HOW ARE COLLAGEN PEPTIDES ABSORBED IN THE BODY?

May
08, 2020
4 min

Right now, the health and beauty markets are both buzzing with all kinds of products containing collagen. And, considering all the different positive effects that collagen can have on your body and well-being, this makes perfect sense. However, the most successful products are the ones that contain specific collagen peptides. Why? Because, to be better used by the body, collagen protein must be hydrolyzed into short, bioactive chains of amino acids. But how, you might ask, are specific collagen peptides better than native collagen? Let’s dive into an explanation of a very complex process.

We now know that collagen peptides consist of a chain of amino acids — with the long protein chains being effectively cut into smaller ones by an enzymatic process. This means not only will they be easily absorbed, but also made more effective, compared with native collagen and other proteins.

This is particularly true of GELITA’s Bioactive Collagen Peptides®, which consist of very specific polypeptides. They can partially survive digestion, which means they pass through the gut barrier and remain intact. Thus, they can ultimately get to work in the body’s target tissues.

Interestingly, science has revealed that, depending on the chain length, collagen peptides are particularly effective at promoting selected health benefits. During the production process, for example, the chains can be fine-tuned to obtain collagen peptides that directly target cartilage growth, firmer skin or stronger bones.

As their unique peptide chain structure facilitates absorption, Bioactive Collagen Peptides® stand out from the broader class of other polypeptides. One reason being that Bioactive Collagen Peptides® exhibit a high concentration of proline and glycine, amino acids which form strong peptide bonds that are more resistant to being broken down by digestive enzymes. Also, Bioactive Collagen Peptides® maintain the characteristic, rare single helix structure of collagen, which is longer and thinner than the normal alfa-helix most commonly found in other protein sources. In short, this improves the stability of Bioactive Collagen Peptides® and facilitates their gut absorption.

Approximately ten percent of the Bioactive Collagen Peptides® remain intact during digestion. This is an impressive number, which contributes to efficient bioavailability as they enter the bloodstream and directly stimulate connective tissue cell metabolism. But what happens to the other peptides? Well, they are effectively broken down into amino acids, which the body then uses as vital building blocks for new connective tissue and other purposes.

As such, intact Bioactive Collagen Peptides® stimulate the target cells to produce new collagen, whereas the digested parts deliver the necessary building materials. That means that virtually all of the nutrients are used.

Exactly how these collagen peptides pass the gut wall is still being researched; but, as a result of the narrow shape of the Bioactive Collagen Peptides®, paracellular transport seems to be the preferred route. Interestingly, physical activity seems to increase the permeability of the gut, so it would make perfect sense to take Bioactive Collagen Peptides® before and during exercise.

Collagen peptides are an exception to the rule of protein metabolism. The way they are digested, absorbed and used by the body is a relatively new field of science and an area of great interest. A lot of scientific studies are being conducted, but many doctors and health experts — and even some scientists — are still unaware of the latest findings. Yet, knowledge in this field has grown exponentially in recent years, so information from between five and ten years ago is sometimes no longer relevant. Therefore, it’s important to ignore outdated beliefs and keep up to date with the latest developments.