If there was only one supplement that we could add to our diets with the purpose of rejuvenating skin, hair and nails – collagen peptides would be it. Much like how athletes take protein powder to help repair and build more muscle, collagen peptides can be used to increase the body’s own production of revitalizing collagen.
Why is this important? Because without efficient collagen production we visibly age faster.
In the same way that our skin and hair are constantly growing, shedding and renewing; each collagen fiber must regularly be repaired and replaced to maintain a youthful and effective tissue. This process requires the materials to make collagen, with actual collagen being the most effective source.
Unfortunately, as we age natural collagen production begins decreasing by 1% yearly after the age of 20 (1)!
This is why collagen peptides are becoming so popular in anti-aging regimens for those of us who can’t afford direct collagen injections like the rich and famous.
Collagen peptide supplements directly boost the components needed for your body to produce as much collagen as it can. That means less bottlenecks in collagen production allowing the body to further revitalize our skin, hair and nails to their maximum glow.
Below we’d love to share with you more information about collagen, how the body makes it, how to naturally make more of it, and what collagen peptide supplements do.
Did you know?
We developed TeamKeto Collagen Peptides for this reason. During and after weight loss, many of our members often shift focus to next restoring their former youthful skin. Collagen peptides have proven to be the easiest way to help smooth and firm skin while boosting nail and hair strength. Benefits that grow even greater when paired with proper diet, sleep, hydration and stress relief. All of which we’ll cover below.
What is collagen?
Collagen in layman's terms: While you could consider bones to be the ‘frame’ and muscles to be the ‘fill’ of a body – collagen would ultimately be the finishing polish and glue.
Collagen is more interesting than you would expect.
For starters, collagen is incredibly bountiful: collagen accounts for approximately 30 to 40 percent of your body’s total protein (2). Considering that the average human is 15.1% protein (3), we can conject that the average human is roughly 5.28% collagen.
Despite its prevalence, collagen is not a simple structure. Different types of collagen exist as specialized triple helix structures that bind and coat tissues throughout your body (4).
Types of collagen and their tissues (5):
- Type I collagen: The most ubiquitous (common) type of collagen, type I accounts for 90% of collagen in the body (6). Type I collagen tissues include: skin, tendon, ligament and bone connective tissues (7). Bovine collagen is a potent source of type I collagen.
- Type II collagen: Type II collagen makes up the primary component of cartilage. This type of collagen is exceptionally unique in structure forming a complex lattice with space gapping (8). Poultry collagen and bone broth are potent sources of type II collagen.
- Type III collagen: Type III collagen is found integrated into different collagen tissues with the greatest concentration in skin and circulatory tissues (9). Type III collagen appears to be more mobile and flexible than regular type I collagen, and thus is more responsive for damage repair (10). This is notable for the lining of blood vessels and intestines where a lack of Type III collagen - often caused by gene mutations - can lead to ruptures (11). Bovine collagen protein is a potent source of type III collagen.
- Type IV collagen: Type IV collagen is a unique, hardy sheet-like form that makes up basement membrane zones (12). These basement membrane zones are what separates different types of tissues and organs from one another, including all of your skin (13). While separation of tissues is the most obvious function, we’re also learning that the basement membrane is also a vital center for receptor signaling between sheathed tissue and the rest of the body (14). Egg whites and organ meats can provide some type IV collagen, however its harder to get.
- Type V collagen: Type V collagen can be found assisting type I and III collagen fibers as well as diving deeper into muscles, organs (15). One of type V collagens most important roles is within the cornea of the eye, where type V collagen maintains an environment of peak light transfer (16). The membranes beneath egg shells are a popular source of type V collagen.
In total, there are 28 known individually classified types of collagen. However, the above 5 encompass the vast majority of purposes relevant to us (17).
For instance, collagen injections are primarily composed of collagen harvested from skin (type I), making it the most relevant type for our desired goal (18).
|Bottom line: collagen types 1-5 have expansive roles in the body and require a great effort of synthesis in order to maintain ideal function and appearance. Type I and III are most notable for skin health, while type III, IV and V can be found deeper within organ membranes and cartilage. Overall collagen is essential for proper protection, function, separation and receptor transmission between tissues that manifests as a firm, smooth and happy-to-move body.|
How collagen is made in the body
Collagen production in layman's terms: Collagen synthesis requires both stimulus (signaling conditions) and necessary materials (required components) to occur.
