Hundreds of different compounds and substances are essential to a healthy body and life. Some are relatively simple and can be understood without extensive education, while others are more complex and require more studying to fully grasp. Regardless of whether we completely understand the substance, we still need most of them to stay healthy and alive. A balance of nutrients and compounds helps the body maintain equilibrium so we can lead healthy, normal lives.
Unfortunately, the more complicated compounds mean figuring out the best way to enhance them is fairly difficult. Some compounds appear simple but are actually very complicated, whereas others appear complex when they are very simple. One of the compounds that fit in the first category is collagen.
Collagen is a frustratingly complicated protein that not everyone understands as well as they should. Because of the complexity of collagen, finding the proper resources to bolster your natural levels can be arduous. Fortunately, learning more about collagen does not necessitate an advanced degree in biology or chemistry (at least insofar as a consumer is concerned).
Nevertheless, learning more about collagen and how it works is always a good idea since it provides several benefits for the human condition. Unfortunately, one of the most complicated details of collagen is that it comes in various forms and has several smaller components that make it difficult to understand. One of the biggest questions collagen users have is: what is the difference between collagen and collagen peptides?
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a special protein we initially develop in the womb to generate major body parts, organs, and protective layers. One of the biggest contributions of collagen is that it impacts our skin production. Collagen forms several important compounds and is the primary building block of human skin, meaning we would be walking around with exposed internals without it (if we were lucky).
Collagen also helps produce several internal organs and connective tissues that our bodies need to function properly. Without collagen, our bodies would fail, and we probably would not survive the initial stages of development due to improperly formed tissue. Collagen is a protein that contains all the associated amino acids and most of the nutrients our bodies need to function.
Collagen is one of the most diverse proteins in biology and has 28 known variants that play different roles in our biology. The good news is that only 5 of these 28 collagen variants are considered "major collagens." The bad news is that all 28 still qualify as important for our bodies, though to lesser degrees the further down the list you go.
For example, Type I collagen comprises 90% of the collagen in our bodies and is responsible for creating skin, bone, tendons, and ligaments. Meanwhile, Type V collagen has a minor role in skin production but primarily affects our eyes. The biggest issue with collagen is that our bodies have a limited amount to draw on at any given moment. Our bodies produce additional collagen throughout our lives, but the amount diminishes with age. Furthermore, the collagen left over from our youth breaks down faster in old age, meaning we have less to draw on with every passing day. As a result, collagen depletion is a major concern that affects our appearance and, possibly, our health.
Collagen also has multiple sources and can be found in multiple foods. Some types of collagen can be found in animals and marine life, while others are acquired from plant matter. Modern science claims that marine collagen is considered the best source due to the added nutrients and additional synergy collagen enjoys in marine organisms. This adds an extra layer of complexity insofar as collagen harvesting is concerned. Regardless of the source from which you harvest your collagen supplements, their role and the significance of their variants remain.
Despite collagen's importance, it is a fleeting resource that is easily lost with time and occasionally requires supplementation to reclaim. Knowing the exact type of collagen you need is important, but that is only one of the major details that can complicate the process. If you have ever heard of collagen before, you might have heard the phrase "collagen peptides" thrown around. Some people dismiss collagen peptides as an interchangeable way of referring to collagen variants. However, that is not the case.
What Are Collagen Peptides?
Collagen peptides have occasionally been misrepresented as an alternate method of referring to collagen. While this is not entirely wrong, a key difference between collagen and peptides makes it crucial to know the difference. The main difference is that collagen refers to the protein as a whole, while peptides are smaller molecules found in collagen.
Collagen peptides can essentially be considered the parts that make up the whole, though they are unavailable in every collagen source. Collagen peptides are exclusively found in animal proteins because they contribute to cartilage, bone, and skin development. These peptides relate closely to the collagen our bodies need to develop essential tissues that keep our bodies bound together.
Peptides are often harvested from collagen protein to be refined into supplements, meaning peptides are more common tools than the protein from which they come. Collagen peptides possess the same compounds as a typical collagen protein, albeit slightly weaker than the whole protein due to the disparate parts. Fortunately, this can be overcome by introducing multiple peptides to the recipe so they can cooperate to enhance your health and appearance. Insofar as collagen versus peptides is concerned, they are technically the same thing. Peptides are components of the whole protein and are, therefore, at their core, the same protein but smaller.
That said, it is worth noting that there are significant chemical differences between collagen and its peptides that better illustrate their distinctness. Fortunately, those details do little to diminish the fact that collagen peptides are just a component of animal collagen. It only changes that you cannot get peptides through plant collagen and must rely on the protein from fish, poultry, or red meat.
Collagen peptides have one advantage over whole collagen, making them slightly more viable. Peptides are more bioavailable than the normal protein, meaning it is easier for our bodies to absorb and distribute their effects. This is one of the key reasons collagen peptides are used in supplements, allowing users to enjoy the benefits more effectively. This leads us to the next major question: what are some of collagen's benefits?
