25, 2019
4 min

Quickly and recently, collagen peptides have become one of the most sought-after products in the health and wellness aisle. Growth in the collagen sector is attributed to the increasing awareness of the vital role that collagen-rich tissues play in the adaptation to training and protection against injuries. Adding to this, there is the unique appeal of collagen’s ability to reduce the age-related concept of whole-body decline.

However, recent research by Nutrition Integrated, UK, in collaboration with GELITA, reveals a clear opportunity to develop the understanding of the category and to advance the public knowledge about collagen. Despite the need to be consumer centric, an estimated 73% of collagen products in the sports injury space are still ingredient led, emphasizing that although collagen is on trend, continued differentiation is a task.

Consumer education is key: the origins and terms currently used to describe collagen sources are not clear and the wide range of doses is hard for consumers to rationalize. So, in light of the diversity within the collagen peptides market, GELITA has tackled the three biggest collagen myths that a manufacturer may encounter when planning a strategic product portfolio approach in sports and active nutrition.

First, it’s often said that “collagen is not the best protein source for sports nutrition.” Wrong! In basic nutrition, because collagen displays a low essential amino acid profile, it’s sometimes categorized as an incomplete protein source by the current methods used to routinely assess protein quality. Yet, the bioactive mode of action of collagen is beyond the basic nutritional role of protein in terms of contributing essential amino acids to meet daily needs. Due to a unique peptide structure, the Bioactive Collagen Peptides (BCPs) bind to specific cell surface receptors and stimulate the production of extracellular matrix proteins, and effect that is independent of the essential amino acid profile or the protein quality score of collagen protein.

Today, we’re looking beyond basic needs, focusing on conditionally essential amino acids and on bioactive food compounds as regulators of metabolism for optimal and long-term health benefits, and to address the specific physiological needs posed by ageing and exercise.

Secondly, there’s confusion regarding what type of collagen is best for joints. Yes, the distribution of collagen types in the body is complex. But, regardless of where they occur, as a nutritional source, the segmentation of collagen peptides by type — 28 kinds have been identified — is not at all important and doesn’t affect their bioactivity. For example, GELITA obtains its BCPs from a mixture of collagen types and, according to various preclinical trials, types I and II collagens have been shown to be nearly identical in terms of protein sequence (approx. 85%). The small difference has no influence on the bioactivity or cell stimulatory effect when broken down to the bioactive collagen peptides.

Thirdly, it’s simply not true that BCPs do not survive enzymatic digestion in the gut. Compared with other proteins, collagen displays a unique amino acid chain structure that seems to facilitate the transport of bioactive peptides across the gut wall. Benefiting from frequent proline-hydroxyproline-glycine repeats, their structure is more extended, narrower, and more resistant to gut hydrolysis than the normal alpha helix configuration of other proteins, which provides the favorable folding and stability that facilitates gut absorption.

Collagen has come a long way in terms of consumer perception, becoming one of the main sources of functional peptides and positioned right at the center of highly desirable consumer need-states in sports and active nutrition. And, whereas many collagen solutions try to be all things to all people, GELITA offers a well-defined and substantiated portfolio of Bioactive Collagen Peptides. Using product-specific science and communication, GELITA has succeeded in enabling customers to curate and personalize the best end-product solutions for sports and active nutrition applications.

Confused about collagen? Perplexed about peptides? Contact us today to discover the truth about this incredible ingredient.

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