a number of other names as well, including hydrolyzed collagen powder and collagen hydrolysate.
Collagen Peptides: Benefits of Use
1. Supports Joint Health†
Collagen is beneficial for supporting healthy tissues and joints. According to one study published in International Journal of Medical Sciences, taking collagen helped improve joint function and quality of life in people with osteoarthritis after just 90 days.†
2. Supports Skin†
Collagen can often be spotted on the ingredients label of skincare serums, beauty and anti-aging supplements (like this Multi Collagen Beauty + Sleep Formula, for instance), and for good reason. Collagen peptides are known for their ability to support cellular renewal and structure -- both crucial for skin health and appearance. A 2014 study out of Germany, for instance, showed that supplementing with collagen peptides for four weeks significantly improved skin elasticity and enhanced skin moisture in older women.†
3. Supports Muscle Mass†
Research shows that adding collagen to your workout regimen may support muscle mass and growth. For example, one study in The British Journal of Nutrition showed that combining collagen peptide supplementation with resistance training led to increased muscle strength and reduced body fat within 12 weeks. Not only that, but specific proteins found in collagen such as glycine and glutamine can also preserve muscle mass and promote muscle recovery as well.†
4. Supports Bone Health†
Collagen can have a powerful impact on bone health. In fact, one study conducted in Germany actually found that taking collagen increased bone mineral density in postmenopausal women while also improving bone formation. Plus, another study in the Journal of Medicinal Food reported that taking collagen alongside a calcium supplement was more effective at preventing bone loss in women than using a calcium supplement alone.†
How to Use Collagen Peptides
Fortunately, there are many quick and convenient options for consuming this superstar supplement.
Mix it, drink it, bake it or take it:
- Mix into your morning smoothie.
- Add to your cup of coffee to kick up the nutritional profile.
- Sip on Sparkling Collagen Sangria.
- Sprinkle into puddings or dips (like this Keto Cauliflower Collagen Hummus).
- Add into the batter of your favorite baked goods, granola bars or pancakes for a boost of extra protein.
- Swap out your favorite protein powder for a scoop of collagen as an easy post-workout snack.
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.