Collagen vs. Collagen Peptides: What’s The Difference?

If you use any kind of skincare products or take regular supplements, odds are you've heard of collagen at least once or twice. This vital compound is well known as a critical ingredient for long-term skin health.

But what about collagen peptides; are they related to collagen, or are they completely different compounds altogether? Today, let’s break down collagen vs. collagen peptides and explore their key differences and what they’re used for in skin health and bodily wellness.

Collagen Explained

Collagen is one of the most important compounds for your skin and its long-term health. It’s a versatile structural protein that plays a key role in binding multiple bodily tissues together, including the muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bones, and, yes, your skin.

You can think of collagen as a gluing molecule that helps hold protein tissues together. Collagen is responsible for giving your skin much of its strength and structure, as well as allowing it to remain elastic over time (though this is also partly due to a compound called elastin).

Technically, there are three different types of collagen you can find in the body:

  • Collagen Type 1 includes long, tightly packed collagen fibers that help provide tensile strength to the skin and tissues like tendons and ligaments.
  • Collagen Type 2 fibers are shorter and allow cartilage to absorb shock, plus help your joints remain cushioned during daily activity.
  • Collagen Type 3 is usually found in hollow organs or artery walls.

Regardless, all three types of collagen are important, and your body produces plenty of this compound at an early age or during the prime of your life. But as we grow older, our bodies produce less collagen with time.

As a result, we see many of the typical side effects of aging. For example, without as much collagen as it had before, our skin becomes less elastic and has less structural support. This can lead to wrinkle formation, saggy or dry skin, and other negative developments.

What Are Collagen Peptides?

Collagen peptides are very closely related to standard collagen. Collagen peptides are shorter than average amino acid chains that come from native or full-length collagen.

In comparison, normal collagen consists of three longer chain amino acids. These form a triple helix shape, and a single collagen molecule is relatively heavy compared to other molecules.

You can only extract collagen peptides through a process called enzymatic hydrolysis or enzymatic hydrolyzation. 

In a nutshell, this involves softening native collagen, which releases the short-chain collagen peptides from their bonds. The collagen peptides may then be extracted and used for various purposes. Enzymatic hydrolysis uses specialized enzymes to break down peptide bonds and allow collagen peptides to be extracted.

So, What’s the Difference?

So, put another way, collagen peptides are specific peptides found in larger collagen molecules. You can use both for many of the same purposes or use them for different goals.

Why Do You Need Collagen Peptides? 

Why bother extracting specific peptides from larger collagen molecules? Because collagen peptides are ‘bioactive.’

In short, collagen peptides can influence your body’s cells in various ways once they are quickly absorbed. For example, collagen peptides may stimulate certain cells in the skin (fibroblasts) to create more hyaluronic acid – a well-known moisturizing agent and a vital part of your skin barrier.

Alternatively, collagen peptides may be used to help your body repair various damaged tissues, like joint damage, skin injuries, and so on. Let’s take a look at some of the specific uses for collagen peptides one by one.

Athletic and Exercise Recovery

Many athletes or serious exercisers may use collagen peptides to reduce recovery time or reduce the strain they put on their bodies. When you undergo any strenuous activity, you strain your muscle fibers and joints depending on the specific exercises performed.

Collagen peptides can help reduce recovery time by regenerating damaged cells, tying ligaments and joints together, and reducing muscle soreness.

Improved Bone Health

Additionally, there’s some evidence to suggest that collagen peptides may support your bone health over time. Your body’s bones are made of calcium salts and collagen more than anything else. Your bones must constantly regenerate and repair themselves through bone remodeling to stay healthy.

Collagen peptides can contribute directly to this process and may help accelerate the metabolism of your bone cells. This may be especially beneficial for women entering middle age, as the onset of menopause may increase their risk for osteoporosis and similar bone-related disorders.

Improves Skin's Appearance

In some cases, collagen peptides could help to bolster skin health and may even reduce or slow down signs of aging like the appearance of wrinkles or dark aging spots. 

On top of that, your body may use collagen peptides to create healthy, vibrant skin cells regularly. Combined with an excellent self-care skincare routine involving cleansing and exfoliation, collagen peptides could help your skin look and feel younger for longer, even as you enter middle age or beyond. 

Which Is Better – Collagen or Collagen Peptides?

Neither – they’re both necessary for skin health and body health overall!

You can’t replace all the collagen in your skin with just collagen peptides. Collagen is a widely useful molecule that helps your skin retain its strength and stretchiness as it ages. At the same time, collagen peptides can help accelerate the metabolism of different types of cells and may provide ancillary benefits broken down above.

Because of this, you should never shy away from products that include collagen and collagen peptides. Some of the best supplements include a wide range of ingredients, including collagen, to provide a ton of benefits for your skin, energy level, and overall wellness.

The most important thing to target is organic collagen and similar ingredients. For example, our Organic Greens Supplement is packed with healthy ingredients like omega-three fatty acids, long-chain carbohydrates, and antioxidants. But most importantly, all these ingredients are organic and non-toxic.

Summary

At the end of the day, collagen and collagen peptides are both vital for long-term skin health and overall wellness, especially if you want your skin to look and feel as radiant and smooth as possible as you get older. But understanding the difference between collagen and collagen peptides will help you choose healthier, safer supplements and skincare products.

Alongside our Organic Greens Supplement, we also offer a Hair, Skin & Nails supplement that comes with, you guessed it, collagen! Best of all, each of the ingredients in our supplements is totally organic, so there’s no risk of ingesting toxic compounds.

 

Sources:

Collagen | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

The Collagen Family | NCBI

Significant Amounts of Functional Collagen Peptides Can Be Incorporated in the Diet While Maintaining Indispensable Amino Acid Balance | NCBI

The effects of collagen peptides on muscle damage, inflammation and bone turnover following exercise: a randomized, controlled trial | NCBI

Specific Collagen Peptides Improve Bone Mineral Density and Bone Markers in Postmenopausal Women—A Randomized Controlled Study | NCBI