The primary amino acids in collagen are glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. They form the triple-helical structure we call collagen. Collagen is a protein that is highly abundant in the body. It makes up a third of all proteins throughout human anatomy.
Think about what the body is composed of. Essentially, we are networks of varieties of flesh that hold together the skeletal system, organ systems, digestive system, and more. Facia, skin, connective tissue, muscle, and the mucosa lining of the large and small intestines are all examples of places where we can find collagen.
Collagen is made of primarily nonessential amino acids such as the glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline mentioned above. This means that, under favorable conditions, the body can make these amino acids on its own.
So why supplement with collagen if we can make it on our own? Well, sometimes the body isn’t under favorable conditions, not to mention it’s been shown how we don’t make as much collagen as we age. Sometimes the body needs exogenous sources of collagen to build and fill in any structural gaps.
Collagen Amino Acids Repair the Gut
Unless you’re entirely new to the wellness world, you’ve likely heard of leaky gut syndrome by now. The scientific term for this is “intestinal permeability.” Leaky gut occurs when tight-junctions in the mucosa lining of the gut become too permeable, allowing foreign molecules to enter the bloodstream from the digestive tract.
Researcher Alessio Fasano was the one to really nail down leaky gut with his groundbreaking paper on intestinal permeability. In it, he argues that many modern “mysterious illnesses” such as autoimmune disease actually stem from leaky gut.
Collagen may help assist repairing the tight-junctions of the gut. A 2017 study found collagen peptides extracted from Alaskan pollock to be helpful. The researchers noticed how “barrier dysfunction was significantly attenuated by the collagen and its peptide fractions.”
Amino Acids in Collagen Help with Mental Function
Most people want that extra edge over their cognitive processing. With so many involved in school, demanding work tasks, and complex hobbies, who wouldn’t love an extra mental boost?
With Alzheimer’s and dementia on the rise, it’s wise we cultivate lifestyle choices outside of mere supplementation. Things like exercise, clean eating, and meditation (for stress-relief) have all been shown to lessen dementia risk.
But supplementation can help. Most people—even those on collagen—likely haven’t seen the compelling research surrounding collagen and cognition. A 2020 study published in Nutrients, for example, found that collagen supplementation harnessed improvements in both brain structure and cognitive function.
As the article reads, “It has been reported that the ingestion of [collagen] may help recovery from brain injury by promoting angiogenesis, and that [collagen] exerts neuroprotective action by suppressing inflammatory effects.”
Collagen is a Boon for Skin Health
Obtaining younger looking skin is a popular reason to take collagen peptides. Many skin care companies who add collagen or collagen precursors to their products claim that they help the structural integrity of the skin. Unfortunately, such products are often filled with chemicals and nasties you don’t want on your skin or in your body.
We suggest healing the skin from the inside out. Ingesting collagen is a studied and effective way to boost the structural integrity of the skin. A 2019 study found that a drink containing 2.5 grams of collagen indeed improved hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density.
“The differences between the verum group and the placebo group were statistically significant for all test parameters,” the researchers reported. “These positive effects were substantially retained during the follow-up.”
So collagen will boost the consumer’s beauty, indeed. But the researchers also make a point that “healthy skin provides an active interface between the internal and external environments of the body and enables permanent adaptation and acclimatization of an organism during its lifetime.”
So yes: skin health is crucial. It’s the primary reason we suggest collagen supplementation for skin.
Final Thoughts on the Amino Acids of Collagen
After examining some of the reasons the body craves exogenous collagen amino acids, it’s important to discuss good sources of collagen.
Animal based foods such as chicken (particularly the skin and connective tissues) and grass-fed beef are a good place to start.
A solid collagen supplement such as our very own Wild Collagen Peptides Powder can bring you a long way in upping your collagen stores in the body as well.
Our collagen is both grass-fed and contains type I and III collage, ensuring an impressive amino acid profile. Our collagen contains the three primary amino acids (glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline) that make up collagen among many others.
Collagen smoothies are a great start. You won’t taste the collagen therein. Collagen amino acids can also be added to recipes or simply stirred with water. The taste is extremely mild and manageable for most people. Enjoy a healthier you!