The process of making collagen is referred to as collagen synthesis. Collagen is only made by specialized stem cells called fibroblasts that are present throughout your body.
Did you know: Osteoblasts are identical to fibroblasts. Osteoblasts are simply fibroblasts surrounded by mineralized matrix (bone) (19).
To keep tissues at peak performance, fibroblasts are always in a state of collagen production or ‘collagen regulation’. Collagen regulation also involves the breakdown of old collagen, functioning as a complete system. Breakdown of collagen is just as important as the production, considering that collagen accrues damage over time.
During times of injury collagen regulation greatly favors production, producing extra collagen to repair damaged tissues. But during times of malnutrition, collagen production struggles which can sway the fibroblast regulatory balance into collagen breakdown.
Note: Malnutrition is not to be mistaken for fasting. While we fast, we are still targeting a healthful diet that provides the components we need. Alternatively, someone can eat a lot of food and still be in a state of malnutrition if they are missing key vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins.
|Bottom line: Collagen production is part of collagen regulation which is how the body maintains collagen balance. Malnutrition and stress can tilt collagen regulation in favor of collagen degradation, accelerating the aging process.|
Why does collagen production decrease as we age?
Collagen disruption in layman's terms: As we age, we slowly accrue hard to repair damage bit by bit. Some is preventable, some is reversable, but the overall trend itself cannot be halted.
Why do certain people age so gracefully, while others not so well?
Genetics do play a role, but that’s not the whole story. A noticeable portion of our skin aging is due to lifestyle choices like diet, recreational activities and sleep schedule (20).
Think about how some people’s eating habits and lifestyle habits allow their weight to stay perfectly inline, while others gradually add on pounds year over year. Skin health and proper collagen regulation can be looked upon similarly.
But instead of stacking on pounds that can be eventually burnt off, skin damage is more complicated.
Understanding Skin Collagen Damage: collagen fragmentation.
Visible skin aging like wrinkles, blemishes and lack of firmness is ultimately due to collagen fragmentation (21).
Collagen fragmentation is when your strands of collagen literally become cut up and fragmented as a result of stresses like sunburn, toxins or bad diet.
The big problem with collagen fragmentation is that your body really isn’t equipped to fix it. As collagen strands become fragmented, their line of connection with their regulating fibroblast is cut off. Without contact, the fibroblast isn’t able to maintain that section of fibers any longer (22). This connection is referred to as a type of ‘mechanical stimulation’ that communicates with the fibroblast and is essential to collagen maintenance (23).
Without adequate mechanical stimulation, fibroblasts shift collagen regulation from production to degradation – and begin creating more collagen digesting enzymes (metalloproteinases). A process that doesn’t appear to fix the mechanical stimulation problem and instead accelerates damage (24).
Stopping collagen fragmentation habits is vital for skincare.
Clearly, we need to limit collagen fragmentation as much as possible.
But what does ‘healthy eating and living’ look like for your skin? Better yet, what collagen destroying habits should be flat out avoided?
The main collagen fragmenting villains include:
- High sugar diets are bad for skin collagen. Most observable in diabetics, high blood sugar results in the glycation of collagen fibers. This glycation stiffens and irregularly links collagen fibers, which in turn hinders collagen repair and elevates collagen degenerating enzymes (25, 26).
- Excessive unprotected sun exposure is bad for skin collagen. Aside from discomfort, sunburns photo-age skin by damaging DNA and creating reactive oxygen species molecules (ROS) (27). Over time photo-damaging skin results in severely fragmented skin collagen (28).
- Smoking and drinking is bad for skin collagen. It is widely understood that the toxins from cigarettes can act as free radicals and age the skin (29). But the damage also occurs on the other side of the equation, with new collagen production being dampened by 18%-22% (30). Over time this results in increased fine lines, crow’s feet, and forehead wrinkling development as seen accelerated in smokers and drinkers (31).
- Poor physical activity is bad for skin collagen. A balanced proteome (protein balance) is essential to skin health and body health as a whole (32). Exercise promotes a balanced proteome which in turn benefits collagen turnover and maintenance. Though equally interesting is how exercise reduces AGE’s (advanced glycation end products) which in turn reduces ROS (reactive oxygen species) (33).
