Collagen Peptides are all the rage these days, but what exactly are they and are collagen peptides something you should have in your diet?
What is collagen?
Collagen is a type of connective tissue and protein. Amino acids make up peptides, and peptides make up proteins. Protein is one of three essential macronutrients and is a necessary part of our diet. The other two essential macronutrients are carbohydrates and fats. Collagen is found in our cartilage, bone, teeth, and skin and provides strength and structure to our cells. The term collagen is actually derived from the Greek word for glue! Unfortunately, our body’s production of collagen declines as part of the aging process. Fibroblasts (cells found in connective tissue) degenerate and the tension within collagen complexes both decrease over time. These factors both contribute to lowered collagen production as we age. Exposure to free radicals like smoke, UV radiation, and pollution also negatively affect our collagen production rates.
What are collagen peptides?
Collagen supplements are an emerging health trend and aim to solve the issue of decreased collagen production. The collagen is often sourced from cowhides or bone (think bone broth) which are chemically treated and then ground into a powder. This process breaks down collagen proteins into smaller peptides. Collagen peptide powders are similar to other protein powders because they consist of peptides and amino acids. These substances are the building blocks of protein. Because these supplements are made from collagen, they will help fulfill the actions of collagen in the body. Or at least this is the idea that sets collagen peptide powders apart from other available protein powders.
What are the benefits?
These powders come with claimed benefits of improved growth and function of hair, skin, nail, gut, and joint tissues. Unfortunately, there is not much research supporting these claims available. A study conducted on a group of athletes had positive results indicating an association between collagen supplementation and decrease joint pain. While small, the study concluded that supplementation can aid in athletic performance by decreasing pain. Additionally, another study researching skin function and collagen supplements showed significant increases in elasticity, firmness, and thickness of aged skin after 3 months of collagen supplementation! There have not been many studies in humans studying collagen supplementation and gut health, but there have been some promising results seen in piglets! The results from these studies seem promising, however, much more research is still necessary before anything conclusive can be determined.
Ways of incorporating into food
In powder form, adding collagen to your daily meals is easy! There is no definitive proof of the benefits of collagen peptide powders, but there are no major health concerns either. If you wanted to try these products out for the proposed benefits, there is little risk. As an animal product, you should use these powders in the same moderation you would meat or dairy. Collagen peptides add protein to your diet without an excess of fat or carbohydrates! The powder can be added to your everyday staples, such as a latte, as well as oatmeal or a smoothie bowl. Collagen peptides can make your meals more filling with the addition of protein, without a surplus of calories!
Want to try collagen peptides in a recipe? Here is a smoothie bowl recipe that I developed which is loaded with fiber and protein!
Strawberry Collagen Smoothie Bowl
- Add smoothie ingredients into blender.
- Blend together until smooth. If necessary, add additional milk.
- Pour into a bowl and top with ProGranola and chia seeds.
Learn more about the benefits of collagen peptides on the Further Food website.
Disclosure: I am a Brand Ambassador for Further Food. Use code BROOKEZIGLERNUTRITION10 on the Further Food website for 10% discount on your order.