It’s amazing, if you think about it: From the skin that envelops you to the bones that support you, every part of your body is made of collagen.
This tough, durable protein provides the scaffolding on which all sorts of tissues are built.
Collagen production slows with age, which helps explain the dull, saggy skin and thin, brittle hair we associate with getting older, along with achy joints and other woes. (Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays also degrades collagen.) One way to bolster the body’s stores of this crucial protein is through the intake of readily absorbable hydrolized collagen peptides.
Skin, bone and and cartilage (just to name three examples) have very dissimilar textures. This is explained by the fact that there are different types of collagen.
Types I and III are found in the skin, especially the deeper layer called the dermis, so it isn’t surprising to learn that they form the bulk of the body’s total collagen quotient. And in joints, type II collagen—another relatively abundant variety—helps build the cartilage that allows for smooth, pain-free movement.
But while these three types are the most common collagens, they aren’t the only ones. Other crucial varieties include type IV, linked to healthy cellular activity; type V, crucial for immune and reproductive health; and type X, needed for strong hair and bones.
Collagen peptide supplements have shown promise in studies. For example, osteoarthritis, the most common kind, can lead to destruction of cartilage, and supplemental collagen has been found to help slow cartilage loss, reduce inflammation and ease pain. Other studies have shown improvements in skin collagen and bone mineral density after peptide consumption. Supplemental peptides have even been linked to suppressed allergic response.
Collagen itself is formed of lengthy strands that the body can’t absorb. That’s why supplemental collagen is generally converted into smaller units called peptides through a process called hydrolysis. This breaks apart the long collagen braids; the resulting peptides are not only more easily digested and absorbed, but they are also free of the impurities that can be trapped in non-hydrolized collagen.
The best-quality collagen peptides come from sources that have been managed in an environmentally responsible manner, such as grass-fed beef, and are free of allergens and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Look for a product that also contains enzymes, such as collagenase and serratiopeptidase, that further aid collagen digestion and absorption.
No protein is found in greater quantities within the body, or plays a more crucial role, than collagen. Taking hydrolized collagen peptides helps ensure that you maintain a steady supply.