Collagen Peptides? What’s That?

Before starting to track our macros, my wife Sarah and I were in the dark about a few beneficial supplements that help us and many others in and out of the gym. Whether it was water intake, fish oil, etc., we just weren’t doing everything we could to improve ourselves, mostly because we didn’t know. So I wanted to share with you some information on a supplement we’ve been taking for 3 months now, and it’s been quite a game changer. Collagen peptides.

A brief description; collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It makes up your skin, nails, hair, and connective tissues. Collagen peptides are an incomplete protein, with 3 amino acids. For example, whey protein, a common protein supplement, has all 20 amino acids found in all proteins. So for gaining and maintaining muscle mass, this is not an effective protein. So what does it help?

Skin Health

Collagen is one of the major proteins found in your skin where it plays a critical role in strengthening the tissue, improving elasticity and maintaining hydration. As we get older, our body begins to make less and less collagen, and this process is thought to contribute to the formation of wrinkles. Supplementation with collagen, or collagen peptides, can help slow the progression of wrinkles and dry skin. Taking as little as 5g of collagen a day improves skin elasticity.

Connective Tissue Health

Tendons connect our muscles to our bones, allowing force from our muscles to be transferred through our skeleton, so their health is very important. Collagen is a major component of your tendons, and we lose significant amounts of it as we age. This leaves your joints weaker, more injury prone, and more susceptible to pain. Supplemental collagen allows the body to lay down more collagen in your connective tissues over time, delaying this age related breakdown that leads to more pain and potentially injury.

Injury and Workout Recovery

Studies have shown over 6 month periods that athletes who are recovering from connective tissue damage who took collagen along with receiving physical therapy saw faster recovery and returned to their sport faster than those who had received a placebo. Sarah can tell you personally how much better her ankles and knees have felt since taking collagen. She has also recovered faster from workouts that used to give her joint issues. Through studies, it has been found that collagen does indeed reduce pain, speed the recovery process, and reduce the onset of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

Fat Loss

Collagen has also been found to help in reducing fat in your body composition. Supplementing 20g of collagen a day has been shown to help prevent fat accumulation. To put it another way, the collagen supplementation doesn’t make you lighter, but it may prevent fat accumulating in the body WITHOUT the reduction of food. The collagen may be impacting either metabolic rate, inflammatory responses, or both.

Supplementing Collagen (based on goals)

Improve Skin: 10g a day
Recover from Injury: 15-20g a day* Reducing Body Fat: 20g a day*

*If you take more than 10 grams per day, it makes the most sense to split your collagen dose into two time periods. The half-life of collagen appears to be about 4 hours and collagen levels return to baseline about 12 hours after consumption.

Taking collagen on an empty stomach and with Vitamin C will aid in proper uptake of this supplement.

Where to Find Collagen Peptides

Collagen peptides are widely available at vitamin and supplement stores, and online stores such as Amazon. Just like any other supplement, it’s important to find the right brand for you and your needs. Factors for shopping around are the same, in that some are less expensive, some may be better quality, some eliminate heavy metals, etc.