Collagen peptide supplements are all the rage right now. One can go as far as to say it is the most recent fad. People have been taking collagen supplements due to the claims of increasing skin elasticity, faster hair growth, increasing joint integrity and improved gut health. Let’s look at the science behind collagen formation to see if supplementation is effective for you.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. These proteins are mostly found in skin, bone, cartilage and connective tissue in the body. About 75% of your skin’s dry weight is collagen. Collagen is what helps give your skin elasticity. It is also known as the scaffolding of the body. It is not a complete protein because it does not contain any tryptophan.
There are 16 different types of collagen and within those 16 there are 4 with major types (I, II, III, IV). They are all different things with our bodies.
Type I: accounts for 90% of our body’s collagen and creates structure to our skin, bones and tendons.
Type II: This type of collagen is more elastic in nature. This is used for parts that have to move more like your joints and cartilage.
Type III: Helps with the structure of your muscles, organs and arteries
Type IV: Is found within the layers of your skin.
What Happens When You Use Collagen Supplements?
This is where the discrepancy in the efficacy of collagen peptides come into play. Once you consume the collagen peptides your stomach then breaks the collagen down into its small chain amino acid forms. Some professionals say that it is therefore not important to buy high priced collagen peptides because they are broken down into amino acids before they can be transported to your skin and joints.
Another thing to consider is the protein structure of collagen. The majority of collagen is made up of the amino acids proline and glycine. Which means in order for your body to make collagen on its own it needs enough proline and glycine in your diet to provide the building blocks. It is also reasonable to say that if your diet is deficient in proline or glycine then you will have less ability to formulate collagen on your own. Some professionals agree that if you eat collagen peptides as a supplement in your diet then you have the proteins that are needed to build collagen after digestion.
There is no proof that the collagen you eat goes straight to your joints or wrinkles either. If your diet is lacking in basic protein then the expensive collagen peptides you are eating will go towards other bodily processes instead of forming collagen. Therefore, if your overall diet is lacking in basic protein needs then collagen will not have the desired effect on your body.
Foods With Collagen:
- Bone Broth
- Animal products with tendon or cartilage
Foods That Aide in Collagen Formation:
- Vit C: citrus, red peppers, leafy greens
- Zinc: pumpkin seeds, oysters
- Sulfur: garlic
All in all, taking a collagen powder supplement is not harmful. If your diet is lacking in adequate protein on a daily basis then the collagen powder may not be helping you in the way you hoped it would. Many people have claimed that taking collagen on a daily basis has helped them with their joints, skin and hair. If you have been thinking about trying collagen then go ahead and try it to see if this is effective for you.