Several weeks ago, a friend asked me about this supplement. Honestly, I did not know much about it. To be really honest, I just thought it was a fad or something not needed as most hot nutrition topics are. As a dietitian, I guess you could say that is my downfall. I get tired of cleaning up messes from nutrition quacks and usually just brush fads or trends to the side without giving them time to look into the research behind them. I kept seeing more and more reviews on collagen peptides and decided it was time to dive into some research. I am going to try and condense the basics for you and explain it in a way that is relatable and understandable. (which is my goal with anything I teach)
What is collagen?
A protein found in the body. The most abundant to be exact. There are 3 different types of collagen found in body structures, we won’t dive into that yet. Think of collagen as glue or fibers holding a structure together. When referring to structures in the body and collagen, think of bones, hair, skin, ligaments, and other connective tissues. When we age, we produce less, that is where the idea comes in to use dietary supplements to replace or increase collagen storage. We cannot quite absorb collagen it in its whole form, therefore the protein supplement known as collagen peptides is basically the collagen proteins broken down for us so we are able to ingest, absorb, and transport via bloodstream to different parts of the body. The next question that we need to know the answer to is “If we eat collagen, do we know it is being delivered to parts of the body?” Based on a few studies some in mice and some humans. Research does show from labs taken before and after that collagen can successfully be supplemented, passed through the intestinal wall and into the blood stream where it is then transported in the body.
Is it necessary?
Completely up to you. Collagen peptides can get expensive. I have vital proteins (berry flavored) that I mix in my water. I have had it for a few weeks, but have not been consuming regularly. A few days ago, I decided I was going to be consistent and see if I notice a different in hair/nails/joint pain, etc… I don’t have much joint pain but I am really going to try and focus on any changes I see. I would recommend getting unflavored collagen peptides. They can easily be added to smoothies, soups, sauces, eggs, coffee, and even water. This can also be a great additive of protein for kids if needing supplementation. (most kids get enough though)
Overall, I think collagen peptides can be a great dietary supplement. You do not HAVE to take them. Trust me you will be just fine without them. However, unlike a lot of fads/trends, these actually have science and good results behind them.
Taylor Williams, MS, RD/LD