You may have heard about people taking collagen supplements. But what exactly are collagen peptides? They’re small, easily digestible bits of collagen, a naturally occurring protein in humans and animals. It’s found in skin, cartilage, and bone, among other areas. Collagen supplementation may help address the body’s natural decline in collagen production as we age.
Foods like fish, beef, chicken skin, and pork skin are good natural sources of collagen. The body obtains it by breaking the food down into amino acids and peptides. But because collagen peptide supplements are already broken down, researchers believe the body may absorb them more readily.
Potential Benefits of Collagen Peptides
Research into the benefits of collagen peptides is ongoing. However, many health experts believe taking a collagen supplement may be beneficial in several ways, including:
- Better skin health and appearance. Collagen plays a vital role in skin hydration and elasticity. It’s believed that taking a collagen peptide supplement may slow skin aging, including promoting the production of other vital proteins like fibrillin and elastin.
- Reduced bone loss. Bones are primarily made of collagen. Loss of bone mass with age can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis and a higher risk of fractures. Supplementation may slow the breakdown of bones.
- Increased muscle mass. Research suggests that taking a collagen peptide supplement may help offset the natural loss of muscle mass that occurs with age, including stimulating muscle growth after workouts and promoting the natural production of proteins like creatine.
- Reduced joint pain. Collagen is crucial to maintaining cartilage, which is a strong, flexible tissue that provides cushioning in joints. Cartilage breaks down over time, resulting in painful conditions like osteoarthritis. Collagen peptide supplementation may slow this process.
- Improved heart health. Collagen gives arteries flexibility and elasticity. Taking a collagen supplement may help them remain pliable and resist narrowing. Healthy, flexible blood vessels reduce strain on the heart and the associated risk of a heart attack or stroke.
There are other potential benefits of taking a collagen peptide powder, although researchers have studied them less extensively. They include improved brain and gut health, healthier hair and nails, increased metabolism, and weight loss.
Side Effects of Collagen Peptides
Studies have shown collagen peptides to be generally safe and well-tolerated. Some people experience heartburn or feel uncomfortably full after taking a collagen supplement.
Also, supplements are made from common food allergens — eggs and shellfish, for example. Consequently, it’s important to read collagen product labels if you have food allergies.
When to Expect Results from Collagen Peptides
As with most supplementation regimens, it takes time for noticeable improvements to occur. Researchers typically don’t expect results in studies for at least eight weeks. So, if you decide to take a supplement, patience is essential.
Keep in mind that vitamin C is crucial for collagen synthesis. You can help your body make its own collagen by eating good sources of vitamin C like citrus fruits, bell peppers, and broccoli.
Talk with Your Baptist Health Physician About Collagen Peptides
It’s best to talk with your doctor before taking any supplement. They can talk with you about the benefits and any potential risks.
If you don’t have a Baptist Health physician, you can find one in our online provider directory.