How is collagen absorbed into the body?

How is collagen absorbed into the body?
As a lifestyle Medicine and cosmetic physician, I often get asked why we wrinkle and lose our skin firmness. We have to accept that ageing is a privilege and beautiful gift. However, there are many things we can do to slow the visible processes. One of the most important actions we can take is to ensure optimal nutrition. Sadly, with our ever busy and hectic lifestyles, this can often be lacking. This is when supplementation becomes so important.

The Science Bit:

Whatever is important to you in terms of your skin care, ranging from a simple daily routine to being a fan of facial aesthetic treatments, give a thought to what is going into your body. If you’re lacking in good nutrition, such as protein or amino acids, then your skin is likely to show it. A great way of getting a source of these is in the form of a daily bioactive collagen peptide (BCP). The positive effect of ingestible collagen peptides on skin, nail, and hair health has been demonstrated in several clinical trials. So, what is collagen? Collagen is the most plentiful protein in the skin and actually makes up 75-80% of it. Collagen is responsible for giving skin its structure, suppleness and stretch, and acts as a scaffold. As we age, we produce less and less collagen which means we move towards a tendency to wrinkle, and our skin gets thinner and less plump. Collagen starts to deplete from the age of around 25, which can be further exacerbated by other factors such as smoking, environmental pollutants, alcohol, and sunlight. Studies have shown that age dependent reduction on collagen synthesis can be reversed by taking in specific bioactive collagen peptides into our diet. These are then processed in our body to produce protein components, some of which accumulate to form collagen biomatrix, and supporting structure to the skin.

How is Collagen Absorbed?

The most important factor in terms of collagen supplementation is absorption. This is because collagen peptides have a long and precarious journey through the gut to the small intestine before they are absorbed by the bloodstream (without being digested). The beauty of BCP is that they can partially survive the digestion process. This is because they have a high concentration of proline and glycine, amino acids that form strong peptide bonds and are more resistant to being broken down by digestive enzymes. But how much collagen can your body absorb? BCPs have and maintain the rare single helix structure of collagen, which is longer and thinner than the alfa-helix most commonly found in other protein sources. As a result, they have an improved gut absorption with approximately 10% remaining intact during digestion, ready to enter the bloodstream and directly stimulate connective tissue cell metabolism. The remaining peptides are broken down into amino acids, which the body then uses as vital building blocks for new connective tissue and other purposes. Dr Emma Hughes BSc MBBS MRCS FRCR Dip BSLM Finding the right collagen for what you need is paramount. At Pura Collagen, we have a number of collagen powders that target different parts of the body, from skin, hair and nails, to joints, sleep, or overall health. Instagram: the needle angel Sato[GE1] K. The presence of food-derived collagen peptides in human body-structure and biological activity. Food Funct. 2017 Dec 13;8(12):4325-4330. doi: 10.1039/c7fo01275f. PMID: 29114654. Choi, F.D.; Sung, C.T.; Juhasz, M.L.; Mesinkovsk, N.A. Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications. J. Drugs. Dermatol. 2019, 18, 9–16. Proksch E, Schunck M, Zague V, Segger D, Degwert J, Oesser S. Oral intake of specific bioactive collagen peptides reduces skin wrinkles and increases dermal matrix synthesis. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2014;27(3):113-9.. Bolke L, Schlippe G, Gerß J, Voss W. A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study. Nutrients. 2019 Oct 17;11(10):2494. Hexsel D, Zague V, Schunck M, Siega C, Camozzato FO, Oesser S. Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017 Dec;16(4):520-526.