4 Ways That Collagen Peptides Benefit Your Body
By Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS
In this article:
Considering there are now tons of different collagen products out there, so it’s no wonder many people are confused when choosing a supplement.
Collagen peptides, also referred to as hydrolyzed collagen or collagen hydrolysate, are one type of collagen you’ll find most often in powder form. This type consists of small units of protein that are derived from animal products, including chickens, bovine hides, fish (marine collagen), and/or eggshell membrane collagen.
As the most abundant type of protein in the human body, collagen helps to form connective tissues including the skin, muscles, tendons, joints, ligaments, blood vessels, and the lining of some organs including the gut.
Even though your body makes its own collagen, supplementing with more can have a number of beneficial effects. Collagen peptide supplements help to replenish levels of amino acids that your body needs to create and maintain its healthy collagen levels, which has a positive impact on gut, skin, and joint health.
The main benefit of using collagen peptide products is that they provide you with amino acids, often called the “building blocks of protein,” that form and repair connective tissues, in addition to having many other effects.
Amino acids found in collagen include a mix of both nonessential (also called conditional) and essential types, all of which have a range of uses and benefits for muscle building, heart health, cognitive functions, and much more.
Collagen peptides are associated with the following benefits.
1. Support for Healthy Joints and Joint Comfort/Mobility
Amino acids found within collagen are critical for maintaining healthy connective tissues including cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.
When you add a quality collagen protein supplement to your routine it can help to:
- Reduce knee stiffness in as little as one week of use
- Reduce exercise-induced stiffness and discomfort
- Improve exercise recovery by up to 53%
- Rapidly reduce joint discomfort in as soon as 7 days
- Improve overall knee function after 30 days of use
- Support healthy cartilage turnover
- Possibly help reduce joint cartilage breakdown resulting from normal wear and tear
- Help protect joint cartilage from breakdown due to exercise
2. Supporting Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails
Collagen is a major component of hair, skin, and nails, which all require protein to grow and remain strong and healthy.
A popular reason that many adults choose to start using collagen peptides powder is because of its beneficial effects on one’s appearance, considering it can promote healthy skin by supporting skin elasticity and hydration, plus healthy nails and healthy hair.
3. Supporting Gut Health
Collagen helps to form and maintain the lining of the gut, which is where nutrient absorption takes place, and also where much of your immune system is located.
By supporting gut lining integrity, collagen protein can contribute to healthy elimination, general digestive health, and overall healthy immune system function. When paired with probiotics, it can also help to reduce occasional diarrhea and constipation.
4. Positively Impacting Sleep and Energy
Amino acids found in collagen products, such as glycine, proline, and arginine, can help to promote restful sleep, healthy energy levels, mental clarity and concentration, a calm outlook and mood, and reduce fatigue.
You’ll find collagen peptides in supplements including hydrolyzed collagen protein powder and collagen capsules. Choosing a product made with pure hydrolyzed collagen peptides can help ensure you’re getting the most for your money since the process of hydrolyzation helps to support the absorption of amino acids.
One of the easiest and most versatile ways to obtain collagen peptides is with a collagen powder supplement that can be stirred into liquids or used in recipes.
Collagen peptide powder can be taken every day, either with or without other foods. Depending on how you plan to use collagen powder, you can choose from either unflavored/tasteless types or those that are flavored with chocolate or vanilla. Try adding a scoop to coffee, oatmeal, a shake, and many other recipes such as energy balls, pancakes, muffins, etc.
A general recommendation for adults is to take at least about 10 grams of collagen peptides daily, which can be split into 2 divided servings or taken all at once, such as in coffee or a smoothie. Some people may choose to take more, such as 2-3 servings (20 to 30 grams of collagen in total) if they have goals related to muscle building, joint health, or digestive support.
While higher doses can be helpful in some cases, lower doses of about 3 to 5 grams per day are also supportive of skin health. While some newer skincare serums feature collagen peptides that are intended to be applied topically, it’s generally thought that taking collagen by mouth is the best way to give your body the “building materials” it needs to repair your skin, since collagen peptides tend to be too large to be properly absorbed through the skin’s surface.
If you prefer to take collagen capsules over collagen powder, as little as 1.5 grams daily of fermented collagen can offer benefits since this type of collagen is processed in a way that makes it extra potent. Capsules can be taken any time of day, with or without a meal.
Finally, eating a nutrient-dense diet that is high in collagen-boosting foods — such as those that contain vitamin C, copper, manganese, and antioxidants — is also helpful for getting the most benefits when supplementing with collagen peptides.