Collagen is a non-soluble protein found in the connective and fibrous tissues of our body. It plays a key role in promoting healthy organs, muscles, bones, cartilage, joints, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, skin, hair, nails, teeth and the digestive system. It’s everywhere! The structure of collagen is primarily comprised of interconnected fibers that support each other, and in turn, provide support for various parts of the body. Collagen is also rich in amino acids like glycine, proline, alanine, hydroxyproline and many others.
Amino acids are known as the building blocks of protein and play a role in most systems in the body, including tissue development, healing, digestion, energy support, mood regulation and more.
When our bodies age, they produce less collagen. Exposure to UV light (sun exposure), tobacco use, poor diet and excessive sugar intake can also deplete collagen levels. Since collagen helps keep our tissues hydrated and flexible, imagine what happens when collagen levels drop.
That’s right, the common signs of aging and symptoms of collagen deficiency go hand in hand. These include:
- Dry, sagging, crepey skin and wrinkles
- Brittle bones and osteoporosis
- Stiff tendons and ligaments
- Decline in muscle mass and strength
- Joint pain and deterioration (osteoarthritis) as cartilage breaks down
- Dry, brittle nails
Get an overview of anti-aging aesthetic treatments here.
What are Collagen peptides? Are They Different From Hydrolyzed Collagen?
Collagen peptides are a soluble form of collagen (remember, collagen itself is NOT soluble) derived from animal sources (mainly from the bones of cows and fish) through a process known as hydrolyzation. For the record, hydrolyzed collagen and collagen peptides are one and the same. Collagen peptides—or hydrolyzed collagen—can be found in certain skincare products but are also available as oral supplements. Mixed with water or another liquid, powdered collagen peptide supplements are easy to consume. Since collagen peptides are soluble and bioactive, they absorb easily into the bloodstream to support cell activity in the body.
As noted above, research has shown that collagen peptides, AKA hydrolyzed collagen, may provide numerous health and aesthetic benefits. Five of these benefits include:
No. 1: Improved joint health. Multiple studies show that oral collagen peptide supplements (like powders) may help regenerate healthy cartilage tissue. This is great news for both the aging population and people who are physically active.
A 2008 study by Clark et al. revealed a significant improvement in joint discomfort in athletes taking a form of collagen peptides. In 2017, another study showed a statistically significant improvement in joint discomfort, stiffness and mobility in young adults taking the supplement.
No. 2: Stronger bones. Collagen is essential for bone health, as bones are made of mineral crystals held together by a network of collagen fibers. A 2018 study of post-menopausal women revealed consuming a specific collagen peptide increased bone mineral density (BMD) in subjects with primary, age-related reduction of BMD.
In addition, the study showed an association between the supplements and “a favorable shift in bone markers, indicating increased bone formation and reduced bone degradation.”
No. 3: Healthier tendons and ligaments. By promoting elasticity in the tendons and ligaments, collagen helps optimize athletic performance and post-workout recovery. Several studies, including 2019 research by Praet et al., show that certain collagen peptides help support tendon and ligament health, while improving recovery times.
No. 4: Improved skin elasticity and hydration + reduced appearance of wrinkles. The hydration and elasticity benefits of collagen are essential for younger looking skin. Among numerous studies, research from 2015 revealed that oral collagen peptides helped significantly improve wrinkle depth in post-menopausal women, while improving skin elasticity and hydration.
No. 5: Stronger, healthier fingernails. If you suffer from cracked and chipping nails, collagen deficiency may be to blame. That’s right, collagen helps keep nails hydrated and pliable. Research by Hexsel D. et al., showed that supplementation with bioactive collagen peptides resulted in a 42% decrease in cracked and chipped nails after six months.
These are but a few of the many potential benefits of bioactive collagen peptides. Since collagen supports so many systems in the body, and the likelihood of collagen deficiency increases as we age, taking an oral collagen peptide supplement may be worth considering.
Oral collagen peptide supplements are generally considered safe but it’s important to discuss any potential risks with your physician.
In terms of side effects, clinical use of collagen peptides has been associated with minimal adverse effects. Depending on the manufacturer, collagen peptide side effects may include an unpleasant taste or gastrointestinal issues, primarily a feeling of fullness.
To find out if a collagen peptide supplement makes sense for you, contact us. EVEXIAS offers collagen peptide supplements, and we’d be happy to discuss the potential benefits, risks and side effects of hydrolyzed collagen with you.