Main Benefits of Collagen
Collagen plays a major role in how our bodies develop during conception and provides regenerative capabilities when the original gets damaged. Our bodies use collagen to rejuvenate and repair the skin when it is damaged by injury or exposure. Typically, we draw on our remaining collagen reserves to accomplish this, but natural depletion diminishes our ability to use it effectively.
Over time, the collagen we have left is dedicated to more important tasks than certain cosmetic repairs deemed unimportant in our biological hierarchy. The less collagen we have, the more our complexion shows signs of aging. This is because our bodies originally used the collagen we had to rehydrate and rejuvenate the skin to prevent blemishes like wrinkles or promote hair growth to avoid balding. Once our levels get too low, our bodies prioritize what is left to repair actual damage.
While this reorganization of our collagen priorities makes sense, it can have an unwanted effect on our appearance and, by extension, our self-confidence. After all, modern society puts an unrealistic emphasis on appearance, and those with "lucky genetics" tend to spend adolescence reinforcing the idea that our appearance gives us value.
While the need for a youthful complexion is not vital, it can go a long way toward helping us maintain our confidence as we age. The real problem is when our genetic profile is predisposed to collagen issues. Some people have collagen deficiencies and develop signs of aging earlier than they should. These rare deficiencies can manifest when we least expect them and cause our appearance to deteriorate.
These deficiencies generate the primary reason collagen supplements were created since taking them while your collagen levels are healthy is pointless. Adding collagen to your body when it is not needed more will waste the protein without enhancing your appearance. If your cosmetic concerns result from a collagen deficiency, the supplements can counteract the problems.
Collagen supplements, especially those with peptides, can help stem the tide of blemishes from a collagen deficiency. One of the main uses of a collagen supplement is as a skincare product that can help you recover your youthful complexion. A review of 11 studies focused on how collagen supplements affected subjects (primarily women) with skin troubles.
The studies varied in how much collagen was administered, ranging between 3 to 10 grams daily for 69 days. The review determined that all the studies showed improved skin elasticity and hydration for the subjects in the test group. The revitalized elasticity and hydration in their skin reduced the prevalence of their wrinkles and age lines. This helped restore their confidence in their appearance, which makes a huge difference in how they feel. While these cosmetic benefits offer significant confidence boosts, other benefits of collagen supplementation can be considered more important.
As shocking as it might sound, collagen supplements can help alleviate joint pain induced by underlying osteoarthritic conditions. As we age, our bodies deteriorate, and signs of age appear on the outside. Unfortunately, they also appear inside since collagen is responsible for producing connective tissue like cartilage. Considering we can live for decades, constant movement combined with the deterioration of cartilage significantly increases the chances of osteoarthritic conditions.
Degenerative joint conditions like osteoarthritis generate intense pain as one of the primary symptoms. Depending on how often you have to move, this can make life excruciatingly difficult. However, the presence of collagen in cartilage tissue means supplements can help your body supplement what is left with new tissue.
A review of multiple studies evaluated the effects of collagen on osteoarthritis and generated promising results. The review found that subjects in the test groups of these studies had reduced joint stiffness and symptoms of osteoarthritis. These benefits allowed the subjects to regain a degree of autonomy despite their condition, though there are limits to cartilage regeneration. Nevertheless, a theory exists that collagen from supplements pools in the cartilage to reduce inflammation and support the joints better.
Collagen has several other benefits that can be best absorbed via the peptides in supplements. The whole protein can offer the same effects, but it might not spread as effectively as the peptides, making it more efficient to use a peptide supplement. The real challenge is finding a reliable supplement from a reputable vendor.
Keep it All Natural!
Collagen and collagen peptides are two aspects of the same basic substance, one being the whole and the other being a part. While collagen protein can benefit your health, collagen peptides make the best supplements. A peptide supplement is your best bet if you want to take advantage of everything collagen can offer after developing a deficiency. Unfortunately, there is a major issue in the supplement industry. Like any industry, most companies value profit over quality and might adulterate their product to meet quotas. The trick to supplements is finding a vendor with a reliable, quality product that can provide the results you want.
We at Bella All Natural have always believed that the best solutions come from nature, so our entire business model provides natural supplements. Our products are designed to improve health and appearance using natural ingredients rather than pharmaceuticals. Within our growing catalog is our Collagen Powder (available in strawberry and watermelon) made with collagen peptides.
Additionally, our collagen is harvested from marine life, meaning you will get the best version of collagen. One serving in your favorite drink will give you your daily dose of collagen so you can begin enhancing your appearance and health. We encourage you to visit our website and try it for yourself, but regardless of your decision, the important thing is always to keep it All Natural!