Managing these activities can help improve skin aging over time by reducing the rate of collagen fragmentation.
|Bottom line: The process of collagen production is carried out by specialized stem cells called fibroblasts. Fibroblasts both build and deconstruct collagen which is known as collagen regulation. Malnutrition can reduce a fibroblasts ability to synthesize new collagen, but more threatening is outside damage to collagen that causes collagen fragmentation. Collagen fragmentation is hard to fix, and can result in a negative-feedback-loop causing an acceleration of fragmentation. That is why limiting skin damaging factors like sugar, excessive sun exposure, smoking, drinking and inactivity is recommended.|
5 ways you can increase collagen production and skin quality
Boosting collagen in layman's terms: The rate and quality of collagen production by fibroblasts can be improved by reducing damage to current collagen and helping supply new growth.
So, what can you do to support your fibroblasts on their quest to make the right amount of collagen for your body? We have found several ways that you can increase collagen production by making adjustments to your diet and lifestyle.
The below strategies are ranked from #1 to #10 based on the greatest benefit considering convenience and cost.
#1 Take collagen peptides daily.
Collagen peptides (like TeamKeto grass-fed collagen peptides) may have the most significant reward to effort ratio among pro-active skincare methods. All that you have to do to is take collagen peptides daily on a consistent basis and wait to see how they work for you.
Collagen peptides appear to improve both the quantity and quality of collagen in the skin (34). It does so by increasing skin matrix pre-cursors like pro-collagen which ultimately become collagen, observed in both sun damaged and un-damaged skin (35).
In addition to promoting new healthy collagen production, collagen peptides appear to act as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory to protect your skin and repair damage (36). This has been observed in animal experiments where collagen peptides were able to promote rejuvenation of both UV and glycation damaged skin (37).
Cumulatively the collagen boosting and collagen protecting effects of collagen peptides lead to greater skin matrix stability and health, promoting ideal function and appearance (38).
- Skin becomes more hydrated and less dry.
- Skin becomes more elastic and less saggy.
- New wrinkle formation slows and minimally reverses.
All from a once-a-day chocolate flavored drink like our own TeamKeto Collagen Peptides.
|Bottom line: Collagen peptide supplementation has been shown to increase natural collagen production and repair damage even in significantly sun-damaged and glycation-damaged skin. Collagen peptides both promote collagen production as a stimulating factor and protect collagen from damage as an inflammation calming anti-oxidant.|
#2 Cut out the sugar and eat more protein!
The foods you eat clearly influence the quality of your overall health. Two of the most skin-friendly diet changes you can make is to cut back on sugar and get enough protein.
The #1 diet routine change for improving skin quality is: Cut sugar out of your diet as much as possible.
The reason why sugar is so bad for your skin is because of a process called glycation.
Glycation is when a sugar molecule binds to collagen, making collagen fibers unnaturally complicated and hard to recognize by their fibroblast (39)… Thus, increasingly hard to repair!
Under normal dietary conditions, glycation isn’t a huge problem. However, when blood sugar rises to critical levels, the affinity (think magnetic draw towards a reaction) increases significantly (40).
Over a long period of time, constant high blood sugar or frequent blood sugar spikes results in an accrual of glycation damage that negatively imbalances collagen regulation.
The #2 diet improvement for skin quality is: get enough protein to support collagen synthesis.
No matter your preferred source, eating enough dietary protein is essential for muscular, organ and collagen function.
When comparing the collagen bundle samples between protein-rich diets with high-carbohydrate low-protein diets, the results are staggering (41):
- Low protein, high carbohydrate diets display loose fragmented collagen bundles.
- Protein-rich diets display thick tightly bound collagen bundles.
Collagen peptides specifically are a good option for increasing total protein intake. One study determined that the typical American diet could benefit from 36% of protein intake originating from collagen (42).
The closer to low-glycemic, the better for skin health.
Curbing carbohydrate intake with increased fats and adequate protein is ideal for healthy collagen production. The goal is to eliminate as many glucose spikes as possible.
Practices like calorie restriction and a low glycemic diet have been shown to aid stem-cell maintenance and rejuvenation (43).
But over a lifetime, focusing on a low glycemic diet (whether that be low carb, keto or Atkins) is one of the top medical recommendations for healthy aging skin (44).
|Bottom line: The foods you eat on a daily basis matter for skin health. By reducing sugars, we can limit glycation damage in our collagen. By increasing protein, we can ensure that collagen synthesis is properly stimulated to ensure proper output. Overall this supports the thesis that a low glycemic diet promotes skin health by supporting new collagen formation as equally as reducing accrued damage.|
#3 Manage excessive UV exposure (sun burn avoidance).
