Collagen is a protein that plays an essential role in the elasticity and strength of healthy skin and joints. It's found in bones, muscles, and blood, and makes up three-quarters of the skin and one-third of the body's proteins. As we age, existing collagen breaks down and the body has a harder time producing more. While there is limited research to show that eating collagen can directly benefit skin or joint health, there are many foods that support collagen production that are recommended as part of a healthy diet. When consumed, collagen breaks down into amino acids in the stomach, which are then distributed to where the body needs protein most.
By age 40, we typically lose about 1% of our body collagen per year, and menopause accelerates this loss, leading to wrinkles, joint stiffness, cartilage wear, and decreased muscle mass. With aging, collagen in the deep layers of the skin changes from a tightly organized fiber network to a disorganized maze. It's important to read the label of your collagen peptides to determine how much you are consuming per scoop and follow the dosage instructions correctly for adding them to coffee, shakes, and protein shakes. Some studies have shown that taking supplements that contain collagen hydrolysate can increase collagen levels and help control symptoms of osteoarthritis when consuming sufficiently large amounts (around 15 grams). As collagen is a protein, it looks a lot like other proteins in the body, as it is in a state of constant renewal and needs to be replaced. Collagen peptides should not become rubbery or gelatinous when wet, which means they will disappear into everyday beverages without changing flavor or consistency (although flavored versions are available).
For example, one review found that collagen supplementation helped improve skin elasticity and hydration. Randomized trials have also found that collagen supplementation can help improve hydration, elasticity and wrinkle formation. Collagen peptides come in pill and powder form and are usually made from bovine (beef) or porcine (pork) sources. However, even dermatologists doubted its effectiveness as a topical application since collagen is not found naturally on the surface of the skin but in the deeper layers. Increasing collagen production or preventing collagen decline can help keep skin strong, elastic and looking younger. Taking collagen peptides, also known as hydrolyzed collagen or collagen hydrolysate, can help prevent unwanted health problems by replenishing some of the body's collagen supply.
You may have heard that heat has a negative effect on collagen peptides but they are not affected by heat unless they are heated very, very hot - up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit (300 degrees Celsius) or more - to be exact.