Collagen peptides and active nutrition
Collagen peptides have quickly become the most sought-after products in the health and wellness sector – this upward trend has continued in 2019. However, consumers are often confused about what makes one collagen product better than another. GELITA sheds light on this discussion and clears up the three biggest collagen myths – thus helping manufacturers to plan their product portfolios.
This much is clear: collagen peptides have become established as a functional food. They have a positive effect on skin elasticity, cartilage tissue, bone density and connective tissue, and can guard against sports injuries. However, the terms used to describe collagen peptides make it difficult for consumers to keep track of them. Given the diversity of the collagen peptide market, GELITA examines the three most common collagen myths.
It is claimed, for example, that collagen is not the best protein source for sports nutrition.
“That is incorrect,” says Suzane Leser, Director of Nutrition and Scientific Affairs at GELITA. As a basic foodstuff, collagen, with a low essential amino acid profile, is sometimes classified as being an incomplete protein source. However, the bioactive effect mechanism of collagen goes beyond the basic nutrient role of the protein. Due to their unique peptide structure, bioactive collagen peptides dock to specific surface receptors and stimulate the production of matrix proteins outside the cells.
Secondly, there is uncertainty as to which type of collagen is best suited for joints.
“The distribution of collagen types in the body is highly complex. Irrespective of the food source in which they occur, the distribution of collagen peptides by type is not at all important,” says Suzane Leser.Collagens types I and II are 85 percent identical in terms of their protein sequence in native, i.e. non-enzymatically degraded, natural collagen. If this raw material is broken down by enzymes, however, this difference “disappears”. In other words, the typing of collagen only applies to native collagen, not to its hydrolysates. Here no differentiation between types actually exists any longer. Furthermore, bioactivity does not differ according to the types of raw materials used, but depends on the peptide spectrum that we achieve due to specific hydrolysis conditions that are different and specific for the different collagen peptides.
That collagen peptides do not survive enzymatic digestion in the intestine is myth number three.
On the contrary: compared to other proteins, collagen has a unique amino acid chain structure that appears to facilitate the transport of bioactive peptides through the intestinal wall. Their structure makes them more resistant to intestinal hydrolysis. “We estimate that about ten percent of the bioactive collagen peptides remain intact during digestion and are available to stimulate the metabolism of connective tissue cells. The remaining 90 percent are digested into amino acids that are building blocks for new connective tissue proteins,” concludes Suzane Leser. Collagen has come a long way until it became perceived by consumers as one of the main sources of functional peptides. However, while many collagen solutions are offered without specific nutritional applications, GELITA offers a well-defined, substantiated portfolio of bioactive collagen peptides. The advantage for the customer: They can launch the best end products for markets such as internal beauty or joint health in a targeted way.
As Director of Nutrition and Scientific Affairs, Suzane Leser promotes the rapidly advancing science of using specific bioactive collagen peptides and their potential to significantly improve people’s quality of life, health, and athletic performance. She is a nutritionist with almost 20 years of experience in the food industry. She has been contributing her wide expertise in sports nutrition and proteins to GELITA since January 2018.