Collagen is a fascinating protein that is found in pretty much every animal with a backbone, including birds, fish and mammals. In humans, collagen makes up 30% of the protein in our bodies, making it our body’s most abundant protein. Our skin, tendons, cartilage and joints are the major sites of collagen, but this ubiquitous protein is also found in our eyes, teeth and the lining of our digestive tract.
The collagen in our body constantly experiences damage that needs to be repaired. When this repair doesn’t take place, it can lead to a range of both functional and aesthetic issues – for example, our skin’s collagen is constantly damaged by the sun’s UV rays, and a build-up of this damage, over time, leads to wrinkles. Concurrently, the collagen in our joints also undergoes daily wear and tear (because of general activity and even intense exercise/loads), which can compromise our mobility.
It’s a good thing, then, that our body can make its own collagen to repair this damage. It does so by using two key components from our diet: amino acids (broken-down from the protein we eat) and vitamin C.
Over time, though, the amount of collagen that our body is able to produce slows down, ultimately making it hard to repair all of that damage. That’s where collagen peptides come in. These are broken-down pieces of collagen that, unlike other forms of protein in our diet, can be directly absorbed to build fresh collagen (without breaking down further into amino acids).
When consumed regularly, collagen peptides provide us with a reservoir of building blocks that rebuild our body’s collagen – and, given the range of roles collagen plays in our body, this leads to a number of health benefits, including:
- Improved skin health: Collagen peptides have been shown to improve skin firmness, elasticity texture and hydration in a number of studies. In fact, our team published a first-of-its-kind study on an Indian population to demonstrate these skin health benefits.
- Healthier bones, muscles and joints: Collagen peptide supplementation has been shown to improve joint health – particularly in cases of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, and in healthy individuals recovering from injuries. Given that collagen is the main component of our bones, ligaments and tendons, this isn’t surprising. Collagen peptides also support muscle health and can be a great tool for recovery after intense exercise.
- Repair of our digestive tract: Initial laboratory studies have shown that collagen peptides help improve intestinal barrier function, which governs our digestive tract’s ability to function.
- Possible role in immune function: A small double blind, placebo- controlled study showed that collagen peptide supplementation improved the function of T-cells, an important part of our immune system. While the mechanism isn’t fully understood, this is believed to be a function of collagen peptides having biological roles beyond just rebuilding collagen.
With the growing body of research demonstrating a wide range of benefits, collagen peptides can be an invaluable tool in working towards your specific health goals, whatever they may be.