Ultraviolet radiation damage from the sun is recognized as one of the top contributing factors to collagen network damage (45).
Interestingly: UV radiation mostly damages the collagen network and not the fibroblast. When fibroblasts from UV damaged skin are extracted and placed in healthy growing conditions, they thrive just as non-UV damaged fibroblasts would (46).
What should we do to protect our collagen from the sun?
Avoid the big burns.
Sure, sun burn is bad. But we need to remember that the physical damage from a bad sun burn can remain long after the painful redness goes away.
It’s important to avoid prolonged direct sun exposure with untanned skin, or use a sunscreen or natural alternative before a sunburn can kick in (47, 48).
Gradually tan skin instead.
Our skin naturally produces melanin in response to UV stimuli. Responsible for the darkening of a tan, melanin is a powerful UV absorber which protects surrounding skin from UV damage.
Gradually tanning the skin in sessions that do not reach sunburn can increase your natural protection from the sun and may be the best way to build up tolerance to the sun (49).
|Bottom line: Excessive sun exposure and sun burn account for a great portion of skin damage as we age. Part of the problem, is that humans haven’t previously lived long enough for our skin to fail. Currently one of the best ways to protect skin collagen from damage is to avoid sun burns. Though modulation of melanin through small sun sessions over time can increase our body’s resistance to harmful UV rays.|
#4 Get your vitamin C (surprisingly important).
Vitamin C is a bigger deal than most realize. Most commonly attributed to flu resistance, vitamin C plays several important roles in the body.
Most notably is Vitamin C’s relationship with collagen production.
The symptoms that we see with scurvy are precisely what happens when vitamin C is no longer available to assist collagen formation. All of the collagen-dependent soft-tissues, veins, organ barriers, gums and skin become structurally compromised and thus come undone (51).
In the skin, Vitamin C is essential to healthy collagen production.
Specifically, Vitamin C fulfills the following roles to beautify our skin:
- Up-regulates mRNA messengers that activate collagen synthesis (52, 53).
- Fibroblasts require vitamin C for collagen formation (54, 55).
- Mitigates oxidative stress and scavenges free-radicals (most notably in atherosclerosis)(56, 57).
- Helps protect the skin from photodamage (58).
- Significant anti-carcinogenic effects (59).
Vitamin C is a multifaceted nutrient that must be accounted for in serious skin health regimens.
|Bottom line: Vitamin C is required for proper collagen formation and without it the body is compromised. Moderate vitamin C deficiency is still common, and increasing vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables can make a noticeable improvement to skin and connective tissue health.|
#5 Start exercising more regularly.
Exercise is important for total body health – and that includes your skin.
As we get significantly older, glycation and UV damage to our skin is met by an additional factor – decreasing cellular energy production. Decreasing cellular energy production is also commonly referred to as metabolic syndrome – and is when your cells have trouble metabolizing food for much needed energy.
Specifically, the mitochondria in our skin cells begin to lose efficiency due to accrued oxidative damage which in turn decreases skin function (60).
How can exercise help our skin?
Regular exercise positively effects skin health by increasing blood flow and modulating oxidative stress and inflammatory processes (61). This not only increases the body’s anti-oxidant capacity, but bolsters the immune system as well (62).
Exercise may help fight collagen glycation.
Exercise stimulates growth hormone production as well as increases the natural turn-over of tissues. This has been observed in skin as well, were exercise increases collagen turnover which may help recycle tissues before glycation damage can compound (63).
Reduced glycation has been observed in a separate endurance running study (64), as well as an AGE focused study that noted similarities between calorie restriction glycation reduction and exercise induced glycation reduction (65).
|Bottom line: Exercise is critical to skin health in the same way that it can benefit total body health. Exercise increases skin circulation, collagen turn-over, anti-inflammatory activity and resistance to oxidative stress. Exercise can reduce age-related thinning of skin (66), revitalized pigmentation (67), and even facial yoga exercises may benefit with a firmer complexion (68).|
What to look for in a collagen peptide powder
Just like the meat selection in your grocery store, there are several different grades and quality factors to consider when picking your collagen peptides powder.
When we first made our TeamKeto Collagen Peptides, we sought to make the single most pure, pleasant and natural collagen peptides on the market.
This wasn’t cheap to do, however that didn’t bother us. After all, we sell directly to our customers. That means instead of holding back expense for re-seller stores, we can instead invest more into product quality.
