Collagen Peptides: Skin, Hair + Gut Health Benefits
What’s all the hype about collagen peptides? If you’ve spent any amount of time on instragram lately, it’s likely you’ve seen collagen peptides doing the rounds. In fact, you’ve probably even heard us praising the benefits of collagen peptides (for skin, hair, nails + gut health) on many occasions too! But if you’re still in the dark wondering what exactly collagen peptides are and why you might consider adding collagen peptides to your supplement routine, then keep reading!
What are Collagen Peptides?
To answer this question, we have to take a few steps back and talk about collagen.
Collagen is a protein that is found in the bones, skin and connective tissue of animals. Both gelatin and collagen peptides are produced from collagen that is typically obtained form cattle, pigs or fish. Firstly, collagen is broken down and partially hydrolysed to form gelatin (yes, the gelatin we use to make marshmallows!). Gelatin is then broken down even further to form collagen peptides or “hydrolysed collagen”.
These collagen peptides are rich in highly digestible and easily absorbed amino acids. Most importantly, they are high in specific amino acids including glycine, proline and hydroxyproline (1). This unique amino acid profile is what makes collagen peptides so beneficial for our skin, hair, nails, gut and overall health!
Traditional Diets Vs. Modern Diets
In traditional diets that ate nose-to-tail, we would presume that the total intake of collagen would have been far greater than today. This is especially true considering that in the West we almost exclusively consume skeletal muscle meats (e.g. eye fillet, scotch fillet, sirloin). Overconsumption of these skeletal muscle meats may mean that we have an imbalanced intake of amino acids.
In particular, skeletal muscle meats are high in an amino acid called methionine. Methionine is a precursor to homocysteine, and a greater intake of methionine can increase homocysteine levels. High homocysteine levels are detrimental to our health and is associated with cardiovascular disease (2). Early studies suggest that glycine (an amino acid found in high quantities in collagen) may offset methionine intake (3). So if you’re not quite ready to start eating nose-to-tail, this is where it can be handy to supplement with gelatin and/ or collagen peptides.
Collagen: Skin, Hair and Nail Benefits
Did you know that our skin contains up to 70% collagen? In the skin, collagen provides strength and elasticity, helping to defy the effects of gravity and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Unfortunately, collagen production in our skin naturally declines with age – especially during the hormonal changes of menopause when collagen synthesis can decrease by up to 30% (4)!
At this point, you may be wondering if consuming collagen peptides can actually influence the collagen content of our skin. The answer from recent studies suggests that yes, it possibly can!
Related: How To Get Clearer Skin, Naturally
For one, collagen peptides provide the amino acid building blocks required for the formation of collagen in the skin. Secondly, certain oligopeptides (small amino acid chains) present in collagen peptides have been shown to stimulate fibroblasts (i.e. the cells that function as collagen factories) to boost collagen and hyaluronic acid production in the skin (5). Hyaluronic acid helps to improve skin hydration, and is an ingredient in many anti-aging cosmetics. In this way, supplementing with collagen peptides may help to reduce skin dryness, wrinkling and fine lines.
Aside from skin health, collagen peptides may also help to strengthen nails, reduce brittleness and promote growth. Interestingly, this was investigated in a study which found that consumption of collagen peptides increased nail growth rate by 12% and reduced the frequency of broken nails by 42% (6).
Gut Health Benefits
Adding collagen peptides to your supplement routine can also be a great way to support and maintain a healthy gut. In particular, collagen peptides contain specific amino acids such as glutamine and arginine that promote tight junction integrity and reduce ‘leaky gut’ or intestinal permeability (3). To recap, leaky gut occurs when the tight junctions that line our intestines start to widen and become ‘leaky’. As a result, larger food particles, proteins and bacterial endotoxin can cross into our blood stream and spark an inflammatory response from our immune system.
Taking steps to support our gut health is especially important, considering that so many of us suffer from poor gut health these days as a consequence of the Western diet (high in sugar, inflammatory oils + processed foods), chronic stress, frequent antibiotic use + more.
We truly believe that gut health is the key to overall, vibrant health. That’s why we also created our online gut health course, Get Glowing Online. Inside Get Glowing Online, we take you step-by-step through the process of healing the gut (from what to eat, what not to eat, supplements, recipes + more!). Enrollments for our next Get Glowing Online intake will be opening soon, so if you’re ready to start working on your gut health together we’d love to see you there!
Want more? Let’s do this together!
Get Glowing Online is an online course designed to guide you step-by-step through the diet + lifestyle changes that support inner health.
In other words… naturally glowing skin, balanced weight and vibrant health!
Click here to learn more about Get Glowing Online.