Collagen Peptides–Internal and External Benefits
Collagen is more than a beauty buzzword. It’s an important structural protein in our bodies and you see it in almost every anti-aging product from creams to serums. In addition, you may have heard of collagen peptides, which are edible supplements said to have internal and external health and beauty benefits. We’ve recapped the facts and fallacies about this wonder protein that’s getting a lot of attention.
First Came Collagen
According to Spafinder, collagen is an insoluble fibrous protein that is the main ingredient in our connective tissue (skin and tendons), vertebras and the organic substance of bones. In other words, collagen holds us together and is responsible for the firmness and elasticity in our skin. However, as we age our levels of collagen decrease, leading to wrinkles, thinning skin and brittle hair. And sadly, aging starts at age 21.
Collagen is sold as a powder that can be added to foods or blended into drinks. (Hydrolyzed collagen is simply a flavorless food derived from a variety of raw animal materials.) However, if you’re vegetarian or vegan–or animal parts just turn you off–eat lots of dark green vegetables like spinach and kale, beans and red fruits and vegetables.
Collagen is also widely used in fillers. For example, CosmoDerm and Cosmoplast are made with human collagen and Zyderm and Zyplast, with bovine collagen.
Enter Collagen Peptides
So what is the difference between collagen and collagen peptides? In an interview with New Beauty magazine, Lillian Zhao, founder of FurtherFood.com, points out that collagen is not easily absorbed by our bodies. “On the other hand, collagen peptides are highly bioavailable and easily absorbed…(because they are) shorter chains of amino acids, and thus have a lower molecular weight.” In fact, according to Zhao, research shows more than 90 percent of collagen peptides are absorbed into the bloodstream within six hours after consuming. And because collagen and collagen peptide supplements are made from fish or animals, they are considered a natural food.
Benefits Inside and Out
Collagen peptides not only strengthen our bones and joints, they also help keep our skin elastic and decrease fine lines and wrinkles. They also fight against red, flakey skin and support strong nails and hair. In addition, Zhao notes that new research suggests collagen peptides can help keep our guts healthy by healing and strengthening the lining of our intestinal tracts.
As always, we suggest doing your homework before choosing a collagen or collagen peptide powder or drink. Be sure a trusted supplier makes the supplement and the ingredients are safe and healthy. And a final thought: when you ingest your collagen by munching leafy greens, you’ll also benefit from other important vitamins and minerals. Plus you’ll save on that other important green–money.