Collagen sourcing – beef, chicken or fish?
The three primary collagen peptide sources are beef, chicken and fish. For our collagen peptides, we chose beef sourced (bovine).
Bovine was the right choice for our collagen peptides because it contains the highest ratio of Type I collagen, proving to be a great fit for improving skin and connective tissues.
On the other hand, chicken sourced collagen tends to be richer in type II collagen which can be advantageous for joint health. We actually make a bone broth powder that is well suited for this need.
For the foreseeable future, we have chosen not to make fish (murine) based products. This is because we are not currently satisfied with the quality and consistency of murine collagen sourcing. In comparison, we’re completely confident in the quality and future consistency of our bovine collagen.
Coming from high quality, hearty cattle farms – our collagen peptides are made exclusively with pure collagen peptides from grass-fed beef. A base that not only provides superior collagen peptides, but also makes our flavoring process easy, clean and delicious!
Collagen Peptide Flavoring, post processing and supply line matters.
One of the biggest manufacturing benefits to using pure grass-fed collagen peptides is that there aren’t any ‘nasty flavors’ to cover up. This is why one of our flavor options for collagen peptides is – unflavored!
But for our flavored varieties like chocolate, salted caramel and strawberries and cream… This leads for a real treat come your daily collagen shake! Being naturally flavored and sweetened our collagen peptide powders are absolutely delicious creations!
|Bottom line: For superior skin support, we believe that grass-fed collagen peptides from bovine are the best option. Bovine collagen has more type I collagen and a higher quality and more consistent sourcing network from farms we can trust. Our pure grass-fed collagen peptides allow us to flavor using only natural flavors and sweeteners – leading to premium tasting shakes!|
5 flavorful ways to take collagen regularly
By this point you’ve likely learned more about collagen peptides than you would have ever wished for. So lets make things a little more exciting and laid back!
Below are some of our favorite ways to take TeamKeto Collagen Peptides on spirited days and easy days alike.
Remember: for the best skin nourishing effects we want to take collagen once every single day.
Salted Caramel Collagen Coffee
Keto coffee or ‘bullet proof’ coffee is a trend that is here to last. But have you tried adding flavored collagen to the mix? It’s pretty delicious…
You can view our favorite collagen and ghee infused keto coffee at the bottom of this article.
To make, you will prepare standard black coffee and add in one scoop of TeamKeto salted caramel collagen peptides and up to 2 tablespoons of ghee butter.
Chilled Collagen Chocolate Milk
Collagen in water or milk makes for an experience similar to Nesquik! For our keto readers, you can combine chocolate collagen peptides with MCT powder. But for our non-keto readers you can simply add collagen peptides to milk.
Refreshing Strawberries and Cream
Sometimes there is nothing more pleasant than a quick and easy strawberry flavored collagen drink! For this recipe, simply mix 1-2 scoops of strawberries and cream flavored collagen peptides with room temperature water and mix. If you would like it chilled, add some ice after you mix it.
Chocolate Collagen and MCT Go-Shake
Mixing collagen peptides with MCT powder is a clever way to make your own custom keto meal replacement shake.
If you are in a hurry and need calories now, consider adding 1-2 soops of chocolate flavored collagen peptides into water with 1 scoop of chocolate flavored MCT powder. Its extra good!
Collagen boosted Keto Cookies
You better believe that collagen peptides can be used for baking! This keto chocolate chip cookie recipe is hands down one of our favorites – and can be enriched with unflavored or flavored collagen.
To make collagen cookies, you will add the collagen peptides powder to your flour or flour alternative.
Conclusion: Collagen Peptides are in
Collagen peptides have proven to be an effective anti-aging strategy for supporting healthier more vibrant skin (69). Not only do collagen peptides make skin look better, but collagen peptides directly lead to more collagen synthesis, better hydration, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits (70). Compared to other strategies, collagen peptides provide an attractive benefit to cost and effort ratio for skin health improvement (71).
Summary of what we’ve learned:
Table of contents:
Intro – What is collagen? – how the body makes collagen – why collagen decreases over time – 5 ways to boost collagen – choosing a quality collagen peptide powder – 5 ways to take collagen powder – conclusion: peptides are in.
A must read for everyone. Very informative I never knew this about collagen. specially the vitamin c how it can effect your gums. Mmmmm. Thank you for this information 😃
You provided a lot of information. Appreciated as a retired health care professional.
A good breakdown of types and supporting information