Do collagen peptides get absorbed into the gut?
September 11, 2018
One of the biggest myths in our industry is the belief that collagen supplements don’t work because collagen gets broken down in our digestive tract - or ‘destroyed’ by our stomach acid.
This widespread belief has actually come from doctors who claim that the collagen molecule is too large for the body to absorb. It’s often said that because of this, taking a collagen supplement is no different to eating a piece of steak. The same school of thought would tell you that in order to reap the benefits of collagen, it would need to be injected.
They are actually right and wrong!
Right in the fact that collagen is a major building block of our body and the most abundant protein and in its native state, the collagen molecule is indeed too large to be absorbed effectively by the intestine. It has a molecular weight of 300,000 Daltons so your body couldn’t ingest a molecule so large.
However, what many fail to realise is that around 15-years ago, the Japanese invented and patented a process known as hydrolysis. This technology can break down the huge collagen molecule into tiny molecules - known as hydrolysed collagen or collagen peptides.
These hydrolysed collagen peptides have a molecular weight of just 5,000 Daltons and can be absorbed easily and effectively into the body. So that’s where some doctors are wrong!
The hydrolysis process breaks the collagen supermolecule down into small, bioavailable components, like how our bodies break down food during digestion. Hydrolysed collagen is immediately available for absorption. This makes them small enough to be readily absorbed through the small intestine and then into the bloodstream.
Just like when you consume anything, these small molecules enter the bloodstream and your body uses them where they are needed. In the case of hydrolysed collagen, these would be the places where collagen is naturally found and utilised - the joints, bones, gut, major organs, nails, ligaments, skin and hair.
The collagen peptides used to create Absolute Collagen ® have undertaken comprehensive clinical studies in Japan and France – and both confirm the positive effect of taking hydrolysed collagen and the benefits on skin health.
The Hydrolysed Collagen and Skin Health 2009 Clinical Studies confirm that taking 5 -10ml of hydrolysed marine collagen per day has moisturising and anti-ageing effects.
To access the efficacy and acceptability of the hydrolysed marine collagen peptides – two double-blind, randomised clinical studies versus placebo were carried out on 80 healthy female volunteers between the ages of 35 and 59.
These studies were performed according to regulations on clinical studies and approved by the local Ethical Committee. Additionally – each subject was placed, for at least 30 minutes, in a room with controlled temperature and humidity prior to each measurement.
The two studies were as follows:
STUDY 2008 – A00654 - 51:This evaluated the effects of an oral intake of hydrolysed marine collagen peptides on the cutaneous (relating to or affecting the skin) properties versus placebo. The study was conducted in Lyon, France, by DERMSCAN on 47 women from 35-55 years old for 84 days during winter where each ingested 10g of marine collagen.
STUDY YNTKK – 2008 – 4144:Double-blind placebo controlled trial of oral supplementation of collagen peptides conducted in Tokoyo, Japan, by SOUKEN on 33 women from 40 to 59 years for 8 weeks during winter, where each also ingested 10g of marine collagen.
The results were then measured – skin hydration measurements were taken with a Corneometer ® CM 825 device. This instrument determines the humidity levels of the most external skin layers.
To measure the anti-ageing effects, polymer silicone skin prints were taken from the studied area before and at each time of measurement then studied using the Skin Image Analyser® or 3D roughness analyser. The replica is then observed with a digital camera linked to a computer – where a 1cm2 area is studied.
As well as these studies; the volunteers’ perception of how hydrolysed marine collagen performed was also an integral part of the study.
So what did the results show? 91% of the volunteers taking marine collagen saw their skin hydration increase after 8 weeks daily usage.
The number of ‘micro furrows’ in the skin significantly decreased with the use of hydrolysed marine collagen – 26% better in 12 weeks.
Skin suppleness increased by 19% in the hydrolysed collagen group – and there was visual evidence of a reduction in the depth and width of wrinkles.
Additionally – volunteers reported better moisture levels after cleansing and removing make-up, and an increase in skin hydration with 68% of the women saying their skin was less dry.
Those taking the marine collagen also reported improved skin suppleness, skin tonicity and skin brightness compared to those on the placebo.
