As part of your wellness routine, you've probably heard about collagen. It's not just a buzzword; collagen is essential to the body and is responsible for maintaining the structure of the body. This is why you see collagen products on the shelves of every supermarket.
With all the supplements we are told to take daily, it's hard to know which ones are truly needed. Keep reading to find out what collagen is, what it does, why you might need it in supplement form, and what the difference is between collagen peptides and gummies.
What is Collagen?
Believe it or not, collagen is something that your body produces naturally. It's found in the skin, bones, tendons, and muscles and has several important functions. Doctors have used collagen in wound healing, and it can even be found in skincare.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and acts like a scaffold to provide structure and strength within the body. It is a molecule, an insoluble, fibrous protein, and an essential component in tissue connectivity, holding the body's cells together. It's responsible for the strength and elasticity of the skin.
There are two types of collagen— Endogenous collagen and Exogenous collagen. Endogenous collagen is the body's natural collagen and is synthesized by the body. Exogenous collagen is a synthetic form of collagen typically taken as a supplement.
What Does Collagen Do?
There are so many essential uses for collagen, some of which have already been listed. Collagen is such an integral part of the body research states that one-third of the protein in the body is collagen, and it's also three-quarters of the skin's dry weight.
Collagen is a primary component of a network of molecules holding the body's tissues together called the extracellular matrix. Healthy collagen levels are responsible for joint health, a healthy cardiovascular system, kidney and organ protection, and skin elasticity. Other uses of collagen in skincare and medicine include:
The benefits and uses of collagen are numerous, so it's crucial that the body produces a healthy amount of collagen to maintain function of the body's structure or find ways to increase and supplement collagen production.
Why Do We Need to Take Collagen?
Collagen is naturally forming, and there are ways to maintain healthy levels of collagen in the body, like not smoking, not eating processed foods, eating fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants and vitamins, and protecting your skin from sun exposure. However, some factors could affect the collagen levels in your body and lead to collagen loss.
Collagen may need to be taken because there is collagen loss attributed to aging or a low level of collagen that could be due to a medical condition or environmental factor. Therefore, people take collagen to boost their natural levels or compensate for their body's lack of production.
Some things that could contribute to collagen loss or low collagen levels are pregnancy hormone changes, menopause, oxidative stress, sun exposure, low levels of ascorbic acid, or even genetic conditions. One condition called Osteogenesis imperfecta affects the production of collagen and weakens the bones in the body.
Do Collagen Supplements Work?
You may have noticed, in the last few decades, many wellness products on the shelves contain a form of collagen or are strictly collagen. While there is no evidence that collagen in skin care works due to its inability to move past the skin barrier, there is compelling evidence for collagen supplements.
Yes, studies have proven that collagen supplements are a key component in managing the aging process. These supplements have proven to give smoothness and elasticity to the skin, repair skin damage, improve function in worn joints, and more. The benefits of collagen supplements are still being studied, but they have shown promise in preventing bone loss, boosting muscle mass, and promoting a healthy heart.
In one 12-month study of post-menopausal women, participants took either calcium and vitamin D with or without 5 grams of collagen added. At the conclusion of the study, those that took the collagen with the other vitamins saw a 7% increase in bone mineral density (BMD) and had significantly lower blood levels of proteins responsible for bone breakdown.
The Difference Between Collagen Gummies and Collagen Peptides
Collagen can be found in many forms, including liquid, capsules, powder, and gummies. When looking at a collagen product, you want to look out for a few things: ingredients, absorption and efficacy, and value. Uncover the distinction between collagen gummies and collagen peptides, and learn which form of collagen supplement suits your needs best.
Collagen peptides are short chains of amino acids that are derived from collagen. Once absorbed, collagen peptides pass through the body, rebuilding, repairing, and giving energy. Once in the tissues, cells will take the peptides and build them into full-length collagen helices.
Collagen peptides are more absorbable in the bloodstream than collagen. The absorption ability is due to the collagen peptides being hydrolyzed, shorter, and therefore, more easily broken down into a form that can enter the bloodstream through digestion.
Collagen gummies are a gelatin-based form of collagen that has undergone partial hydrolysis. The gelatin is formed by mixing collagen with water and slowly heating it. Collagen gummies contain other essential ingredients, including vitamins E and C, D-Biotin, and Zinc. They are still beneficial to the body's collagen levels but tend to contain a lower dose of collagen than its counterpart.
Combining Collagen Peptides and Gummies
In powder form, most collagen peptide products have at least 20 g of collagen per serving size. In gummy form, the amount of collagen per serving size is around 200 mg. You would need to take an excessive amount of gummies to equal the collagen you can get in one serving of collagen peptide in powder form. Luckily, you can take the products together to boost your collagen intake and take advantage of the other nutrients offered.
Collagen peptides and collagen gummies both serve a similar purpose in maintaining the structural function of the body. While there may be more collagen in the peptides than in the gummies, they complement each other and can be taken together to boost collagen intake.