Collagen Peptide Powder molecule
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Collagen peptide powder for more youthful, radiant looking skin … does it work? And what the heck are collagen peptides anyway? Chef V explains.

When most women hear the word “collagen” the first thing that comes to mind is collagen implant injections for fuller lips and reducing wrinkles.

But these days, there’s a new collagen for beauty everybody’s talking about: collagen peptide powder.

In fact, I’ve come across some pretty hilarious headlines on the web about collagen, like this one: “Why is the Internet Freaking Out About Collagen Peptides?”

I don’t know about you but I can’t help crack up every time I come across an article with a ridiculous title like that.

Anyway, what is (are?) collagen peptides? Let’s find out what all the fuss is about….

Collagen peptide powder in bowl
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Collagen Peptide Powder: why is it necessary?

Your body contains hundreds of thousands of different proteins. And the most abundant protein in your body is collagen. Approximately a quarter to a third of all the protein that makes you, well, you, is collagen protein.

Collagen is sort of like the glue that holds your tissues in place. (Not the ones you blow your nose into but muscle tissue, skin tissue, etc.) In fact, collagen is the main component of your cartilage and ligaments in your joints, your teeth, heart, bones, blood vessels, and, of course, your skin.

The molecules of collagen are overlapping bundles (these are called ‘fibrils’; ). And these bundles form collagen fibers. You can actually see collagen fibers with the naked eye. Sorry for the geeky mini-anatomy lesson, but I find the human body fascinating!

Aging can be a real bitch. And the aging process is not kind to your collagen. With each passing year, your body produces at least one percent less collagen than the previous year, especially after you hit around age 30. That means that by age 60, your body will have about half the collagen it did half your life ago. Moreover, the collagen fibers you do have in your skin will degenerate. That’s why some of us will get fine lines, wrinkles and saggy skin.

And this is the main reason why collagen peptide powder is literally blowing up the Internet. (OK, not literally, sorry, couldn’t help myself from making fun of sensational headlines.)

Collagen peptide powder is basically like a protein powder you can take everyday. Keep this in mind, though. Many people think collagen peptide powder directly replaces your own collagen. It doesn’t.

collagen molecule drawing
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Collagen Peptide Powder: what does it do?

Collagen peptide powders contain lots of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of all protein. And there are 20 total amino acids. Collagen peptide powder contains almost all of them—18.

While it’s true that you can eat foods that contain all the amino acids (combining beans and rice or peanut butter and whole wheat, for example), collagen peptide powder is especially rich in a few certain amino acids. (Geek out time again: the all-star amino acids in collagen peptide powder are: glutamic acid, glycine, proline and hydroxyproline.)

Why are these amino acids important? Because most of the foods people do eat aren’t that high in these amino acids. It’s the animal parts that westerners don’t usually eat that are rich in these specific amino acids. I’m talking about–and try not to get nauseous—the bones and hides (skin), scales (in fish), neck and feet tendons, chicken giblets and gizzards (I won’t describe these; you might hurl).

Yeah, it’s in these animal parts that you won’t likely be serving at your next dinner party that contains the building blocks you need to form new collagen in your own skin. Hey, but if you want healthy-looking skin, you’ll do whatever it takes, right? Even eating chicken feet bones?

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Collagen Peptide Powder: is it disgusting?

The good news is you don’t have to sink your teeth into fish scales or cow skin. That’s because collagen peptide powder is made of the collagen that’s been processed from animals (usually cow, chicken or fish) in the same way bone broth is made.

You’re probably familiar with bone broth. Bone broth contains collagen. But not all collagen contains bone broth. That’s because in addition to collagen, bone broth also contains savory herbs and spices and veggies. Collagen peptide powder is produced by soaking the cowhide in hot water. This removes the fat. Next, the hide is soaked in a solution. This process releases the beneficial collagen protein from the animal.

So in essence what you’re doing to improve your own collagen is consuming the collagen of another animal. If you’re vegan, you can still eat foods that encourage the production of your own collagen. For example, vitamin C-rich green leafy veggies, like the ones in my recipe for Organic Green Drink, help form those building blocks for collagen.

But if you’re not opposed to consuming collagen peptide powder derived from animal sources (choose either marine peptides or grass-fed cow), collagen peptide powder is a simple, cost-effective way to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to repair damaged skin.

And unlike many protein powders on the market, collagen peptide powder doesn’t have a chalky taste and it won’t bloat you. That’s because peptides are broken down, predigested collagen molecules. No, that doesn’t mean somebody took a bite out of the powder before it’s packaged; the processing of the collagen ensures that it’s easy for your body to digest and absorb.

One easy way to get your collagen protein powder is to add it to yogurt (below).

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add collagen peptide powder to yogurt

Collagen Peptide Powder: does it work?

I’ve read a lot of positive reviews online about collagen peptide powder. At the minimum, several women are reporting stronger nails and a reduction in appearance of fine lines. But to be sure, overwhelmingly convincing research about collagen peptides for skin is lacking. However, this study suggests long-term supplementation with collagen peptides leads to an improvement of cellulite, and has a positive impact on skin health.

Taking a couple scoops of collagen peptide powder (do your own research for specific brands) is way easier (you can add it to water, a smoothie, coffee, yogurt, etc.) and far less expensive than getting collagen implants. And if you think it’s gross consuming the hide (skin) of a cow, consider if you get a collagen injection, that’s precisely what gets injected into your lips or skin. That’s food for thought!