NO adverse effects were reported in the women taking the marine collagen.
These studies therefore clinically show that ingesting hydrolysed marine collagen daily will:
- Improve skin moisture levels
- Improve skin smoothness by reducing the number of micro-relief furrows
- Prevent the formation of deep wrinkles
- Improve skin suppleness
And for hair…
Top consultant trichologist Eva Proudman was so interested in the Absolute Collagen supplement she undertook her own perception trial on the effects it has on hair.
The trial was developed specifically to look at how the supplement impacted on the hair and scalp. Hair in both men and women can be impacted by dietary deficiencies - especially in terms of lack of essential amino-acids, vitamins and minerals. This can lead to excessive hair fall and hair thinning - with diet and stressful lifestyles suggested to be an underlying cause.
Absolute Collagen contains seven of the eight essential amino-acids that the body requires and they can only be obtained from diet (the body cannot synthesis these essential amino-acids). Amino acids are the building blocks of keratin - the protein that makes up the hair. These amino-acids are also responsible for hair strength and elasticity - and support the natural growth cycle.
Eva's perception trial states: "(Amino acids) can be effective in treating disorders of the growth cycle where the hair shreds and regrows prematurely, leading to a loss in overall density. The amino-acid cysteine is very important to the hair, and is contained in Absolute Collagen. Cysteine forms the covalent disulphide bonds in the hair, and these are the strongest bonds found in the hair and essential to overall hair health."
The trial was limited to looking at only the effects of Absolute Collagen on the hair and scalp and observed and quantified fortnightly.
A trichological examination took place every 2 weeks with candidates asked to take Absolute Collagen daily and keep a daily questionnaire and observation sheet. The review looked at hair texture, hair growth, hair management, hair fall and scalp health.
The perception trial was carried out over 12 weeks and the candidates took no other supplements aside from Absolute Collagen.
As early as week 2 the candidates were reporting a change in their hair texture, with all perceiving a smoother, sleeker texture. Trichological examination on week 2 did not reveal any change in texture (although Eva believes an increase in sebum could explain the perception). However, an examination on week 4 DID show that the texture was smoother and sleeker in EVERY candidate.
Two of the candidates reported a slight scalp irritation by week 4, but an examination of the scalp showed no visible irritation. By week 6, irritation was not evident symptomatically or visually.
At week 8 ALL candidates reported a reduction in the news to use hair conditioner as their own hair was much softer, sleeker and easier to style.
The seborrhoeic eczema sufferers shown on the table had reduction in both itching and visible flaking. The chronic telogen effluvium sufferer had a reduction in shedding of 10% carried out by hair fall count daily.
One candidate travelled to India for 6 weeks and continued to take and record the results of Absolute Collagen. The fine, limp hair the candidate had was not as affected as severely by the humidity as previously and washing was only necessary every two days.
EVERY candidate experienced perceived benefits and the consultant trichologist observed benefits:
- Hair texture much smoother
- Tensile tests improved - some breakage to minimal breakage
- Scalp condition excellent
- Seborrhoeic Eczema itching and flaking decreased
- Hair management improved; washing, conditioning and styling
After 6 weeks of stopping Absolute Collagen a follow-up examination was carried out. It revealed a 50% decrease in hair quality in terms of coarseness and ability to manage and style. This resulted in ALL 6 candidates wanting to continue to take Absolute Collagen.
Eva says: "As a trichologist I would not hesitate to recommend Absolute Collagen as an effective protein substitute where the diet plays a factor in overall hair quality, shedding and thinning. Although this trial was run as a perception trial and not a clinical trial, the candidates own perceptions and the actual examinations show that the hair benefitted in terms of condition and manageability in 100% of cases. This trial suggests that a nutritional approach to improving the hair follicle environment from within can be used to optimise hair growth, texture and quality."
Thanks to using high-quality, hydrolysed marine collagen peptides are absorbed.
When taken orally, hydrolyzed collagen reaches the small intestine, and then it is absorbed into the bloodstream in the form of free amino acids and small collagen peptides.
Ready to reap the benefits of ingesting Absolute Collagen? Shop here